When traveling to a new place it can sometimes be overwhelming on where to start your research.
As always the first place I start is with the people that surround me and usually within 6 degrees of separation there is something that floats to the surface. When speaking with my running buddy Paul Scraton about my project he mentioned a gentleman that he had some contact with that had written a book about Belarus. He contacted Nigel Roberts and asked if it was OK if I contacted him concerning my trip to Belarus. Luckily he said yes, and I sent him an email with the link to an article that had been published and my intentions on running in Belarus. He wrote back with enthusiasm gave me some tips and pointed me in the right direction.
My mother has surprised me and has decided to meet me in Belarus, and while she was researching which reference material to use she stumbled upon a guide book. As we were having a video chat she showed me of course the book that Nigel has written. As I meet more people, most virtually at the moment, I realize that these 6 degrees are actually much smaller. The people I interact with online usually all know other people that I have had contact with.
It’s been a long time since I have done a longer trip. This one of all trips holds a high importance because it is where one side of my family started. Not so often anymore does anyone use books as a travel resource. We have condensed our guides into our pocket computers which are much faster, have infinite amount of information and is up to date.
But there is just something about buying a book, being able to flip through the pages, look at the maps and read through human based research. I always liked following the tips of a good guide book. I made it point to try to always visit the highlights and eat at the recommend restaurants. Most of the fun was not in actually seeing something specific or eating amazing meal, it was all about trying to find the spot and if it was still like the author had described.
My point is that when you want to take a step into the unknown, make your intentions known you will slowly realize that the information, resources, and willingness of people and the universe to cooperate is vast.
Headed to Belarus? Need a guide book? Head over to your local book dealer and support them by buying NIgel’s book. Otherwise you know where you can go.
A big thank you to NIgel as being one of my first contacts giving me a sneak peak into the mystical world of Belarus.
If you would like to learn more about Nigel find him on his social media platforms.