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Crossing the Chinese/Mongolian Border by Land

What a fascinating trip. I just did this route -

Beijing -> Erlianhaote -> Zamyn Uud -> Ulan Bator

Why do I choose such circuitous, crazy routes? Well, lots of reasons.

I want to understand as much as I can about the world, and taking out of the way routes - especially through important border towns - teaches a lot.

Often, you can manage a route like this in a way that's much less expensive than direct flights. Yes, time is money, but money is also money.

I've been struggling with a disability...

On Alan's Journey

[I wrote this post on Google+ on Xmas Eve last year, and I decided to put it here as well.]

I've been struggling with a disability since 1993, almost 20 years now. The disability is invisible to those who don't know me.

I've had a herniated / collapsed disc in my lower back which bulges out against the sciatic nerve. When I'm walking, the pressure of gravity on the spine causes the disc to bulge out even further, causing pain in the lower back.

The longer I walk, the worse it gets. If I'm walking for more than 5 minutes, my legs go numb. As soon as I sit down or even rest and put my weight on something, it eases the pain and I get feeling coming back into my legs. Only for the numbness to return again when I continue walking.

It's something I've been able to cope with and manage. I get regular chiropractor sessions to put my skeletal structure back into place (the spinal weakness causes my muscles to compensate, which seems to pull my skeletal structure out of alignment on an ongoing basis). I also get regular massages, although I haven't done for a few months because my girlfriend does a lot of that these days, and gets my body feeling all relaxed. (From massage! Get your mind out of the gutter...)

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