When I wake up from the siesta it’s night. I see the ceiling near my nose, as if my bed was levitating, and for a few seconds I do not remember where I am. I am again aware of the movement and the sounds and I realize that the two Russian ladies did not stop talking since I fell asleep, they were the voiceover of my nap. I like to listen to them without understanding. The Russian sounds to me, at times, similar to Portuguese in its soft way of pronouncing things. Sometimes I catch some of the words they say, like Istanbul, Anna Frank, baguette, frenchis and something that sounds like hokus pokus. The rest of the time is like listening to a song that I do not know but that for some reason comforts me. One of the women opens a tupper and starts eating strips of paprika with her hand. The provodnitsa appears in the cabin to offer us tea. I can no longer see the snow through the window, but I sense that we continue to move through open spaces, solitary and covered in white like this morning. It’s 4.40 in the afternoon. By the hour, we are going through Poland. In the cabin we are four: the two women, the teenage daughter of one of them and me. We all climbed yesterday at Gare de l’Est, almost 24 hours ago, to do one of the longest train trips in Europe: Paris – Moscow. We share a space with four beds (two upstairs – which fold during the day – and two below) and a folding table with four cups. We have magnetic cards to enter the cabin, dials to control the temperature of the compartment and two bathrooms at the end of the corridor. In each car there are eight cabins like ours and a Russian stewardess – the provodnitsa – in charge of caring for their group of passengers. Each time the train brakes, the provodnitsas shelter themselves, get off and stand in front of the door of their wagon to receive the passengers, with the symmetry and coordination of a synchronized swimming team. During the rest of the trip, they order the tickets, clean the cabins and the bathroom, make any important announcement and give us, for a few rubles, Russian tea and instant coffee. Ours has a blue cap to the floor, boots with a lamb and a fur hat. It’s like the nanny in the car and does not speak English. This train is Russian and all indications, brochures and announcements are in Cyrillic. I know my reasons for making a trip of 42 hours by train, but I am intrigued by my colleagues. Fear to fly? Love for the speed of the train, which goes to the rhythm of thoughts? Nostalgia? Comfort? In my case, I did not imagine this trip in another transport that was not a train. The idea of ​​going to Russia came up in December, when I told L that I needed to make a trip of disconnection. Traveling without a computer should be (is) the fantasy of the digital nomad, because of the contradiction that it generates from just thinking about it. “When I started traveling, I had no cell phone, no laptop, no emails to answer, no social networks, no need for Wi-Fi, or omnipresent 3G. I need to go back to that, “I told L,” I need to travel to travel, without thinking about the posts or the photos I’m going to publish. ” When L proposed Moscow, something inside of me said yes. There it is. In the end he could not travel and I decided to go alone, like in the old days. I put an autoresponder in the mail, a “Closed for vacation” notice on my networks, I left the computer in Biarritz, I turned off the 3G and I took vacations for the first time in several years. A neon sign indicates that outside -10 degrees and that there are 20 hours to get to the Russian capital. The route Paris – Moscow is the second longest train journey in Europe, after Nice – Moscow: it is 3483 km, passing through Germany, Poland and Belarus. Some people do a vipassana meditation retreat to disconnect for a while from the world. I, who can not meditate while still, I just need a train. I spend a lot of the trip writing in my notebook. I also came for this: write. Or, maybe, I came alone for this. Having gotten on this train without the distractions of the internet, without work to deliver, without urgent matters to resolve, with an empty agenda (without an agenda) is my way of allowing me to write as long as I want, without interruptions and without the obligation of having than publish anything. I came to travel because I did and to write just because. This is my writing retreat, my train trip to the interior.


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