If you have a life, you have a story.
We meet many people in the time of our lives – in a cafe, in a restaurant, in transit. Each human is shaped by the past experiences they lived through. Any human story around us is novel or movie-worthy, we just have to discover it.
On July 5th, 2019 we started our transsiberian journey with a mission of collecting these stories on the way. We didn’t know what to expect and placed our bet on the magic of train conversations… Each ticket we booked was a lottery ticket. We had no idea who that “lucky” stranger would be on a seat (or, as we say in Russian, mesto), next to us: on Mesto47.
Endless hours of travel, many cups of tea (or maybe something stronger?), the intimate atmosphere of a train compartment and the calming sounds of a moving train worked their magic. Complete strangers opened up and told us their story. Fellow passengers became intimate friends for a while, until we left the train and our ways parted. Maybe forever.
We asked them where they came from and where they were going. Both on Transsib and their life path. What happened in the past and what do they want in the future?
мesto47 is a collection of such stories along the Transsiberian railway. No filter, told in first person. What you would make out of them: discover the mysterious Russian soul, reconfirm your stereotypes, or maybe find yourself, it is up to you.
Russia born and raised, Marina worked in winter sports, interviewing athletes at Olympic press conferences and covering their stories online and in Biathlonworld magazine.
мesto47 inspired her to get a different story-telling perspective. It took her far from a classic sports tale of victory and defeat and added a whole new range of happy, sad, weird, surprising stories to her writing portfolio.
On Mesto47 mission she learned how to get a stranger talking about the most intimate moments of their life with or without alcohol in their cup and how to get a criminal confess the crimes he had committed and never went to prison for.
She did NOT learn how to look good on photos with no make up or shower.
Working as a graphic designer and photographer for over ten years, мesto47 is one more passion project without a client or target consumer, that simply documents what is there in front of the camera.
When starting the trip in Moscow, Georg had already spent two nights in trains to get there from his home in Austria.
He didn’t follow his childhood dream of becoming a train driver, but, riding the transsiberian railway was a little dream coming true – or as one russian he once met laughingly called it “conquering the russia”.
Along the journey, Georg drove a Zhiguli in a russian village and rode shotgun in an illegal drag race in Vladivostok. He was declared “Stolbist” after climbing without a rope in Stolbi national park in Krasnoyarsk, got bitten by a Siberian tick and yet made it home safe and sound.
Anuta was born and grew up in the city Cheboksary and lived in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow, worked abroad in the US and now living in Dubai.
When Marina offered her to participate in the project, it spoke to her right away. She was captivated by human stories, their psychology and long-awaited exploration of her own country. Being an introvert, the trip was a personal challenge of getting out of her comfort zone that she was living in for quite a while.
During the three weeks she lived a little big life, got to know many new, incredible people along the way, climbed Stolb number one with Stolbists, saw mesmerizing Baikal, made a sacred circle around main Russian Datsan in Ulan-Ude.
By getting to know the strangers, she got to know the most important person in her life: herself.
Russian – English translation
Emma Charlotte Hammock
ORFG – Austrian-Russian friendship society
Tourism Ministries of Nizhniy Novgorod, Kazan, Ulan Ude, Vladivostok
Have some ideas or thoughts about the project? Get in touch with us by email