“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Inspired by these words of Mark Twain, one of my favourite American writers, I once realized that if I want my dream to become reality, I need to act. All I had to do is to take that very first step out of my “safe harbour” and it would lead me towards my dream. For years, I’ve been dreaming of visiting the sacred Lake Baikal. To make this dream come true, I hitchhiked more than 5200 km alone, and then another 300 km together with my dear sister Sin from Ulan-Ude, and finally, on January 19th, 2009, I saw Baikal.
I‘ve been dreaming about visiting Ivolginsky datsan since the time when I watched a short documentary about Hambo Lama Itigelov. Seeing the beauty of the temple, I decided that I have to go there no matter what. Ivolginsky datsan is the spiritual capital of the Buddhist traditional sangha of Russia. The monastery is located in Republic of Buryatia, Russia, about 30 km from Ulan-Ude near Verkhnyaya Ivolga village. On a sunny winter day me and my friend from Ulan-Ude, Sin, took a bus from Ulan-Ude to Ivolginsky datsan.