I leave Orlando in about 30 hours, bound for Ulan Ude, a city in southern Siberia. Once I leave MCO, it will take about 30 hours of flight and transit (inside the Atlanta airport where I’ll meet up with Vanessa and in the city of Moscow where Victoria will help us get some lunch and see a sight or two as we commute from one airport to another). Essentially we are taking two overnight flights flying in the opposite direction of the earth’s rotation.
Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia, is located in the middle of vast Siberian steppes.
You might think I’m going to Siberia because I’m one who loves adventure. I do like to see new (to me) places and have found great benefit in new experiences, but I’m not really that keen on the part where I let go of what I know and step out into the unknown (to me). Truth be told, I’m quite happy sitting on my patio drinking Diet Coke and reading a book by an author I trust.
This venture to a place that has been the setting for stories – often ones of hardship and even terror – is not so much about adventure, though I’m sure it will be one. It already has been one. I’m not that into adventure really.
When I was quite young, a rather telling event happened. Another little girl from our community climbed bravely to the arm of the sofa in her home, got everyone’s attention, and jumped off to the affirming and joyous applause of the crowd gathered that evening. Not wanting to miss out on the attention, I prepared for a similar spectacle. I climbed up on the Sear’s catalogue and with great pride, jumped to the floor. Ta-dah! When I say YES! to an adventure — to something that seems risky — it is never about the thrill of the adventure.
This venture is about relationship. Mark and Charlene are temporarily living in Russia. I’m going to be with them — to spend time talking and laughing and thinking and wondering together. I’m going to encourage them, though those of you who know them will bear witness to the fact that they will certainly also be an encouragement to me. The fact that Vanessa and I are going together makes it a double bonus all around. These are people who I love and who love me. That’s why I am not just willing but expectant about a 30+ hour journey, why I was pleased to cash in frequent flyer miles, why I am vacationing in Siberia.