Dear loved ones, sometimes I forget to tell you…

It goes without saying that those who have been or are in my shoes, and by that I mean, the well known travelling shoes, they will understand and know perfectly what I am trying to say here.

But this post it’s for those out there that don’t know it. This is for my loved ones at home, for my dearest and closest friends who I grew up with, or I have known for years and years. This is for everyone I will meet in the near and/or distant future.

It is time to come clean. I lied to you. No, that sounds bad. On certain occasions, I just voluntarily forget to tell you some things. Everyone who is far from home can relate to this, everyone has done it and everyone will do it. Whoever argues with me on this one is a liar! (or he/she will never leave home).

So, dear loved ones, sometimes I forget to tell you:

  1. that I had one too many tequila shots last night, so I am spending a whole day in bed with a hangover, rather than do any sightseeing or exciting things.
  2. that although I am an adrenaline junkie, sometimes all I want is to go for a walk in the park rather than a bungee-jump. I will do the exciting stuff as well. But not when you are expecting it.
  3. that I ate or drank something, which clearly didn’t agree with my stomach, and I spent several days being sick.
  4. that I fell in love.
  5. that it didn’t work out and I am now heart-broken, hence the tequila shots last night.
  6. that I met some unbelievable, amazing people who inspire me.
  7. that I met someone who is teaching me so much about life, and helps me see things in a new perspective.
  8. that I met some individuals who became close friends, and I confide in them, and I share my problems and my joys with them. But they will never replace you. My heart is big enough for all of you, for old and new friendships. They are here with me now, and I am with them.
  9. that I had a hard time adapting to a new culture.
  10. that sometimes I blame time difference for not speaking to you, when in reality I just didn’t feel like it. This doesn’t make me a horrible friend, it just makes me human, and I know our friendship is stronger than this.
  11. that sometimes I wish you’d be able to come and see me, and spend time with me. I miss you so much.
  12. finally, sometimes I forget to tell you that I have no idea when I will be home, and that I don’t want to stop this adventure just yet.

There are numerous reasons why travellers do this. But I will only attempt to speak from my own experiences.

I forget to tell you things because I don’t want to disappoint you. You all have an image of how great my life is, and probably for the most part, it actually is, and I love my life and what I am doing, but there are moments in which life sucks, and I don’t want you to know how hard it can get.

I don’t want you to worry too much. I know how much you love me, and you worry about my wellbeing, I don’t want to add any extra stress.

I am also afraid I might lose you. People change, I change. I miss a lot of important events back home, and on the back of my mind I always fear we might drift too far apart.

I don’t want you to think I failed.

I also don’t want you to think I replaced you, because I could never do that. And I want you to know that all your joys are mine too. And that I am here ( thanks to technology and all the social platforms) for you.

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Travelling has taught me a bunch of things.

Nowadays it seems that the internet is flooded with articles about travelling. What is the best way to travel, pro and cons of travelling, lessons learned while travelling. However this might not be the case. I am following dozens of websites and blogs related to travel, so this clearly has an impact on the sorts of articles I am seeing every day.

I travel. I do not often write about it, I do not always post pictures of what I see. This is by all means a personal reflection of certain things I noticed about myself and it is all due to travelling. I do not want to say that all my adventures changed me profoundly, because I don’t think they did. I had a very good idea of who I was long before I started country hopping, and that, at its core, it never changed. Nevertheless, travelling made some qualities, and equally some flaws surface more often.

I have read a bunch of articles about how the best way to travel is alone, or with a friend, or with a partner, or backpacking or luxury travelling. I have travelled alone, with my travel soulmate who is currently stuck in Sydney, with a partner, in a group. I went backpacking. I hitchhiked,  I slept in hotels, hostels, motels, air bnbs. I also slept on beaches and I camped. I worked abroad and I partied. Do not get offended but I do not think there is a perfect way to travel, if you want to travel you will do it anyhow, and what is comfortable for you is the perfect way to travel.

So, all this travelling I have been doing has taught me that:

  1. Where I am from, it does not matter, and I wish people would ask that less frequently. I am a Romanian living in England, and that is my home. There are certain parts of me which are truly English, and I would argue, certain parts do not belong to any country, Romania or England, but are purely me. Travelling made me realize the world is more diverse than we think. I have met a girl who was half Portuguese, half New Zealander, born in Hong Kong, living in Australia. New Zealand born, raised in Australia, living in America, Indian who lives in America, Syrian who lives in France. Individuals tend to say more than one country when asked ‘where are you from?’ because people might have the wrong impression about the country of origin or they simply identify with more than one culture.
  2. Travelling teaches you to be more open. Yes it does. But I was open before I started travelling. However, it taught me how to be more reserved, especially  in my private life. I learned that it is ok not to share everything, and it is more than fine to be the odd one at the hostel from time to time, if you simply want some alone time.
  3. Travelling taught me to eat things I simply do not like. I am not a fussy eater, and I have never been, however there are certain things I would rather die before I would buy or cook (maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean). Travelling erased that idea; you eat what you are being offered; even more so when the people you meet go through the trouble of cooking for you (my advice would be that if you are vegetarian, vegan or have any allergies, you should let people know in advance).
  4.  My story might be very good, but someone else’s story might be great. Meeting people is a great way to discover different places and get to know different cultures. Once you start travelling you are going to have amazing stories and people will be interested in your experiences and they will be impressed with your adventures but you will also meet individuals who will make you think that even though your story is great, their story is better. And they will feel the same. and you will accept that , because you will learn that there are not two people on this planet who travel the same, and every story you hear is as good as the previous one.
  5.  I learned I am very easily entertained and I am almost never bored. I do not need much, actually I would even dare to say, that providing everything is ok, I do not need anything to just be happy.
  6. Finally I learned that even though a good amount of people I met have a good reason why they travel, I do not have one, and that is more than fine. There are people who travel in search for spirituality, or in search of something they are missing, or in search of love, or they simply travel because of work, money and a million of other reasons, however I just travel, and I don’t know how to answer this question. I travel, and if I will ever find the reason why I do (if there actually is one) I will know then, but until that time comes I shall continue country hopping.

