Real Russia Blog

An interview with a globetrotter and travel writer Jessica
10
October
2017

An interview with a globetrotter and travel writer Jessica

Jessica from How Dare She shares her travel experience and inspirations

Late last summer Real Russia had the pleasure of working with travel writer Jessica, Collector of Countries (over 50 so far!), of the website How Dare She, as she embarked on the greatest rail journey in the world, the Trans-Siberian railway; well, technically a bit each of the Trans-Mongolian and the Trans-Siberian!

While taking in a hundred new experiences, she found the time to write a few new guides for Real Russia; guides that should hopefully help you, “make the most of the Trans-Siberian railway”, and most importantly, give confidence to solo female travellers that the Trans-Siberian is eminently doable while flying solo.

In addition to this, Jessica has written four blogs exclusively for Real Russia, taking in topics such as what it is like to mingle with the locals, and what it is like on-board the Trans-Siberians famous trains! These will be posted over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled to our social media channels.

For now, we thought we would ask Jessica a few questions, to get a better idea of why she travels, and what inspires her.

The interview

1. What is it about travel that inspires you?

I love learning and creating the opportunity for every day to be different.

2. What is it about rail travel that intrigues you?

In the United States, we don’t travel much by train; so it has always seemed like a fancy mode of transportation from the past, but I know it’s very modern and common today.

3. What do you aim to achieve from your travel blog and Instagram, and what inspired you to start them?

I share my travels because I want people along with me, and I want them to see that the world isn’t so scary. That people are as kind as you let them be. And this is best told through stories.


​ A view of Nevsky Prospect and famous Zinger House in St.Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Jessica.

4. What advice would you give to people who would like to become travel writers themselves?

I have a degree in journalism, so I felt confident as a writer, I just needed to add in the travel. But the advice I give to anyone who wants to write – whatever the topic – is to read more. Read veraciously and you will find the styles you like and don’t like, and it will help you find your voice.

5. What was your favourite travel experience, and what makes it different from the rest?

I ended up going to a Kazakh wedding because I was eating mashed potatoes with my toothbrush. I was on a train in Kazakhstan and had made a cup of mashed potatoes (like a cup of noodles, where you just add hot water), when I realized I didn’t have a spoon. The closest I had was my toothbrush, so I used the handle to stir and started eating. One of my cabin mates was laughing watching me do this and offered a spoon. That started a conversation that lasted the rest of the train ride, and weekend, ending in me going with him and his friends to their high school friend’s wedding because they thought it would be a neat thing for me to experience. It was!

6. What are some of your most memorable experiences travelling on the Trans-Siberian railway?

The first morning on an overnight train, I was up before the sun. I walked from car to car as the sun rose and delighted in the beautiful sunrise that I had all to myself. A few legs later, I was in third class and ended up playing a Russian card game with my new friends for hours. On another leg, I had the cabin to myself and enjoyed the ride to myself, staring out the window and reading.

7. What was the first experience you had that made you realise your passion for travelling?

The first that I remember is that when I was little, my dad travelled a lot for work. He would come back from cities I’d never heard of, usually with a small toy for me. I didn’t care about the work stuff, but I always thought it was so cool that he went so many places (plus the gifts didn’t hurt).

8. Based on your experiences, what do you get from rail travel that you can’t experience with other mode of transportation?

I think that rail travel is the most social form of transportation. Because you have space to get up and around, and a dining car with beer, there’s no reason not to chat with the people traveling with you.

9. What is the one place you haven’t travelled but would like to go?

Very high on my list is Antarctica. When I get back to South America, I’ll have to go.

10. What is the best piece of travel advice you have ever been given?

Always bring a scarf!



11. For someone who has never travelled the Trans-Siberian, what would you say to them about the experience and the adventure?

It’s infamous for a reason. Several days by train, several countries; there’s nothing in my travel past that I can compare it to. But to best experience it, be sure to stop along the way. I met too many travellers who were stopping in Irkutsk and Moscow only, but there is a huge country between those two cities!

Thank you

Thanks Jessica for your fantastic answers.

Don’t forget to check out her guides to making the most of the Trans-Siberian, and travelling solo on the Trans-Siberian, and come back soon to read her exclusive blog about her incredible adventure!

Oh, and remember, if you want to keep up with Jessica’s ongoing travels, head over to her website, How Dare She, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at jess_ismore.

