The Lady with the Travel Bug

I’ve got this friend who seems to be traveling all the time. She doesn’t, of course, but she does travel a lot. Really. A lot. We’ve got a group chat in Skype that we use every day and I get tired just by hearing her latest travel plans. She’s a crazy woman and I love her, so I asked her, very nicely and not at all insistently, how she got this travel bug. Here’s what she wrote, mixed with annoying little comments from me.

Why I love to travel…

When my friend Irina asked me to write this post I was terrified. Not because she is a terrifying person, but because I have to write such a long text about something I love, but never really thought about expressing in words.

You see, I have a blog myself, where I write about all the journeys that me and my family share, but I mostly write about what we do, how we manage to get from one place to another and share interesting and sometimes important information about our destinations.

It is quite a different thing to try to explain such a big part of your life without having a particular talent in writing, not to mention the fact that English is not my native language. So, bear with me and forgive me for any mistakes and strange phrases I use.

So, why do I love to travel? I never really thought about it. It’s been such an essential part of my life for so long that I just accept it and move on. I suppose that (although it’s such a cliche) travelling and especially planing a new travel is the way I cope with the everyday stress and all the tasks that keep me occupied.

The feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you choose the next destination and dive into all the information that you may need is like nothing else. All the reading, searching through other blogs and fascinating sites, digging deeper into almost everything you find there… It feels like I’m an explorer finding new and exiting lands.

(Okay, I’m already tired.)

The fact that millions of people have found this land before me doesn’t bother me at all. It is that feeling that really keeps me going through all the horrible bosses, the awful work assignments and all the little things that crawl under your skin when you have a three-year-old toddler who wants to build a Lego tower at precisely the moment when you want to hide in the toilet just to have a few minutes for yourself…

But I got carried away – I love my family and I love to travel. I try to balance both of them as much as I can, so I travel with my family. Luckily, my husband tolerates me better that I would myself and indulges all my crazy plans. But lets start from the beginning.

( I sometimes wonder how he stands her but hey, that’s real love!)

My first travel was to the UK when I was 17 years old. As a person living in Eastern Europe in a post-communist country travel was always a dream of mine, but never felt really possible. It was that distant idea, which you think about when you go to bed but is so unreal and so “This would never happen to me” that you shove it somewhere in the back of your mind and trudge on in your everyday life.

And then one day, your school offers you the chance to go on a two-week exchange with a college in your favorite country. Oh, what a joy and thrill it was. There were 14 of us and we lived in the houses of students from the college. Everything was so new and so different that the first thing we did when we got off at Heathrow was to buy a Mars bar from a vending machine 🙂

(She’s not exaggerating. I had a strikingly similar experience in 1996 when I first went to England)

This was the first time that I saw something that was natural for others but for me it was only a thing from TV series and movies. I won’t bore you with all the things that I encountered for the first time on that trip but it sparked a fire inside me that is still very much alive and growing.

After that first trip, for a while I only traveled in Bulgaria, my home country. I didn’t have enough money, I was doing my degree at the Academy of Fine Arts,  nobody wanted to travel with me and so on and so on. There were too many reasons.

And then I met my then-future husband and the big journey began. First it was somewhere close, such as Greece, Romania and we always went on travel agency-organised trips. These trips consisted of a bus full of all sorts of people trying to make the most of a limited time in a foreign country and sometimes falling into tourist traps instead of doing any actual sightseeing.

After a few trips of that kind came the only natural decision: to plan our own journeys and to organised them myself. The first of these was to Rome and I will never forget it, not only because the plane tickets were some of the most expensive I’ve ever bought.

It was the first time my husband got on a plane and the second for me. After all the time I spent planning and worrying if everything will be OK I found out that this trip was one of the best things I’d ever experienced and I wanted it to last forever. It was no surprise that it went better that expected and the moment that we came back I started to plan a new one. And it’s been like this ever since…

(Mury organised our family trip to Denmark. She found the tickets, she found the AirBNB, all I had to do was to pay for all that. Best way to organize a trip as far as my sedentary brain is concerned.)

My friends and people close to me thought that my non-stopping mind would settle when we had our son but oh, what a surprise, it didn’t. Instead we started to travel even more: the first flight we took with the baby was when he was 5 months old. We traveled to Madrid, a four-hour flight that went so smoothly that it convinced us traveling with a child is a dream come true. It isn’t really, but travelling with a baby is a loooot better than travelling with a toddler.

With and without a baby, in these 10 years of intensive travelling we’ve been on 40 flights and have visited more than 70 cities in 18 countries. I started writing a blog, which is a new and strange feeling for me since I’m not a very social person, to share these experiences, and with the hope that my advice and travel stories are helping to start the same fire in someone else.

I’m not sure that I managed to explain why I love to travel but if you could just think about what you love to do most and how it fills your soul and keeps you happy for months – this is traveling for me. That little feeling of finding something new and exiting, seeing new places and, of course, don’t forget the planning of the trip — I love the planning.

There aren’t many people infected with the travel bug around me, but if you feel that it may be inside you, if your skin starts to tingle when you think of some destination or a particular place — just go for it. I promise you it will be marvelous and after all, what harm can be done?!

I have a sin to confess. Last year, I disappointed Mury by not getting the infection. We loved Denmark and we’re going again in a few years but traveling all the time? Not for me. But now she’s shared how it makes her feel I have a much deeper appreciation of her particular brand of insanity. I promise I will never again say “Going to Austria?! But didn’t you just get back from Malta?!”

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