From: May 31, 2013 Sylvain Tesson (*) on The Guardian

stayed at Lake Baikal for the first time in 2003. Walking along the shore, I discovered cabins at regular intervals, inhabited by strangely happy recluses. Five years later I chanced to spend three days with a ranger in a tiny izba, a traditional Russian log cabin, on the eastern shore of the lake. At night we sipped vodka and played chess; during the day I helped him haul in his fishing nets. We hardly spoke, but we read a lot. That was when I promised myself I would live alone in a cabin for a few months before I turned 40.,,,,

(*) Sylvain Tesson is a bestselling travel writer in France. His book about his retreat, Consolations of the Forest, is published by Allen Lane

Photographs by Thomas Goisque

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