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Major Story Points

  • Meg and I communicated for more than six months before I ran for Kiev. During that time I had to date a man my mother expected me to marry. When I fell in love with Meg, he blackmailed me to keep me dating him and threatened to disclose I was lesbian, which would stop me from getting to Kiev.
  • I decided to fight for my life imidiately after Meg wrote to me I don’t have to see a person I don’t like and that I should listen to my heart. Her own example played a crucial role in my personal liberation.
  • Everything hinged on my getting out of town without getting caught.
  • I thought no further than my arrival in Kiev. The most important thing was getting to Meg.
  • In order not to be suspected of escape and because at the moment I didn’t know if I would ever return home, I took only what fit into my little suitcase. To this day, these belongings is all I have left of my life in Russia.
  • After two weeks in Kiev, my parents kidnapped me and stole my passport. Without Meg’s intervention, I would have been dragged back to Russia.
  • My passport had been stolen: no commercial carrier would allow me boarding. Even had I my passport, getting a tourist visa, to travel to Canada, would require my going back to Russia, and my parents (my attackers). Russian police would side with my parents, not me.
  • The main goal of our trip was to be together. I had never — before Meg and I had to run for our lives — planned to flee Russia.
  • Meg and I fled to Canada, and not some other country, because Meg had a home there, and is a citizen of Canada.
  • We headed to sea from Marmaris, Turkey. It provided sailboats for purchase and I, a Russian citizen, could enter Turkey without traveling to a Turkish consulate in Russia to obtain a visa.
  • To purchase the sailboat that would carry us to Canada, Meg mortgaged her home in Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Only two months after fleeing Ukraine and landing in Turkey with nothing but the clothes on our backs, Meg and I took to the open sea with no way to turn back. It was Meg’s first time on open water. I had taken six one-hour sailing lessons in Turkey.
  • Heading for open sea from Turkey I didn’t doubt Meg, and she didn’t doubt me. Up to that moment we’d been together for 5 months and already couldn’t imagine life without each other.
  • Landing was forbidden by all en-route countries.
  • We were entirely unsupported. The ten months we’ve been at sea, nobody knew were out there.
  • Life threatening situations were a cause for concern; a SOS call would result in my arrest and deportation to Russia. Meg and I would be separated.
  • Meg repaired or jerry-rigged most equipment failures.
  • En-route, we survived an Atlantic hurricane, a storm-force outflow in the Mexican gulf of Tehuantepec, and multiple winter storms in the North Pacific.
  • Altogether, we covered 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) via sea.
  • The most terrifying moment for me was the night in North Pacific, hundreds of miles off San Francisco, when Meg and I got nearly killed by winter storm.