The only thing we knew about Irkutsk prior to our arrival was that it had the image of being “the city by the lake”. During our stay we learned that Irkutsk had a lot more to offer and that this image didn’t really accurately describe the city.
We stayed with the mother of friends of our German friends. Although she did not know us and must have been in her early eighties, she helped us with everything and told us to feel like at home. She cooked for us and she introduced us to the Siberian lifestyle of drinking tea – a lot of tea. A Siberian proverb goes like this:
“Who does not drink tea has no power.”
In contrast to Novosibirsk, Irkutsk gave us the feeling of finally having arrived in Siberia. We saw wide lands, millions of trees, and of course lake Baikal. You should know that the lake is located 70km from Irkutsk so that – speaking in Russian dimensions – Irkutsk really should be called “the city near the lake”. Also, “lake” does not quite nail it. Its sheer size as well as its lonely beaches and rocky shores reminded us more of a sea than of a lake. It seemed as if an ocean were growing out of the middle of Siberia.
We spent one day at Olkhon, the biggest island of lake Baikal. There we touched upon a wild and rough part of Siberia: dusty roads without asphalt, infinite vastness, and shamanism. It suddenly dawned upon us why Russians do not need to travel abroad when they want to go on a vacation.
We’d like to share a few thoughts on travel budgets. Until that point, we had carried around with us the belief that we had to safeguard our money and spend as little of it as possible. Every time that we wanted to spend some money we asked ourselves, if we really needed to and if the price was cheap enough. We totally forgot the joy of travelling over our daily budget calculations. That was the time when we finally noticed what kind of a belief about money we had been dragging around and what devastating consequences it meant for our trip. Because what did this really reveal about how we viewed ourselves? It showed us that our stiffness about money was triggered by the belief of not having enough and of not allowing ourselves to let go.
So we simply changed our belief.
Now, whenever we spend money we feel good about it. Instead of trying to avoid larger investments, we have shifted our focus towards earning the money we spend. After all, income is the only variable we can actually influence, if we want to stay flexible.
In September, we will launch our online business featuring brain-friendly language learning. Our language learning courses will enable you to master any language without having to study its grammar or single words. Sounds interesting? Stay tuned for updates!
All the best changes,
Jan & Gratsi
P.S.: Check out our route map to see where we are!