We Crossed the Planet, on Our Own, to be Together Elena and Meg header
Home  →  What we did

What We Did

The two of us were living our lives on opposite sides of the world. In Russia, I was forced by my mother and society to abandon my dreams and marry a man. Meg too was uncomfortable in her world. Then we met each other online.

Meg at home in Victoria
Elena at her home in Ivanovo, Russia

Meg blew my world to pieces. We got to know each other better, and seeing for the first time in my life an example of the woman who lived her life the way she wanted, I myself, started craving that freedom.

I ran from my home in Russia to Kiev, where Meg and I saw each other for the very first time. Two weeks later my parents attacked us and kidnapped me in an attempt to drag me back to Russia. I had to forget Meg, had to return home -- back to my jail. I felt I had to obey my parents and my society as I did all my life, but by then I loved Meg and I had tasted freedom. During those first few weeks with Meg in Kiev I lived my life the way I wanted it. It was truly MY LIFE. I adored Meg, and for the first time, I loved myself. I refused to go home.

Elena is held by her parents, Ukraine, photographed by Meg

By choosing my freedom over the life and the role my country demanded me to carry out, I condemned myself to exile. There was nothing for me to come back to in Russia. My home in Ivanovo was lost for me. My parents would lock me up, I would never see Meg again and would lose my life. Russia also no longer existed for me as a concept of "home". It was anything but home. My society was chastising and destroying me for not wanting to be a wife and mother.

Our allowed time in Ukraine was running out. Meg and I had to be somewhere. Russia was out. There was only one place for us to go -- to Meg's home country.

I had no visa for Canada, couldn't get it in Russia and the conventional way getting to Meg's home by plane or commercial transport was denied to us. We looked towards the sea as the only possible option.

Meg and I got out of Ukraine and went to Turkey. There Meg found and bought a sailboat she thought was suitable for a long offshore passage. We prepared the sailboat the best we could, and two months later we headed into open Mediterranean.

Meg had done some day-sailing on a little boat in British Columbia. I knew nothing about sailing or the sea. But we survived in the sea one day after another, and we were covering miles.

Elena and Meg cross Meditereninan sea

We crossed the whole Mediterranean from East to West. When we were not allowed to make a stop in Gibraltar we headed into Atlantic without charts, repairs or rest. We crossed the ocean, then Caribbean. We were lucky Panama let me in, and we slipped into Pacific via the canal.

Elena and Meg in gulf of Tejuantepec
Elena and Meg in North Pacific

Then there was more days, weeks and months of sailing. We got to the latitudes in North Pacific which nearly killed us. We ran from winter storms, avoided the deadly quadrant and headed North again. One day I saw a pale gray strip on the horizon. That was Vancouver island.

The day Meg and I headed into Mediterranean sea completely changed our lives. In the sea we have become free. Truly free. We liberated ourselves of social programming, self doubt and most importantly fear. We lived one day after another and realized that WE ARE THE MASTERS of our lives. That very freedom, the need to live OUR OWN lives calls us from then on. The world has become our home. Our home is us and what we love and that is not an address. We love each other and we love the world. We are telling our story in our books. In the mean time, we go on experiencing and loving every moment of it.

Elena and Meg at Cape Cod

Our books

Escape photos

People write to us from all over the world

News media featuring our story

Short film we made

We are still running

megs book, elena and meg, cover
Meg tells the story of the run for our lives
talking to the moon, elena
Elena tells her story of standing up

⇦ Home   ⇧ Top