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Top 10 Worst Things to do Before a Journey

Tahir Shah


  1. Think too much.
  2. Spend too much on needless expensive equipment.
  3. Plan more than two days in advance.
  4. Boast to your friends and family where you’re going.
  5. Pack too much. Two changes of clothes are more than enough.
  6. Ask pseudo friends from work to come with you. Go alone!
  7. Read up on more than the basics about where you’re going.
  8. Doubt that you’ll have anything but an amazing time.
  9. Get anyone to plan your journey for you.
  10. Expect that you’ll make money from the trip.

Top 10 Favourite Travel Moments

Ramon of the Shuar, PeruThis is the first in a series of top ten lists. I hope you enjoy them!

  1. Reaching the top of the live Nyiragongo volcano in Congo.
  2. Crossing No Man’s Land between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  3. Camping on the actual equator in Kenya.
  4. Taking Ayahuasca with the Shuar tribe in the Peruvian Amazon.
  5. Wandering the streets of Fès in the light of a full moon.
  6. Slipping under the locked iron door of a sealed pyramid in Egypt.
  7. Trekking through the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan.
  8. Crossing the Pampas in Argentina by train.
  9. Waking up on a hillside with yaks in Tibet.
  10. Being pulled up the cliff face of Debra Damo in Ethiopia.

Casablanca Blues Book Launch in London

CASABLANCA BLUES by Tahir ShahAre you free on Sunday, 20th October? Join me in central London for the book launch of Casablanca Blues. It’s a small event and tickets are limited. I’ll be presenting my new novel, Casablanca Blues. I’ll also be available for book signing.

I’d love to see you there! The venue has just allowed me to release more tickets, but they are going fast, so do sign up now if you’ll be in London on 20th October.

You can sign up below using the Eventbrite form:


Eye to Eye, not to be confused with EYE SPY

Is this a wild coincidence, or a message to me from the Universe?

(Another Tahir Shah, also obsessed with eyes).


As a side note, the paperback edition of EYE SPY should be out in the next 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, I’ve set up a contest on Goodreads to give away 6 signed advance copies on July 25th. That means that if you win a copy, you’ll have it before the book is available for purchase.

Enter now for a chance to win:


Q&A on storytelling and tradition...and The Tale of the Sands

30maro_slide05You are creating wonderful stories about what our heart is telling us, but today more than ever we fail to reconcile our heart and our mind. Why are they tugging us in different directions? What do you do when your mind shouts louder than your heart?

As you say, I am telling and creating stories, and that’s what’s so central here. Storytelling appeals to the default setting of mankind, the core programming that’s in-built within us. We don’t really know why, but culture is arranged around storytelling – revealing information, ideas, and entertainment through stories. We can’t help but retell experiences in this way because we are programmed to do it. And, bizarrely, most people have forgotten that humanity operates with stories as their language. I sometimes find myself wondering whether other animals, or even insects, do the same and tell stories as a matrix like we do.

At the same time as live to tell stories, we reside in a world that’s so incredibly at odds with the realm our ancestors knew. Yet, in this mad frenetic, frenzied stew of life, it’s the stories and the storytelling that present themselves as a recognizable thread – a kind of communal backbone to humanity. We grasp hold of stories whether they be in the form of a book, a Tweet, a blog entry, a TV commercial selling soap, a movie, or even in the guise of a video game.

You mention your father very often in your works. Would you say that your story is a sequel to his? To what extent are our hearts beating together with those of our ancestors’? Does our storytelling begin where theirs has stopped? Read more

May 30, 2013Posted by Tahir in Books

New Release: Three Essays


I’m very pleased to share with you the release of these three essays. Those who have read Eye Spy will be especially interested in the essay on cannibalism. They are all currently available online as individual purchases, and the three essay bundle will be available very soon.

The Legacy of Arab Science 

The Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth 

Cannibalism: It’s Just Meat 


Q&A on Writing and Travel

TS101. The explorations and adventures in most of your work are set in exotic places that are shrouded in mystery and rich in history and tradition, and it seems as though you have traveled just about everywhere. Do you happen to have any connection with a small and relatively mainstream place like Belgium?

When I was a child, I was sent to stay with friends at Ypres. I was eleven years old, and I remember the visit vividly. Of course I have returned to Belgium time and again since then, but it was that winter journey that is so burned in my memory. My sisters and I were taken to the Great War cemeteries there. I can see the headstones now – all lined up perfectly, glinting white in the flat winter sun. I remember reading the names and ages of those men. They were so young – their lives having hardly begun. A day doesn’t go by on which I don’t think of them. And it is for them that I remind my children daily: Carpe diem! Seize the day!

2. I recently heard you tell a student group that they could and should be explorers. As far as I know, there are no significant mysteries here in Belgium, though there is a great deal of history. What sorts of explorations do you think have yet to be pursued here? What do you think is the best way for parents to make explorers of their children?

Read more

May 28, 2013Posted by Tahir in Events

Join Me for My Second AMA on reddit

Hi Reddit -- TAHIR SHAHI’ll be holding another AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit on Friday, June 21st. To participate, just head to the IAmA subreddit on June 21st and look for my post. I will also share the direct link on that day.

Please note that in order to ask me questions, you’ll need to sign up for a reddit account. Many people did this last year when I did my AMA. It only takes a minute.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I’ve received many questions about Eye Spy, my bizarre new novel. So if you’ve been wondering what inspired me to write this book, join me at this AMA and ask away.

I’d appreciate it if you could please help me spread the word on this. Thank you! I look forward to seeing you on reddit.

May 24, 2013Posted by Tahir in Books

Last Chance on Scorpion Soup

Scorpion_Soup-01If you haven’t yet purchased your copy of the limited edition Scorpion Soup hardcover, now is the time to do so. I have uploaded it to Amazon, and the price will increase as of June 8th. This is your last chance to get it at its reduced price directly from my website.

I think I mentioned to you before the hardcover was released that I wanted to make it available to my readers at a discounted price before uploading it to Amazon. It’s been out for a few months now, and it’s time to shift the sales to Amazon.

Get your copy now.

Scorpion Soup is also available as an ebook:

También está disponible en español: Sopa de escorpión

May 22, 2013Posted by Tahir in Events

Join Me For a Goodreads Q&A

goodreads-logoI’ll be holding another Q&A on Goodreads on Wednesday, June 5th of this year. To participate, join the group. You can begin posting questions at any time, and I’ll answer them on June 5th.

Feel free to ask me any questions about my books, my writing process, my travels, or my move to self publishing. Or, of course, about Dar Khalifa!

I’ve received numerous questions about Eye Spy, my bizarre new novel. So if you’ve been wondering what inspired me to write this book, join me at the Q&A.

I’d appreciate it if you could please help me spread the word on this. Thank you! I look forward to seeing you on Goodreads.