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The way East (Caucasus/Central-Asia/Mongolia on a motorcycle)
Old 03-22-2019   #1
tsiklonaut
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The way East (Caucasus/Central-Asia/Mongolia on a motorcycle)

On one cold dark winter day we were drinking that lovely green tea with my wife and looking at the map we have pinned on our kitchen wall it srike to us that there's a huge empty spot unfilled.


Wife's just got a motorcycle licence and some cold-climate offroad schooling from our Iceland trip I thought it's the right time to take a challenge for both of us.


Negotiations with our workplaces turned out to be simple for both of us working in different places but with the same message: "give us 4 months of vacation or fire us, your choice". They chose the first option for both of us so we happily left to chase our wild dreams we had set in motion on that dark cold winter night in our home of Estonia.


The motorcycle travel map we've done so far looks like this:






It had taken over 3 years straight travelling to do most of it, but there was still a large gap and the part missing is marked with red route we were about to do.


I had my trusty Pentax 67 that has done everything you see on that map - it's now having over 250 000 kilometers of motorcycling vibrations, bumps and bruises - from hot desert sand to high altitude snow smoothing it's already worn out surface, but the camera still going on and for me the alltime favourite and the most trustworthy camera ever made. I also took new-to-me Pentax 67ii for slide films (mostly for it's very nicely working matrix TTL meter the older 67 lacks), Fuji GA645i rangefinder and a Soviet Horizon 202 swivelling lens panoramic camera.



I took around 60 rolls of film with me (some addidional 35mm rolls are missing from the pic)

So a decent amount of self-developing-scanning-editing and posting as time provides to come...
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Old 03-22-2019   #2
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As a fellow motorcyclist I am very envious of your endeavor and I can't wait to see the results of your travels. I enjoy your photography very much.
Well done!
Giorgio
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Old 03-22-2019   #3
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This post is already inspiring on it's own, looking forward to seeing the photographs!
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Old 03-22-2019   #4
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With our iron horses loaded we set off to discover the less known parts of Latvia - the fortress of Daugavpils. A big complex of heavy buildings built by Alexander I
for an imminent Napoleon invasion. We arrived there in a rainy miserable weather condition thus the place left an eerie impression on us.








Many parts are abandoned, but some life is starting to come back into it in recent years. Daugavpils has a Russian ethnic majority as a city in Latvia,
hence naturally harder to get things right with a bit of historic distrust from the rest of the Latvian majority of the country.
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Old 03-22-2019   #5
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I’m extremely envious of your travels.

My wife and I love travel and we each did a fair amount of traveling for work when we were younger but we now find ourselves in jobs where taking more than a couple weeks of vacation at a time is very difficult.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your images!
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Old 03-22-2019   #6
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A wild camp in Belarus forest - there's surprisingly lot of forest in some parts of Belarus and incidentally we Estonians simply love the forest.
We don't like the cities, we love the smell of pine, moss and mushroom. We really felt like home.









Belarus - like the bigger brother Russia they're really into military and triumph. World War II is an ongoing theme still today, gathering popularity from political polls
down to the simple street life.
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Old 03-22-2019   #7
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This should be an awesome trip. Enjoy it.
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Old 03-22-2019   #8
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Great. Can hardly wait for the pictures as they are developed, dried, and scanned.

Next challenge: retrace the circuit of Gleb Travin. Bicycle, 1928-1931.

http://englishrussia.com/2009/12/17/...eat-bicyclist/
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Old 03-22-2019   #9
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"Everything for the (war) front line!" Soviet mosaic art on the street of Minsk, the capital of Belarus.










A Cold War era space-age Soviet art in Minsk metro.
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Old 03-22-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peppard View Post
As a fellow motorcyclist I am very envious of your endeavor and I can't wait to see the results of your travels. I enjoy your photography very much.
I know what you feel Giorgio. I've worked too many years in a row so it had to happen in my case since I was getting sick from office work. I was fortunate to get my way out just for a short time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
This post is already inspiring on it's own, looking forward to seeing the photographs!
Many thanks! Will post some more.


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Originally Posted by Pentode View Post
I’m extremely envious of your travels.

