Ever since the plan started taking shape, people told me to avoid this part of Russia. Most overland travelers go from Georgia to Kazakhstan by ferry through the Caspian sea, specifically to avoid Chechnya and Dagestan. These two Muslim states of Russia have been recommended against by dear Russian friends themselves! However, as far as the walk is concerned, I had no choice. Russia’s strict 30-day visa prevented me from taking any other route. So the choice was made for me by the world, and how grateful am I! Thank you world, just in case you’re reading this!
I am grateful because these regions that hardly ever see a tourist have been more generous to me than any country in my travels. Not only was I fed and cared for, but people also stopped to give me money. Every day. More than you’d think, more than I could even spend!
Not that money is important. Remember kids, it’s not! What’s important is the intention of helping people. And how could such an immeasurable amount of people – police officers, soldiers, supermarket clerks, 9-year old children, gypsies, and poor shepherds – give the little bit that they have to a total stranger they see walking on the road? I’m not sure, but I bet God is involved.