In the last 2 years I’ve been looking for the perfect map to put on one of Mau’s walls.
I thought about buying a classical one, then moved to actually print out on shinny paper a big world map and stick it to a wooden panel so we could use pins to denote the countries and maybe the cities where we’ve been too. It wasn’t very nice!
When I came across the notion of scratch off map – I was excited. This type of map comes alive on the wall revealing a whole new world below, featuring color and geographical details.
Each region has its own colors, making it quite visual if you’ve been all around the world.
I got mine on etsy, from Korea. The poster arrived in a sturdy cardboard tube designed to protect it. Inside, there was a thin sheet of paper over the top of the map to keep the gold tin foil from accidentally getting scratched. The poster material itself has a nice shiny feel. It measures 60 cm by 96 cm, which is a good size for such a beautiful map but a bad size in terms of find a frame.
The biggest issue we had was figuring out how to scratch the countries we traveled too. I mean, if we’ve only been in a single city, do we scratch off all the country so that the map will look better? What do we do with the countries we visited by ourselves?
In the end we managed it very well. This map is the perfect way to show where you’ve been traveling while spicing up your place.
One thing though, when you finish scratching where you’ve been, you’ll realize you’ve gone nowhere at all.
A good travel story is usually the result of something that has gone wrong.
We call it the matzic effect, those moments when you know, you feel, it’s gonna be something unpleasant but it will make a very good story. And it usually happens when we are the most sure we are on the right track.
Like the moments I’m gonna talk about now – from the Europe tour.
That time when we couldn’t find the border
First day of the Europe tour. Just wanted to leave the country and head to Budapest. All good! Until we wanted to cross the border and we didn’t seem to reach it anymore.
We drove in circle for nearly 2 hours; around small lakes and quite dark atmosphere. First time the GPS showed us a road where we could cross – but we didn’t. The border was at the end of a small town, in the woods – it could be crossed only by foot or bike. What a joy!
Second time, following the classical map. It didn’t help much because a dead badger was put on, by a possibly mad man, on the road sign covering everything written on it.
In the end we followed our gut and made it out.
That time when we booked a hotel room in the Red District in Zurich
Iei, we are now on the Europe tour! We book each day the hotel for the next stay. After a full day of traveling from Barcelona to Geneva across France with a flat tire, 70 km/h on the truck’s lane, arriving in Geneva on the 14th of July (France national day that they celebrate) and without any spare tire, we forget to book for our stay in Zurich. Saturday, after half-day spent in a service trying to find a good and fitting spare tire, we arrived at sunset in Zurich.
First of, no internet – so we headed to the first McDonalds we saw – to eat and get connected. And that was the most expensive McDonalds menu I had in my life. However, we did the booking and headed to check in.
When at the reception desk the front man got a look at us, checked the reservation – which was on my name and was freshly printing in a corner – and then asked surprised: „are you staying the whole night?”, „you want the breakfast?”, „should I use the name on the id card?”.
Not long after getting the room we saw what was starting to happen in the street.
We were in the Red District and the fun was starting.
That night, while wondering around towards the old center in Zurich, Mau held my hand the tightest.
That time when we joined the Gay Festival in Munchen
Same Europe tour! Rainy and cold day in July in Munchen. We headed to have a wurst and we ended up at a festival in the old city center. People having fun, beer, shows, all good until Mau wanted to get closer to the scene. „I don’t think you want to get any closer. Have you looked around? They are going to steal you from me”, I joked. He wasn’t aware we were in the middle of the Gay Fest in Munich. Obviously we stayed and had great fun.
Even if I don’t write much about travel, we do travel.
For example, we went for a weekend getaway in nearby Golden Sands Bulgaria. Pretty much every year in the past 4 we went there for a weekend.
Golden Sands is a very well known (for us Romanians) sea destination in Bulgaria and probably the most popular. Cheaper and better than some of our resort on the Black Sea coast, this is a destination for young people with plenty of activities.
1. the beach – all beaches here have sand and are very clean, you can pay for sunbeds and umbrella or you can sit in the classic way with towel on the sand; bartenders from beach bars come on the beach to ask if you want drinks; the water is shallow and you can swim long distance.
