The craziest thing for me is to think that I’ve only been travelling for 20 days! That’s it, it’s hard to believe. I’ve gotten to experience so much already that it really feels more like two months. My adventure started in Kiev (which I detailed in this post). My god was it an awesome time!
I met some cool people, talked for hours in Russian, drank wine in a park with a Ukrainian guy, German girl, and Brazilian guy. I walked all around Kiev with a guy from Miami, comparing the city (favorably) to America. Me and two friends rented out an entire movie theater and watched a Mel Gibson movie while drinking wine and making jokes in Russian. I met a French guy who had been to the front-lines of the Ukrainian conflict (war seems like such a harsh word).
In the end, I feel like Hemingway did in Paris (BTW, have you read A Moveable Feast? It’s really good).
The Middle of Nowhere Ukraine
Even though I was in love with Ukraine, I had made the promise to go to Obirok (population: ten houses). My aim in going there was to practice Russian and work outside.
I have a love hate relationship with working outside.
On one hand, I hate it and would just assume never, ever do it. But on the other hand, it’s spiritual work. The way I think about it, human beings lived off the land for thousands, tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of years. Everyone lived and worked outside, it was a way of life. It’s only in the last two hundred years or so that we’ve started to live and work inside.
That’s what makes it appealing to me, it’s like connecting with an earlier life.
Also, let’s be honest here, you can get a killer tan!
So for two weeks I lived on a small piece of property in Ukraine and worked outside. I carried water to the kitchen, ripped weeds out of the garden, and punched a chicken.
Along the way I also spoke loads of Russian, learned a bit of Ukrainian, ate about a dozen traditional Ukrainian dishes, met some really cool people, completely abstained from alcohol, meditated twice a day, went totally vegetarian, read sixty or seventy hours, and came to grips with a rural lifestyle.
All things considered, it was a really fantastic experience. If you ever want to try it out for yourself, click this link to find out how you can.
Returning to Civilization
I’ve been back in Kiev for maybe twelve hours now, and it feels good to be back home. I don’t know if your allowed to claim an entire city just for yourself, but I’m going to stretch the rules and claim Kiev my own!
Everything is cheap as hell (I paid $2.50 for my breakfast this morning, I paid $1.50 for a liter of good beer last night at the bar), the people are amazing, I get to practice Russian, and my god everything is beautiful.
I’m staying at an amazing hostel and I’ve met some fantastic people already.
Also, I’ve got a business opportunity. I’ve met two people who do freelance translation. Between the two of them, they can translate anything between Russian, English, Ukrainian, and German. Could I create a website and offer lower prices than the competition?
It’s a thought. Ultimately though I don’t think I’ll do that. I’ve got some other ideas and I want to spend most of my time developing them.
The Next Couple of Weeks
I’m going to stay in Kiev for a while longer. But in keeping with my strict $2,500 budget, I can’t really afford to stay in a hostel the whole time. So I thought to myself, well how can I stay in Kiev for free?
I love hostels, I love the people I meet, and so on. So I need to find a way to stay at a hostel for free!
In ten minutes I drafted a nice little email offering my services as a volunteer. I sent it off to the three biggest hostels in Kiev and waited for a response.
It didn’t take long. The hostel I really wanted to work at said they had no vacancies, the hostel I didn’t want to work at never replied, and the hostel that landed somewhere in the middle accepted my offer. Tomorrow I’m going to take the metro a few stops and meet up with them. If the situation is good, I’ll stay there for a couple of weeks, free of charge.
I’ll be doing work that’s not the best, but I think it’s fair. They promised me three day weekends and only four hours of work every day. Not bad, all in all.
That’s it though. My life, my future, and the future of this blog. I think I’ll probably stop posting every day, as I simply can’t think of a new travel related topic every day. However, the average length of my posts is probably going to go up. So I hope it all balances out in the end.
Cheers from Ukraine, cheers from Kiev, the city of dreams.