Tamahere journalist Isobel Ewing is taking her story telling on the road – the Silk Road, an ancient trading route that stretches from China to the Mediterranean.
Ewing won’t be peddling silk but she will be pedaling. She plans to bike more than 2000km from Samarkand, Uzbekistan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan starting in early August.
One goal of the journey is to disconnect from the constant digital stream that is the lot of a broadcast journalist … and almost everyone else with an internet connection.
“I think the value of disconnecting – for our human relationships, our ability to be creative and our mental well being – is huge, and often forgotten in our modern, busy world,” she said.
“I’m taking the concept of disconnecting and combining it with the ultimate adventure – riding my bike more than 2000km along the Silk Road, an ancient route that encapsulates the spirit of discovery, and that forged cultural links between different people from the East and West.”
Ewing will be blogging about her adventure.
“I want to show how detaching from 24/7 connectivity brings back authentic human interactions, and to seek that universal kinship that can be found on the road,”she said.
“This adventure will push me to my physical and mental limit, joining my mind and body in the ultimate exercise in mindfulness.
“I hope to find a stillness and clarity on the road that I find missing in my busy, frantic life, while exploring a fascinating corner of the world that played a pivotal role in history.”
The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty (207 BCE–220 CE).
Ewing tested her mettle on a stormy bike ride from Nelson to Hamner earlier this month.
“The landscape passes in a wet blur as I grind onward, puffing heat into my chilled fingers and trying in vain to wiggle warmth into my toes,” she wrote.
She eventually has to seek the warmth of her support vehicle, driven by her boyfriend – back-up she won’t have on her northern trip.
“I consider the Silk Road’s Pamir Highway and its absence of both the boyfriend and the truck, and conclude a better rain jacket is needed, and that the phrases “water resistant”, “water repellent” and “waterproof” are not so much semantics, but rather important detail to take heed of.”
The map below shows the route Ewing will take on the Silk Road.
Ewing left New Zealand this week on the first leg of her overseas trip.
Tamahere Forum will bring updates on Ewing’s progress from her blog.