My wife and I love travel and we each did a fair amount of traveling for work when we were younger but we now find ourselves in jobs where taking more than a couple weeks of vacation at a time is very difficult.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your images!
You're pretty much in a situation I've been some time now, 9-to-5 work and no play. We also get just some weeks of vacation most of the time.

To get lots of time for the first long travel we sold off everything, now as we're older (and not wiser) we keep our home and travel a few weeks time like most people. Just occasionally we take off more time (a month or more) if the employer allows.

Never know what the future brings but keeping it positive!


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This should be an awesome trip. Enjoy it.
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Great. Can hardly wait for the pictures as they are developed, dried, and scanned.

Next challenge: retrace the circuit of Gleb Travin. Bicycle, 1928-1931.

http://englishrussia.com/2009/12/17/...eat-bicyclist/
He's very famous among ex-Soviet people, not much known outside. He did a very hardcore expedition. I do have a soft spot for bicycles as well, but I wouldn't dare to drag it over the swamp in the Siberian Tundra, I'd rather just walk
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Old 03-22-2019   #11
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Minsk briges look nicer and more arty from below.








In Brest there's a massive communist memorial known as The Fortress. You'll find countless tons of concrete there... It's just massive in person and
it took lots of manwork build this place.
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Old 03-22-2019   #12
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St Nicholas carrison church









"Courage" monument. Picture doesn't do justice how large it is (54 meters wide and 30 meters high), over 4000 tons of concrete was needed just to cast it.
In front of it there's an eternal flame.








The 100-meter high Bayonet obelisk.
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Old 03-22-2019   #13
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That is really cool tsiklonaut. Love your images, the black & white is beautiful.

Have done the motorcycle travel here in the States, but not internationally. Glad to hear the vibrations haven't destroyed your camera. An acquaintance turned a Hasselblad into a bag of parts on one of our cross country rides.

Can't wait to see more of your images.

Best,
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Old 03-22-2019   #14
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This must be on National Geographic!
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Old 03-22-2019   #15
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I love seeing the world through your photography Margus. I would love to be able to visit some of these places.
The fact that you are motorcycle touring with not one, but two Pentax 67 bodies, plus lenses, film, and other cameras, makes your impressive work even more impressive!
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Old 03-22-2019   #16
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Margus, thanks for doing this thread. I love your epic trips and have missed your posts the past couple of years.
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Old 03-22-2019   #17
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Looking forward to seeing more photos from this trip!

I picked up the book you published a few years ago, and your 67 travel/landscape work is exceptional
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Old 03-22-2019   #18
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Nice to see you back on this forum and best of luck on your travels.
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Old 03-22-2019   #19
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Oh this is going to be epic. Awaiting each image and story with much anticipation!
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Old 03-23-2019   #20
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Mir complex in Belarus. Used to be so many things, from plain village fort to luxury castle to WWII German occupation ghetto for Jews.
Now an UNESCO site.









Mir.








A Path into Oblivion. Ruins of Ruzhany Palace, a 16-19th century building.
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Old 03-23-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
This must be on National Geographic!
I have no affiliation with that organisation. I organize everything on my own DIY-style to the last detail and let alone I have near non-existant budget but also poor mans equpment originating from the 80s compared to those latest-and-the-greatest big-buck high-end guys working there.


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Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
That is really cool tsiklonaut. Love your images, the black & white is beautiful.

Have done the motorcycle travel here in the States, but not internationally. Glad to hear the vibrations haven't destroyed your camera. An acquaintance turned a Hasselblad into a bag of parts on one of our cross country rides.

Can't wait to see more of your images.
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I love seeing the world through your photography Margus. I would love to be able to visit some of these places.
The fact that you are motorcycle touring with not one, but two Pentax 67 bodies, plus lenses, film, and other cameras, makes your impressive work even more impressive!
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Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
Margus, thanks for doing this thread. I love your epic trips and have missed your posts the past couple of years.
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Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
Looking forward to seeing more photos from this trip!

I picked up the book you published a few years ago, and your 67 travel/landscape work is exceptional
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Nice to see you back on this forum and best of luck on your travels.
A massive bow down from me, thank you guys!

