557 - Eric Czuleger (Traveler to Non-Existent Countries)
Eric Czuleger is currently banned from entering Turkey due to an accusation that he is a PKK spy. He is not a PKK spy. He is however, the author of books and plays as well as long form nonfiction and journalism. Most recently he spent a year living and working in countries that don’t exist. His travel book, You Are Not Here: Travels Through Countries That Don’t Exist, will be released when it’s good and ready.
His research over the last years took him from being a third grade teacher in Iraqi Kurdistan to becoming the ambassador from Liberland to Somaliland. He was trained as an intelligence analyst. Before that he ran a summer camp in Boston and worked as a behavioral therapist for autistic children. Otherwise he has spent the last decade traveling to around 45 countries. His published work can be seen at OZY, Geopolitical Futures, RealClearWorld, and Kosovo 2.0. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Albania 2011-2013) as well as a graduate of Oxford University in writing and California State University in Acting. Eric’s Twitter is here, and his Insta is here.
Intro music “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range. “What is Soul?” by Funkadelic; “Rock the Nation,” by Spearhead; Outro: “Homens,” by Manu Chao.
And now for something extra, just for Substack subscribers, I found this interview with Gary Shandling to be about as close to sitting at the feet of a wise mentor as I’ve come in a long time. His honesty, humor and clarity are heartbreaking in a way. I think he was acutely aware that his health was failing as this was recorded. You can see the physical symptoms of hyperparathyroidism, which increased the risk of embolism, which is what got him about five years later.
Lastly, someone just posted this image on Instagram. Apparently, Civilized to Death is out in French! Who knew? Sacred bleu!