This blog is about by my travels in the Russian Far East.  It has two sections that are 20 years apart.

In 1992 and 1993,  I lived in Khabarovsk while writing a weekly column for the Anchorage Daily News.  My column, “A Winter in Russia,” never existed on the Internet until now. I have kept my original drafts and will be publishing those drafts here,  along with photographs I took at the time. I recently digitalized the photos, which were taken with color slide film. Many of the slides were damaged by mold, and I’m in the process of restoring them and uploading the restored images on this blog.

In 2012, I returned to the same region with my wife, Svetlana, and our daughter, Ihila, to visit Svetlana’s sisters and to show Ihila the remote village where I met her mother. Ihila and I kept a blog about our journey.  If  you drop to the bottom of this blog, you will find our first entry.

We live in Yarmouth, Maine.

You can reach us at yarmouthmaine@hotmail.com

Tom Bell

13 thoughts on “About

  1. Helen Rousseau August 12, 2012 / 8:23 pm

    I read about you in the Press Herald. thanks for sharing your journey. Our earth is such an interesting place. Have a safe visit.
    Helen Rousseau Kennebunk


  2. Alan Caron August 25, 2012 / 8:36 am

    I’m not sure how to sign up for your blog and hope this does it! Amazing story, Tom.


  3. Jeff Murray August 27, 2012 / 9:19 am

    Hi Tom, Svetlana and Ihlia! What marvelous pictures and stories. I’m spreading the word among those I know about your adventure and I hope many more will join the group tagging along with you. Happy trails and Godspeed!

    Jeff Murray


  4. Daria Zhuravleva September 3, 2012 / 6:56 pm

    Thank you for this blog, Tom and Ihila, this is wonderful to read it, I feel like I went there with you.
    Thank you for your visit.


  5. Mark Lapping September 4, 2012 / 11:32 am

    This is wonderful and I very much appreciate the content and the photography is superb! Mark Lapping, Cumberland Center


  6. Diane Bean September 5, 2012 / 10:32 pm

    Eye-opening blog. Super photography and excellent narrative work.


  7. Gore Flynn November 6, 2012 / 8:31 am

    Thanks for sharing your journey and exposing me to yet another of the world’s great spaces. I have been fortunate to have traveled to the Russian Far East (Kharbarovsk and Sakahlin) but was not able to get into the wild as you did. It is easy to think of the world as being crowded and somewhat homogenized until presented with images of remote lands and people like you have shown.


  8. archecotech August 3, 2013 / 3:48 pm

    Hello, I stumbled across your blog when I was doing some research for my own. I currently live in Kazan, Tatarstan. I’ve completely fallen in love with Russia, it people, and the beauty of the land. I hope you will be okay if I direct my readers your way. It’s my dream to visit the far east of Russia and see it for myself. I’d love to converse with you more about the area there and become more informed about the native peoples in the area. I personal spent time on the Navajo Indian Reservation and have come to have a small understanding of their issues. It’s my hope to gain this same understanding about the peoples of the far east. Thank you for your post and blog.


  9. Chives July 7, 2015 / 7:22 am

    Wow this is a great blog about your experiences in Far East Russia. They are great articles that gives your insight when the Far East was opened up to the world. I would love to follow your writings on the experiences you have encountered over there.


    • Tom Bell July 7, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Thank you very much for your kind words. Please click on the follow button so you will be notified when I add more stories. I am restoring my old slide photos and adding photos stories to the blog this year. More to come. Tom

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tom Bell July 7, 2015 / 10:10 am

      I see you are already fillowing the blog. Thank you. It gives me motivation to keep going. Tom

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bryan B May 6, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    Hi, Tom. Thank you so much for bringing these stories and experiences back. This was such an amazing, challenging time across Russia and its former republics. With most reporting happening out of Moscow since time immemorial, I really appreciate this glimpse into how this region of Russia experienced this period in Russia’s transition. Ever thought about giving a talk or presentation on your experiences? Or have you ever?


    • Tom Bell May 7, 2016 / 2:31 am

      Thank you very much,Bryan. I gave a presentation three years ago at the Yarmouth Historical Center after returning from a trip to the same region with my family, 20 years after my first visit. Perhaps I can do something like that again. Right now, I am focused on finishing my project of putting my stories and photos on-line. It is taking some work because the slide photos were damaged by mold, and I am using digital software to restore them. If you follow the blog, you will get a notice when I add a new story.

      I was the only American journalist in the Russian Far East at this time. The country was experiencing enormous change, and the economy was collapsing. I imagine it was like being in the U.S. during the Great Depression. Russia has changed so much since then. I think there is some historical value in capturing what life was like in the provincial cities and remote villages at this point in time.


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