I didn’t die in Europe

A year ago, I landed in Europe for a three-week backpacking trip. I didn’t plan to take many pictures, I didn’t plan to blog about it, I didn’t plan to become a full-time traveller — I didn’t even plan to have a good time. I just had one goal: survive. I’d bought the plane tickets in […]

How to go to a Russian banya

Stripped naked + stuck in a hot room + drowned in ice water + beat with leaves = a Russian banya. Banyas are the Russian version of saunas, except they make you want to die while you’re in them. They’re real great when it’s all finished, though. There are three general areas of the banya: […]

Dear Future Russian Missionary

I remember when I got my call to serve as a Mormon missionary in Russia. My literal thought was, “Seriously? I’ll go, but I’m gonna die.” When I submitted my mission papers, of course there were places I would have liked to serve — England, Australia, SPAIN (ugh, little brothers) — but I was okay […]

Faithful Muslims

“They’re gonna kill us!” I was shouting like a crazy person. I didn’t really believe they’d kill us, but I knew if they caught us, they’d hurt us. It was the 4th of July and I was less than a month from finishing my mission in Russia. I’d managed to survive this long without getting […]