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Unknown Russia and the Intricate Web

The Internet is an intricate web, sucking you in on many levels. It's the venue by which humans from all over the world meet new friends, make enemies, and even find true love. For a socially awkward person like me, it's a forum in which I can easily express myself through writing when words would otherwise be lost or less eloquent in real-life conversation.

For all the glory, there are many downfalls. As a blogger you quickly learn that the Internet, mixed with anonymity, is a recipe for large batches of stupidity. I think Russian forums are the most troll-infected in the whole universe. At first, it really bothered me - all the horrible messages, personal attacks, attempts to belittle me and my intelligence. Now I'm accustomed to it and have developed a much thicker skin. The other downfall is that it sometimes discourages social activity and conversation. How many times have you been at a social setting where friends are all on their phones rather than speaking to one another? I've even witnessed my younger cousins texting each other when they're sitting in the same room!?! So now I play a game with my friends at dinner. Everyone puts their mobile devices in the center of the table during the meal, and if someone reaches for it they must pay the entire bill. :) I seriously worry about the next generation's ability to communicate, as it appears the art of conversation is a dying form.

The best part of LiveJournal for me is communicating with interesting and intelligent people. They far outweigh the evil ones, at least on my blog. It was in this context that I met a unique woman named Daria Kurochkina, the operator of a project called "Unknown Russia."

Daria's project is a worthy endeavor, as it seeks to provide English language information about solo travel in Russia. Although your country discourages independent travel, there are plenty of people willing to go it alone. Unknown Russia offers a wide-variety of resources, ranging from visa logistics to photo essays about remote places and unusual events in the country. Even as a native, you may find many articles of interest. Daria is open to suggestions, edits to content and particularly needs more English language writers to contribute articles to the site. Here's your opportunity to share with the world what you love about Russia, its diverse landscapes, and unique culture. You can register as a user and submit your own articles on the website, or communicate with Daria to provide suggestions for improving the site. Suggestions can be put in the comment section here, or you can email her directly.

I will say that Daria is a kindred spirit, an adventurous and open-minded woman who has traveled extensively in Russia and abroad. She usually travels long routes via car, bicycle and even hitchhiking! Her hometown is Gatchina. After university, she worked as a software developer in St. Petersburg, became bored with office life, and then moved to Denmark to volunteer at a scout center. She now lives in Switzerland, where she's earning a Master's degree. All this travel taught her an important lesson - there are kind and friendly people in every country, willing to help strangers navigate through unfamiliar areas and cultures. Now Daria's mission is to "pay it forward," and help others discover the unknown regions and treasures of Russia. I commend her passion, as the site is truly a labor of love.

I encourage you to check out the Unknown Russia site, which is still in development. People often ask me where I want to travel next in Russia. For me, the ultimate dream is to visit Lake Baikal or the remote Siberian wilderness. How about you? What is your favorite region or place in Russia, and where do you dream of going?

You also can find Unknown Russia on Facebook and VKontakte. And don't forget to cast your vote for my next journey! Poll is open until Friday. :) Tomorrow I'll tell you about a beautiful farm in the hills of Vermont.

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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
olgor
Jul. 10th, 2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
I think Russian forums are the most troll-infected in the whole universe.
Not necessarily. It depends where are you going. I am registered at several forums with strict moderation policy, and zero tolerance to trolls etc. But in general - yes, there are a lot of people who are taking advantage from anonymity. But I find this feature very useful - idiots never miss the chance to markup themselves. So your part of the job is easiest - just stay away from them. :)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC)
I've only banned one person. It's against my core American principles to do so. Everyone has a right to speak, even if they're spewing stupidity. But abuse - no. I can only be called a bitch or cunt so many times! Plus, some of these users are real psychological experiments for me. :)
(no subject) - olgor - Jul. 11th, 2013 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dubai100 - Jul. 11th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 11th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dubai100 - Jul. 12th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 12th, 2013 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
vasya_spb2000
Jul. 10th, 2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
1. When we communicate in cafe or restaurants with my friends, half of them are communicating in social networks via gadgets, do not pay attention to others, and even, sometimes talking to each other on the Internet, staying in a meter of each other. It's terrible.

