When freelance photographer and Instagrammer Mihai Barbu decided to go on a trip around Europe in 2015, he decided to bring his girlfriend, Oana, and their, then, four-year-old son, Vladimir. It took them four months, but their trek through 41 countries was a success, and they used a 2014 Ural Ranger sidecar, which they named Zair. Then in 2016, they head through Caucasus, Georgia, and Armenia with their trusty sidecar. But in 2017, they decided to go on a 26,000-kilometer trip through 12 countries towards Mongolia, which took four months. Mihai and Oana once again brought their, now, 6-year-old son on the most amazing journey yet.Mihai Barbu and his girlfriend Oana had traveled with their son, Vladimir several in 2015, and in 2016, so this new journey to Mongolia seemed like a no brainer. In fact, Mihai believes that traveling with his son instills a sense of adventure in his child at a young age that’ll make him love the world more.
The locals form a sense of community in order to stay in touch in a place that’s as far and wide as the beautiful stars themselves. Speaking of stars, there’s nothing like looking up the Mongolian sky at night. The lack of city lights and pollution allows travelers a front row seat to the universe.
This rainbow was a perfect arch of colors as Mihai’s Ural Ranger sidecar rode through the seemingly empty road in Kyrgyzstan. How often do you get to see a double rainbow quite as spectacular as that?
Tajikistan is 2,775 kilometers from Mongolia, so it looks like Mihai’s sidecar, Zahir, got a lot of mileage added on this trip. And when you travel for so long, it’s nice to see some friendly smiles greeting you along the way.
Commercial photography is mostly what Mihai does these days, but press photography is his number passion, next to his girlfriend, and their son. But as much as they love to travel, they don’t consider themselves travelers. They just love to explore the world and then go home.
According to Mihai’s Instagram, there was a guy selling pandas. “I’ve seen pandas for sale before, but this?!? We did not interfere. Took the pic and ran away.” These pandas certainly put the conventional garden gnome to shame.
It’s also one of the wildest roads in Central Asia with peaks, but you can cross 3 mountain passes without dipping below 3,800 meters. Apparently, you can defy gravity too as little Vladimir proved in this photo.
Here he is giving his dad Mihai a fearless pose with one foot on his helmet and Zair, their sidecar, next to him. It’s a great photo, and his shirt, “I want to see the world,” really says it all. Fortunately, with parents like Mihai and Oana that dream is totally feasible.
It’s known as one of the oldest bazaars throughout the Middle East and also one of the largest in all of the world. It’s even listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It might explain why Vladimir is absolutely glowing.
The people living in the countryside of Mongolia are known for welcoming visitors and weary travelers with a bowl of warm, salty milk tea. The region is said to have some of the finest cheese in the world and lots of lambs.
Believe it or not, this is a roadside restaurant where the family decided to relax and eat in Uzbekistan. Now that’s pretty cool. It’s like a road trip picnic, which the family took before heading towards Tajikistan from here.
They took a stop in front of this statue of a Russian police officer and took the ultimate, “I didn’t do it, I swear,” pic for their Instagram. Meanwhile, Vladimir is smiling his little head off. Fortunately, they didn’t use the wrong motorcycle.
While in Irkutsk, Russia, the family had to stop for a bit to rest and to take a photo of this seemingly endless Siberian road, that’s neither long nor winding, but an open road. She can almost see a mirage in the distance.
The corridor also extends all the way to China and is wedged between the Pamir Mountains in the north and the southern Karakoram range. It also has an altitude of 4,000 meters. We’re surprised no one got a nosebleed.
They stayed at a beach by the Black Sea in Bulgaria, where some sunblock, a camera, and a good book is all you really need to have a good time. This makes for a picture perfect adventure for any child, and it’s one Vladimir will likely never forget.
It’s also Uzbekistan’s fifth largest city, which the family stopped by to take a few photos. It’s not only a place where you can trade things, but it’s full of culture, religion, and has been around for approximately 2,500 years.
Aside from having the second largest alpine lakes, visitors get to see the endangered snow leopards, wandering nomads, and horses grazing. Now this certainly made a great place to take a break from so much traveling.
Mihai decided to take a photo of the local family, who was busy doing their morning routine near their tent. Apparently, the littlest one seemed to get getting ready to throw some kind of snowball, while the other one is showing off her runway pose.
The family took a breather to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the green trees and grass in the distance that sandwiches their path. When you’ve been on the road for so long, your body is aching for a break!
