Mirrors of the Unseen – Jason Elliot

Brilliant book about people and places Jason Elliot encountered over the course of several visits to/around Iran. Made me all nostalgic, but glad I’d saved something special for the flight out to Beijing and the start of my Central Asia Overland tour.

Read it if you’re considering going to Iran, if you’ve been, or if you’re thinking “Why would I ever want to go there?”.

Amazon.co.uk link: Mirrors of the Unseen – Jason Elliot

An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan – Jason Elliot

As the number 48 bus drew up alongside Tescos on Bishopsgate, Jason Elliot ended his second visit to Afghanistan, weeping by the side of the railway tracks in Pashawar. I’ve raced through this book that tells the tales of his two trips to Afghanistan, separated by 10 years, and many changes both in his life and for the people of the country he comea across as loving so much.

The book describes the adventures and trials of travelling to Afghanistan and around the worn torn country, which comes across as more of a collection of ethnic groupings than a nation. We meet the Afghans and Europeans Jason encounters during his trips, and he makes no bones of the physical and emotional hardship he faces. Throughout the book he shares the things he learns and his impressions of the things he sees. Although a million miles from the time Hazel and I spent in Laos, some of the stories brought a smile of nostalgia – negotiating for transport and cramming 10 people, and their possessions into a space designed for 4.

Having read the book, I am caught between the ever-present desire to visit places and people that put my current London lifestyle into sharp focus, and the knolwedge that now is still not the time for a female westerner to explore Afghanistan. Hopefully one day, that will change.

Buy it: Amazon link