Thoughts while sleeping at a Russian gas station

A few days ago I had a bright idea. Instead of taking the train from Penza to Moscow, why not rent a car and take a road trip?

This idea became reality and we were on our way before sunset. With Olga, my trusty girlfriend driver behind the wheel, I felt mostly safe (she's actually not a bad driver all things considered). The trip through lesser-known parts of Russia was... interesting. There's lots of farmland, forests, and truck drivers.

One of the interesting things along the way for me was a rest stop that sold chess sets made from Russian prisoners. Apparently, the mafia uses prisoners for manual labor. I could be wrong about that. But either way, I'm picking one up on the way back. A handmade chess set would be a good gift for my friend's wedding in August.

With 2-3 hours left to go before reaching Moscow, we decided to take a break and nap at a random gas station. It was safe, of course. The place was well lit with a security guard and cameras keeping a lookout. Surprisingly, I got a decent 3-4 hours of sleep. We woke up and made it to Moscow, just in time for her visa appointment.

By the way, the only car available for us in Penza was a beat-up Chevy. As I write this, our hunk-o-junk is parked between a Bentley and Mercedes. Which I found hilarious since we’re staying at a 5-star hotel, the Radisson Collection — a place I highly recommend should you ever be in Moscow. 

This recent journey got me thinking about how making money isn't always about luxurious living. It’s about having the freedom to go on random adventures whenever I’d like and with whomever I want. Experiences, not things, that matter the most.

The good news is should anything have gone wrong, I had internet access. The service I use, Google FI, provides data on my smartphone wherever I go. It's so convenient having internet access as soon as my plane lands, no matter which country I'm in. No worrying about sim cards and buying data like most travelers. The plan costs anywhere between $29-$100 a month depending on how much you use LTE. You get 5 gigs free with the basic plan. Google FI used to only be available for Google Pixel phones, but now I think it works for iPhones too.

You can learn more about Google FI here.

Raymond Duke

Raymond Duke