HOW I BECAME AN ADVENTURER

With Michal gone, there’s no one left to drive the car but myself. Having had driving licence for 20 years, not driving really since we moved to London, makes me someone, for whom making car to leave a perfectly fine parking place is a rather uneasy task. However, needs must and errands had to be accomplished.

I planned this very carefully, selected the time and plotted the route. I took navigation and map with me, as one can never be too cautious about these. The destination was the whole 3.4miles away with a long dark tunnel in between. They say that with true adventures, it shouldn’t be just about the end goal, the journey should matter, too. However, were I was concerned, the end goal was the main reason I put the gear in one, indicated right, and pushed down on the gas.

I was off on my expedition, by definition a journey with a particular purpose, especially that of exploration, research, or war. Yes, this felt like all of these options.

From previous long trips and holidays I remembered the feeling of butterflies in the stomach at the beginning of each trip, the uncertainty of how it all will be, the anxiety whether it was a right decision. And yes, approaching the four lanes roundabout, I had similar feeling of fight or flight moment. I also learnt that soon once the routine kicks in, the butterflies settle.

black-and-white-car-interior-gear-89693The Blackwall Tunnel, was a complete different matter. It reminded me of long open crossings. You know it will finish at some point, you know you will eventually reach the land, you know, you just need to get on with it, stroke after stroke to get there. The relief, when a land is spotted, when it becomes clear that the calculations were correct, and that indeed, it would be accomplished at some point, was comparable to finally seeing the light at the end. Only then, did I realise I was holding my breath, and let go. There, who was I to self limit myself, to think I could not get to the south side of the river by other means than kayak, bike or public transport.

A short feeling of victory was replaced by the realisation, that soon, the car would have to be parked. And that is an issue.

As a true explorer, I planned wisely, and chose the earliest possible time as soon as the opening hours allowed. Yet it took several minutes to choose a place from which one can leave without reversing, park without reversing, and without the need to be too close to any other cars. As I circled the car park for the second time I could just see myself circumnavigating an island looking for the best or rather only available place, where to land and stay for a night after a long long day. Only to realise it to be the same place first dismissed in the hope of finding a more suitable one. Never mind.

I run my errand, filled the boot, and felt positively empowered for the way back. What an amazing, unusual, exciting and without a doubt daring experience – a true adventure.

 

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2 477 kilometres and 40 hours on the Trans Siberian Railway

Taking the Trans Siberian train was one the reasons why we set off on ths trip. In the end we travelled from Irkutsk to Omsk over two nights and one day.  

  

      

   

  
   

  

    
  

    
    
    
    
 

Arshan, the foothills  of the Sayans

Irkutsk was not only our gateway to Baikal but also to the mountains. Since none of us had spent much time researching, planning and looking for places to visit before we left, we decided to travel at random and take what comes. And for this reason we found ourselves travelling towards the Sayan mountains. 
  
Once we arrived to Arshan, we marvelled at the freshness of the air and absence of the dust. Also the prices, it was the cheapest place we’ve visited so far. We left sorting of accommodation once there, and it turned out very easy. As soon as our bus arrived it was surrounded by many people offering accommodation.  

 One lady with a notice board that stood out among the rest, it read: wifi, took us home. We had dry toilet in the out house and water container attached to a tree, but a porch where we could reach the wild wide world. 

  Arshan is a settlement at the foot of the East Sayan mountains, it has many mineral sources and is visited as a natural spa.  

   
Here we decided to spent few days among the greenery and wilderness.