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Spring 2015 

In this issue:

  • A note from James
  • 2015 with Untamed Borders
  • Work for Untamed Borders

A note from James Willcox, Founder

“I just wondered about your Mogadishu trips, are all the people who go on them a bit odd?” - Untamed Borders guest.
When we started offering trips to Mogadishu even some of our long standing friends and supporters raised eyebrows. “Is there really anything to see and do there?” was a typical question, thinking perhaps that any trip to a city that has only recently acquired a functioning government after more than twenty years of conflict is simply a descent into voyeuristic misery. 
I even had my doubts, but everyone going seems to have a great time. So much so that we have already run four trips to Mogadishu this year. Photos from those trips can be found here and here.
Last summer I decided it was time for a visit. I personally like to travel at my own pace and find things out for myself, not being able to wander the streets without my security detail did grate. Although the lack of freedom was a bit of a hassle for me I loved every minute. Watching a football match, hanging out at the fish market and seeing the colourful boats come in past the old light house were great. My highlight was simply swimming in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean at Lido beach whilst chatting to a Somali chap who had lived in East London. Check out some photos from my trip.
The most surprising thing for me in Mogadishu was the energy of the place. After decades of destruction and decay the spirit of enterprise is palpable. It is something I have found in many post-conflict regions but it seemed even greater in Somalia. Everybody is an entrepreneur looking for opportunities. 
The speed of recovery has seen Mogadishu make some unusual technology jumps. The mobile phone is the perfect example of this. When I came to pay for anything, a coffee in a hotel cafe or a bag of oranges in the market, I was given a piece of paper with a phone number on it. I would then transfer some of my mobile phone balance to the vendor. With banks not functioning and the largest Somali Shilling note worth 5 cents it is the most convenient way to transfer cash. 
Travel is about opening your eyes and finding something new. In Mogadishu you open your eyes and amongst the ruins and building sites you find the world's first truly cashless economy.


Travel with Untamed Borders in 2015

A full list of our fixed date trips for 2015 can be found on our website. Some highlights are below:
Kabul photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Trek to K2 Base Camp 

This trek to K2 Base Camp and Concordia in Northern Pakistan includes walking the entire length of the 62km Baltoro Glacier leading into the most glaciated high mountain terrain on the planet. Seven of the world's 25 highest peaks rise above you. The trek to Concordia is a once in a lifetime experience and is glacier trekking at it's best. A chance to reach the base camps of three of the world's 8000 metre peaks. Gashumbrum, Broad Peak and the world's second highest peak – K2.
Kabul photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Melons and Grapes – Grand Afghan tour

Each Autumn we run a trip to Afghanistan and we think it is the perfect time to visit. Summer can be blisteringly hot and winter icy cold. Spring has its charms, but for us Autumn is the best, and all because of the fruit. How a land that appears to be made entirely of bare rock can produce melons as large as beach balls and grapes bursting with juice is one of life’s great mysteries. This trip shows the best of Afghanistan with as much fresh fruit thrown in as you can eat.
Wakhan Corridor photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Trek the Wakhan Corridor 

In September 2015 we will be heading to one of the world's most remote corners. A 22-day journey to visit the land of one of the world's last and least visited nomadic cultures: The Kyrgyz of the Afghan Pamir. We begin in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe before travelling along the dramatic Pamir Highway and crossing over into Afghanistan. We then pass through the Wakhan Corridor to the Afghan Pamir. The last section of this journey will be made by foot as we make our way to the summer grazing grounds of Chaqmaqtin. 

Work for Untamed Borders

We are currently looking for a part-time assistant to help manage the business. If you, or someone you know, are flexible, independent and resourceful and looking for an interesting role in an exciting and growing company this could be just the job. If you are passionate about finding your own amazing travel experiences, and will work hard to give others the same kind of buzz you get when you travel then send us an email and we will reply with further information.


The closing date is end of May 2015.
If any of the above trips sound tempting or you'd like to have a chat with one of the Untamed Borders team please get in touch.

Untamed Borders Team

April 2015

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