Jason Elliot is a Londoner who fell in love with Afghanistan, in both the good times and the bad.
At the young age of 19 Jason joined the mujaheddin in Afghanistan to fight alongside them. Some 10 years later Jason returned to the war torn land just before the Taliban moved in. He wanted to return and visit all places, friends and people he had met before. What he got instead was a harsh reality check. Dark eyes of no return gazed at him as tales of brother killing brother follows our intrepid explorer in harsh weather across the mountains. UN centers mistake him for a terrorist and bureaucratic types show their true colors in a very explicit way.
I read Jason's book by accident. "An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan". It is by far my favorite inspirational travel book. Not for quick wit, backpackers tales or hostel adventures. But because of it's raw emotion. It is not a light book to undertake. It is a travelogue and history book mixed into one. Written on strong side of English. Unless you are the type to find this region interesting, it can seem a bit heavy going. However, if you are of the true adventurous spirit who understands that with history comes a new revelation in travel, then it's for you.
At meaningful stage in my own journey I wrote in the cover page of my journal this extract from Jason's first book.
"I encouraged him, in the usual way that you wish for others what really you want for yourself, to have complete confidence in himself and never be afraid to be alone, to further his travels and always question the meaning of things."
Jason Elliot An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan
Not every great traveler needs a blog nor website, nor publicity. This is one of them. Jason has taken his travels to Iran with another book " Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran. I have not had the pleasure in reading it yet. If I ever head back to Iran myself, I will order it.