Dasha Pakhtusova is one of the most popular travel writer and travelers in Russia at the moment.
Dasha just presented her first travel book called “Everything is possible. Notes in Travel” in Moscow, for which she asked me to write an abstract. We are old friends with Dasha. So old that I recorded my second travel interview in my life titled “The wild and the free” with her.
Below is Dasha’s direct speech about her first book project with interesting details and a few photos from the just an amazing presentation she held in Cultural House “Trehgorka” in Moscow, Russia.
— Hello, reader!
I present you my first book. This is a book of notes that I wrote from 2010 to 2017, being on the road and not only.
These are my thoughts, sometimes funny and silly, sometimes serious and philosophical. In these notes, many will find themselves, agree with something, argue with something, something just to feel and think about their own.
The book is absolutely unique in all respects and made so that it was pleasant to hold in your hands.
For this I turned to my friends, the Lviv, Ukraine, company “Miff Manufacture”, which makes notepads completely by hand.
Text and drawings are silk-screen printed, the old Chinese method, that is, with the help of a stencil, through which the paint penetrates onto the sheet. The ink is also applied by hand. Each book is handmade from “A” to “Z”. The pages alternate colors: white with black, just like life. The black sheets are denser, making it so easy to not crumple the book, even though it’s a notebook.
The illustrator is my favorite artist and close friend, Mimi Ilnitskaya. A mermaid girl with whom I once lived together in Bali, dreamed a lot and looked at the stars.
My first book publishing adventure ended about a month later. Tonight, July 8, 2017, the last copies in St. Petersburg and Moscow were sold out overnight.
The 350 books went to their addresses, from Alaska to Yakutia.
I sent all the letters myself, leaving good wishes inside. We had a long journey that started back in April, when I had to select 200 out of 632 notes, and it has only ended now.
Despite the fact that there were mistakes in the text, which we will definitely correct in the next print run, I want to say that I am really proud of this book. It came out exactly as I imagined it would. If it’s at all possible to imagine having a book.
It’s only now, as I sit at the window painted in speckled rain and look out at my plane, that I realize — I think we really did it. As the marks on my phone light up on your favorite pages, I realize that my prank has succeeded. I printed a book.
I want to say that it wouldn’t have happened without the craziest and kindest guys at Miff Manufacture. They put up with all my “I’m begging you, change the text here”, printed books all night long, and the night before the book launch in Moscow made arrangements with the conductors to take boxes of books to Russia — oh, that’s a separate story.
The only train from Lviv to Moscow refused them in every carriage afraid of such smuggling love, and they rushed to Kyiv.
The day of the meeting was coming, where I had to give out 300 books. You slept, I sat, and the fate of the books was decided on the platform. My guys were fighting for life and death until finally a certain conductor Pasha took all the boxes of books for an obscenely huge bribe.
In Moscow, we were already intercepting the train.
That’s how my title “smuggler of love,” printed by Vanya Kuznetsov on the cover of the abstract has officially proven itself.
When the day before yesterday I finally came to sign the paperwork for the publication of the main, main book about seven years of life on the road in the coolest travel publication in Russia, my editor took our book of notes and showed it to every colleague in every department with the words…
The woman on self-publishing did it! Do you even understand!
And while people at the presentation were flipping through and taking pictures of my book with a smile and interest, I kept repeating to myself, “Do you even understand?!” So, my answer was, “No.” I don’t understand yet. But the contract with the publisher has been signed, which means, if I don’t screw up, you’ll have the second book in your hands by winter. My novel with the whole world!
That’s the biggest dream I’ve ever had. That’s why it will be so scary to pursue it.
Text: Ivan Kuznetsov and Dasha Pakhtusova
Cover photo: presentation of Dasha Pakhtusova’s book in Kiev, Ukraine