Isn’t life amazing? You wake up one day and realize you want more from life than hopping from one school to the other and then straight into work-life and that realization changes E V E R Y T H I N G. So as most of you know I took a year off after my gratuation to see some bits and pieces of the world and get to find myself in situations I never thought were possible. Where exactly I’ve been to, what I’ve done, how I have the money and time for that are the questions I still get the most from my followers. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to write a blogpost about my year, including all those informations. The other reason is because there’s no better thing than thinking back to those times and realizing what a lucky little f*cker I am. 🙂
1st Stop: Barcelona & Miravet
It was exactly this day one year ago when I started my first solo trip and at the same time my longest trip ever. To be honest, I don’t even had a specific place in mind when it came clear to me that I want to travel. I just wanted to experience something totally different yet so utterly beautiful outside of my comfort zone. The fact that I had Spanish lessons in High School kinda brought my attention to Spain. So I was looking trough the website Workaway, where you can find host families from all over the world, looking for people who do all kind of different jobs and you can communicate directly with them. This seemed like a way more chill way to have a little exchange in comparison to the official Au pair so many people chose. If they like it, I’m happy but I know it just wasn’t for me. The only downside – no payment. Nevertheless you get free accomodation and food for working about 5 hours a day. At least that’s what was my deal, but every host is offering different things for different works and you just have to read there profile and it’s easy to figure out what’s good for you. And there are so many more advantages to workaway, I lost count. It just shapes you into the person you really are, while you’re living with families that you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend or even considered as a family-member. You have to adapt to things that may be so strange for you and it’s really a life-changing experience, I guarantee you!
So I took a plane from Vienna to Barcelona, took another 3-hour-trainride and finally found my way to Mora, where my hostdad and one of his lovely dogs were already waiting for me. I arrived at the house and immeadiately felt like home. There were 5 hours of cleaning ahead of me every weekday but I had the best company of my wonderful hosts, 2 of the kindest guys that also volunteered on the farm and awesome pets, including 10 cats, 4 dogs and a parrot. After 2 months it was hard to say goodbye but the fact that I was on my way to Barcelona, where I’ve never been before, made it bearable. In Barcelona I met a bunch of the cutest, kindest people I’ve ever met and I couldn’t be happier to have them in my life (still after so much time!). And so the story continues. I had a 2 month stay left, that I planned to spend with a new host family with 2 little boys, but that didn’t turn out quite as good as I imagined. Luckily my first family took me back for another month and I felt pure bliss to be reunited with all my furry friends. That’s also a huge advantage of workaway, you choose what you want to do. If you’re not happy you can leave anytime. If you were super content and as lucky as I was, you can come back to your happy place. I could probably write a whole book about the experience, but let’s move on now, shall we?
2nd Stop: Paris & Normandy
Same situation, different city. Okay maybe not exactly the same. When I landed in Paris at the beginning of February, instead of sunshine, there was snow awaiting me. Which led to a stop in traffic, which led to me being stuck at the airport losing my mind just a little. Oh and let’s not forget about my horror train story. Everything about this experience you can find in this blogpost from a while ago. Anyway, 2 days later I finally made it to my new host, a british man called Roger, that owned a Bed & Breakfast in cold but beautiful Normandy. Unfortunately I could only stay for 2 weeks but I had a wonderful time full of croissants, english tea and biscuits, evenings in the kitchen, walks in the rain and so on and on and on. After that I took a train back to the capital, where I had booked in to a great hostel with an amazing roof top terrace and just as amazing people waiting there for me. I mean I knew nobody beforehand, but looking back now, I can tell you they were. The hostel was called Generator and I also have two posts about my few days in Paris that you can find here and here.
3rd Stop: Singapore & Bali
After Paris I went straight to Barcelona (yes, again) to visit my friends and then I had only 2 weeks left at home to chill before my next great adventure. First time this year that I’m flying somewhere with a travelbuddy instead of alone and in order to just have a good time instead of working. This time my adventure lasted for 3 weeks and I published my impressions for every week as well, so if you’re interested you can find the blogposts here – #1, #2 and #3. Now we’re talking money. The previous 2 destinations weren’t expensive obviously because I had to pay for neither food nor acommodation. But now the tables have turned and I had to use the money I had saved from my internships that I did for 3 months in total. But I swear to god it was so worth it and I’d do it all over again! Also: Bali is a really cheap place no matter if it comes to finding a place to sleep or to eat or having surfing lessons or taking a taxi. In comparison to Austria, it’s just cheap. The flight is expensive tho, not gonna lie. In the end, I’d do it all over again, which is obvious, right?
4th Stop: London
I had to land there anyway on my way home from Bali, so why not stay for a little? I mean I still had enough time left so I booked into a hostel called Wombats for four nights. Same story, I don’t wanna bore you with details. Amazing people, amazing city, amazing sights, amazing times. Payed from my own money again of course, which was a great shock for my bank account. Yes, London is hella expensive, especially if you just came from Bali. Btw, my most polite and british apology at this point for the lack of London photos, but they’re on my computer which is currently broken. I guess many of you can picture Big Ben, Notting Hill and all the famous London sights. 😉
5th Stop: Lisbon
Free vacation in a country I’ve always wanted to go but never had the chance before? Count me in! On the question what I wished for my 19th birthday, which was in March, I answered „I just wanna travel“. So that’s what I got. My lovely mom invited me to Lisbon because lately she’s been having Fernweh as well. So yeah, there’s no more to this story than a one-week-city-trip with my mom, who paid for it. I told you I’m lucky.
6th Stop: Uddebo
Can you imagine that I was tired of flying? I’ve been flying a lot and it just got boring and I ended up hating myself a little for all the pollution I’ve caused to our miracleous world. That’s why I pronounced my little Lisbon Getaway to be my last further-away-destination for a while. Mother earth, I am so sorry but I caught the travel bug big time and just couldn’t resist this amazing opportunity – another workaway! Last one for at least a little time, I promise. But seriously, how could you say no to spending a month in the summer in Sweden, volunteering at a organisation that allows you to take part in workshops in the field of arts, music, yoga and dance? It was a rather spontaneous decision that thank god I took. I don’t want to get into detail too much, if you haven’t seen it already there’s a blogpost about my Workaway in Uddebo right here. Check it out!
7th Stop: FM4 Frequency Festival St. Pölten
Last but not least, a little trip so different from all the above but just as worth it. Who doesn’t love spending a few days with an absolutely crazy yet amazing group of friends, drinkin beer, playing games, enjoying the sun and singing from the bottom of your soul while shaking it off to your favourite music acts? I’m just a sucker for festivals, I mean the whole atmosphere is so chill and happy. It may not be for everyone, you know, not being able to get a proper shower or sit on a clean toilet for days, but these are downsides I’m willing to accept in order to have a good time.
So that’s it my friends, this blogpost definitely got out of hand. I wasn’t intending to type so many words, but it’s just impossible to describe this year in any less. I don’t think it’s even impossible to describe in words but hey, I tried. I hope you still enjoy to read it and it inspires you to travel as well, because I can’t stress this enough. Travelling is the best way to invest your money, because you invest it in yourself! 🙂