Travel to me is like air that I breathe and would die without. To me is all worth it to put in 70-80 hour work week and work weekends just that I can travel. My preferred choice of travel is immersing in the foreign culture, living with locals, eating like them, thinking like them and interacting just like them. Travel frees me from the grind of daily routine. I love to explore new places, meet new people, try new foods and learn things about the world – and myself – that I never imagined were possible.
The joy of new experience is the most wonderful thing about travel – and new experiences are free or at least inexpensive. Walk the streets of a city. Stop and chat with a local. People watch in a public park. Climb to the top of a hill and watch the sun set over the ocean.
It is possible to travel the world inexpensively. It requires some advance planning and the willingness to seize opportunities and go with the flow. I have travelled every summer while I was a student and on my own money!
My new experiences began when I moved to Canada at age 19. I had a language to learn, get education, job and grow up very fast. It took some struggle and few years and I did it! Meanwhile I have travelled to other places for different reasons:
I traveled because I needed to get away – too much stress, too many pressures at home and at work, a sometimes unexplained need to turn your back on life for a time. My first experience of all inclusive trip was to Cuba when my relationship ended and I was lost. My friend came to my rescue with a ticket and said you need time off. It was the best thing ever. I connected to the simple life locals live, nature, and saw the spark for life in their eyes and realized there is a way out of my sorrow. The turning point for me was when a local guide asked a question: You are beautiful, healthy, on vacation and we are here at your service and yet there is so much sadness in your eyes? At that moment I decided to let go of my old life and never look back. The only proof I have left is a painting that I bought in Havana of a sad face…and it is not my face anymore!
Two years ago I was shopping for a new life so I decided to visit Costa Rica and Argentina. Costa Rica was pre-amble to grand adventure in Argentina. I felt safe traveling through beaten path in a Beautiful but overdeveloped Costa Rica where rain forest doesn’t get clouds as they used to and parks are full of people. After I warmed up in Costa Rica I went to Argentina with an idea of searching for a new home. I wasn’t comfortable with my life at that time so I wanted to trade it. What I found was a beautiful country, where passionate people care about their family first before themselves or work, where a stake is so delicious that just thinking of it I drool like a cat looking at a raw fish, amazing wine and passion everywhere… politics, economy and day to day life. I decided to bring some of that passion in my heart and live with it in my daily life no matter where I live.
People travel because is a great way to acquire a new skill. One of the travels I want to make is learn Spanish in Spain or Latin America and French cooking in France. Wow! Just thinking about it I get Goosebumps!
This summer a friend of mine will join me on my visit to Lithuania to trace her family roots and uncover her ancestry. Well anyone who is connected to Lithuania one way or another are cool enough people to hang out with me So join me there this summer!
Backpacking is a great way to get fit. You almost have no choice – all that walking to far-off beaches and on hiking trails, carrying a backpack and simple sports like snorkelling and swimming will probably help shed the pounds and build the muscle. I lost some pounds of unwanted fat while backpacking in Argentina and I ate great steaks, ice cream and dolce de leche and Bariloche chocolate whenever I wanted. More than just getting fit, backpacking can be an extreme adventure – mountains to climb, gorges to traverse, bays to kayak across, flying of the mountains. In Bariloche I got lost in the mountains all by myself. Oh it was a scary moment! I climbed the mountain with two girls and since they stayed overnight at the top I had to descend by myself and just to spice things up I decided to take new route to go back. Well I took a route that was meant for climbers and not hikers. About 2 hours into my struggling climb I realized something is not right….I panicked for a moment or two… I was so lucky to find the old route and return to the bottom just in time for the last buss to town. Otherwise I would have had to sleep with bears…
Another reason I went backpacking to Costa Rica and Argentina is that I have never done it. I said to myself I want to experience this and it may be too late when I am older. I was right there are less people in their 40s or 50s carrying heavy bags and sleeping in hostels but definitely it is not an obstacle! What I learnt was that backpacking really makes you free. You have all your stuff on you and even if you loose it there are so many fellow travelers that are more then happy to share what they got. Life becomes very pleasant and simple. I still remember the sweet taste of afternoon nap after surfing in Santa Elena, Costa Rica. Wow surfing is so hard on the abs or mine are simply weak… I couldn’t even laugh the next day but I hey I was able to get up on the board on the first day of my learning! Another aspect of this travel was perfect serendipity. I set intentions to what I wanted to see or do but never planned just went with the flow. The result was that I attracted perfect people and perfect situations when I wanted it. I was open to the flow. I asked myself how can I do that at home in my daily life?
