Countdown to Istanbul - Start of the Silk Road


(for more information on this expedition, see my website dedicated to the expedition at Road of Storytellers

Getting very excited...and nervous again haha Istanbul time getting closer!

Istanbul Dates

Accommodation is booked for 1-4 March 2024 in Istanbul and last week I got my Turkish eVisa which took me all of 10minutes to get. Sadly only for 30 days in a 180 day cycle but hey, it's better than nothing!

Transport also just booked now this morning (8 Feb) from Tbilisi on the 29th of February. This is a Long bus ride that arrives the following day late afternoon. Taking the bus though means I don't have to clear out fuel from the MSR stove and bottle and of course, a backpack is easier for bus transport than a flight.

New Backpack

Osprey Aether Plus 85
Speaking of which, a couple of months of a lot of hours (my online work) and a bit of saving has made it possible for me to buy an excellent and high quality backpack built for the long road and the potential weight of around 30kg. I purchased the Osprey Aether Plus 85 - an absolute beast when it comes to features and quality and, as a bonus, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Osprey Hydraulic 3.0 Liter
Expensive at around US$480 but looking at it as a long term investment that will last and I believe is up to the challenges I'll be throwing at it. While I was at it, decided it was time to venture into the realm of "camelbak" hydration systems - where the water is in the pack with the tube coming through to the shoulder strap (I'm sure you all know that already haha). Anyway, I got the Osprey Hydraulic 3.0 liter which is obviously made for the Osprey packs. I've never used these before but it does negate an extra water bottle that may/may not fall out from side pockets. Of course I will still carry the tin cup on the outside so I can just stop and drink at streams or water points...a convenient excuse to take a break.

Dilijan, Armenia

I want to test the pack a wee bit too, so next week I'm heading off to Dilijan National park in Armenia for a week where I'll try out some day trails in the snow with the pack - this will also help me get accustomed to all the adjustment straps/toggles which Osprey has brilliantly placed in such a way that one can do these adjustments all while the pack is on your back.


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