Will definitely post some!
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Old 03-23-2019   #22
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A little known country Moldova greeted us with a very funky road signs. A bit of throwback into a working-class soviet era (infrared film image) I remember from my childhood.








Shrine. They have their own interpretation of the orthodox cross on the tops of Moldovan religious buildings.
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Old 03-23-2019   #23
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Church in Orheiul Vechi.









Moldovan river-scraped Orheiul Vechi landscape in infrared. For many orthodox believers those are very sacred grounds.
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Old 03-23-2019   #24
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oh my, already early on some truly amazing and memorable photos! Your bike trips are mind blowing, more so your camera and film choices. Looking very much forward following this thread, thank you and safe journey!
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Old 03-23-2019   #25
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Thank you for sharing these wonderful images! I will be following this thread closely.

Today I ordered your "From Estonia with Love" photo book. I am looking forward to enjoying your images in print.
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Old 03-23-2019   #26
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tsiklonaut--great! Good for you and your wife! Such an adventure..and your photos are excellent.
What model motorcycles are those? Must be pretty rugged to go that sort of distance.
Thanks!
Paul
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Old 03-23-2019   #27
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Quote:
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Today I ordered your "From Estonia with Love" photo book. I am looking forward to enjoying your images in print.
It's a great book
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Old 03-23-2019   #28
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I can't wait to see your updates everyday. I envy your trips. Please continue to surprise us.
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Old 03-23-2019   #29
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What model motorcycles are those? Must be pretty rugged to go that sort of distance.l
BMW R1100GS: https://advrider.com/f/threads/from-...#post-10237932

Cheers!

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Old 03-23-2019   #30
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This is also in Brest, not far from the monumental sculpture in tsiklonauts great pictures above.

Leica M3, Elmar-M 50mm f/2.8, Tmax400, printed on Adox MCC 110.

Erik.

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Old 03-23-2019   #31
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Quote:
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I can't wait to see your updates everyday. I envy your trips. Please continue to surprise us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuuan View Post
oh my, already early on some truly amazing and memorable photos! Your bike trips are mind blowing, more so your camera and film choices. Looking very much forward following this thread, thank you and safe journey!
Cheers guys!

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Originally Posted by bjolester View Post
Thank you for sharing these wonderful images! I will be following this thread closely.

Today I ordered your "From Estonia with Love" photo book. I am looking forward to enjoying your images in print.
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Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
It's a great book
Big thank you guys!!! So glad you like the book "From Estonia With Love"!

The book is basically a coffee-table photobook with a great travel narrative added to photos. We went to great lentghts to combine a text book with a photobook, I still can't believe we actually made it work the two together so well after so many trial-and-error work. It's a digital & film photos combined from the Round-the-World expedition stories.

I dream of doing an all-film expedition travel photobook someday with my recent film work, but it looks to me there's very little marked demand for it except for few fanatics. Oh well, time will hopefully tell...



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tsiklonaut--great! Good for you and your wife! Such an adventure..and your photos are excellent.
What model motorcycles are those? Must be pretty rugged to go that sort of distance.
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As as Abazz said, I ride an old 1998 BMW R1100GS "Gessu" - now over 21 years old iron that looks like crap with 300 000 on odometer it's market value is probably worth less than my Pentax 67 camera but it's priceless for me having been around 90 countries with it on all 6 continents. Despite it's bad looks it works like a swiss watch since I learned to know everythig about this bike.

My wife rides a Suzuki DRZ 400 S "Tirts" from 2007, it recently had an engine overhaul at 80 000 mark (in comparison my BMW still has an original engine at 310 000 at odo with compression as on a new bike). But it's a great nimble offroad bike for a beginner.

Any bike (or vehicle) is capable going to unbelievable distance if there's a right skilled (mindful) person on it.


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This is also in Brest, not far from the monumental sculpture in tsiklonauts great pictures above.

Leica M3, Elmar-M 50mm f/2, Tmax400, printed on Adox MCC 110.
Simply beautiful print from Brest, Erik!
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Old 03-23-2019   #32
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Old Orhei.








