Do you remember the first time you pack your bags and felt ready to go out there and see the world through your one eyes/perspective? We can sit at home and travel with our dreams too, but the action is what brings us the adventure and the filling that we actually learned something by experience. I grew up in Romania, in a small town in the north-east and I had no idea how big was the world until I have read my first adventure book. It was the Romanian writer Constantin Chirita and his series “Ciresarii” that inspired me to beg my parents to allow me to go to summer camps since I was maybe 10 years old. Then Mark Twain was the next on my list and I discovered that they are oceans to see, different cultures and my imagination was on fire.
I start to dream a kind of life for me far from the small place I have lived, not because is something wrong with it, but because I become soon an experience junkie. I still remember the summer camp in my very early years with a big fire-pit and with wild horses that were so excited about our presence there in the middle of nowhere that they started to kick our door during late night. I loved everything about that trip, the small poems we used to recite by the fire, the friendship, the connection we had with the other kids in the camp. All this was possible because I am blessed with an amazing family and they believed I can take care of myself on a new environment and would not be scared about the head lice I might come back with – as a gift from them 😀
My first travel outside the country was when I was 19 (could sound so late for many of you) but considering my context and age I was an early adopter. I had to apply for a Schengen visa at the Greece embassy and luckily my lovely auntie, that I was visiting, send her man inside to have a chat and issue the visa on time for our journey. I have seen marvelous places and those 3 months were another beginning for me. One of the places I really recommend from that trip is Vouliagmeni lake, you can see some pictures on the link below:
As per today, I have seen around 61 countries (count made by a friend that we have some sort of competition) and I am always in the mood for new discoveries. I like to travel alone and mingle with locals, to taste strange food (like some awful spicy donuts in a Divali festival in New Dehli), to be inspired by musicians and follow them in strange places. I trust people wherever I go and that is my gift and reward at the same time. I have seen hidden treasures, sunrise in the desert with receptionists, tea on the mountains with simple people but warm-hearted. I really believe Earth is a safe place and fear is just a tool we need to work so that we can overcome it.
I have tried scuba-diving in the best seas of this world, paragliding on the mountains, snowboarding, sand-boarding, kite-surfing, paddle-boarding, flying in helicopters and small planes, down-hill cycling from 4700 meters and one of the biggest zip-lines in Peru. If there is a new activity I have missed I probably tried or is on my list. I believe fear is now my constant friend and even some of you might consider me crazy I believe is better to live your fears than constantly wondering how they are going to be overcome. I have a bit of claustrophobia, so toilets in plains used to be a challenge until they become just a bit annoying. I like to discover parts of me that I did not know in different situations and to push the limits around my personal walls. I am not a hero of any kind, just a very keen learner and I tend to believe that the biggest gift we have as humans is to adapt to new situations. But remember we need to put ourselves in new situations, otherwise, we are going to be in the same place for a long time.
I don’t have a favorite country from the ones I have seen, I love them all with their particularities and with their people and eccentricities. I felt that more I travel more I meet people like me, everywhere on this planet. People that mean well, curious to allow you as you are in their different culture, society, mind perspective. You should never trust the news-media and go see it on your own and feel it with your own gut. We are all the same with good and bad. Of course, I have been robbed in Chile but at the same time, in Romania, at least 3 times and friends from South-America were robbed in London, so everywhere are some bad seeds. But in my case, those people never put me off traveling or enjoying the rest of their country.
So I guess I am a strong advocate of my favorite passion and is sad for me when people choose to go every year in the same sea resort, with food similar to the one home and plenty of alcohol to help them forget why they are even there in the first place. But could be that some of us expand their world in different ways than mine and jugging is not helping either of us. There is a big world out there and my case today for it, is that is beautiful because is different but then again so much alike.
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin
Do not forget to use my comment section as I like to read your thoughts on this subject. How do we make people travel more and feel safe when they do?