Real Russia Blog

12 of the best Russian travel Instagram accounts
26
September
2017

12 of the best Russian travel Instagram accounts

Russian Instagrammers revealing the beauty of Russia

Russia is a country with a rich cultural and historical heritage, as well as being home to extraordinary natural diversity.

From Moscow’s iconic views to the wilderness of Siberia and Kamchatka, here are 12 Instagram accounts to explore the world’s most fascinating country. Some of them are not translated into English, but a language barrier should not stop you from being able to admire the beauty on display!

While we are very proud of our own Instagram page, we have chosen to focus on the efforts of others on this list. Also, if we included ourselves the list would number 13, and 13 is considered unlucky in Russia.

However, we encourage you to follow realrussiatravel to check out images taken by our team on their travels through Russia and along the Trans-Siberian railway! From time to time we also share the photos others have taken; if you would like us to share your own stunning images from Russia, the Trans-Siberian railway, or the neighbouring counties, use the hashtag #realrussiantravel!

1. pollirusakova


Based in Perm, Polina is a true explorer. Among her collection, there are the breath-taking photos of the Ural Mountains, as well as Georgian, Crimean and Nepalese mountains, among many other beautiful landscapes.

2.Russianexplorers

This account consolidates many travel photographers who are inspired by Russian nature. Expect many incredible views of snow-capped mountains, idyllic scenery, wild animals, arctic wonders and dreamy lakes.

3.anna_zagaynova


A Siberian photographer who takes utterly captivating architectural shots while travelling in Russia. Hit up her Instagram account to find some hidden gems and wonderful examples of provincial buildings, and structures, in Russia.

4.alex.mazurov


A landscape photographer, whose images of the turquoise rivers of the Altai region, arctic landscapes, starry Caucasus nights, Crimean coastlines and misty mountains near Sochi will make you want to book your next trip immediately!

5.lake.baikal


It seems that Alexey Matveev, an enthusiastic Baikal fan, never gets tired of shooting the fascinating Lake Baikal and its fantastic scenery. Comments in Russian should not deter you from following this account, as on these spectacular photos, nature speaks for itself.

6.ted.ns


Planning a trip to Moscow? Then you must follow this incredible photographer’s account with ‘futuristic’, and sometimes dreamy, photos that will give you a look at one of the world's best cities from every angle. And as a bonus – you will find photos of other curious places in Russia, including a frozen Lake Baikal, the ‘Winter Wonderland’ of Kazan, and the wide-open spaces of the Altai Republic, all in one place!

7. Onlyminimal Dmitry Malkov


Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, capturing fields and forests, endless lakes and rivers, Malkov asks us to appreciate the wonder of everyday life. Minimal and simplistic, yet charming, Malkov’s images are mesmerising and beautiful.

8.Damedvedev

Великий Новгород

A post shared by Дмитрий Медведев (@damedvedev) on


The Russian Prime Minister travels a lot across Russia, and apparently his camera never leaves his hands. Beautiful landscapes and urban photos will give you a glimpse of Russia, and the main Russian events.

9. elenakrizhevskaya


The winner of Best of Russia 2016 photography, Elena captures Moscow in many different angles and places. From underground to the sky, from metro stations to the fireworks over the Kremlin, and everything in between, this photographer tells us a wonderful fairy tale about Moscow.

10.village.ru

Рыбинск, Ярославская область Фото: @vrybinske

A post shared by Русская деревня (@village_ru) on


This wonderful project is dedicated to traditions, way of life and nature of the Russian countryside and province.

11. rozanov.mikhail


Mikhail Rozanov is a Moscow-based photographer whose journeys all over the world, including untouched and distant spaces, have resulted in a collection of gorgeous images, from black and white photos of architectural forms and landscapes to minimalistic and refined photography. He goes even further, capturing stunning sculptures and industrial objects in Russia and abroad.

12. Russia.travel.official


This Russian-speaking account led by National Tourism Portal of Russia is an online guide that encourages people to open their eyes to all of Russia, with no exceptions; including its unrevealed corners and small towns, as well as its culinary masterpieces. There are endless photos of natural and man-made wonders found in various places across Russia. The English version of their website is a true treasure-cave for those with wanderlust – https://eng.russia.travel/.


If you think that there are other Instagram accounts worthy of being mentioned on this list, please feel free to comment below, or share them with us on social media!

And don't forget to check our the Real Russia Instagram page!


Feel inspired? Contact our travel experts to book your dream adventure!