2. infinity pool at International Hotel Casino – I’ve always wanted to enjoy an infinity pool and by mistake we ended this time at the outdoor Skyfall infinity pool.Very nice place!
5. shopping – all you can think of is here – and it seems like there is a new trend of cat faces on t-shirts.
6. trips – if you want you can book a trip to the monasteries, do off road, scubadiving (I have to try it someday).
7. portrait painters and tattoo artists – there are a couple of people which do incredible paintings and some others which have beautiful tattoo saloons. Let me know what you think about them.
8. Varna’s city center is beautiful – a park, the naval museum, open air exhibitions, some kitty cats having siesta. For a hot summer day is perfect!
9. Dalboka restaurant – situated in a very nice location (great view of the sea from all tables), in a small bay, 30 minutes away from the Romanian border, in Kaliakra. They have the mussels farm just off shore and all dishes are freshly made. I recommend the mussels soup, rapane and the desert which is, surprize, mussels with caramel. You have to try it!!
The Purge it’s a dark read, a metaphor for all culpabilities that an individual buries within him until one day when everything has to come up to the surface. From this point of view the main character, Aliide, is complicated and you can’t place her in a certain category: the victim, the villain, the selfish woman, the good samaritan, etc.
The book tells the story of two women: Aliide Truu, who lives alone in the Estonian countryside, and Zara, a girl whom Aliide finds in her backyard one morning and which brings to life all of Aliide’s past.
The plot is set in the early 1990s when Estonia was under the communist rule of the Soviet Union. Unemployment, poverty, inhumanity, sexual violence and military occupation, all together create an incredibly sad and wise story.
The two women are a different kind of survivors – nothing proves that their destiny could have been any different in the given times.
This book wasn’t my kind of read but kept me impatient and waiting for the grand finale.
I remember being a child and going on vacation with my parents. They used to take me everywhere. Together with some big suitcases where I could fit in – it was like packing up our lives to move elsewhere for several days up to a week.
In my first years of traveling I did the same – packed all the possible clothes and shoes, moisturizers and body lotions – all together in no particular order in a big wheeled luggage. What if something happened and I really needed something? I had to be prepared.
And so I did. Until I had to pack for a week in Italy. A small carry-on bag to take on the plane (56x45x25 cm) which is more or less like a school backpack. Can you imagine?
That’s when I learned:
– I have to plan outfits in advance. Usually 2 pairs of pants and a skirt which can go with several t-shirts (up to 6) and one pair of extra shoes, goes fine for me. Whatever you choose, remember to always pack your swimming suit.
– I have to roll my clothes. Yes, rolling your clothes not folding them saves up space and prevents wrinkles. Putting them in a zip bag and taking the air out – even better.
– Toiletries have to be small – travel size.
– Band aids and some pills (for headaches, colds, etc) fit in my wallet.
– Usual electronics: photo camera, phone and chargers.
– I can buy my book at destination.
Everything will fit in a small carryon bag.
And you know what’s best?
– You are free and flexible on the road
– No more waiting in line for baggage checking and reclaim or fear of losing something.
– Lavender Gri fits comfortably in the same carry-on and I have a happy Mau and a light travel.
Once you do this, you’ll never make the mistake of over packing.
And then again, less stuff is happiness 😉
My luggage in Germany.
Looking on how to save up money for traveling I found so many articles revealing “the secrets of saving”.
And let me tell you – it’s all the same and it requires for us to give up on every little pleasure of life in order to get some more pennies. Give up on cakes, on cigarettes, on drinks, on going out with friends – on everything that gives joy in the present moment so you could enjoy the future – which may or may not be happening.
I have a simple life and I’ve got a pretty balanced life style. If it were to give up on something, I don’t think I would have from where to choose.
I do agree on making a plan (creating a budget) and spending less – on clothes, on processed foods, bottled water, services that are not really needed (magazine memberships, cable, etc).
Selling stuff that I don’t need it’s great too – less stuff, more happiness. I already did my list – mainly books, jewelry and some clothes.
So if saving up money for a dream trip doesn’t really sound appealing to you too, try to create that money.
If you already work a lot, it can be tricky and I suggest you don’t do it.
But if you have the energy and the willingness try a side job. It can be from your hobbies (hand-made artsy crafty things), your free time, your skills and qualities.
Start small and go big. Dreams worth it.