Are you paying attention?

It’s 2am.

I’m sipping peppermint tea from a ‘Doctor Who’ flask. Hunched in my jacket on the platform. It’s -15C, the middle of Siberia in December, and it’s only going to get colder the further we go.

The train station is quiet and eerie.

The green tint of the floodlights transforms the smoke rising from the ancient coal burners in the carriages. A jade mist hangs over us. I look up and down the platform. Only a few have taken the opportunity to stretch their legs and escape the stuffiness of the 4-berth cabins. Sucking on cigarettes as well as ‘fresh’ air.

I look up.

The family who reside next door to us are at the window, a Russian lady and her daughters.

I wave and smile. They wave back.

I can just make out the giggle of the youngest through the double glazing.

In the quiet, stood in the snow, my thoughts wander. How did I end up here! I’m just some guy from a small town in the Midlands.

The train attendant, a smiley Russian lady who acts as our carer, is gesturing for us to get back on. I take a last look, a last breath of the icy cold and heave myself back onto the carriage. We pull off into the night. Ahead lies Mongolia, China and adventure.

It’s strange how life pans out! Funny where it takes you.

Or is it?

The answer is yes…            and no.

I came across a quote from Buddha that struck a chord…

“What you think, you become.

What you feel, you attract.

What you imagine, you create.”

Back on the train. I’m reading a book. I note down this passage about life…

“All you need to do is be conscious of your choices and be responsible for your actions.”

Are you paying attention? Are you accountable?

These things may take you places.


How did I get here?


After hours of ‘nothing’ the short stops bring plenty of action.


Our neighbours gave us local fruit…we gave them English chocolate.


Plenty of time to ponder


Home from home. Much better than the crap on TV.


Lines over the Gobi


Rising moon and setting sun  – Gobi desert. Mongolia

Photography by Oliver Sharpe and Benjamin Chesterton.

Discussion (1 Comment)

  1. duckrabbit says:

    Thanks for writing this Oli. Just a buzz to have shared this trip with you.

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