In Russia, no journey is embarked upon without first sitting on one’s suitcase.
Though the origins of this custom are disputed, its roots lie in savoring the moment. Whether it be to take time for a tender goodbye, to recall unpacked items, or to simply exist stranded in an airport, to sit on one’s suitcase is to reflect.
In the spirit of reflection, we seek to bring you unique insights into activities, people, places and food from our travels around the globe. As a Melbourne, Australia-based endeavour, our content will start locally. But bite-by-bite, step-by-step, and story-by-story we will seek to hold a mirror up to our experiences.
If you have content ideas or would like more information about anything on this site, please contact us at sittingonsuitcases at gmail.com.
Remember, you can’t take it with you.
In Russia, before you say farewell, there’s one last thing you must do: you have to sit on your case.
This is not a legal term, but one of the great traditions that perfectly reflects the Russian soul: the deep-rooted, heart-on-sleeve, warm, nostalgic, romantic Russian mentality.
If you have ever read a classic Russian novel or seen a movie of the Doctor Zhivago genre, you are familiar with one fact: Russians do farewells like no one else….
What happens is that the departing person sits down on or near the packed suitcase. Everyone present grows serious, silent and contemplative. The people in the room just stop to think. It is simply a few minutes’ reflection amongst people who will soon lose each other’s company for some time: ‘I will miss you’ – ‘I will miss you too.’
The Russian custom of ‘sitting on your suitcase’ is one of those simple, rustic, heartfelt traditions that ought never to go away.
~Tales of Hi and Bye, by Torbjörn Lundmark