Can one travel in Russia for three weeks without ever crossing a single time zone line? While planning my next teaching trip I attempted to do exactly that: by traveling along the meridians from North to South and back. I actually tried to concentrate on the two most populated areas – around Moscow and St. Petersburg – with only one quick trip down the Volga River to Nizhniy Novgorod and Samara. Yes, technically I will peak into the next time zone for a couple of days before flying back to Severnaya Stolitsa a.k.a. St. Petersburg.
I am looking forward to meeting my audiences again: in churches; in public school; in universities and seminaries. The quarantine restrictions seem to have been gradually loosening, which will enable me to see the faces and the eyes of my audiences – kids and adults, clergy and laymen, students and, my absolute favorite, teachers and faculty.
I am traveling very light this time, not even checking in my luggage with the airline and living out of my carry-on-sized briefcase! Honestly, I feel a sort of nostalgia for the early days of my ministry when I was carrying suitcases of books with me across the ocean and then all over the country. Later on, when we digitized our teaching materials I traveled with bins of CDs, always making an ETA agent’s eyebrows go up for a moment at the airport as they looked at their X-ray screener. Well, all our materials all on the “cloud” now and I am down to my business cards with the Web-address on the back.
During the quarantine with travel restrictions, I started thinking that the next step in that direction will be teaching via the Internet with no physical matter changing hands at all. Luckily, it is not happening yet. Now somebody has to pack their briefcase and board the plane!