September 11, Lake Baikal, Russia
I awoke with the sun around 4:30 this morning and figured that today, a natural day for reflection, would be as good a day as any to look back on this trip from its origin. On July 23, I left London in an American school bus bound for Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. 10,000 miles, 25 countries, 922 hours, and 5 blown tires later, we arrived on August 30. After bidding my team farewell, I headed south to Beijing and am now slowly making my way back to Western Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
After shaking off the covers and exposing myself once again to the chilled Siberian air, I did my stretches, fixed myself a pot of tea and a bowl of noodles (bonus point to me for buying a hard boiled egg at the station in Novosibirsk to liven up my breakfast), made up my bed, and now I sit at my desk-cum-kitchen table, the early morning sunlight casting a deep shadow across my cabin as my pen moves across the page.
Many people talk about how small the world is. It’s not. It’s enormous. Six and a half billion people inhabiting an intergalactic rock whose magnitude is beyond comprehension for any of us. We are separated by oceans that are larger than the lands we inhabit and not one of us will ever be able to truly engage with more than a minuscule fraction of the cities, towns, and villages that dot our planet.
It this leaves you with an empty feeling in your stomach or a knot in your throat or any other malady elsewhere in your body please do not despair. There is good news coming. That Earth exhibits significant mass is hardly groundbreaking and was by no means the upshot of my terrestrial journey across Eurasia and back.