DSC_0201

Budapest through a Child’s Eyes

In the end Budapest would provide me with my most difficult traveling experience to date but not without showing me the wonders of travel through a child’s eyes.

Meet Jack.

While I was trying to figure out how the metro system in Budapest works I heard English and naturally gravitated to it and met Chris, Paul and little Jack.  They were on holiday from Brittan and kindly let me join them while we all tried to navigate through Hungary’s capital city.

Paul, Chris and Jack

Since I don’t have any kids I’ve never had the opportunity to travel abroad with a wee one and Jack’s charming personality was invigorating, I was thrilled to see this bustling city through his eyes and remained enchanted with his laughter throughout the entire day.

Here are a few photos from my day in Budapest through the ever adventurous Jack 

Overlooking Budapest & the Danube river from the Citadel

Then it was time to give Jack a chance to document his view. I told him to take pictures that I could share with my readers and he was thrilled to have a crack at it!

I bet this is a very common view for kids, always with cameras in their faces with adults trying to capture the wonder and excitement of a child.

Jack’s view of Budapest divided by the Danube River

Jack wanted to share the beautiful sky and all its clouds

 

Jack informed me that we were traveling on a “silly bus” because it is green, “What a silly bus” he kept saying.

Such a silly bus!

We even got our own silly green headphones to listen to the audio tour

Spending the day with Jack and his family really opened my eyes to how different a city is compared to an adults interests and attention span. It was fun to travel a bit differently and I am really grateful they were willing to share their travels with me. PS Paul and Chris if you are reading this please e-mail me because I lost your information :(

What’s your opinion traveling with children vs. adults?

 

 

Must Read Travel Articles

I LOVE to travel. More than anything in the world, in fact I LIVE for travel. No, seriously, its a pretty generic story.

I  fell in love when I was young. Lost myself in the relationship. Found myself utterly miserable with no known purpose for living.

Thus a dream was born. Through months (and years) of personal reflection, self discovery and heart wrenching decisions I completely rebuilt and redesigned my life.

Since 2008 everything in my life has been geared to one goal, travel. I knew I needed to finish my college degree 1) so I could be happy with myself and 2) so I would have something other than passion to help facilitate and fund my dreams. So I finished my degree, sold my condo, awaited my job lay off and bought a one way ticket.

When I started this dream I didn’t know a single person who had done this, I had no basis to believe it could even be done other than knowing this was my only known passion and dream; without it I wasn’t sure how I could continue to build a happy or successful life (in my own terms). The further I get into the travel writing industry it turns out there are hundreds of thousands of others who have found a way to make similar dreams come true, an encouraging discovery!

If they can do it, so can I. This also led to the realization that my dream isn’t all that unique and neither is my perspective of how to facilitate a life built around travel. Every now and again I stumble upon articles written by those who have gone before me. I find myself agreeing through the entire article and wishing 1) that everyone would read it and 2) that I had written it first.

Rather than compete with already eloquent and experienced writers I have compiled a list of my must reads:

How you CAN travel anywhere you want and why you probably NEVER will: Nomadic Matt

The Reality of Being a Professional Travel Blogger: Adventurous Kate

Five Things I wish I Knew About Travel When I Way Young and Stupid: LandLopers

6 Ways I Prepared to Move Overseas

It’s almost been 8 years since I left the United States for the first time when I moved to Russia volunteering as an English teacher for 6 months. It seemed only fitting that my flight to South Korea where I will teach (and get paid) has a layover in Moscow, the first foreign city I fell in love with.

I spent the flight behind a young family with a screaming baby and an energetic child who found reclining seats to be the greatest invention since stickers. Needless to say I will have a headache, bruised knees and smell like the tomato juice I spilled on myself when she decided to randomly check if the seat recliner was still working. Eye rolls and venting aside it’s a small price to pay for a child’s wondrous experience traveling the world and I would gladly endure a short flight for them again.

Back to Moscow.

I was excited to have a solid 5 hours here even if it is just in the airport. I love that I can (somewhat) communicate in the first foreign language I learned pretended to learn even after so much time has passed. So what am I doing with my precious 5 hours? I am sitting in an “Irish Pub” drinking Russian beer (for the first time ever since I didn’t drink a lick of booze when I was here at the ripe age of 18) after waking up this morning in Germany, boarding a plane for Beijing with a final destination of South Korea… how’s that for a multicultural travel day!?

29 hours of traveling leaves a girl with a lot of time to think and reflect on life and I’ve just got to say that I CAN NOT for the life of me sort out how I feel! One minute I could scream from excitement about living the life I’ve been dreaming about for years and the next I am drowning in curiosity about what life in Korea will be like, flip a coin and I am near in tears missing my family and wishing I could be on a flight home to spend just a day with them but before you can blink I am chuckling at how giddy I am to be exactly where I am. Bipolar disorder anyone?

