S5E6: How WiFi Sprung Me from a Russian Prison – Juliana Dever: Actress | Russophile | Traveler

Can a person sustain their life on their passions? Can you do what you love and live off of it, too? It’s the perfect road to go down, and one that travelers often find themselves seeking. Juliana Dever has found the path. A travel blogger and an actress from the television series Castle, Juliana has thrown herself into world traveling and drawing experiences from her fears. When she’s not acting, she’s traveling, testing her limits. A self-proclaimed Russophile, Juliana Dever has had a fascination with Russia since childhood. She wants to act and travel, and has found a way to maintain this lifestyle, doing what she truly loves. Keeping that life of travel up is possible, and Juliana can prove it. “If you never meet a stranger,” Juliana says, “then that’s all they’ll ever be to you.” The world is your oyster (and to Juliana, Russia is the pearl).

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How WiFi Sprung Me from a Russian Prison

The second time Juliana Dever went to Russia, it was as part of a language class. She was given the option to stay with a Russian family, which she took, it being a great opportunity and all. She had visions of laughing around a dinner table, speaking Russian; her reality, though, was a young man who spoke absolutely no English, herself, who spoke very little Russian, and nobody else. Already in a confusing situation, she was with this young man who was very much immersed in that bachelor lifestyle: keeping to himself, leaving out pasta and ketchup for dinner, which was a rocky start to Juliana’s stay. However, the chaos of the experience culminated in her getting locked in her bedroom one day with no way to contact her host. A bit of WiFi, a well-timed email to her friend Rachel, and some frantic Googling helped her survive.

Why Should I Travel to Russia?

Juliana Dever is a self-proclaimed Russophile, and it shows in how she talks about Russia and her time there. Juliana is lived in Russia twice, the first time being for a couple of months in the winter, training with the Moscow Art Theatre. Growing up, Juliana was incredibly and inexplicably attracted to Russia, which didn’t make a ton of sense for her as a little girl growing up in rural Missouri. She considered the idea that she might be a reincarnated member of the Romanov family; after she went to Russia, made peace with it, and released it, she felt as though she was able to move on. For Juliana, Russia was like a painting in her head before she actually went. When she got there, though, all of a sudden, it crystallized into a glowing, beautiful, mythical place that hardly seemed real to her. Russia was what dreams were made of, for her. The smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes – all are so hard to put into words, but they make up what Juliana loves most about Russia and about travel.

How Do You Make a Living Doing What You Love?

Juliana Dever believes that travel is about being in the moment. There is a lot of crossover between her interests – travel and acting – and thinks that these both lend a lot of credibility to that belief. If you can completely open yourself up to experiencing a story, as well as to telling a story, then you open yourself up to travel. Stories are the way that people connect. Juliana exemplifies this by sharing a story of her dance-off with Rolf Potts a couple summers ago in Paris. Juliana loves to travel, to build these experiences, to make these connections and tell these stories. “I’m not selling anything,” says Juliana, “except for embracing the fear and getting out there and traveling.” She tells about how her natural progression from a love of travel led into her becoming a travel blogger, a process that has been about enthusiasm and fear for her. Fear is her motivating factor, because she knows that experiences are better than the fears that try to stop her. She is more interested in confronting fears than she is in conquering them. Hayden and Juliana encourage stepping out of your comfort zone and utilizing your vulnerability; this can lead to experiences that you’re proud of and incredible stories you can share.

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