On Wednesday I leave for Siberia…

…and how often can you say that?

When I broached the subject with my wife she was very understanding.  “I want to go to Siberia,” I said.  “I want to make the journey without going on an aircraft and to gain a true sense of the size of the Earth.  I want to travel from our house in North London and go all the way to Beijing, by train!”

“I think you may need to change at Finsbury Park.” she said.

She was right too.  Grange Park; Finsbury Park; Kings Cross-St Pancras; Brussels; Koln; Moscow; Irkutsk; Ulan Bator and Beijing – about 5,500 miles and definitely outside the Oyster Zone.  Along the way I hope to research a novel, walk in the Taiga, go dog sledding, meet the descendants of Ghengis Khan and have an adventure (and write it down).

So, now I am getting ready to leave on Wednesday.  I have filled in 29 pages of visa application forms; I’ve made the spare bedroom look like a distribution centre for ‘Snow and Rock’ and I’ve learned the Mongolian for ‘my heart beats only for you’ and ‘the lady will pay for everything’ (which, between them should cover a multitude of situations).

But of course this is only possible because many other people have helped me to make it happen; the friends who encouraged me, the colleagues at work who will stand in for me and the kids who will both behave impeccably for their mother whilst I am gone (remember I’m only 5,500 miles away so don’t make me come back there!).  To all of you – thank you and I hope you’ll read some of this blog.

But, above all, the person who has been most influential in this plan is my wife Carol, who has encouraged me and cajoled me and generally stressed the importance of not allowing life to drift past without living out some of your dreams.  And, of course, she is right again.

So to her I say “Minii zurkh zovkhon cinii I toloo tsokhildg!”.