July 01, 2018

Walking the Volga

The day after watching the documentary Walking the Amazon, about British explorer Ed Stafford’s 860-day trek down the course of the South American river, Dmitri Nizhegorodsky resolved to walk the length of the Volga.

On May 13, 2017, he began his journey, writing in a diary on Facebook: “I am introducing a crazy new project: I plan to walk the full length of the Volga. More than 3,500 kilometers, it will probably take about a year and a half... Why am I doing this?  I thought: we only have one life to live, so why live it out in rottenness (for example going to the office every day and doing some sort of nauseating work) when you can (and even must) travel, gain interesting experiences, write books, create interesting films, create a name for yourself and live the life that is in your soul (and not one stamped from a template). So I threw aside everything I was horribly sick of, geared myself up for the expedition, and now I am ready to start a new life. It’s worth the risk.”

The Volga is the longest river in Europe and the eighteenth longest in the world. Officially 3,645 kilometers long, it starts as a small, clear brook near Valdai and ends as a giant delta flowing into the Caspian Sea. There are 66 cities and towns along its shores, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan among them. Yet the river is so long that one can still easily find pure, untouched wild beauty near its banks.

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