Turkmenistan

Floris: “Without a doubt the craziest country I've been to so far. For the past 30 years, two presidents (dictators, actually) have added their own personal and creative touch to pretty much everything here. They've come up with the most insane laws (including a ban on gold teeth, opera, car radios, nightlife and make-up for tv presenters) and built the weirdest buildings, cities and monuments, mostly to celebrate the honour and glory of themselves. I'm still a little confused...”

spring/summer ad

Floris: “Here's our spring/summer 2020 campaign ad featuring our brand new "NOPPI" sneaker line. This is the favourite model of all our designers! Totally trendy, with a nice lightweight, yet voluminous sole and an outsole finished with a lot of nubs. If you're a young father watch out for any Duplo blocks on the floor while wearing them. Before you know it, you're half a metre taller...”

The "neutrality monument". 75 metres high, placed in the middle of the capital by the previous 'president' and with a 7 metre high statue of himself on top. The current 'president' has dismantled it and moved it to somewhere way outside the city limits.
The Darvaza "gas crater". A collapsed natural gas source that's been burning for 50 years. It sort of looks like a kind of shopping gallery without any shops but with a lot of fire. I tell our guide: “My friends sometimes call me the 'gas creator'.”
Twenty metres away from where we pitched our tents in the Yangykala Canyon, we took these beautiful pastel pictures in the morning sun.
Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Completely white, totally deserted and very strange.
Sure, I can walk past that rearing Akhal-Teke horse fifteen times. Would you like me to stick my head into a lion's mouth too?
After Costa Rica and Tibet, I once again had the chance to ride a motorcycle for some video footage. The only thing is that I don't know really how to ride a motorcycle, and certainly not on a sandy road and with a broken gearbox. It was a great spectacle...
The lobby of our hotel. During our roadtrips, we engage in some oldschool wild camping. There's no planning involved. We simply park the car and that's it.
During our photo trips, a working day often lasts no longer than 20 minutes. On this day, we only drove through arid plains. Just before sunset though, it suddenly turned really beautiful with cute dromedaries and stuff.
Ashgabat is the world champion of crazy monuments. And they sure have a whole lot of them.
My crew! The guys that join me every six months to travel to the end of the world, come rain or shine.
The standard highlight during our trip: Exploring the local supermarkets and finding the weirdest local snacks. The best snack in Turkmenistan is fluorescent yellow cheese crisps that tasted like Chernobyl.
My hotel room during our road trip. Our tour guide forgot to bring the tents...
Yangykala Canyon, the Grand Canyon, but in pastel shades.
You can put me in front of the greatest wonders of the world, but as soon as a dogs walks by, I forget everything around me. LOOK! A DOG!!
Visiting an Akhal-Teke horse breeder. The horse is the national symbol of Turkmenistan.
Improvising is difficult, especially when you don't know what's going to happen. Still, it's best not to come up with an elaborated schedule or any storyboards. Just go with the flow! Inshallah! Deo volente!
Wild camping in the middle of the Yangykala Canyon feels a little bit like pitching a tent in the British Museum.
Apart from the Yangykala Canyon, there isn't much to see in Turkmenistan when it comes to nature. It's as flat as a pancake, all dry and empty.
We just walked through Nisa, an important city along the Silk Road. It was built 300 years before our time. Go figure... here and there, the plaster’s already peeling off, but other than that it’s a beautiful city!

Video

Floris: “In addition to the pictures, we always shoot a crazy film. I do all the stunts myself! Crossing a hanging bridge in Nepal on horseback, travelling through Tanzania on a truck bed, shooting soup cans in Alaska, posing in front of reindeers in Lapland, walking along the crumbly edge of an active lava lake in Ethiopia or, as for this film, motor biking through a Tibetan monastery – I do it all without breaking a sweat. This guy is the Tom Cruise of the Dutch shoe business!”

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