The Trans-Siberian Railway Journey

“Fantasies can die. They usually do. Reality survives. It always does. Occasionally a fantasy can become a goal that can be transformed into a reality…”

Mahrud AdNil

I have always been a dreamer of enormous--one might say “far-fetched”--fantasies. As a young teen, books and old movies fueled my desire to explore the whole world, to travel to distant places with exotic cultures. I entertained myself with visualizations of the glamorous adventures I would have when I “escaped” from my small-town life. For example: I imagined taking an extended trip on a train--from somewhere foreign to somewhere more foreign. I saw myself as a chic and mysterious woman, traveling alone (always alone) in a luxurious first-class compartment. Along the way, I would have intriguing encounters with magnificent-looking strangers whose accents would be impossible to place. I would wear cut-velvet kimonos and white silk caftans…I would gesture dramatically with my ornate cigarette holder, from which emanated a thin stream of a smooth yet pungent smoke. I would saunter into the dining and observation cars and order champagne or icy vodka and caviar with blinis…

I would invent and re-invent myself.

I indulged in picturing endless scenarios...perhaps I would be mistaken for the beautiful grieving widow of a recently assassinated South American politician…or maybe pegged as that rising young European singing sensation…Ah, what an unharnessed imagination!

Those dreams of exotic train trips accompanied me from my childhood all the way to my wildhood. Now, in the summer of my seventy-fifth year, my reality merges with a re-imagined and far more down-to-earth fantasy as I make final preparations to take the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok.


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