Decompressing in the Bozone

Friday, July 12, 2019

I got back to Bozeman earlier this week after ten weeks on the road. It's good to be back, of course. Sleeping in my own bed, being surrounded by my books and things in my own place--it's a great feeling. I've been unwinding, too. I had a massage on Wednesday, and I'll probably schedule another one next week. I've also been spending a lot of time lying around with my feet up. 

As I mentioned in the first post I put up from this summer, I like to get away from Bozeman in May and June. The weather is really blustery here then, and winter takes its time to come to an end. We get snow up here from early November onward--at least that's when it starts sticking--so by May or so, it's no longer so much fun. Plus, there isn't really anything that can be done with the snow in May and June--it's not like you can go skiing on it. This year there was apparently a lot of rain, wind, and cold weather generally while I was away, so I felt vindicated on that score. 

The weather was rotten in Bozeman,
but sunny in Moscow
More important to me, however, getting away in May and June re-charges my batteries for Bozeman. When I'm in Montana, I miss speaking foreign languages and being on the road by myself. And this summer there was more traveling than usual. Even before I started my trip I accompanied a friend down to Omaha, Nebraska for a few days to help her find a place to live. Then I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for four days before flying to Amsterdam for a couple of nights. From there I traveled to Moscow, where I spent a month, and then I traveled for two weeks in Mongolia. From Mongolia I flew to Istanbul, where I spent a week, before visiting a series of places--two nights in Moscow, one in Munich, another in  Amsterdam, the next in Ann Arbor, five more in West Michigan, and one more in Ann Arbor again before flying out west to Bozeman. 

All in all, the traveling after Moscow was pretty exhausting. Moscow itself, however, was very relaxing. I flew into town, moved into the apartment I'd rented for a month, and got down to work. I spent 3-4 days per week at the archive, and spent a lot of the rest of my time writing a couple of articles, sifting through thousands of book-related photographs that I have on my hard drive, and walking miles each day around Moscow. The weather was generally great when I was there--just one real day of rain the whole month--and it was so much fun to spend time in Russia again. I especially like the fact that I've been able to get to know Moscow in recent years after having spent so much time passing through it en route to other places in Russia. 

The tiring part about my trip was what came after Moscow. The two weeks in Mongolia I knew would be a challenge. I'm turning 50 this summer and was frankly a bit wary of what I'd be putting myself through. And indeed, every day during the course of the 10-day tour I took through the Gobi and Central Mongolia felt something like a test of strength of some sort. We were always climbing or hiking, then getting in the Russian van for several hours, then climbing and hiking some more. By the end of the ten days on the road I was feeling a bit numbed by it all, although I quickly revived upon getting back to Ulaanbaatar. But even here I didn't feel that tired. 

It was probably the week in Istanbul that tired me out more than anything else. It was hot and humid there, and I had a bunch of social obligations. The fact that I spent my first three days in town dealing with the airport cargo authorities trying to retrieve my lost bag didn't help matters much, as I was more or less glued to my phone during this time. And then I got wickedly ill the day after my bag arrived. And at the end of the week I spent in Turkey I embarked upon a five-countries-in-five-days marathon. 

The thing about traveling for ten weeks is that, by the time I reached the end of the road, I was pretty eager to get back to Montana. In particular, it's been good to get back to work on my manuscript, to become involved again in the writing process after two months of just looking at documents and adding footnotes. I'm starting over from the beginning, working on another draft. It's good to be surrounded by my books and free to spend hours working on this manuscript each day.

This is my life now--sitting in the relatively cool and dry climate of the northern Rockies while I work in peace and quiet on a project that is dear to me. I was very much due for a change of pace from this once school got out at the end of April, but ten weeks on the road has a way of making one ready to go home. 

Are you a Turk across empires? The paperback edition is coming out this July! Order a copy today, then get another one for your library.   


  1. Are you still writing about Naz H? I hope so - I'll definitely buy a copy and request one for the library!

  2. Yes I am! Much appreciated.