Journeys of Discovery: Cal Poly professor's journey to the invisible Republic of Trans-Dniester

Aug 21, 2020

With travel adventures limited due to COVID-19, Cal Poly adjunct journalism professor Katya Cengel takes us on a different sort of trip – to a country that does not technically exist. Reality may seem surreal at present, but in the former Soviet Union where Cengel lived earlier this century there were enclaves such as Trans-Dniester—and even though the little country was complete with its very own president, according to the surrounding countries, the little country does not exist.

Long before tourism at Chernobyl became trendy, Cengel was downing homebrew vodka shots with babushkas in the exclusion zone surrounding the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. While there, Cengel decided to take a side trip to Trans-Dniester, to explore the country that technically doesn’t really exist.

To explore more of Cengel’s post-Soviet adventures check out her award-wining book, Chernobyl with Love: Reporting from the Ruins of the Soviet Union.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.