What route have you travelled so far?
I spent 1.5 month travelling through Iran, 3 weeks in Pakistan, 4.5 months in India and 2 weeks in Nepal.
A problem with my Iran visa in New Delhi stopped my intention of travelling back overland to Georgia so I flew back to Turkey and bussed it back to Tbilisi.
After spending 3 months in Tbilisi I travelled overland back to England for 3.5 weeks and then land and sea to France for 2.5 weeks before travelling back overland to Georgia last week.
Why back to Georgia?
My intention in Georgia is to raise funds for onward travel and take stock of travels so far. It’s a peaceful country, with friendly welcoming people. With a similar sense of humour to the British, I think. The food is fantastic and there are beautiful mountains and landscapes to visit
What was my impression of Iran?
It had the most friendly People who always tried to help me to find somewhere to stay. The food was wonderful. My favourite was ‘Chello kebab’; rice with butter and grilled meat. Another favourite was chickpea and vegetable stew.
The architecture was stunning; particularly mosques and bridges of Isfahan. My visit gave me an interesting insight into a country which is portrayed differently in the media.
What was my impression of Pakistan?
It appeared to be a poor country. The south desert area had little infrastructure. The people were friendly but also weary about me. I had a police escort for 1 week with policemen with AK47s with me everywhere I went.
How did I feel when travelling through Iran and Pakistan alone?
It was sometimes lonely cycling on desert roads in Iran. I was paranoid about S.Iran and Pakistan but decided that no bad incidents had happened for a long time and heard others had done it so I decided to go for it.
What was my impression of India?
India was full of friendly people and wonderful food. My favourite food was the Gujarati Thali. The people were very curious. For example, it wasn’t unusual for 50 people to come and gather around me when I stopped. I visited many temples and was able to stay the night at some of them. Each state in India seemed very different, almost like different countries.
What was my impression of Nepal?
There was a mixture of cultures and religions. For example, Hinduism and Buddhism. It was possible to feel the Tibetan and Chinese influences. The mountains were immense.
What are you doing in Tbilisi?
I am making a website for a project called Open Maps Caucasus which is an open source mapping project. I am doing some mini-expeditions. We did one in the mountains in Khevsureti and one in Armenia. I competed in a mountain bike race last week with 50 other participants in the mountains around Tbilisi.
I recently participated in a critical mass bicycle demonstration on the streets of Tbilisi. Awareness of environmental issues is growing in Tbilisi.
My friend Tom is getting married in Armenia on the 19th and I’m the best man which is a new experience for me. I’m making a presentation about climate change and promoting cycling at the CENN NGO in Tbilisi next week.
I’ve been writing up my diary of my first of travelling from England to Georgia- a 7.5 month travel+ 7000 km.
Next year I hope to do some more travelling. I may return to Georgia to run mountain bike tours. I’ve created a website for this: mountainbiking.ge. I hope to do another long distance off-road mountain bike trip next year. I am heading back to the UK for Christmas to see my family.
I am slowly processing all my photography and I haved created a calendar. The calendar is available to view at redbubble.com/people/andrewwelch. The proceeds of sales will go to the wilderness foundation (wildernessfoundation.org.uk).