I guess it is only appropriate to start this new journey by talking a bit about myself and what I want to achive with this blog. Let’s start in the present and then go back to where it all started. My name is Maria, I am a 24 years old (soon to be) archaeologist, based (for now) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. But now , because of the Coronavirsu pandemic, like a lot a people around the world I am stuck in my hometown with lots of time to remember the days when „the grass was greener and the light was brighter”.
Because I had so much time to reflect on the past I started wandering where it al started. Why do I love traveling so much? What is it that makes me want to spend my last penny on a trip rather than buying something nice? Why do I have the guts to jump on a plane to the other side of the world all alone? And most of all, why do I find it strange when people seem to think it is an act of courage rather than something completely normal ?
To answer all this questions I guess we have to go backto where it all started, my first trip. Actually, my second trip. My first trip was back in 2005 (so I was 10) in Austria. And of course I loved it! Just think about it, take a child that barely left their hometown and let the roam around Vienna during Chrstimas, I was mesmerized! The lights, the colours, the food, the smells, everything was new and amazing. But I feel like the stepping stone for me was my trip to Crete, Greece. There where a lot of firsts on that trip. First time flying, first time on an island, first time traveling around by car, first time visiting ancient ruins. And looking back on it I feel that those two trips kinda shaped my trivel wishlist till this day!
Advancing a little further into my travel timeline, to my first trips outside Europe, and that is Tunisia (2007) and Egypt (2009), I can’t seem to get over the fact that I was so lucky to first discover Northern Africa as a child. Not only because it is so different from what I was used to, whitch I think led me to me a more tolerant and open minded person, but also because it is such a magical place. Traveling on the Nile, seeing the majestic temples still standing, hearing all the stories about pharaonic period, it was like living in a fairytale. I guess that was the point when I realised there is so much more to this world than I thought before.
Now, before everyone gets bored, I feel like I have to talk about one of my favourite coutries in Europe, and the place where I grew as a person and where I learned a lot about traveling and about myself: Czech Republic. I first went to Prague in 2012, and I had the same feeling I had about Budapest, it was so beautiful that it seemed unreal. I mean I saw gothic buildings before, but Prague is something else. Still this si not the trip I want to talk about, but my second time in Czech Republic, back in 2017. So this is after finishing my second year at uni, when I decided to apply for an Erasmus Placement and luckly I got accepted, so I moved to Hradec Králové for the summer. This is the first time I realised I can be independent and do the things I really wanna do. Living in an international environment changed me as a person. Actually staying in the same building with other people form all around the world and working with some of them facilitated communication, and because of that I got to learn a lot about them, and about the places they come from, and also got to visit Poland for the first time, thanks to my polish friends, which were nice enough to host us and show us around. (Lukas and Sylvia, if you read this, I miss you guys, and thank you for the good times we had.). Another important event that summer is my first solo trip! (hurray!). I remember it like it was yesterday. I really wanted to go to Dresden one weekend but all my colleagues had planned a trip to Terezín which was a concentration camp during WWII. For some reason I was really stuck on the idea of going to Germany, but no one wanted to join me, so in the morning we were supposed to go to Terezín, I woke up, booked a hotel in Dresden, took the first train to Prague, then jumped in another one to Dresden and that was it. It was easy, it was fun and I gotta do it my way.
Since my Dresden trip, I traveled solo to 10 more countries, and God knows how many cities, and I fell in love with it! A lot of people wonder why. Some assume I have no friends, or even worst, that I hate being around people, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am lucky enough to have friends all over Romania and the world, and every time I travel I get the chance to gather a few more. I love my friends, and I do enjoy traveling with them, but I also love meeting new people, which is way easier when you travel alone.
But enough about the past, let’s talk about the future. Because I had the chance to see so many beautiful places and meet so many intresting people, I decided I had to try and tell their stories. I want to share my travel itineraries and tell you about the places I love the most. In part because I feel that at this point I have enough experience with traveling and I can give good tips and trick, but also because I don’t want to ever forget it. Also because I miss and admire the people you saw above, and a lot more I did not get to mention now, I want to start a series of interviews so you all get the chance to meet them, learn about their travels and hopefuly like them as much as I do. And last but not least, I wanna talk about food. I don’t know abut you, but whenever I get home from trip, it is not long until I start missing the local food. So I will talk about the best street food places ( sorry, I am not fancy) and how to recreate that food at home.
So guys, if you made it this far, I wanna thank you, and I hope you will enjoy future posts. And to my friends, I miss you all, and after the world gets back to normal, we need to meet again!