6 Ways I Prepared to Move Overseas

The sooner you can accept the reality that you can never really be prepared the better off you’ll be.

The rest of my tips are really just what (I think) I’ve stacked in my favor this time versus my first wide-eyed naïve move abroad.

1)      I stopped buying things I knew wouldn’t be coming with me as soon as I knew I wanted to leave

2)      I moved from my comfy 2 bedroom condo into a bedroom at my friend’s house the weekend my place sold taking away the familiarity that I once thought was so important.

3)      I spent three months backpacking through Europe moving from city to city every few days. Nothing will make you crave any form of stability after you’ve been traveling solo for that long whether it’s in a country you can speak the language or not. I can hardly wait to have a place of my own somewhere I can stay for longer than a week.

4)      I have now traveled to 21 countries, quite a long way from the 1 (United States) I’d been to the first time. I have a better understanding of the world, myself and what to expect than I did before. BUT don’t make the mistake of thinking that will decrease the chaos and sheer hilarity at all since I have never been to an Asian country before, oh honey do I have a lot to learn!

5)      Traveling isn’t enough though, I have a very limited experience of living abroad all of which will help me adjust to living abroad again but this time I will be living alone which I intend to use to my advantage.

6)      I was worried to live alone where loneliness and depression are sure to find me but I’ve already looked up language classes in my city, made friends with nearby expats and if all else fails I will be living by the ocean which is sure to boost my spirits!

What to do with 3 Months in Europe

My first piece of advice is not to blink! The moment you do.. POOF it’s over and you’re loading back onto a plane to take you far away. I left for my European adventure on July 15th and 99 days later I am boarding a plane for South Korea where I will spend the next year teaching English.

I had grand ideas of how much I was going to write and imagined that I could stay current on my blog during my travels (I’m such a foolish girl!) and unless you are very new to the journey then you know that I have in fact not been up to date. Between the laughter and late night rounds between new friends I slowly got further and further behind, I think that is how I knew I was doing something right! Before I leave one grand adventure for another entirely different adventure I will recap where the hell I have been these past 3 months.

My three month route backpacking through Europe by train

For stories about any of the specific destinations below just click on the photo, and be sure to check back often as I continue to dig through the mountains of photos and try to recall all my crazy adventures!

 

This page will be updated as I get further into writing about my 3 months backpacking through Europe, in the mean time if you have any questions about how to plan for your own trip to Europe please don’t hesitate to contact me

How to Travel for Free

I had 4 years to prepare for the day I would leave home to travel & accumulated a long list of tips and advice to make the most out of my experience one of the best websites I discovered was Workaway.com.

What is workaway?

Simply put, you exchange 5 hours of work for room and board. Easy peasy!

Boarding the Ferry from Split, Croatia to the Island of Korcula

I’d only been traveling for 3 weeks at this point and I’d just given away my wallet, camera and phone, plus a 100 Euro fine for violating Austrian law the week before so I needed to be extra careful with my money while finding a location that appealed to me.

I signed up at a hostel on the Island of Korcula on Workaway.com where I would help with guests, clean and do A LOT of laundry, more laundry than I have ever done in my life but it was worth it for a free stay on a gorgeous island.

Each Workaway experience is different but on my typical day I woke up around 8, ate breakfast with the other workawayers and then we dove into stripping the beds, collecting garbage, sweeping & mopping, cleaning the bathrooms and re-making the beds. In total there were 6 private rooms and 20 dorm beds with at least half the people leaving each day.

The dorm room beds

On an island with so much sunshine you don’t need a dryer, the sun rays dry the sheets in no time although we were constantly collecting, washing, hanging, folding to keep the beds ready for arriving guests. This experience gave me a lot of insight into the business of running a hostel, I learned what doesn’t work, like owning a hostel but hating tourists and what does work, getting free labor in exchange for a place to sleep.

Drying in the sun while the ocean beckons

It may seem like cruel punishment to be in paradise and have to work but we had plenty of time to play on the island. We went cliff jumping, one night we nearly got arrested and we enjoyed a lot of laughter around the dinner table forging lifelong friendships.

Korcula has a great night life!

 Is Workaway Right for You?

There are personalities that do well with Workaway and there are some that just don’t.

Is Workaway right for you? Answer some of these questions to find out!

 

~Do you have an easy going personality that can adapt with your surroundings and circumstances?

~Can you stand up for yourself and know if someone is trying to take advantage of you?

~ When a challenge comes your way do you welcome it as a learning experience and not as a sign of doubt and regret?

~ Can you the good out of any situation even if it’s not what you were expecting?

~ Do you like to learn new skills and experience different ways people live?

 

If you answered yes to these questions (or at least most of them) then I think you could have a lot to gain from Workingaway. If you answered no to most of these questions then it isn’t something I would personally recommend.

Have you already tried Workaway? Tell us about it in the comments!