I was in Russia.

Before, while and after my stay there the most commonly asked – and sometimes the only – question was: Why Russia?

I’d cleverly answer: „Why not?“ Because why not go to Russia? But then, I never really knew myself. Sure, there were reasons. I had been learning Russian in school, Russian Literature has it’s hooks…I wanted to go abroad. Preferably far away.

When I arrived in Moscow at the end of August, I expected everything to be kind of gray, cold and evergreen trees just about everywhere. It was 25 degrees warm and the white and light green birch trees made even the old streets look welcoming.

During the 32-hour train trip with the Trans-Siberian Railway any feeling of distance I might have had from living in a small country such as Austria disappeared. Growing closer with the six other exchangestudents in Ekaterinburg and the Volunteers, sharing food and making first memories – that is what we did. That’s where the five most wonderful months of my life started.

One blog post would not be able to cover even one day.

Now, being a Returnee back in Austria, I get this question a lot: “How was it?”

My honest answer would either be something like “Do you expect me to answer this in one sentence?” or me simply talking for about five hours. Well, actually it would be more like five days. However, I mostly just say things like “really cool” or “great, the people were awesome. You should go abroad too”.

The third question would be why I didn’t stay for the year. But how would I answer a question like that? How do I explain that after two months back in Austria I still can’t call Vienna truthfully my home? How do I explain that Russia is more than just history, politics and Vodka? How do I say that I fell in love with the art of living? How could anybody who’s never been abroad for more than a holiday possibly understand?

The moral of this story is: Do that thing you want to do. Go abroad. Break your limits and bungee jump out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter where you go. It doesn’t matter how or for how long.

Keep going.