You may have a yearning for a different culture than your own, a curiosity for faraway lands. Perhaps you’ve studied history or archaeology, or you’ve read foreign authors and dreamed of following in their footsteps. That was Russia for me. The land of power in my first 14 years as Lithuania was under the Soviet rule till 1991, the language that I speak and read, and the literature I can appreciate and relate. I can still remember standing in the square of Winter Palace in Ste. Petersburg and feeling the grandness of the history and architecture. To feel the art, history and people you need to live there for few months because every house and every corner has a story to tell you. I had a mere 1.5 days and still summer palace of Czar to explore.
I get inspired the second I get on the plane. I am not sure if the air pressure has some affect on my brain or more my blood flow! I have traveled over 6 times in the last two years to California. It is long enough flight to start dreaming and writing different ideas. Oh that strong feeling of airplane take off becomes the beating of my heart. I feet at the top of the world so I make big plans for my life. Upon return home I achieve maybe a quarter of it but still I inched closer to where I feel I want to be. [That feeling changes often so that is why I have to travel often to find new direction ] California has something special about dreaming and living it to the fullest. Everything is possible! I have no limits so nor you!
Perhaps you need to make connections – to meet people of all sorts, from all over. This helps us feel like members of the same human race. That is of course Lithuania for me. I connect to my roots through my family and friends. I reconnect and remember who I was as a child and what life was. Baltic Sea offers gorgeous beaches and turbulent cold water. I love to take long walks on the beach when the sun is setting. Sunsets are very long and the sea is loud and powerful. I feel space in my heart as all limitations are washed away, I can’t hear any of my negativities, the only thing I feel is connection to a homeland, freedom and power of myself and earth. For that particular moment I feel I connect to who I am and I can access that connection anytime no matter where I am.
Seeking Adventure and adrenaline That would be doing paragliding in Mendoza mountains, Argentina and white water rafting level 4 in Costa Rica, sky diving. What else can I share with those who know how the adrenaline rush feels and how you wanna do it again and again!
Maybe it’s a question of taste, of taste in every way – tasting unusual foods, of course, but also a taste for new and different colours, shapes, scents… That is France for me! I and my girlfriend and her French boyfriend had 4.5 days in Paris to visit everything popular and must see. So we did set ourselves to long days of walking and skipping lunch so just we can check off our list of famous places and take photos. I can’t say it wasn’t great but I cannot remember joy of the moment…feeling what people were feeling, smelling croissant or watching local people go on with their daily lives. I was simply tired of walking and hungry. From there on I promised myself not to do this again. So few years later I returned to enjoy real Paris. I lived just like French did. With ease and joy visited only selected places, spent afternoons in cafes people watching, chatted with locals, and had 5 hour brunch with a friend’s family. ..cheeeese, sausssssison, baguetteee, wwwine and all that French are famous for…
A trip is often a quest. Over years of travel to nearly 20 countries, my external adventure slowly became an inner quest for serenity. I left to get away, propelled by my wanderlust, and learnt the art of being rather than doing. Finding myself has been part of my quest. I went from trips like visiting Austria, Germany, Poland, Czech, Italy in 10 days to trips where I stayed in one place for few months like South France and Argentina.
Through travels I learn about other cultures and other people and I see places but what I really learn is – who I am. I learnt about myself and different aspects of me that each country unwrapped out of me. World is like a big puzzle and I am the explorer who is seeking to fit smaller pieces so the picture makes sense. There are so many more unexplored pieces yet to find…
So go experience it you maybe delightfully surprised by who you find there!
Just my personal experience