Lost Backpacker

Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

“Do you speak English?” a confused backpacker approached me with. I could tell he was backpacking with his big pack on his back and daypack strapped over his chest. (I believe I used to call this a “two-sided camel” on my old blog, before it got reincarnated as a social media feed on Instagram and Facebook.)

“Yeah,” I answered. I saw that he was some sort of Asian, and — I’m guilty of it too — assumed he was Japanese. Turned out he was Malaysian, the ethnicity I’ve been getting mistaken for in Uzbekistan after Japanese.


Tom from southern Malaysia was totally lost, having just arrived in Samarkand via shared taxi from Tashkent. How he got dropped off way out where the Ulagbek Observatory is I don’t know. He was off the guidebook map and would have gone in the wrong direction without me.

“Follow me, I’m going that way anyway,” I told him, seeing that his hostel was right near the Registan.

We walked passed the lawns of a park near Afrosiyob and the caravan statue. Then it was an awkward long stretch of road between where we met to the hub of historic buildings, and I wondered if he trusted that I was leading him the right way. I figured I would help him; I’ve been in his shoes so many times, sometimes you have to give back — you know, Traveler Code. I gave him the lay of the land — the monuments, the supermarket, etc — which was funny because I’d only been there a day. I led him to his hostel, and he sighed a relief.

“Thank you,” he said with his Malaysian smile.

I never saw him again, but if I did, I’d know not to assume Japanese.


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Next entry: My Big Fat Uzbek Wedding

Previous entry: Renaissance Man

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This dispatch is one of over 70 travel dispatches from the trip grouped and titled, "The Global Trip: 'Stan By Me." It's an archived compilation of Instagram and Facebook posts which chronicled a trip through three countries in Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Next entry:
My Big Fat Uzbek Wedding

Previous entry:
Renaissance Man


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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