It means that first thing tomorrow morning, I’m heading off to Europe. Eastern Europe, to be precise. For yet another wild and crazy festival 😀
As the end of the summer is just around the corner the time has come for Herb and I to keep our promises to each other – we’re dropping everything and flying across the world yet again. The destination: a distant corner of the Crimean Peninsula for an off-the-beaten-path party I’ve been anxious to experience since first hearing its name just one year ago.
I’m talking, of course, about the Republic of Kazantip.
Even when I was still in Asia my plans have always been to end up at Kazantip. I first thought about taking the Trans-Siberian Railway there via Moscow (a trip I’ve had on my list for years), but ultimately decided there just wasn’t enough time. Instead, I planned to travel back to Thailand via Vietnam and Cambodia, ultimately flying straight across to Simferopol (Kazantip’s nearest airport).
But obviously when my dad got injured, everything changed. I found myself back in the US with a pretty unclear future.
Still, as I did have a free return ticket to Hanoi I tried hard to make it work out – revising my itinerary time and time again. I compressed everything down, trimming days wherever I could to account for the month spent at home. But as my stay in America grew longer, I found myself cutting ever more. First Thailand got the axe, then Cambodia and half of Vietnam. Eventually it got so tight that it almost seemed pointless to go to Asia at all. So I called the insurance company with a crazy idea.
What if I could find a flight to Ukraine for less than they’d paid for Hanoi? Could they refund the original ticket and send me straight there instead? It sounded like a long shot. But guess what: after some careful research and corporate hoop-jumping, it worked. Everybody won: the company saved money, I stayed at home to take care of my dad, and now, in just a few hours, I’ll be on my way East.
At 8am I take off for New York, Budapest, and finally Kiev. I’ll connect with Herb and two of his friends before the four of us grab a quick flight down to Simferopol. Then it’s just a two-hour drive to the Black Sea coast and the site of what’s supposedly one of the few truly “out there” parties left in the world. A party that’s so untouched, so unregulated, so distant and so strange, that it dares to call itself a “Republic.”
Kazantip has been described as a lot of things – some good, some bad, some outright insane. But whatever it’s like, one thing’s for sure.
The next few weeks are going to be intense 😀
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Monday, August 1st.