The Road to Oxiana is an account of Robert Byron’s ten-month journey to Iran and Afghanistan in 1933–34 in the company of Christopher Sykes. This travelogue is considered by many modern travel writers to be the first example of great travel writing. Bruce Chatwin has described it as “a sacred text, beyond criticism” and carried his copy since he was fifteen years old, “spineless and floodstained” after four journeys through central Asia.
By the Si-o-seh pol bridge in Isfahan, Iran, Byron wrote: “The lights came out. A little breeze stirred, and for the first time in four months I felt a wind that had no chill in it. I smelt the spring, and the rising sap. One of those rare moments of absolute peace, when the body is loose, the mind asks no questions, and the world is a triumph, was mine.”