These are notes from a radio interview I did in 2009, when I was living in Georgia.
Route so far:
- iran - 1.5 month
- pakistan - 3 weeks
- india - 4.5 months
- nepal - 2 weeks.
- Problem with iran visa in new delhi so will come back overland to Georgia.
- Fly back to Turkey and bus to Georgia.
- Georgia April to July.
- England 3.5 weeks.
- France 2.5 weeks arrived back in Georgia last week.
Why back to Georgia?
- Need to raise funds
- Return to my girlfriend
- Have a rest.
- most friendly People always try to help me to find somewhere to stay.
- wonderful food - rice, meat, 'chello kebab', chickpea and vegetable stew
- Beautiful architecture - mosques and bridges of Isfahan.
- Interesting insight into a country which is portrayed differently in the media.
- wild in the south desert part
- friendly people but more weary and excited about seeing me
- children would run after me and pose for a photo
- Police escort for 1 week-men with guns with me everywhere I went
- Music and food more like India
- So different from Iran- very modern and urbanised cities in comparison.
- wonderful food friendly people
- people very curious- 50 people coming to look at me when I stop
- Interesting historical sites - dilwari temple- mt abu- most intricate marble temple carvings
- I slept in many temples
- Each state is very different like different countries
- My favourite for food was gujarat and the gujarati thali.
Nepal- Different to India
- Poorer, mountain people
- Mixture of cultures and religions-Hindu and buddhist mix
- Feel the Tibetan and Chinese influences
- Mountains are immense.
Tom- getting married in Armenia on the 19th. I'm the best man.
- living in Georgia
- making talks about climate change and promoting cycling
- working to develop mountain biking in georgia with a website mountainbiking.ge
- Living with my girlfriend
- writing up my first book of the travel from England to Georgia- a 7.5 month travel+ 7000 km.
How did I feel?
- Sometimes lonely in desert roads in Iran - big open spaces.
- I was paranoid about S.Iran and Pakistan but decided that nothing bad had happened for a long time and heard others had done it so I decided to go for and see what happened at the time.
What are you doing?
I am working making websites. I'm making one for a project called Open Maps Caucasus which is an open source mapping project at present. I am going mountain biking with Georgian friends. I am doing some mini-expeditions. We did one in the mountains in Khevsureti, in Georgia and one in Armenia.
I competed in a mountain bike race last week. There was 50 other participants. I participated in a recent critical mass bicycle demonstration on the streets of Tbilisi. Cycling has become much more popular in the last few years.
Next year I hope to do some more travelling, but I'm not set on exactly what. I am helping to provide a mountain bike guiding service. There is a lot of interest from tourists through our website mountainbiking.ge . I might come back to Georgia and stay for the summer to help out with this. I also hope to do another long distance off-road mountain bike trip next year. I am heading back to the UK for Christmas to see my family.
I am slowly processing all the photos I took from previous travels into my best photos. The calendars available to view at redbubble.com/people/andrewwelch, contain my best landscape and portrait photography. The proceeds of sales will go to the wilderness foundation (wildernessfoundation.org.uk). The charity Tom and I have been raising money for with our adventures.
Why is Georgia so great?
It's a peaceful country, with friendly welcoming people. With a similar sense of humour to the British, I think. The food is fantastic and there are beautiful mountains and landscapes to visit