Hello Everyone! My name is Christine and I'm trying to raise money to travel to Yasnaya Polyana, Russia, the home of Leo Tolstoy. The former home of this Russian literary rockstar, it's now a writer's house and museum. The location is 12 kilometres southwest of Tula, Russia, and 200 kilometres from Moscow. Tolstoy was born in the house, where he wrote both War and Peace and Anna Karenina. This has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and I've spent years studying Tolstoy and his books as well as the Russian Language. However, like many people, funding travel costs can be extremely difficult, especially when you're one of those people who can't spend more than $25 a week on groceries. I have a simple job working in an art gallery and my education has left me with student loan debt which is more than my salary. Although I don't regret my education, this is the unfortunate reality for many people who have attended higher education these days. Consequently, a significant portion of my paycheck goes to paying my student loan bills, regular bills, and necessary commitments, obligations, and responsibilities that come with the reality of life. I also help my parents and always put them before anyone, anything else. I nearly lost my mother last year to a severe case of appendicitis which required emergency surgery and an extended hospital stay as well as my father who was in a head on car collision. He subsequently needed brain surgery to relieve pressure from a hematoma. As a result, I had to get a second job to make up for the loss of my parents' income. It was a real struggle. I worked 18 hour days and everything felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I have many dreams, hopes, and aspirations but there are days when I ask myself what's the point? I'm just being honest. Nevertheless, I wake up in the morning determined to accomplish a new set of goals and always wear a smile on my face no matter what mood I'm feeling. This is the first time in my life that I may have the opportunity to live my dream. To some people, my dream might not seem like a big deal but I feel such a deep connection to the writings of Leo Tolstoy as well as his philosophy. I feel like Yasnaya Polyana is calling my name. I have questions that can only be answered if I go there. It is a place that needs to be experienced, where the air needs to be breathed, rather than read about just in a book. Recently, I acquired my first Passport, and I hope this is the first place that I can mark it with. Any contribution helps no matter how small. As much as I would like to stay longer, I'll only book a trip for one week. Your contribution will help fund the cost of the astronomically-priced plane ticket, the hotel, museum tickets to the main estate at Yasnaya Polyana over the course of several days, travel costs between Tula, Russia (where the hotel will be) and Yasnaya Polyana which will be 8.5 miles from the hotel that I intend to reserve, my first suitcase (Yay!), and food!! Thank you for taking the time to read about my plight as well as any contribution and support you can offer! It means the world to me. And don't just help me make my dream come true, be a part of my adventure too!!