Going on long train trips in my childhood was one of my preferred ways to travel. When I got older, I developed the vision of taking the Trans Siberian Railway through Russia. Just the thought if it got me curious and excited, and made my imagination go wild and travel far.
Being on a train for such long time forces one to slow down, to live in the moment, to confront the present. There is no time for vanity. Relax as you go, bring good food on the train. A bottle of vodka, maybe wine, instant coffee - and cookies which go well with tea, for long afternoons. It is important to create atmosphere, no matter how small the train compartment is. If there is no window to be opened, and if it is a hot summer day with stinky air, best not to make a fuss. In a confined environment like the train, there is a lot one will learn about themselves. A bit of a soul-searching experience.
On the Trans Siberian Railway we were a group of four people. Three photographers and one translater (to keep us out of trouble). One night we travelled on the train in third class. This meant that we shared a train car with another 50 people. There were only two toilets for the people to be shared. Some other nights we traveled second class, which had two bunk beds in the compartment. I always chose the top bunk, which I felt gave me more privacy. Some other nights we rented motel rooms in small villages. During this voyage which started in Vladivostok and ended in Moscow we hardly came across any tourists. That was part of our plan, diving into Russia and getting an idea who the locals are.