Friday, December 5, 2014

Thoughts of a kid who knows what he wants,but doesn't know how to get there(1)

9th of November,around noon, a bus going to Bucharest Otopeni Airport.There were hardly any people in the bus and the weather was foggy and somewhat depressing.The sound of whatever Romanian radio station was blasting through my headphones,as I was sitting with the small backpack between my legs.I was excited to be here. Not necessarily in the bus,but on the way to the airport,to my plane who will ultimately take me to Germany.Ok,not Germany,but Switzerland.But I would get to Germany the same day.

My phone starts ringing.I look at the name on the screen ."Mum Home".Great,I haven't even left the country yet and my mother is calling to convince me of something. I bought a return ticket for my trip but warned my mother that I might not use it and come a week later. Apparently she wanted me to not postpone my return and come back on the 19th,when I was supposed to.I had to attend classses,she said. Oh,did I forget to mention? I'm a student in my last year and have been away from home most of the time ,rather than being in the classroom ,carefully listening to what the lecturer had to say and pretending I'm interested and I actually care about the subject.

Yes,yes, I was stuck studying something I'm not interested in .Nothing new,it happens.The thing is I fell in love with a city(and unfortunatelly a man) who was some 2000 miles away.And I had no clue whether I should give up my studies now and blindly go to this country ,the language of which I had limited knowledge of and try to get a job with my limited professional experience or just resign and be depressed sitting in class every day for the next 7 months.

"That's why I'm going there now,to find the answer to such important questions" I told myself and the people around me everyday.

The bus finally arrived.I had already told my mum I can't promise her an exact date when I'll be back.My flight to Basel was pleasant,as pleasent as a flight with a low cost airline can be.Prior to leaving,I had writen down the directions of how to get from one train station to the other by foot.I've always preferred walking,it allowed me to discover the city so much better by either getting lost or walking in circles. This time,surprisingly, none of these happened and I reached my destination,the Basel Bad Bahnhof,bought a train ticket to Freiburg and told myself not to buy anything in Switzerland.It's too expensive. My first stop will be the small town of Freiburg, where I already had a host whom I had met for a walk a couple of months before. I spent the next 3 days exploring the small city ,encountering new things and awesome people,but somehow my thoughts always returned to Stuttgart,my hometown away from home....

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tourism- bringing the best out of the world!

As a young solo traveler, whenever I plan my next trip I somehow always end up focusing on big names on the map, such as London, Stockholm or some other capital city promoted on the Internet.I don't know how other travelers think, but I don't know if the small village of Sapanta  in the north of Romania( is somehwere on their travel list.Or the small town of Medjugorje in Bosnia&Herzegovina.
 Before turning 18 ,I went on many roadtrips with my father in my country ,Romania, and got to see almost all it has to offer.Yes,Romania is one of the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.And yes,it is behind Western Europe and the U.S. in many aspects.But what I have noticed in the small,poor villages I passed through were the tourists who realized that having a good holiday doesn't mean going to Paris. There were not as many as I wished there were but I think that Romania is slowly  progressing now that tourism is present.
I always feel like crying when I see a very old, modest- looking woman selling beautiful hand made objects,standing right next to a young man wearing designer sunglasses and selling mass produced refrigerator magnets .And sadly most people prefer the refrigerator magnets. When people will realise that tourism  brings growth in every aspect to a community which is struggling, then things will move in a good direction.
 Right now, Medjugorje comes to mind.For non- religious people,it might mean nothing but it sure shows what tourism can do over time.The village from the 1980s is now a very touristic town, with loads of religious and non-religious objects for sale  but also locally produced fruits,vegetables and wine. The local farmers  seemed content  and the competition between them and the people selling key chains,pens and mugs seemed  more fair. When I returned back home,my old high school classmates laughed at me for going to Bosnia and later on, adults sometimes asked, to my surprise “Bosnia? Did you see any land mines?”.
Medjugorje ,1981(Source:
 Medjugorje today(Source:Adriamark)

I am very thankful to live in a country that has visibly changed since I was a child and to see these changes myself.The region I live in is probably the most touristic area of my country thanks to  the legend of Dracula.I have met many people who came here as tourists and I've witnessed the city turn more and more beautiful so I  can safely say that tourism has brought good changes in my life and the life of the community.

I am also very fortunate to be able to compare                     
Vienna,London,Helsinki and Venice to small ,thriving communities such as Colmar,Medjugorje,Rupea and many others. As I'm sitting here on a couch in Singen,Germany ,I'm contemplating the huge turistic potential of the Bodensee area and thinking of my upcomming trip in Eastern Asia or Mexico.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Smile : It's your right to be happy!

Hello ,lovely people of the world!

Today is a new beautiful day, perfect to take a break  from our daily activities and think a little bit about some important issues facing youth all over the world.

First of all, the World Conference on Youth 2014 is just around the corner and this year it will take place in exotic,beautiful  Colombo in Sri Lanka. The conference is a meeting place for youth to discuss and ponder on some important issues such as Youth Rights and Gender Equality.

Speaking of which, young people have a huge impact on culture and sports and all sorts of recreational activities that they get involved in but, at the same time , those activities have a great influence on them, shaping their views which they will use later on in their jobs and personal lives. All the features that people want to find in their friends and that employers ask of their employees can be easily learnt through sports and activities. Sharing your culture with others is also an invaluable "teacher".

What have I learnt from sports?
I am not a professional athlete in any way,shape or form but I go hiking regularly during summer,whether for a couple of hours or for several days, testing my limits and experiencing the greatness that is nature. And let me tell you something : I have learned to be more tolerant with others. When you hike with other people you have to adapt to their walking pace and have patience.You can't really go ahead and leave them behind,can you?(that's just mean)  I've learned to not give up. Countless of times, I genuinely felt like I can't go on but there was that little voice that told me "You might as well go on, there's really nothing to lose. That, or you might become dinner for whatever carnivore creatures roam the forest :D " And guess what? You can take this philosophy and apply it to other aspects of your life, not just hiking.

And of course, team work, endurance and determination are qualities a lot of people strive to have.
When it comes to certain sports in my country , I would also like to bring into discussion gender equality. Growing up, I loved watching football games on TV and attending live games. Most of the people thought it strange that a girl is passionate about a men  sport.But why is it a sport for men? Sure, some countries like Great Britain , the U.S or Germany give a certain amount of attention to women football. But Romania does not and I do hope that in the near future, this" football is for men" stereotype will diminish.

After all,sports should be for everyone, regardless of sex,race or language.

The freedom and chance to get involved in an activity that you love, that's what makes a young person develop into a happy,healthy adult. Whether it be music, dance or knitting ,there should be an equal chance for you to practice what you love. Meeting like-minded people, getting better at your favorite activity and sharing it with the world is something fulfilling for a young adult.

Last but not least, culture. This notion that is often misunderstood. The notion that was defined for the first time by Edward Tylor as such:  "a complex whole which includes knowledge,belief,art,law,morals,custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
So ,no matter where you live in this world ,you have a culture and a right to share your culture.As a young person, you learn so much about your own culture by sharing it with others but you also learn about the other's culture, so all this exchange brings is more useful knowledge.

Through my travels,I  have encountered many different cultures.Some were easier to adapt to,some were considerably harder.Some nations were very open and you could have mistaken it for a disrespect of personal space and some cultures made you think "They have some very strange habits!"It is scary when you think of it at first, but experiencing life in a different country is a rewarding experience.

In today's society, intercultural exchanges are important means by which youth can grow, learn ,make friends and rise above conflicts and gender inequality.
Because, as it has been said many times, young people are the future of this world! :D