Wednesday Jun 17 2009
World traveler publishes book
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
Growing up in Denmark in the early stages of the Cold War, Lincoln resident Jonas Porup always viewed Russia with fascination, dreaming one day of traveling across its vast landscapes. Porup fulfilled that lifelong dream in 2003 when he embarked on a 10,000-kilometer trip from Moscow to Vladivostok on the storied Trans-Siberian Railroad – the subject of his book, Remembering Russia, now for sale. “I enjoy travel,” said Porup, 70, who has been to 116 countries. “I have much more travel to do” There are more than 80 countries Porup still wishes to visit. In addition to Porup’s fascination with Russia and its history, he also studied railroad history, learning that the United States’ transcontinental railroad junction was completed just a few years before the similar system in Russia. “I thought, I need to go and have a look at this,” Porup said. That prompted Porup to get in touch with a travel agent and book passage on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Detailed in Porup’s 70-page book are his experiences on that journey, which include researching the fate of the Romanov family, visiting Volgagrad – better known as Stalingrad – to see the site of one of the most ferocious battles in history, buying food from the locals at remote railway stops and being subjected to police interrogation. Being a senior citizen hasn’t kept Porup from following his dreams, and his next adventure will be an 850-mile trek across the Pyrenees mountains from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean – on foot. “People have done that for thousands of years,” Porup said. Porup, a retired airline crewman, has degrees in world history, African studies and gerontology, the study of aging. For the past 18 years, Porup has been a ballroom dancing instructor, a skill he has been able to market to cruise ships. Porup just returned from his 70th cruise, which took him once again to Russia. Teaching ballroom dancing on cruise ships has allowed him to travel for free, but he also gives private lessons to singles, couples and groups. “Everyone should be dancing,” Porup said. “it’s good for your health.” Porup doesn’t hold regular classes, he explained, because it would hinder his ability to travel at will. Despite visiting some of the most glamorous cities in the world and crossing the Atlantic 200 times, Porup has lived in Lincoln since 2005. “I have to live someplace, and Lincoln is a well-organized community and the people like it,” Porup said. In addition to his planned trip to the Pyrenees, Porup hopes to return to Kalimantan – also known as Borneo – to spend 24 hours in the jungle with orangutans. On a previous trip to the jungles of Kalimantan, Porup broke his foot, which kept him from carrying out his goal. The well-traveled author does have some advice for those going abroad. “When you go and visit another country, you are invited to be there,” Porup said. “See it and enjoy it, and when asked, always say you love it. Praise what you see where they dwell.” Porup’s book, Remembering Russia, is available online at Amazon.com for $9.79. The book – as well as private dancing lessons – can also be had at a slight discount by calling Porup directly at 543-3302. “Nothing is impossible,” Porup said. “I encourage people to travel by train and do whatever you want to do.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.