Each Friday, On The New Silk Road will feature an open Q&A session with a wide range of Silk Road travelers, researchers, and the people working on the ground making it happen. This gives you an opportunity to get information direct from the source and talk with the people who are out there on the Silk Road. Ask questions, get advice, share what you know.
Around once a month, I will man the lines and be available for questions on all things related to the Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, Eurasia, etc. As this is our first Q&A, I figured I would go first. So let’s have at it:
I started traveling the world in 1999, and found myself on the Silk Road for the first time in the spring of 2015. My first book, Ghost Cities of China, was just published and On The New Silk Road was meant to be the sequel. My original intention was to travel up and down the routes of China’s Belt and Road for a year, write a book, and get on to something else. Things didn’t quite work out that way, as I found the story was much bigger that I previously imagined and, personally speaking, the experiences that I was having were exactly what I was looking for as a traveler. I got hooked.
So feel free to ask me anything about traveling, the New Silk Road, journalism … below.
Some starter questions:
Why did you start this newsletter? You already have an excellent platform on Forbes, why is this needed?
What regions of the Silk Road do you feel are the most promising right now?
Where along the Silk Road do you recommend someone to travel?
What is going to be the state of the Silk Road after the coronavirus pandemic?
How does someone get started doing on the ground research on the Silk Road?
Or ask anything else. The comments are open below!
Is good idea here but need moderation and throw off the idiot trolls trying ruin everything and make sensible opinion leave away from here. Is very annoying. Please do somethings. I want learn not read trolls.
Hi Wade, do you mind if I contribute with some answers to some of the business questions? - Chris
Not so much a question, but part of my motivation is that I've made 20%+ on investments in my worst years, 67% in my best. Forbes is an excellent resource. But far more valuable in my investment strategies has been studying the climate of the world through objective researchers such as yourself. 2020 won't be my best year investing (as I didn't buy stock in toilet paper manufacturers), but I dumped all energy investments before they tanked. I'm vested heavily now in technology, with China-based companies leaving me guessing.
I have three questions:
1) What is currently transported on the Silk Road, in addition to people? I suppose this question really predates (and includes) the current situation. If too broad a question, maybe I should ask what is predominantly transported along the route before and during this time? Please keep in mind I'm still new to the subject.
2) Given COVID 19 has taken center stage (even in Russia, where friends on the ground tell me the real story), are you still travelling or are you taking a short break to see how things go? (Why do I expect your answer is effectively, full speed ahead?)
3) Lastly, given the historic Silk Road and the maps that show it moving like a meandering stream, do you see any part of the current route as especially vulnerable to "pirates" and such? I've read a bit on early American history, and there was definitely a shift over time in the tragic slave, sugar, and rum trade through what seemed mostly centered through Charleston, South Carolina (1700's, long after the Silk Road became infamous). "Pirates" (i.e. thieves) seem to always disrupt economic trade.
Thank you for the insights on referring to yourself as an author rather than a journalist. Sebastian's question is a good one. I totally agree, you are an author. The negative connotation on the term "journalists" has been unfortunate and (fortunately) doesn't seem to fit you at all.
Kazakhstan sent a note of protest to China. Sorry for the link on Russian: https://tengrinews.kz/news/kazahstan-napravil-notu-protesta-kitayu-398653/ What do you think about this?
On the CPEC part of BRI in Pakistan.
Do you think given the current state of economy of Pakistan, and the tightening of screws by IMF as to where Pakistan spends its monies, the projects under CPEC will fructify in the near future?
Also, Pakistan's government and its military have forced a silence in the country on the detention of Uighurs in Xinijiang. But isn't it a matter of time before hyper Islamized people in Pakistan take to the streets against China? Wonder how the hyper-sensitive China may react then.
Good day, Wade! I live in Russia and the new silk road is as far away for me as Japan. However, Japan is the only country to which I have an interest, and as far as I know, one of the routs of the New Silk Road begins in Japan. Am I right? If so, what will be the role of Japan in this?
Who took that picture
What is some advice to new travelers that plan of traveling through Silk Road, China, and other Asian countries?
If the BRI and its efforts are flawing, which player's project could overtake its role?
How do you manage to travel through all the authoritarian systems along the Silk Road as a journalist trying to investigate not only the "easy" pleasing questions but the ones which put the very „New Silk Road“ paths of those regimes into question?
What's going to be the impact of the China origin of the Corona virus on the BRI? Will we see a push back from any country? Will they begin to see the danger in being vassal states to China?