Girl Goes To Russia

May 23, 2015 by



I haven’t been on the subtle side of describing how difficult my trip through Russia was back in 2013. When I think back on that trip, the feelings are not warm or fond. I felt relief to leave the country, and I hold firmly that I will likely never go back. The logic is that there are too many places to visit and far too little time in one life, so while I don’t argue there is no value in travel to Russia, it is not where my travel priorities lie. I want to see Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Japan… I want to see Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa… I want to see more of South America… I want to go back to Spain, Denmark, Ireland, India. There is too much world and too little time.

With confidence, I say this: I am done with Russia.

However, just recently, I went through the videos I shot while I was in the massive country going from St. Petersburg to Ulan Ude (and onward to Mongolia). The thoughts and the sentiments I have after seeing what I videotaped couldn’t feel farther from what my memories tell me. I almost think I had a good time in Russia. I almost think no one was rude to us, that not a single Russian lady (wearing socks and open-toed sandals) said “Fuck you” to me. I almost think I’d like to go back.

Instead, I remind myself of the truth and thank myself for keeping a bright demeanour as best I could. That, and I thank the kind people who I did chance to meet, the ones who made the trip worth it at all.

Also a big thank you to my patient travel partner (and videographer) Sara for putting up with my vision for this montage!

Here it is, enjoy! Oh, and ps – I didn’t have the space on my vimeo account for HD, so regular D will have to do.





Don’t be a grumpy Russian lady, be a friendly one sharing snacks on the train! Find me on Facebook, twitter and Instagram and SAY HI!

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  1. I still remember your food pictures 😆 and the look on your face!

  2. Ugh. I know I need to keep an open mind, but Russia is one of those countries that just does nothing for me. Sure I’d like to see St Petersburg someday, but you are not the first person who has mentioned how trying the locals are there, and I know that that would just ruin a place for me. I can’t believe people were so rude to you! Now I’m extra happy that you put this video together, because I feel like I got to see the best parts of the country without actually having to deal with all the bad stuff!

    • Colleen

      It’s too bad that I’m not the only one who feels this way about Russia and (unfortunately) the locals. And yet, it’s validating because I really did struggle while I was there. I do have to say I enjoyed Siberia the farther east I went. The less “Russia” things felt and the farther east we went, the friendlier the people and the more interesting the places became.
      I am really glad you managed to glean the good from my video!

  3. “There is too much world and too little time.”

    Girl, this is the story of my life! I’ve been to Japan four times and still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I love the place and want to see more, but new countries are calling my name! Choosing between a favorite destination and a new one is a very real struggle for me. Then there are the places I didn’t enjoy the first time around but think deserve a second chance. My first trip to Budapest, for example, was super unpleasant thanks to the worst weather I’ve ever encountered while traveling. Of course I went back a few years later and fell in love, because Budapest.

    The Siberian countryside looks absolutely stunning, and I’ve always wanted to see Lake Baikal frozen solid, but have always been intimidated by the Russian visa process and the less than stellar travel reviews. Maybe one of these days…

    • Colleen

      Ah, you get me completely. I try to look at it positively, and remind myself that at least there are these places I love and so many new places calling me. Imagine living in a world without any of these places??? Gah.

      Yes, the Russian visa process kind of sucks. Not going to remotely try to sugarcoat that.

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