Amateur Traveler: Russian Far East


Ian Frazier calls Russia both “great and horrible,” yet submits to an all-consuming “Russia-love.” It’s a bug I know well. To continue my flurry of Russia posts, here’s the link to a 52-minute discussion on the Russian Far East — the wild east, past the heart of Siberia — that I recently recorded for Chris Christensen’s Amateur Traveler. Have a listen! Amateur Traveler … Read on

The Russian Far East: Best Place in the World


Only a handful of travelers ever take the Trans-Siberian Railway, and only a trickle of those complete it. Instead, most go from Moscow to Yekaterinburg (26 hours east) to see where the “Last Czar” died, then to Irkutsk (another 55 hours’ ride) for a look at Lake Baikal, then cut south into Mongolia and China. An epic trip. But what remains unseen of … Read on

My Ian Frazier Monologue: How to be Curious

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Sometimes people ask me who my favorite writer is. And I’m always embarrassed not to have a prepared reply. I had phases with Twain then Dostoevsky, and quieter ones stalking the words of various college football columnists. I don’t really have one, I guess. From now on I’m just going to say that whenever there’s a subject I’m drawn to, one I’d imagine … Read on

Photo of the Week: Lenin’s Pillars


Vladimir Lenin was born Vladimir Ulyanov. At 31, he changed his name to “Lenin,” most likely after the Lena River, a north-flowing river that crosses the Russian Far East and is used as a frozen highway in winter. The river’s most famous feature are the Leninski Stolbi (or Lenin Pillars), rock formations reached by boat a day’s ride from Yakutsk, a city of … Read on