Open Thread: Traveling The Silk Road With Charles Stevens

Picture this: some random university student from the UK decides that for his summer break he’s going to take an expedition along the New Silk Road from London to Yiwu, get Jeep to loan him a truck, acquire funding from some of the top research institutes and consultancy firms in the world, and convince an array of established researchers to share their contacts and help him get him into otherwise restricted areas. He then goes out and does it, traveling across Eurasia, visiting all of the key Belt and Road projects, meeting with many of the big players, and somehow managing to make it back home to London in time for the start of the school year. The story sounds improbable but that’s exactly what our guest for this week’s Silk Road Q&A open thread did.

His name is Charles Stevens. He’s the founder of The New Silk Road Project, the aforementioned Jeep expedition along the Silk Road, and contributor to many geographic and Silk Road related publications — read his article here. Though still young, Charlie has become one of the foremost Silk Road travelers in the world, having also traveled from Beijing to Tehran by bicycle. For more about Charlie and his Silk Road travels, check out this recent interview that I did with him here:

Feel free to ask Charlie any questions that you may have in the comments below.

Some potential questions:

1) What is your advice for people wanting to undertake a similar Silk Road expedition?

2) What were some of the differences in terms of your ability to do research and meet people between traveling by bicycle and by Jeep?

3) How exactly did you put the New Silk Road Project expedition together?

4) What has all of this travel taught you about the Silk Road?

5) Why do you feel that it’s important for people to go out and experience the Silk Road for themselves?

Or ask anything else that you want.

As always, be nice, challenge ideas not people. Fire away.

Thank you.

Walk Slow,

Wade