Feb 062016


Ok this gravy train of travel posts is over. It’s back to money stuff! But before that lets tally up the cost of travelling through Asia for one month! First, here are the pre-departure expenses, as seen in my previous post.


Pre-departure Expense Cost (CAD)
Flight – Chicago to Istanbul $796
Flight – Istanbul to Bishkek $180
Flight – Bishkek to Urumqi $358
Flight – Beijing to Chicago $730
Hotel – Istanbul, 4 nights $80
Hostel deposits, Urumqi/Beijing $15
Train – Lanzhou to Beijing $73
Chinese Visa $106
Travel backpack $144
Travel clothing $265
TOTAL $2,891

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Jan 102016

I flew directly from to Urumqi from Kyrgyzstan and spent 11 days travelling Xinjiang and Gansu province in north west China. Xinjiang is known for being part of the silk road and nowadays it’s known mainly for natural resources and ethnic minorities.

Am I on Tatooine? Also, someone doesn’t know how to make a level foundation

Urumqi has 1.7 million people, of which 1.5 million are Han Chinese. The Uyghur people are the largest minority and a source of conflict in Xinjiang. Both the Uyghur and Han claim they got to Xinjiang first and are the indigenous people. The Uyghur have protested in the past over political injustices and a push for separation from China movements. In 2009 the protests turned violent and to this day Urumqi is full of riot vans and military! Continue reading »

Dec 102015


Kyrgyzstan is a country in central Asia formerly part of the USSR. The people are semi-nomadic and speak Russian and Kyrgyz. I speak neither of these languages.

In my six days I visited Bishkek, Cholpon Ata, and Ala Archa. I stayed with a Canadian friend (Lynelle) who is teaching at an international school.

Click to jump ahead:


The capital of Kyrgyzstan. The city itself is flat but it has mountains to the south. The people are predominantly Muslim, although the religious majority is less apparent compared to countries like Turkey.

A mosque with background mountains. Just like I said!

A mosque with some good looking background mountains.

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Nov 062015


I wasn’t in London long enough for it to actually sink in that I was in London. Nevertheless I was able to at least walk by/through Westminster, Buckingham palace, London eye, Trafalgar square, Churchill war rooms, and the tower bridge. Here are three of my favorite things from London.

Winston Churchill's onesie! From the Churchill war rooms

Winston Churchill’s onesie! From the Churchill war rooms

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Oct 282015

Instead of letting this site sit and rot while I’m away travelling I’ve decided to document my trip right here. I’ll be tracking all my expenses to hopefully inspire some of you chumps and chumpettes to get out and travel more. There are so many easy ways to make travelling cheaper and they often simultaneously make the trip more fulfilling.


Where, when and why I’m going


I need to start by coming clean. This website is predominantly for Canadians, of which I am one, but I’m living in America right now on a 10 month work exchange. Thus my trip begins and ends in Chicago.

This map doesn’t include all the cities that I’ll visit, only the major ones that I’ve financially committed to in some way. As far as timeframes go I’ll be leaving Chicago for London on October 30th and as for the rest:

  • London – 24 hours.
  • Istanbul – 4 days
  • Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan – 1 week
  • Urumqi/Lanzhou/Beijing – 2 weeks

I’ve been actively learning Mandarin the better part of 5 years now but I’m a long long…. long… way from fluent. Luckily there is no better place to practice Mandarin than in China! Oh and they got 5,000 years of culture and some other cool stuff to see….

China alone wasn’t enough for this trip and the true deciding factor was having an old friend living in Kyrgyzstan. I’ve wanted to visit northwest China in past trips but never had time, but since Kyrgyzstan borders China I decided that I could easily visit both places in one trip.

The next question was how to get to Kyrgyzstan? Kyrgyzstan is basically on the opposite side of the world so flying east or west works. My friend suggested we meet somewhere in Europe and since I’ve never been it became an easy decision. We settled on Istanbul, although Moscow was a strong contender.

Visiting London was not part of the original plan, but the cheapest flight to Istanbul happened to be with British airways and they offered a 24 hour stopover. And the cherry on the London cake was another good friend living just north of London!

The whole trip will last about 4 weeks.

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