2019 is almost over, and I want to take a moment and recap all the things I thought of and learnt in my travels and while I was home. And most importantly, I want to write down about travelling with an open heart and how that happened.
I am not a patient person, but over the years, I managed to evolve to a more patient soul and get though difficult or uncomfortable situations smoothly. The volunteering year helped me with this, and although I said it in many other blogs before, I want to mention it again, because volunteering changed my life. (in case you missed those blog posts)
Now, getting back to 2019 and its beautiful travels.
By this time, one year ago, I was browsing airline websites and found plane tickets for India. I was feeling super lucky because I believed the price was really good, but I was also frustrated because the KLM website keep on crushing and I couldn’t buy the tickets. Long story short, I managed to buy the tickets a few days later. It was around 450 Euro, Bucharest – Delhi, with 2 stops, and over 20h.
Travel with an open heart: India
After I bought the plane tickets, I had a tough time to convince my boyfriend to come (he was nagging me about buying the tickets and said he still has to think about it). Leaving that as a funny memory now, although it was a pain in the a*s at the moment, as the departure date was approaching, I remember how I got all terrified. I realised I don’t know much about India, and that I will soon find myself immersed in a completely different world.
That’s why we started watching YouTube videos and vlogs from other foreign travellers from India. That was basically our entertainment for the last week before the trip. It was exciting to watch the videos but also a bit weird. All I could think was “Will it really be like that?”. And the answer is “Yes.”
That’s why I decided to film most of our trip and post it on YouTube (this is the India vlogs playlist), as a daily vlog. It’s basically everything I shot and most of the things we did, raw and unedited, good and bad. It’s not just an exciting travel video, but a source of information and inspiration in case you want to visit India as well.
I also wrote on the blog about my experiences in India, so check them out if you plan to visit India:
First time in India – Everything you need to know
What to see in Delhi?
What to see in Jaipur?
What’s like to visit the Taj Mahal?
Kumbh Mela – The largest human gathering on Earth
The holy city of Varanasi
India taught me how to travel with an open heart, to pay more attention to people and everything that’s around me and to be grateful. And there are so many other things I can say about this trip, but they are only words to you, and some things need to be felt.
The short trip to the Czech Republic was planed only 1 week in advance, as I had no idea if I wanted to go. I had been to Prague some years ago, but this time, some fellow travellers invited me to another part of the country, Olomouc.
I was amazed to discover Moravia, with its beautiful people, many different types of beer and architecture.
Ukraine has become a dear country to me ever since I visited Odesa and Kyiv in 2018, for the first time. I fell in love with it, and I wanted to explore more of it.
That’s why, in May 2019, one year later, I bought plane tickets to visit Lviv. And I was stunned. I would go back and to any of the 3 cities, or just go and see more. Ukraine is on its way to becoming a major destination in Europe! (mark my words)
Read more about Lviv, Ukraine here: What you have to visit in Lviv and What Castles you have to visit around Lviv, Ukraine.
And check out my vlogs from Lviv, Ukraine.
New York City
Travelling to New York has never been a top priority for me, but we don’t always get what we want. It’s not a joke. It wasn’t a priority, but I had an opportunity to visit my cousin there and then it became my next travel destination.
To be honest, I was so consumed about getting the visa for the US, that I was unable to think about what I was going to do once I would get there. And so it happened that I got the visa for 10 years and one month later I was playing over the Atlantic. It as basically 3 days after Ukraine.
Oh, and what surprises were awaiting me. I had no idea. The moment I set foot in Manhattan, I was fascinated by this entirely different and new world, in which everything moves fast, talks fast, and nothing ever rests.
I remember telling myself that if I want to keep my back straight, visiting NYC is a good idea because all I could do it was to look up.
And then, 6 months later, I found myself in NYC once more, discovering its Christmasy decorations. This was because I found a really cheap low-cost plane ticket combination of 350 Euro Bucharest – New York, just 2 months before, on Kiwi. Sometimes, you got to travel where you can afford, and this was for me affordable at the moment.
After a total of about 4 weeks in the Big Apple, I realize I am too tired of big cities, and all I want is to rest. Impressive, nevertheless.
If you are even more curious, check out my daily vlog series from NYC from May 2019. December vlogs will come too.
Eastern European/ Baltic road trip
After May, I got nothing planned, and I stayed in Romania and mostly in Bucharest for the entire summer. Then, at the beginning of August, a road trip idea came to my mind.
It wasn’t what I first envisioned, but it ended up to be a great adventure, driving from Bucharest to Tallinn and back. I even made it to Helsinki for a day. It was one amazing experience, and I loved every day of this road trip. I would do it again next year, but there are other countries I want to see and drive to.
Check out my longest blog post yet, My detailed itinerary for a Baltic road trip which starts from Romania.
Gabrovo region, Bulgaria
In September, I was invited by the Gabrovo tourism board to explore their cities and write about them. And that’s what I did.
I was surprised to find so many stories and so much culture in these rather small towns. The landscapes are beautiful and there are more things to do, and see than in other biggers cities.
As I did travel to places in Romania as well, I count these experiences. I said it before and will say it now too: Travelling isn’t about flying to faraway places but to pursue a change of perspective and stepping out of your personal comfort zone. And that is possible in your home country as well.
As I finish this blog post, I realized I still have many experiences from 2019 to write about, but which will probably be the subject of next years’ posts.
2019 has taught me that moderation is good. This applies in the work I do, and also in the breaks I take. It applies to my diet, ideas, travels and basically everything. And I have learnt to accept it and not judge myself over not doing enough. Because that’s what I used to do. And still do, but every time I get such thoughts, I tell myself: I am enough.
I applied my open heart to and for myself as well. If I am now capable of understanding the world better (like I say I do), then I should be open enough to accept myself just the way I am and work from this point on.