Ancient cross in Moldova.
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Old 03-24-2019   #33
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Out to Lunch, on Flickr. An Orthodox monk living in the cave monastery in Orhei Vechi, Moldova. May 2010. Epson R-D1 -
CV Nokton 1.1/50.
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Old 03-24-2019   #34
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Greetings from Estonia!
I enjoy your works.

60 rolls for around the world or the Asian part you're about to do?
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Old 03-24-2019   #35
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Quote:
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Out to Lunch, on Flickr. An Orthodox monk living in the cave monastery in Orhei Vechi, Moldova. May 2010. Epson R-D1 -
CV Nokton 1.1/50.
Very nice portrait with a very cool camera & lens!

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Greetings from Estonia!
I enjoy your works.

60 rolls for around the world or the Asian part you're about to do?
Tänan!

If you read carefully, RTW expedition is already done (I used more than 300 rolls I roughly guess), this batch is for the completion-of-the-map route to east marked on the map above (aside the previously done route that covers most of the World). There's a published (photo-travel-)book "From Estonia With Love" about the main part of the expedition as mentioned in this thread post.

Cheers
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Old 03-24-2019   #36
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Father with his Moldovan church in background. Turned out he had served in my tiny country of Estonia during the Soviet occupation years,
when any religion was an underground movement since any religion was banned.







Moldovan capital Chisinau is rather a pleasant place.
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Old 03-24-2019   #37
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Hotel Cosmos. What was called a "futurism" in the past is now called a "retro".








Lots of Soviet era futurism is Moldovan capital.
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Old 03-25-2019   #38
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Quote:
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Tänan!

If you read carefully, RTW expedition is already done (I used more than 300 rolls I roughly guess), this batch is for the completion-of-the-map route to east marked on the map above (aside the previously done route that covers most of the World). There's a published (photo-travel-)book "From Estonia With Love" about the main part of the expedition as mentioned in this thread post.

Cheers
Sorry for the confusion. I understood that you've completed the main expedition. It remained vague though, if you've already completed the Eastern part, since you talked in the past tense about things to come. So I presumed you hadn't completed the Asian part yet. Sadly I haven't seen that book on the shelves around the country, albeit rather kitsch local photo books get promoted a lot.
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Old 03-25-2019   #39
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What most of the world doesn't know about Moldova is what happens beneath the ground. They have the biggest & longest wine cellars in the World. Period.









12-14C all year round make it an ideal place to let the wine lager. Here's the Cricova wine cellars.









Designed to drive around with a truck to manage the barrels. Cricova cellar.









However in Milestii Mici there's a more robust cellar, but they hold the Guiness World Record of 200 kilometers (or 120 miles) of wine cellars! It's vast.









It goes like a labyrinth and you easily get lost, thankfully there's always wine available to acompany you!









The bottle storage spaces are called "casas", many of them privately reserved. I saw one reserved for Angela Merkel (chancellor of Germany),
Ilham Aliyev (president of Azerbaijan) among many others, lots of famous names get their wine from Milestii Mici.









A 200 kilometers of cellar fits a staggering amounts of wine indeed. Designed to be drived around with a truck, it's the only way to manage such a vast wine cellar.
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Old 03-25-2019   #40
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Quote:
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Sorry for the confusion. I understood that you've completed the main expedition. It remained vague though, if you've already completed the Eastern part, since you talked in the past tense about things to come. So I presumed you hadn't completed the Asian part yet. Sadly I haven't seen that book on the shelves around the country, albeit rather kitsch local photo books get promoted a lot.
Both accounts are true in a sense, I've completed both RTW and East circle, but the latter I haven't really "published" publically in terms of film material I took (hence the past tense for both).

Actually it's not strictly photo book since it covers expedition documentary and took us around 4 years to make it (3 years of expedition-style travelling to get there so around 7 years actually together). But I guess the hard work paid off - we had the Estonian version of the book published before English and it won the the best book of the year in it's category by a large marin to our surprise (despite there's unbelievably many travel books published every year) so thanks to this "self promotion" via news and top prize it it is nearly sold out by now. The English one is a fresher one and should be available.
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