hidden europe 2

Everbrite and friends

by Nicky Gardner


A celebration of an improbable virtual community: Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree.

Sometime in May 2005, unless her productivity unexpectedly slips, an enigmatic figure called everbrite will post her ten thousandth message on the Thorn Tree. It may go unremarked by most of those who follow the Thorn Tree's internet based bulletin boards, but someone, somewhere will be hugely grateful to everbrite for answering their small query, and so gleaning a little of everbrite's encyclopaedic knowledge of Russia.

I have never met everbrite, though perhaps she and I have unknowingly rubbed shoulders in the queue for tickets at the railway station in some unsung town in the east. In real life everbrite is Ruth Imershein. She describes herself as "a little old lady living outside Washington DC with an indulgent husband." Quite how indulgent only devotees of the Thorn Tree's eastern Europe forum can attest, for it is here that, in a space of thirty months, everbrite has made almost 10,000 posts.

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