Travels are the best way to get to know oneself and the world. Everyone, who had a chance to experience a summer adventure, knows that it’s an incredible source of experiences and memories, which we come back to eagerly even after many years. I had an opportunity to travel quite often in the past, and I got to know that visiting different countries gives you an amazing possibility to meet great people, their lifestyles and customs, which were nowhere near the same well presented in the accounts of travellers, I had a chance to read.
What besides the willingness to sightsee a new place is making more and more of us decide on holidays abroad? For sure one of the factors may be a possibility to choose corners of the world, which have a good climate and favourable weather conditions for relax during one’s leisure time. Another reason may be a little rush of adrenaline accompanying every trip. Increasingly, more and more people are deciding to follow their dreams and consequently to pursue their objectives. Can we always afford to do that? Does anyone of you think that travelling only during the summer season is not enough? My today’s interviewees Olga and Krzysiek, who are the authors of a blog – Follow Your Map, have also come to such a conclusion. I hope that this conversation will be a great inspiration for you to plan your next trip, the one which you have been dreaming of for some time.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers something about yourselves?
Olga: I’m an eternal student, an employee of a Warsaw corporation, a future post graduate student (at least I hope so). I’m curious about the world, other cultures, local customs and flavours. I’m also a kind of courageous person, who believes that there are no impossible things.
Krzysiek: I’m a student of Geology at the University of Warsaw. I currently work at the Copernicus Science Centre and I spend everything I earn on travelling. I love nature and animals. I can’t resist exploring the unknown, as well as admiring new landscapes.
Passion Piece: What inspired you to set up a blog?
Olga and Krzysiek: Paradoxically – lack of time. We travel quite often (virtually once a month), our family and friends are very curious about our trips. However, due to lack of time, we are not always able to present new photos from our travels to everyone at once. Blog is a kind of condensed form, which is transparent and easily accessible for everyone.
Passion Piece: How travelling has become your way of life?
Olga: I can’t really call it a way of life, because I don’t earn a living in this way. Travelling is a bit of a departure from crowded and always vibrant capital city. It’s also a possibility to satisfy my curiosity of the world.
Krzysiek: While travelling we can have a rest of our monotonous and full of routine daily life: continuous work, learning, as well as hustle and bustle of a big city.
Passion Piece: Which country has made the biggest impression on you? Why?
Olga: Vietnam – definitely! Despite the fact that I had a good knowledge of this country (I wrote my graduate work on this topic), I didn’t manage to avoid culture shock. What surprised me the most? All this hustle and bustle , as well as an enormous number of people in the streets. Scooters driving against the traffic on the pavements. Buses which didn’t have enough space to stop, so we had to get on them at a run, while they were still in motion. And last but not least, communism in its best time (cult of Ho Chi Minh and working together in the interest of the whole nation).
Krzysiek: Vietnam by far. Vietnamese culture is completely different from the European one. Everyday life also totally differs from the one we lead here in Poland. Surprisingly, in spite of the fact that Vietnamese are poor people and they don’t own much, they always smile and are really friendly. However, most importantly, they are very helpful. We could experience that many times during our travel.
Passion Piece: What advice would you give to people planning close or far trips?
Olga: First of all, they should make a good plan. Doing a research and finding particular places on the map – it makes sightseeing much easier. Besides this, it’s a good idea to get familiar with social etiquette, behaviour codes and customs, which are common in the countries they are going to visit.
Krzysiek: I think that if people are planning a trip on their own, they should buy a map of a city or a country they are going to visit. To me it’s the first step I take while planning my travels. On the basis of the map I can get to know the place which I’m going to visit. I can familiarize myself with the most popular sites I can sightsee. I can also get to know how much time it will take me to explore all the spots I’m interested in.
Passion Piece: What’s the most ridiculous adventure you’ve experienced during your travels?
Olga: While hitchhiking in Vietnam, we were asked to show our passports to the driver who stopped his car. Until now, I don’t really understand the reason of this ‘road control’ …
Krzysiek: Before going to Sweden we had bought train tickets ahead of time (more than two months in advance). During our travel, when we were already on the train, there was a ticket control and it occurred that we had bought the tickets for the wrong month (but at least the day was right). Luckily, the whole story ended just with the ticket inspector’s short talk, who was really amused with this peculiar situation.
Passion Piece: Have you ever made any long lasting friendships in the places you had a chance to visit?
Olga: It’s rather difficult to make any friendships when we stay in a given place for one or two days the most.
Krzysiek: From time to time we try to keep in touch with people who helped us during our travels. Most of the times we make use of social networks, which are a reliable way to communicate with friends, who live in different corners of the world. A good example of such a person is a Vietnamese from Murong Man.
Passion Piece: Which country is your dream country to visit?
Olga: My dream – which I have already accomplished – was Vietnam. Now, I’m dreaming of the South America … Brazil, Peru or Chile.
Krzysiek: There are many places, which I’d love to visit such as: Japan, Madagascar, Russia (preferably by Trans-Siberian railway), Norwegian fiords … However, the country, which I’d like to visit the most is Iceland. My dream is to climb glaciers and active volcanoes. I’d also love to see geysers and hot springs, which are situated there.
Passion Piece: What are your other passions?
Olga: I read a lot! I’m a faithful fan of Stephen King’s novels. I also reach for detective stories. Besides this – I learn foreign languages – I’m able to communicate in six languages now (besides Polish).
Krzysiek: My big passion is geology, that’s why whenever I go anywhere, I look under my feet to know what I am walking on. Another thing I really like is solving puzzles and riddles. I also love fantasy (mainly books), anime, board games and many more.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourselves in the near future?
Olga: I see myself as a postgraduate student, learning about the cultural aspects of wars and armed conflicts.
Krzysiek: I hope to finally find a job as a geologist, which will allow me to travel in the unknown for me places.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Olga and Krzysiek: ‘The difference between people, who follow their dreams, and the rest of the world doesn’t depend on the size of their purse. The thing is that the latter read about distant countries and dream of adventures for their whole lives, while the former lift their heads from their books, get out of their armchairs and start chasing their dreams.’ – Wojciech Cejrowski.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope that you’ll have a chance to visit all the places you’re dreaming of in the future.
I wish you courage to lift your heads from your books and to get out of your armchairs to follow your dreams – not only the ones related to travelling, but any dreams you’ll ever think of. I hope that Olga and Krzysiek encouraged you to break the barriers and not to pay so much attention to the sizes of your purses. A good organization and planning will allow you to explore new places and make any dreams of your own come true.
See you around!
Websites you should visit: http://followyourmap.pl/
Photos by: Follow Your Map