2.I was born in Krasnoyarsk and my favorite place obviously "Stolby" and Ergaki( in summer good for hiking, camping and sking in winter ). Find some pics it's amazing and beutiful places.
runknown
Jul. 10th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Thank you a lot Shannon. I did not know that Im so nice person :))))

Vasya_spb: I found interesting place, about which I never heard before: the museum of permafrost in Igarka in Krasnoyarsk region. If you know this place, can you please check the article if the information is correct: http://runknown.com/underground-museum-of-permafrost

And also I did not know about Krasnoyarsk stolbu, knew only about Lenskie (Lena) stolbu. But I heard about Ergaki :))) It is also nice to educate yourself, to find new interesting places in Russia.
Re: Thank you - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 10th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
You should play the phone game I mentioned, and maybe you'll get a free dinner. :) I've never heard of Stolby, but just ran google images. Very cool with all the rock formations.
skifa
Jul. 10th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
It is not even about trolls but general agression and intolerance to different point of view. Even forums where moms meet can be quite crazy. Been there, done that, no way I'm gonna participate. Let them eat themselves, I have much better things to do.

Have been wandering what American forums are like.

I'd love to travel more in Russia, but it is harder now with our toddler "in tow", so maybe one day when my country is more child-friendly I'll have my chance :)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
I think American forums are generally more respectful, but large discussions usually occur on news sites, etc. where they have strong filtering policies. This way, the topics don't veer off course into racist or other intolerant rants. In America, we don't have a LiveJournal equivalent, so travel blogs are usually stand alone sites with very few comments (even on popular American travel blogs).

I'm not a parent, so I never really thought about child-friendly infrastructure, or lack thereof, in Russia. In what ways is it difficult? Narrow or unstable sidewalks for strollers, lack of elevators, escalators in public transit?
(no subject) - skifa - Jul. 10th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 10th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
vitsky
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
I would recommend you Crimea. It's Ukraine, not Russia, but it's the most "russian" part of Ukraine. And very beautiful place.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I didn't get to the Crimean coast when I was in Ukraine. Hopefully next time and in response to your earlier message, no visa requirement here for American citizens. :)) It's more tourist friendly than Russia, but still severely lacking by European standards.
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
You read my Vyborg report? I don't know how I will ever get to the Baikal region unless I spend A LOT of money for some type of tour or guide. I've read about the Kamchatka region - stunning beauty there as well!
(no subject) - ypolozov - Jul. 10th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 10th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ypolozov - Jul. 11th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 11th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
vitsky
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
PS. Just for fun. Found one video - "American tourists in russian museum". It's a joke. ;)

peacetraveler22
Jul. 10th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
:)) I can't remember visiting any museums in Russia. Maybe we did? I was more concerned with walking around and looking at the people and the way they interacted with one another.
(no subject) - lev_kuzminsky - Jul. 17th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 17th, 2013 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
mujlan01
Jul. 11th, 2013 03:50 pm (UTC)
I would say that the most beautiful place is an average stripe of Russia (not sure about correct usage « average stripe» but it’s somewhere within a radius of 400 km from Moscow). Probably there is something sentimental in it but being a moscowite in a few generations I believe this is a «true» Russia :)

Shannon I’ve got a question. Today I’ve read a sad story
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/07/10/toddler_dies_at_unlicensed_vaughan_daycare_which_has_been_ordered_shut.html

But honestly I was not shocked the tragedy (shit happens everywhere) but this:
«Unlicensed daycare operators who look after more than five unrelated children under 10 can be fined up to $2,000 for each day that they break the rules.»

And it leads me to a thought, that all those nice and tolerant and law-abiding Americans Canadians Swiss are just ordinary people with theirs yin yang which means they are NOT nice and not tolerant at the same time. They are just living in a system where law and effective law enforcement whisper them day and night « just stumble and we’ll fuck you». What do you think of it?
peacetraveler22
Jul. 12th, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)
This is a very sad story! I'm not sure I understand your question? If the question is whether I think there should be fines for being an unlicensed daycare operator, the answer is yes. They're dealing with children, and should be required to comply with regulations governing sanitation, food prep, play areas, etc. If they don't obey the rules, they should pay a price. In America, there's a rule of law and people typically obey it. If not, you suffer the consequences. $2,000 a day seems high, but these operators are usually given a warning before they are fined so they have time to cure the problem.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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