Postcards from the Saddle
Apart from my bike Emily, my camera has been my most important companion in all those months on the road. This journey has taught me to settle into a much slower, gentler pace than what we are used to in our everyday routines. If I wanted to capture a particular scene with my camera, I took my time, sometimes hours, until I felt that I had finally managed to get the essence of this particular moment, this particular atmosphere.
Now, I am very excited to announce that a little selection of my best photographs from the saddle went into print as postcards! Five photos is not enough to do justice to the wonderful landscapes and great people of Asia and the Middle East. Still, I hope they’ll bring the same joy to you as they did to me when I first laid my eyes on these extraordinary places.
Rakaposhi glacier (7,788m / 25,551ft) in the Karakorum (Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan)
The moment the sun rises over the glacier of Rakaposhi, we forget everything else. The long hike on the day before, getting up to the base camp of the imposing mountain of Rakaposhi. The cold night in the tent, trying to find sleep at high altitude. The hour we had spent freezing outdoors at 5am, waiting for the sun to rise over the glacier. All that is forgotten in the golden rays of the sun, warming our faces and hearts. Five friends, who had met on the road and bonded instantly. And a moment that none of us will ever forget.
The fabled Pamir Highway shortly before Karakol Lake (Tajikistan)
My first day in Tajikistan – and what a landscape to greet me with! Descending from my second pass of the day, I should hurry up to find a spot to camp, it is getting late after all. But I cannot take my eyes off the stark beauty of the mountains, the eternal street ahead of me, the clouds racing past, the sun bathing everything in gold. Even though I know that it will be freezing cold in an hour, I simply cannot stop. I cycle on and on and on, gorging on beauty, on quietness, on feeling one with the nature around me. Life can only be lived from moment to moment and this moment simply lasts forever.
The fairytale skyline of the necropolis of Koshkar Ata (Mangistau, Kazakhstan)
The desert reaches as far as you can see, flat golden stretches of barren land. And then, at the far horizon, a fairytale skyline rises from the shallow surroundings. The first thought is that of a Fata Morgana, so improbable seems the mere idea of domes in the desert. And yet. Yet, as you get closer, you realize it is a city in itself. Not a city of the living, but a city of memories, of those who are remembered, of those whose love and dreams still hang in the air just like an afterthought.
The world is your campground (Arkhangai province, Mongolia)
That unbelievable sense of freedom, when you roam the wilderness and set up camp wherever you like. Nothing quite compares to this feeling, this way of living. Every movement is routine, every movement is meditation. Why would you hurry while setting up camp? At least not in the golden summer sun in Mongolia. I take my time and enjoy that absolutely no thoughts are required, everything just flows. And then, at some point, my camp is ready, my diary is waiting, my heavy boots come off my feet and a herd of goats stops for a visit. Oh glorious life on the road!
Kunzum La pass (4,590m / 15,060ft) in the Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh, India)
The many switchbacks that lead up to Kunzum La pass, the innumerable, awful switchbacks! And yet, despite the altitude and despite the slow process, I am propelled by the thought of reaching the famous Spiti valley on the other side of the pass. Spiti, with its glorious colors and delightful rock formations. The anticipation is rising… and yet another switchback. By the time I reach the pass, it is getting late already and the wind is chilling me to the bone. But I am captivated by the sheer amount of prayer flags that cheerfully greet me in the icy wind. The colors of Spiti, I love them already.