A group of western backpackers standing talking at the Pakistan border post, high in the dry mountains, a few trees and a red vehicle stand near by.
Waiting at the border crossing

I was going through some more slides of my travels last night and this one has stuck with me through the day. Taken in July 1989, I recognized most of the faces, as well as the nationalities of some of those standing there, but could not put names to them. I found myself wondering where they are now? What happened to them after we parted ways on our respective travels?

The photo was taken in Sust, the border post on the Pakistan side of the Karakoram Highway. I had arrived there the day before, too late to clear customs and immigration and catch the bus onto Xinjang Provence in China. The drive up from Sust, which is already 2,800 meters (9,186 feet) above sea level, to the Kunjerab Pass at 4,693 meters (15,397 feet) takes a few hours from my memory, and I think that there was only one bus a day. Once up to the pass there was another hour or so to the Chinese border post, where everyone spent the night before driving onto Kashgar the next day. But I’ll save that story for another post.

So this mixture of backpackers from around the world found themselves in Sust for the night. I think that this photo was taken either while we were waiting for customs and immigration to open - a couple of tables sitting outside, again from my memory - or we had passed through them and we were waiting for the bus.

When I come across images like this with people in, whether people who I’ve interacted with or simply people who have made it into a photo that I took, I wonder what has happened to them in the intervening years? Where did their life take them?

For a few days I traveled with some of those in this group, and then our paths forked as we headed off on our separate ways. I would then travel alone for a short time until after a few days I’d meet up with someone else. I wonder what life brought this group of travelers?