Desolation Travel is a project started by a group of people who, in one way or another, were once affiliated with The London School in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. We welcome guest authors, so if you're interested in contributing to Desolation Travel, please contact Our core group of authors and photographers is as follows:

Jane grew up in the rural American South, an area of the world which she generally despises. She studied Russian at the University of the South, and fell in love with the former Soviet Union during her first trip to Russia in 1999. Since then, she has lived in Russia, South Korea, and Kyrgyzstan, and her photographs from these locations - and others - can be seen at She also runs Desolation Florida.

Derek grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. For some unknown reason he ended up studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan while attending Arizona State University. He has been living the desolation life ever since in China and Ukraine. He's most interested in the periphery of collapsed empires and hopes to eventually return to the US to get a master's degree in the topic. 

Being sent away to boarding school as a child was great preperation for the sometimes awful food and occasional authoritarian brutality encountered whilst traveling in the FSU. My fascination with all things Soviet began with a teenage infatuation with the Soviet gymnast Svetlana Boginskaya but it was whilst taking part in a Moscow homestay in 1993 that my infatuation turned  towards the place itself. Since then I have been fortunate enough to have spent extended periods in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan wrestling with the complexities of the Russian case-system and exploring places that few have any desire to see.
Nicola's originally from a small town in the hills of Northern England, where desolation travel was a constant companion, from decrepit former mining towns to childhood holidays in still-communist parts of Europe. Running away from the idea of a 'normal' life (marriage, children and a job in the local pharmaceutical factory), she set off with a backpack across Europe and the Middle East, then studied anthropology and philosophy in Glasgow, Scotland, before ending up teaching English in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Currently, she works for a small international charity in West Africa, working on promoting equal rights in obscure corners of the globe.

Having been on the road for the majority of his adult life, it can be tough for Joe to say where he's from. Luckily his Canadian passport serves as a constant reminder. While the list of countries Joe has called home over the years would be too numerous to account here, there seems to be one consistent trend. It is a gradual degeneration into progressively desolate choices of places to live. Joe has recently lived in Yemen, Venezuela, and Qatar, and just moved to India, although who knows where this inclination will take him in the future. You can follow his travels on

Ben S. grew up in the leafy green wasteland of West London's commuter belt, and was glad to escape to the desolate post-industrial North of England to study languages. Bored with post-graduation unemployment, he decided on a whim to go and teach in Kyrgyzstan before returning to a life of corporate servitude in the leafy green wasteland of North London's commuter belt. Subsequent (brief) escapades have included testing an experimental vaccine in exchange for a free trip to Guatemala and a post-coup foray around Madagascar in search of rare lemurs, and a recent trip through Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda. Only ingrained suburban middle-class concepts of 'responsibility' and a morbid fear of squat toilets keeps him from giving work the finger and setting off on the road for good.