Friday, February 13, 2015

Trans Plans

Unlike Bruce Jenner, my trans plans have nothing to do with gender reassignment and everything to do with travel. I’m in the midst of my annual February writing frenzy—no Facebook, lots of library time, and a new writing technique that involves blindfolding myself—but when I emerge from hibernation, I have two big trips coming up.

A Transatlantic Reunion
One of my best friends from college is getting married, so I’m off to Los Angeles and San Diego for 10 days. I wasn’t sure I had the energy to go all the way back to the West Coast so soon after spending three weeks there for Christmas, but then someone asked me how good of friends Geny and I are. When I ran through our friendship—we lived together all four years of college, studied abroad together in Chile, and have stayed friends in the many years since—I realized I couldn’t miss seeing her walk down the aisle. As an added bonus, the rest of our sophomore year roommates will be in attendance, so there will be lots of laughter, hugging, and some light physical abuse.

Top (L-R): Geny visiting me in Bellingham (2006), Geny and me in Buenos Aires (2006)
Bottom (L-R): Junior year of college (2006), visiting Geny in San Diego (2010)

Top (L-R): Sophomore year, my 22nd birthday, a reunion in Chicago (2011)
Bottom (L-R): 5-year college reunion (2012), FloMo brunch (2012), another appearance at Nola (2013)

Even though I need to be back in California for another wedding in May, I am going to be back in Russia for the interim. I wasn’t sure how I was going to justify two more months of unemployment here in Moscow, but I solved that this morning when I booked a one-way flight from Vladivostok to Moscow, which brings me to my next trip.

A Trans-Siberian Adventure
Consider it a farewell tour before I leave Russia “for good.” The Trans-Siberian spans more than a third of the globe, so there is a lot more of this country I need to see. Even after a year and a half here, I’ve barely gone beyond the usual tourist circuit of Moscow and St. Petersburg (though I’d say that jaunt to Siberia with an oligarch counts as getting off the beaten path). With the ruble lower than ever, I decided it was time to finally pull the trigger on a Trans-Siberian journey. I’m hoping to spend a month riding the rails, including a week of writing at a guesthouse on an island in Lake Baikal. Assuming I don’t get lost in the heart of Russia, I’ll return to Moscow right before Victory Day for a send-off of epic proportions.

Lake Baikal (source)

But until all of these adventures get started, I still have a novel to finish. Time to find that blindfold…