Somaliland: guns, germs and happy meal

Everyone who is heading to Somaliland puts him/herself in great danger. The danger of sounding like an arrogant asshole in all subsequent travel talks: ‘Somaliland? Yeah, been there, rode a camel and ate Al-Shabaab for breakfast!’ Al-Shabaab is not a local variety of kebab. It’s a terrorist group in Somalia and a boogeyman of East…

There is no Place Like Home – All Roads Spring from Ethiopia

Ras Quintseb met me in Addis and treated me to a lunch of avocados and other greens in a local migib bet. ‘I am vegetarian. In the Bible it clearly says that Adam and Eve are vegetarians, too: God had given them animals to live with, not for slaughter,’ he started. I thought that he…

Notes from a Big Island – Istanbul, Büyükada

This might become the best memory you’ll bring home from Istanbul. Not the missile-looking minarets of the Blue mosque, not the old rocks of Topkapi Palace, not the crazy nights till dawn along the drunk-packed alleyways of Istiklal street, not even that 100th kebab or mussel consumed there at 5am to fight the munchies. The…

Commitment Issues, Nomad Syndrome and Relationships

’Holy shit, you’ve been travelling for over a year now. What are you running from? Did you kill somebody?’  -something my host asked me once Relationships with countries are essentially like relationships with people: you get speed dates, one-night stands, eternal friendships and long-term love affairs. Sure enough, you never forget your first. I had…

Chick Habit

In rural Ethiopia, women grease their hair with butter for extra healthy shine. That’s just what they do. What they do NOT do is open windows in buses. Someone told me that they are afraid of catching tuberculosis from the draught. I thought that if I could throw some corn in the hair of a…

Who is knocking on my tent at 1 AM?

People usually don’t tell travel stories of how they got scared so much they ‘almost’ peed themselves. Sudan is one of the most underappreciated countries in the whole of Africa. No wonder, though, since the government promptly charges you a lot of money for the visa and makes the process of obtaining it a royal…

Worst Sleeping Places Around the World

You’ve enough of the lists ‘Best sleeping places around the world’. Mine is about some worst places to sleep around the world. They are the cheapest, too. I remember all of those places so vividly that none of them deserves to be the ‘-est’ among others. – Haunted island, 5 people in one-person tent and…

Vomiting, goldfish in vodka bottle and fairy queens

I’m being asked quite often about stomach issues in all the weird countries around the world. Maybe the fact that I am vegetarian saves me from constant diarrhoea, and I can’t tell you a story of how I ‘ate some elephant testicles and then couldn’t stand up for 5 days’, but let me tell you…

Echoes of war and chickens in Sri Lanka

Up until recently Sri Lanka was not the most popular tourist destination because of the war that had started in the North back in the 80s and only ended in 2009. In fact, even now the echoes of that war roam the streets of northern towns and islands, where you pass through checkpoints and see…