How Travelling 16 hours on the Old Silk Road can change you

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Photo by Pakistan Tourism on Unsplash

“Stones stay still. A learner, never.” — Elif Shafak

Have you ever traveled on the old Silk Road?

This road is significant because it connects the East with the West. This road comes all the way from China via Pakistan and into Europe. It’s an old trade route where all the goods from far places were delivered to “the Romans” or what we call Europe today.

This road is called ‘highway’ but it is far from actually being a highway or as we know it in the West. It’s a conventional road. The traffic flows in both directions you’ve got one lane for each direction. In certain areas, the road isn’t smooth and it is more of a dirt road rather than a ‘highway’. …


The first four hours in Istanbul airport. What was it like?

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Photo by David Monje on Unsplash

I met a beautiful friend from Turkey at a language school. The impression I’ve got when I first met her was; she is fun, friendly always willing to cook good food and share it. It turned out she lived next door to me. It was a stroke of luck!

Her name is Sinem. She used to always invite me for food she’d cook. The dishes she’d come up with would be something out of this world. She spoiled me with her beautiful friendship and incredible cooking.

Ever since I met Sinem, I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey. On my travel to Pakistan I had a stopover at the Istanbul airport. What a treat it was! Istanbul airport felt like the same warm surprise as a friend I had met all those years ago. Istanbul airport was something I had “known” but couldn’t figure out what exactly. …


A reflection of my time being in Pakistan

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Photo by Muhammad Muzamil on Unsplash

Pakistan itself, from the little I saw, changed me more than any other country I have ever been to. Everything in Pakistan is ten times more; the mountains are higher, the food tastes different (delicious), the people are welcoming, the scarves are the real deal, the roads are massive. The largest bats I have ever seen is in Pakistan. Everything is bigger in Pakistan.

I would describe Pakistan (from the little I saw) as grand simplicity! It’s such a magical place. Everything in Pakistan is real, raw, untouched, and incredible. The beauty of Pakistan is breathtaking and yet, many don’t consider Pakistan as travel destination. …


A real-life example of how we all can make the world a better place

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Photo by Alexei Scutari on Unsplash

In the Western world, we are so consumed with finding our purpose in life. All the coaches tell us to find your purpose and you’ll live happily ever after! If only that were true.

There’s no happily ever after you find your purpose don’t be fooled.

Besides, that and a much bigger question is how are you helping others by living your purpose? You reached the top of your dreams and how is the world a better place because of it?

I am simply asking a question how are you contributing to the better life in this world for others? Take this guy who’s written a book called Above the Clouds by Kilian Jornet. He is an amazing guy who runs massive mountains fast. …


A road trip on the old silk road — Karakoram highway

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Photo by Faseeh Shahzad on Unsplash

Pakistan is the most misunderstood country I know. People know nothing about Pakistan only what media tells them. We all know media doesn’t portray the truth only what’s politically ‘required’. There are people who travel to Pakistan and fall completely in love with the country and its people.

What have I heard about Pakistan from others before I left?

It’s a 99% Muslim country be careful Muslims are dangerous!

They have a few wives be careful!

It’s full of terrorist be careful!

You need a gun when in Pakistan!

These are just a few most memorable ones but I’ve heard so many and they are all negative! People don’t want to hear beautiful things about Pakistan. It is convenient that Pakistan is seen as a ‘terrorist’ state like it has been portrayed in many TV shows, for example, Homeland. …


My experience being in Pakistan

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Photo by Nazim Laghari on Unsplash

It’s fascinating most questions I get about Pakistan are more or less are the same. It sparked an idea to write a blog post answering the questions. Pakistan is different to everyone and by no means what my experience is the same for others and vice versa. What I say is only my tiny view of it. I haven’t seen the country properly myself.

I haven’t been to Lahore and Karachi and everything in between. What I have seen is very limited. What I have experienced is very limited too. My frequently asked questions about Pakistan is a very small view which I am sure with time it will change and expand as we plan to be in Pakistan more often from now on. …


What tourists don’t see

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Photo by Abuzar Xheikh on Unsplash

To build a house or do a house renovation in any country is challenging enough. Try and do that over the phone and then the first thing as soon as we land in Islamabad! Actually, dealing with various demands on the phone was easy compared to what was waiting for my husband and me when we landed in Islamabad!

How did it all start?

I married a Pakistani man. His family is an amazing bunch of people. I come from Lithuania a background one would think incompatible. What seemed different at first the clothes, the food, and how nice people are make total sense now.

From where I am from, the food is bland, the clothes are a lot less comfortable and the people, I am yet to meet a Lithuanian abroad I could say that was a nice person! Maybe that’s just my luck? …


Do we know how to really live…? Lessons from being in Pakistan

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Photo by Hassan Wasim on Unsplash

Having spent a few weeks in Pakistan it made me question everything I know. No country I’ve ever been to made me question my own existence. I had those type of questions when my father passed away (may he rests in peace). Everything I thought I knew about life, how to dress, how to eat, how to behave becomes a real question.

How could I describe Pakistan..? Words cannot describe Pakistan. The closest I get to describing it is it’s a pulsing open heart with all the colours of the rainbow, smells and flavours. Some people would describe Pakistan as a conservative but it’s far from it. …


Fresh off the plane views of Pakistan which means the Land of the Pure

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Photo by Muzammil Shahzad on Unsplash

I’ve watched many vloggers about Pakistan before coming to Islamabad. You can check out too by Eva Zu Beck on youtube. She’s done some amazing videos on Pakistan.

Since Imran Khan has become a Prime Minister it’s easier to travel to Pakistan and get visas. My husband and I got our visas fast and online. The system, where you fill in all essentials details, require patience. Once we got the visas I was excited. However, travel plans were delayed due to coronavirus.

When we finally were allowed to travel it was exciting to say the least. My husband and I felt safe on the plane because the rules were strict, if you don’t have a negative PCR certificate printed out you are not allowed on the plane. We had to wear masks during the flight too. …


How did we buy a house in Pakistan in a Coronavirus time without actually seeing the house..?

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A house in Islamabad, Pakistan

We bought a house in Islamabad on Facebook during the lockdown. In Spain, the lockdown was tough. If we left the house without a reason we would had been a given a fine of 600 euros on the spot. The military vehicles were roaming around. The vehicles with dead bodies were on the road too. The whole of the ice ring in Madrid was used as a morgue to keep dead bodies cold.

How do I know this?

We had a reason to leave the house and that’s what we saw. We saw people trying to be smarter than the police and had been fined on the spot. We couldn’t go to a bigger supermarket because it wasn’t close to the house. We didn’t hoard any of the supermarket supplies because to go to a supermarket was a real pleasure for once. The supermarket wasn’t out of stock either like in other countries. …

About

Erika Chaudhary

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary

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