Articles by Karen Dukess

Meandering Through an Emigre's Life

As a teenager in the Soviet Union, Vitali Vitaliev had a friend who wanted to avoid the draft by feigning a rare psychiatric disorder that he had discovered in a medical journal: dromomania, the irrepressible passion for aimless travel. This young man arrived at the recruitment office clutching a tattered map of the world, and began mumbling about his need to explore the coastline between Melbourne and Sydney. He was promptly pronounced unfit to serve. Years later, in a post-Soviet twist of fate, the friend in question was still living in Russia, having traveled no further than to the bottom of a vodka bottle, while Vitaliev was living in Melbourne, Australia, with a full-blown case of dromomania. The proud owner of ""the world's largest collection of Qantas socks,"" he was spending most of his time roaming through Europe and Australia not only because his job as a journalist demanded it, but because he felt a physical need to move.

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