In addition to being set on the Trans-Siberian Express as it travels across Russia, Under the Almond Tree is a story also set in part in Badakhshan and Central Asia. Badakhshan, in North East Afghanistan and GBAO, is one of the poorest areas in the region – with low literacy levels and little available in the way of infrastructure or support. People here are vulnerable to natural disasters – earthquakes, landslides, flooding, drought all affect the area. There are significant security concerns all along the border areas and a heightened military presence.
In spite of the many challenges faced however, the people here are among some of the kindest and most generous people I have met anywhere in the world. Their resilience, good humour and love of family are inspiring, and this is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit.
You can find more of my travel photos and visual research for the novel on Pinterest and Instagram – lcmcveigh – and in the media gallery on this website.