On Life and Love

Visiting Russia: the Unfriendly Reactions

The trip to Russia is in planning–our traveling companion is researching hotels (so we can get visas!) and sight-seeing destinations in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

An aerial shot of Norilsk, Russia.
An aerial shot of Norilsk, Russia.
What’s been surprising me is how much negativity I get when I tell people I’m planning a visit to Russia. “It’s depressing!” (with pictures like the one to the right) “Don’t go to XYZ!” “It’s super-dangerous!” “The USSR?!”

It’s disappointing that my friends and colleagues have little other than (relatively uninformed, I think) skepticism and dire warnings. I find wonder in so many things; a few pictures from the internet don’t suffice to satisfy or discourage that. I might choose not to visit an active damn war zone. I might choose not to flirt with women or gender-bend in a homophobic country. I might also choose not to travel alone.

But as someone who still marvels at standing at the edge of a country or continent in their own damn state, how can I pass up an opportunity for this kind of experience?

One Comment

  • greenmtngirl

    I’m really looking forward to visiting Russia through your eyes, Melissa! My sister was in Armenia for three years and some of her friends/family there were Russian in origin (from the USSR days). I’ve also gotten Postcrossing cards from people in Russia and other former USSR countries. I’d love to visit someday. It’s easy for Americans to fall for the line that the U.S. (politics, culture, way of life, etc etc) is the best, when there’s a lot to be learned, I think, from experiencing other places. I hope you have a terrific trip and I can’t wait to read about it.

    (This is Beth from Rainbow Rumpus, btw. I enjoy reading your blog and knowing what you’re up to and what you’re thinking about.)