Category Archives: General

I am a traveller, not a tourist

I am a traveller, not a tourist.

You are a traveller, not a tourist.

We love discovering places, experiencing their authentic side, going under the surface of what glossy tourist magazines show. Smell. Taste. Breathe. Explore.

That’s why we get along. That’s why we immediately click when we meet along the road.

We meet at bus stations, in hostels, at food markets, walking around small towns away from the main tourist paths, sitting on piers while watching the stars.

We talk about the meaning of travelling, the meaning of life, we exchange stories and experiences, we get richer every time, we feel part of a large community, of a family. We belong to the same soul group.

Back home we are often the quirky ones. The ones who never seem to fit in. Our approach to travel, our gypsy heart and our life choices set us apart from most of our family and friends. Comfort doesn’t do it for us. Neither does routine. We love adventure. We love exploring. We need to push our boundaries. We love the sense of freedom. We want to experience the world and learn from it. We crave for it.

That’s why we travel. That’s why we pack our bags so often and always go somewhere new, somewhere where we haven’t been before.

And on the road we meet other travellers. Other people like us.

To all my fellow travellers, to all the friends I have made during all my travels over the years: this is for you. This is a celebration of the spirit that joins us, of our times together and the memories we’ve made. It doesn’t matter if we spent one week, one day, or just one hour together: what we shared crosses boundaries of space and time, ignores our differences in age, nationality and background, and makes us part of a large community with unbreakable bonds.fb_img_1488070750981

Happy New Year 2017!!!

This January why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about things that happen. Then, on New Year’s Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year!
Below is my jar ūüėä

New Passport!

Yes! I finally have my new passport! (ok not the one in the image, I know…)
9 weeks since I booked the appointment at my consulate – this is standard waiting time apparently – I am now ready to go again :-)

With less than six months to the expiry date and hardly any blank pages left, the old passport had become largely useless. And to be honest, 2015 has been such a strange year that my travel addiction had dwindled a bit.

outofofficereplyonBut now I am staring at my new “toy” with renewed excitement! Browsing the internet for potential destinations and airfares, checking out TripAdvisor, downloading Kindle versions of travel guidebooks, day dreaming about hitting the road again and escaping the daily grind for a couple of weeks :-)

New adventures lie ahead!

Where do we go from here?

My travel & photography blog has been suffering. I have been neglecting it. 2015 was supposed to be another year of extended travels. Instead, I have only crossed the border twice and only for short trips.

Things won’t change much any time soon. I start a new job on Monday and my travelling will only appear in the form of a very long daily commute. I am dreading it already.
But hey, crossing London from one end to the other on a daily basis, and using public transport, is not for the faint-hearted! Brave hearts are required: jam-packed trains, frequent delays, and the long time it takes to reach your destination, leaving you with little leisure time. Can YOU do it?!

Maybe I can use the commute time to write more about past travels, work on new features for the blog, and update you with stories of London commuters. How about “Stories from the London Underground”? (mmmmm I am sure someone has done it already, but this time it will be MY point of view!)

So suggestions are welcome!
In the meanwhile, watch this space: my Out Of Office Reply may not be On, but this blog will continue :-)

Happy New Year!

And another year has gone by…
2014 has whizzed quickly. Gone in a blink of an eye.
Am I the only one who feels that time is going faster and faster?

It’s now time to look back, but only briefly, before moving onto the future and the adventures awaiting :-).

2014: the year of travels, the year of change. Early in the year I quit my permanent job and went travelling to Vietnam and Lao for several weeks. And I started this blog!
Upon returning home, I got a new – fixed term – job and kept the travel bug at bay by doing several short trips (Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Morocco).

As of tomorrow I will be unemployed again. I see this as an opportunity, rather than cause of despair. I have chosen to seize the opportunity. It’s time to think and consider options, and decide what is next.
How many of us use the start of a new year as the best time to reassess our direction in life? I bet there’s a few!

So let’s celebrate the new year ahead: may it bring happiness, self-fulfilment, and lots of travels to all!

I will leave you with this: a few years ago I spent New Year’s Eve on a Lufthansa flight to South Africa. When midnight struck, the pilot – after counting down from 10 to 1 – wished Happy New Year to all from the cockpit and then the plane went quiet. Not a glass of alcohol, not a hand shake between passengers, not a cheer. Nothing.
We fell asleep shortly after that. A few hours later we woke up as the plane landed in Johannesburg.

And now why don’t you share your story from a travel-related New Year’s Eve?

Merry Christmas!

To all my readers and followers:
I wish you a wonderful and happy Christmas!
May Santa bring you lots of travel-related gifts :-)

A curiosity: the photo is from the Nativity (Presepio) in the Church of San Francesco in Bologna, Italy (photo taken in 2005). Every year around the Christmas period, families visit this church to see the famous and ever changing Nativity. The large mechanical figures move slowly and their activities follow a day-night pattern, in a show that lasts several minutes and always leaves children in awe.

Escapism

What do you do when the pressure of daily life becomes too much? What do you do when you are not happy with all that is going on around you (or inside you)?

Do you treat yourself to a lovely meal in an expensive restaurant?
Do you indulge in chocolate icecream?
Do you go on a shopping spree and buy a new dress/handbag/pair of shoes/latest tech gadget (or all of them)?
Do you retreat in the arms of your loved one?

I will tell you what I do.
I book a flight.
And I go travelling for a few days.
(Well, not always. Or I would be broke)

 I have posted about my love for travels, planes, road trips, and the feeling of freedom they give me (check out Road Trip, On a plane and Boarding Gate). That is what I seek.

Last week I had enough of everything. Work was driving me mad. So I booked to have a Monday off just to give myself some space. A three-day weekend, mmmm, what’s the best use I can make of it???
I suddenly found myself staring at a map of Europe on GoogleMaps trying to identify potential destinations for a city break.
What European country have I not visited before? Where can I get a cheap flight to, at such short notice (i.e. 4 days)? Are flight times reasonable? Is there hostel availability in the centre of town? What currency would I need? Can I pack all I need as cabin baggage? Is my SLR camera ready?

An hour later I had completed my mission. Destination identified. Flight booked. Hostel accommodation booked. TripAdvisor cityguide downloaded on my phone. Bag semi-packed.

Four days later, at 3am, I was on my way to the airport for a three-day city break in Copenhagen!

On a plane

I am sitting on a plane.
Window seat.
Holding my mobile phone at eye level and shooting non-stop.
Marvelling at the scenery outside. Like someone on their first flight, like an absolute beginner. Despite the hundreds of flights already listed on my “traveller CV”, many of which long-haul.

plane window scenery
Photo 4

Then I sit back and let my mind flow.
Why does it all seem possible when you are on a plane? Dreams reappear from the back of your mind, ideas you had forgotten materialise again, and more powerful than ever. It is the clear air outside that clears the mind too? Is it that suspended feeling, when you are up in the air and look outside of the window and all you see is blue sky or fluffy clouds?

Then the pilot’s voice interrupts your stream of consciousness: “Cabin crew, prepare for landing”.

Fifteen minutes later you grab your hand luggage, switch off “flight mode” on your phone, and walk out into your next adventure.