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Saturday, June 16th, 2007

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Why do you like to travel? I get asked this question a lot. I never quite know how to answer because I don’t like to travel. I don’t like airplanes. I like sleeping in my own bed. I don’t like living out of a backpack. I get terrible motion sickness. Paul Theroux, one of the greatest living travel writers, likes to point out that the root of the word “travel” means misery and hardship because he hates to travel, too. Travel truly is awful: waiting for planes. trains. buses. feeling dirty. exhausted. frustrated. out of place. helpless. mute. purposeless. broke.

Enter my favorite quote regarding travel: “Travel is limiting the comforts of the body to gain freedom of the mind.”

I don’t travel for sightseeing or lazy days on the beach. I travel for the challenge. To introduce myself to entirely new ways of thinking. Entirely new ways of living. To clear my mind of the mundane thoughts that so often fill our days, and focus on the deep powerful presence of life.

Some people view long-term travel as a form of escapism, and for some it may be, but I view it as diving head first into life, and emerging with an experience that will benefit you (and those around you) for the rest of your life. It’s a personal investment. I suppose the short answer to the question “Why do you like to travel?” is that I want to develop myself, become more informed, more confident, more tolerant, more secure.

My next post will be from Russia. I have a one-way ticket leaving St. Louis on Monday and arriving in Moscow on Tuesday. I know one word of Russian.

I can’t wait.

The Route

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

A lot of people have asked about the train route.

As you can see, there are several options, but we’re taking the train through Russia (beginning in Moscow), heading south through Mongolia (Ulaan Bataar), and ending in Beijing. Before boarding the train we’ll split about 10 days between Moscow and St. Petersburg. We’ll also be spending a couple of days in the middle of Siberia, in an old University town (Tomsk) renowned for its beautiful wooden architecture, before continuing on to Mongolia.

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The Plan

Saturday, May 26th, 2007
I had just begun to get used to life back in the States when a friend challenged me to a new adventure: The Trans-Siberian/Mongolian railway. It has always been a travel goal of mine. 5,772 miles. 8 ... [Continue reading this entry]