Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Spiritual Death on the Hardest Road; Not Every Journey Is a Pleasant Experience, as One Traveller Discovered

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Spiritual Death on the Hardest Road; Not Every Journey Is a Pleasant Experience, as One Traveller Discovered

Article excerpt

Byline: Cale Lawlor

FOR all travel's benefits, everyone will admit that it is not without its difficulties. While some of these are manageable, an arduous journey between point A and point B is high on the list of things that can really sap your life force. While they make for good stories, eventually, the struggle can sometimes be so overwhelming that you feel a spiritual death just having to partake in the events. The following is the first of three times when I have felt a spiritual death while living the travel dream.

Dunhuang to Kashgar, China

Everything about travel in China is difficult. The crowds, the chaos, the bags of food, the pollution. China has the perfect storm of ingredients for a difficult trip.

In an effort to save time, and maybe under the influence of gastroenteritis, we had self-arranged a multi-day effort to make a significant distance across the Chinese landmass. Starting off early, before light, we forced ourselves out of our terrible accommodation and on to the street, where we got a taxi to the station.

The first ride was quite painless - through the Taklamakhan Desert from Dunhuang to Jiyuguan. A potential vulnerability in the trip was the change in Jiyuguan, where we had to make it across town to Jiyuguan South station. Luckily we were armed with a note written by some Chinese friends we met on the road stating where we needed to go and how much we would pay. Seamless. We made it with plenty of time, even for coffee.

The next trip on the new high speed train took us from Jiyuguan to Urumqi South station. We had 40 minutes to change platforms and get on the next train at about 9pm. Easy, right? Wrong. The train pulled in on time, and as we left it, we realised it wasn't as easy as changing platforms, we had to leave the station and re-enter.

We saw thousands of people trying to enter the station. …

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