He was excited about his upcoming trip to Russia. Like in his previous two international trips, this time too he would travel alone. He quite enjoyed the person he became when traveling alone – free from all inhibitions, open to all kinds of experiences, very energetic, thoughtful, observant, but most of all, appreciative of his being.
Russia was always a mysterious country for him that was always in extremes, and he wanted to experience first-hand the dichotomy of the stories he had heard about the place. However, he knew that wouldn’t be possible without a local. He knew someone. A girl he met in Rio. A charming girl who was traveling alone the breadth of Brazil, studying the art and architecture for her thesis work. He reached out to her and she agreed to host him.
They connected over his plans about ‘things to do.’ He mentioned how rather than fly directly, he would fly into Moscow and then take the Bolshoi express to St. Petersburg, primarily because he wanted to experience the Russian landscape. She could relate. She had done a journey between Sao Paulo and Rio precisely for a similar experience. She even offered to come and pick him up at the train station as it would be his first day in a new country. He was grateful. She also highlighted that he, luckily, has chosen the best time to be in the city as the birthday of St. Petersburg fell during his stay duration. He was delighted.
It is just amazing how strangers can connect over their passions, which this time was travel for cultural experience.