Your left, my right! After 3 weeks in Spain…

I have been living in Vigo, Spain for three weeks now. After the initial cultural shock that I had for the first few hours of my first day here, I am slowly getting us how things work around here; just in time for me to move again. Well..it happens. The first two weeks went very quickly, partly because my friend Maria was still here, and most of the times I was just following her without noticing anything around me. It is not that I didn’t want to notice anything, or I didn’t want to take my time to absorb everything that this little port town has to offer, I just never had the time walking with Maria on the streets. If anyone who reads this, knows my dear Estonian friend, they would understand that when it comes to walking, Maria has 2 speeds: very, very fast and extremely fast; so fast that in the last few days of her being here, I simply refused to keep up with her. I was walking behind her, and in her own words…’we looked like a broken family’. But nonetheless, she was very understanding when I kept asking her the same stupid questions about streets and how to get home. Then, my whole family came to visit, so again, no time for myself or to get used to my new environment, apart from, we were eating out every night so I was clearly exercising my Spanish.

However, this last week I have been by myself, and I am slowly starting to get used to Spain. I am starting to like the very hot sunny days, the little cafes and restaurants, the markets, the atmosphere. I have been working with 6 years old kids, absolutely lovely kids, and thanks to them my broken Spanish is getting better. Although the look on their faces when I speak half in Spanish with a bad accent and then half in English with my English accent, is absolutely priceless, nonetheless they get what I mean, eventually.

There are a few things that have amused me a lot since I got here, and I started interacting with locals, or people who have been here longer than me. Also, there are a few things that I learned from the Spanish, and a few things that Spanish people should learn from the other countries equally. Do not take this list as offensive, it is my personal take on it, and I think it is quite amusing.

1. All you need is enough money to go out drinking, you will automatically have food for free, and good food as well. We all need to love Spanish restaurants because of their free tapas, with any sort of drink you order.

2. Fresh fruit, fresh veggies, fresh fish. Enough said.

3. Siesta time. If at the beginning it is rather hard to adapt that half way through the day everything around you closes, soon you start enjoying that nice afternoon nap, which allows you to party more in the evening.

4. Crema Orujo. Which is by far my favourite alcoholic drink in the world right now, and if you ever come to Galicia, do not dare leaving without trying it.

5. If you are like me, or my dad, and you like to have cold drinks and also would like to be able to buy them in any shop, do not come to this part of Spain. Good luck finding a supermarket who serves cold beer or water, there’s none. Who on Earth likes to drink their beer at room temperature when there’s 30 degrees Celsius, goes beyond my understanding.

6. Spanish parents (please do not get offended, that is not my intention here), take it down a notch. Your kid will be fine if he is 5 years old and has a scratch or if he is playing in a closed park, in a summer camp without close supervision. It is not the end of the world. Your kids cry way too much, and they are way too overprotected…life is not getting any easier, but I am not a parent, so maybe I should not give any advice.

7. However, one more thing on the advice list, from a non-parent. Stop feeding your kids so much sugar. You have amazing food, amazing fresh season fruits. Having sugary cereals or biscuits for breakfast and then, having the same for a snack, or worse, such as cookies or muffins it is not the way forward. If you give a 6 years old child money to buy his own meal, you know what they are going to buy? 5 euros worth of chewing gum. Yes, you read that right. He is supposed to eat healthier than that, but then again, that is my personal opinion and I am sorry if I offended anyone. Also, it needs to be mentioned that this does not happen in every household in Spain, I am just giving a few examples which shocked me as an outsider.

8. Dear Spanish people, I know it is hot most of the year, but a kettle is a brilliant invention.

9. Also, I kindly suggest to stop starring so much at other people walking down the street.

All in all, my experience here has been amazing. I have two weeks left, and I am sure that by the end of it, I will ever so slightly miss Galicia…and I will clearly miss Crema Orujo.

House shots with hard boiled eggs.
House shots with hard boiled eggs.
Cies Island!
Cies Island!

My dear Maria!

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My dear Maria!