That phrase, "it's always too late," comes from this blog post at The Paris Review. The post is about travel guides, and obsolete travel guides, and places that change, and Myanmar.
I have reread that blog post again and again because something rings true to me about that idea, that for the traveler it is always too late. Where you are is not where you thought you were going; a place is not a picture, and places tend to defy capture by human records, whether those records are written, oral, or pictographic.
For the 2015-2016 Academic year, I will be teaching English in Russia. I have received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to teach at Leningrad State University, which is located in Pushkin, just outside the city limits of St. Petersburg. This blog will include some of my experiences in Russia, but in all likelihood will continue after my tenure as part of the Fulbright program.
This is not my first experience in Russia, or in the St. Petersburg region. I studied Russian for six months at St. Petersburg State University in summer and autumn of 2013. When I went to Russia for that trip I had all sorts of ideas about seeing old crumbling Soviet things and buying vintage cameras at flea markets. It was too late for that - St. Petersburg had moved on and was a vibrant metropolis full of hipsters. Which was great in its own way.
For my Fulbright year, I think I had all sorts of expectations about what kinds of ambitious projects I was going to accomplish as a teacher here. One of which was to start this blog before I left for Russia. Oh well - better a few weeks late than never. It's only been two weeks since I got to my placement in Pushkin, and it's already sort of what I imagined and also not at all what I imagined. I've heard that's the part of travel that's the most exciting.