The Quest


Jason and I were laughing about this today. We are flying from LA to New York (no big deal) to Moscow (bigger deal) to Vladivostok (significant deal). When we get to Vladivostok we will be greeted by a Russian man we have never met. He is one of Rudnev’s students. I am sure that if we look at his hands he will have the scars of a lifter. He is a Siberian weight lifter. So basically, we will be looking for the scariest stranger imaginable and then asking him for a ride…awesome.

He will take us to a hotel (who knows which one???) where Jason and I will rent a room and then maybe we will grab some dinner after our loooong flight. In the morning he will bring us to the Trans Siberian Railroad Station where we do not have a reservation (yet?). We will buy tickets and board the train. 30 hours and an unknown number of stops at small villages later we will arrive at Blagoveshchensk where coach Rudnev lives. I hear we have a reservation at a hotel.

We are signed up for 25 hours of instruction with Coach Rudnev over 5 days. We will be lifting only a fraction of that time because we have a competition that Sunday. We are bringing our notebooks, our training logs from our first cycle, loads of questions and our eager minds.

The rest of the time we are there I have no idea what we will be doing but I have heard references to “Ice Plunging”, “Banya’s”, and something about wild animals and a BBQ in the woods. I have also heard the word “Vodka”, whatever that is…

The competition is February 27, in Blagoveshchensk. Our flight home leaves from Vladivostok on March 2. We have no idea how we are going to get from B to V. Our original plan was to take the train but the dates don’t line up and we will either miss our competition or miss our flight. So I looked for a flight and I found one that will get us there 12 hours before our flight so we would stay overnight in the terminal. It is usually only a 90min flight or so but this little puddle jump takes a detour with two 4-hour legs and a three-hour layover (plus the 12 hour wait in the terminal). We can do this, no problem. Camp out in a Siberian airport overnight in February? Yes thank you and I will have a side of AWESOME with that. We didn’t sign up for the posh trip. We are kettlebums; we’ll hop the damn freight train!!!

Coach Rudnev recommended that we do not book that flight. He is a reasonable man. He said that we can find a better flight and that we can book it when we arrive in Blagoveshchensk. We agreed and as of now we have no flight. We know that we will get to our flight home but we do not know if it will be on a plane, a train, or a wooly mammoth! That’s just the way we like it. I guess we should worry about it. I don’t know why we are not worried, but we’re not. So we don’t think you should be worried either (That means you Mom*)

We honestly have no idea how this trip is going to turn out. There are so many moving parts that anything can happen. All I know is that we are going to a far away land to meet a sage. There are many dangers and strangers and questions along the way. We have no guarantees or promises. What we have is a mission and the guidance of our friends from a distance. We are going to learn something on this trip. No matter what happens I think that is fair to say. We are looking for something and neither one of know what it really is. We don’t need to know. I don’t think we really want to know. If we knew it wouldn’t be what it is.

Our Quest.



*Just a word for those of you who thought “your poor mother” at any time during this post. My mom doesn’t worry about me. I know, I don’t get it either. She really doesn’t. I could tell her I am going to the moon and she would be like, “you do know it’s not made of cheese right?” She has always pushed me towards adventure. I can actually remember a conversation that went like this:

“I just thought you’d like to know I wasn’t in that explosion”

“Who is this?”


“Oh come on Johnny, I wasn’t worried, you are always ok”

Then she started saying something about a tv show she had been watching before I called.

She just doesn’t worry.

So neither do I.