They took a moment to take a photo of Vladimir on the outskirts of Kyrgyzstan where a summer storm was brewing in the not-so distant horizon. This takes the calm before the storm to a whole new meaning and it’s stunning.
From here they headed to Murgab using the path that took them through the Muzkul Mountains. The pass is considered one of the highest pass in the region. We wouldn’t be surprised if the family ran into a few yak along the way.
It’s a stunning sight to see the mountains in the horizon, but it’s frightening and thrilling at the same time trying to traverse a path of unpaved roads. But this family seemed ready to tackle the road until they reached their next destination.
The word Registan actually means “sandy place” in Persian. It was used as a public square, where folks gathered to hear the proclamation of the royals. Today, it’s a real nice place to visit. You can even take a really cool photo of with those amazing inlaid mosaics with the most intricate designs ever.
It’s only fitting that they took this incredible photo, which looks like it belongs on the cover of a hard cover novel. There’s something so ethereal and otherworldly. It also makes a nice memory for the family to have.
Coincidently, this photo was the last night that the family camped in Iran, by the Caspian Sea, a sea that’s landlocked between Europe and Asia and in the world’s largest inland body of water, which gives it characteristics of lakes and seas.
As the sun sets in the horizon, it also marks the end of their journey. After this, they headed home to Romania, where Mihai and his family could finally settle down for a bit, and hopefully begin planning their next adventure in 2018.
It’s got huge mountains with ice tops and an ethereal fog in the distance, and a seemingly endless flowing river, as well as some luscious green grass. This is one of those places that most of us would probably never even know existed if it weren’t for Mihai and his family.
Here we see Mihai lost in the Siberian Taiga, which is located been the Kolyma River and the Lena River in Siberia, Russia. The greenery of the area consists of a mixture of pines, birch, and spruce trees, which might explain why Mihai got a bit turned around here.
This Moynaq Ship Graveyard is full of ships just like this one, which was shipwrecked. So, technically, it’s like a naval resting place right smack in the middle of a desert. Ironically, it was once one of the busiest fishing ports on the Aral Sea, but now it’s just desert.
Ironically, Mongolia, which is an autonomous zone in China, is known as the land of the eternal blue sky. But areas like the Gobi Desert have also serves as graveyards for dinosaurs. In fact, several fossils have been found in this region.
Here we see Vladimir once again defying gravity by jumping across the sand dunes of Mongolia’s Elsen Tasarkhai, which is 80 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide. It’s known to travelers for being a relaxing place with its golden sand dunes.
Being one of the oldest bazaars around, and one of the largest, you can see all kinds of things, and might be tempted to buy some of the finest artworks around. Of course, Mihai’s Zair probably didn’t have a lot of space for a lot of these things.
Mihai spent their first night in Mongolia with a local family. The Mongolia people belong the two subgroups called the Buryat and the Kalmyk. Many of them are farmers who rely on very little to get by, but they have hearts big enough to help strangers.
From Mihai’s perspective, traveling is one of the best things to do while living in a busy world. Besides, from his perspective, the world should be seen with eyes wide open, so from his point of view, “he’s doing it right.”
Fortunately, Mihai was able to take Zair to the Ural Motorcycle Factory in Irbit, Russia. There, the family’s precious traveling vehicle got a full check-up to ensure that it would continue to take the family where they needed to go.
Fortunately for us, it makes the perfect pit stop for this amazing adventurous family to take another photo. And boy, does Vladimir seem happy. Clearly, this traveling experience has really been as healthy as it has been educational.
In this case, Vladimir just couldn’t help himself, so he decided to climb up on this truck, sit on the hood like an ornament, and take a moment to grab a bite to eat before heading out on the sweetest adventure any kid could have.
The statue of a “Marco-Polo” sheep marks the border as the family crossed the Pamir Mountains. Of course, as long as you’re there, you might as well take a peaceful selfie in this disputed region. It looks like someone could use a serious nap.
It’s located in Almaty, Kazakhstan and is part of the Charyn National Park, which was established in 2004. It’s actually been nicknamed Kazakhstan’s Grand Canyon with its red sandstones and large river. What a perfect place for a pit stop.
These huts are actually yurt camp areas near the plateau of the mountains and lakes in the region, and herdsmen generally use these huts to rest. But the camps will also accept tourists eager to spend some time in second largest lake in the Caspian Sea.
Along the way, they stopped to take in the sights. They saw stars, repaired their sidecar, which needed as much of a break as they did to avoid overheating. Returning home to Romania was like a full circle, but they’ll always have their memories and lots of photos to share with their friends.