Every story starts somewhere. Mine starts on the edge of the world, where from Pacific Ocean appears city called Vladivostok. Place that was found as military fort to consolidate territory of Russia in Far East. From the very beginning, this city was a place for temporary settlement only. Traders would pass through it, military forces would be assigned to serve here for a short time, and no one saw this place as their home. It was a temporary asylum.
Little they knew about charms of this place. How sunsets over the ocean will stay forever in their hearts, how screams of seagulls will sound at the distance even when they will be far away from sea, how hills with the best views will become their home forever. Slowly but gently this city was winning hearts of every person that came here.
As I said, those people were never planning to settle down. They dreamt of adventures and exotic countries, of unknown islands and discoveries. They were always on the move, always on the road. They brought spirit of adventure with them. Some never let go of it, but others probably traded it for everlasting love to Vladivostok.
When first settlers came here and looked at the landscapes, the green hills that were running down to the never peaceful ocean, the sun reflecting from bay waters, they felt like this is the place where one can rule the east, and called it Vladivostok (from Russian: “владей” (vladei) – to rule, to be the owner, and “восток” (vostok) – east).
Times were changing, generations were growing up and my small yet ambitious city was developing and blossoming. We were kids playing in our yards, going to schools, and then universities and we were falling in love. Little did we know about it.
I discovered my love only when I left for a summer. I came back and I was amazed, I never noticed how beautiful this place is. The hills, the sunsets, and the ocean everywhere you look. For the first time in my life, I really saw my Vladivostok.
Then it started… Remember about spirit of adventure? It does not disappear to nowhere; it stayed there waiting for the right time. All my friends were leaving; it looked like every single person that I would get close to will be on the road soon. So I packed my suitcase and bought one way ticket.
I came back two and a half years later. A discovery was waiting for me there. From now Vladivostok was not my home any more, it became something different, something new – it became my safe harbour, my source of power, place where I’m still light-hearted, where I can sort out my life and refill my energy.
Somehow, Vladivostok will hardly ever be my home again, but when I go to new cities and discover its features there, I feel at peace. I feel at home. Cause my new city reminds me of where I came from and who I always will be. A child of Vladivostok, forever in love with the ocean, hills, blue sky and seagulls. And spirit of adventure will always be in my blood, no matter how far I will go.