Vice article: melting permafrost in Siberia

Vice article: melting permafrost in Siberia

Climate change just opened a gateway to the underworld in Siberia

Absurd headlines notwithstanding, it’s saddening to read about such an visible sign that our climate is changing, in the most pristine part of the world we’ve visited on our trip.

The forest around Lake Baikal (a long way south of the region in the article) reeled me in.  I’ve never been somewhere so big before.  It’s genuinely breathtaking, looking out at huge mountain ranges you’ve never heard of, marching off into the distance.  On a map the near-wilderness looks limitless on a human scale, but clearly its limits are being tested with so many humans sharing the atmosphere.  I left Siberia plotting to come back, perhaps for a few months, to really appreciate the vast swathe of nature north of the Trans-Siberian railway.

It’s likely to be years before I see Siberia again, here’s hoping there’s something to come back to.

We don’t have to do this to the world, let’s keep trying not to!

How to Travel Without Using Disposable Plastics

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how a blanket ban on flying doesn’t necessarily make our trip greener, it still requires thought. One thing we’ve been ‘failing’ at recently is using disposable plastics, particularly plastic bottles. We’re pretty good at minimising waste at home, but it’s a bit trickier on the road. Here’s some inspiration for us: travelling without using disposable plastic is absolutely possible.

Girl For A Clean World

Avoiding disposable plastics back home in  California had become a part of my life. I knew where to buy my favorite food like oatmeal, pasta, and fruit without plastic, as well as personal care items like soap and coconut oil. Asking for “no straw” at a restaurant was easy enough because the server and I spoke the same language, and everyday I knew where I was going and could plan in advance with my reusables. But traveling is different. You don’t speak the language, you eat out all the time, you’re not familiar with the places, you can only carry a limited amount of stuff, and every day can be a surprise. But after 4 months of traveling in Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia, even with all the obstacles, I’m living proof that it’s possible!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Plastic-free toiletries (all except the bristles on the brush).

Before we get into the how to do it

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Frostbite in Irkutsk (FOOC)


One of the things I miss when we’re away from the UK is Radio 4.   My favourite programme is From Our Own Correspondent, so I keep up with it by downloading the podcast.

If you’re not an avowed Radio 4 geek, From Our Own Correspondent (or FOOC for those who can’t be bothered to type) is a programme where news correspondents tell stories about the place they’re posted that aren’t news exactly — more personal stories, or strange events.

I mention it because the boxing day edition had current correspondents reading despatches from the past, and one of them was about Irkutsk in the particularly harsh winter of 2001.  It really gives an idea of how dangerous winter can be there.  The coldest we experienced (-17) is a normal November day for Irkustk, but the effects of the temperature dropping to -40 are heartbreaking.

You can listen here if you’re interested, the Irkutsk piece starts at 6 and a half minutes in, though the whole programmes is fascinating (to me!).