The importance of travelling

As the proverb says: travel is to live. Since I started travelling often I realised how true this motto is. I tend to measure my time from one trip to the other, so when my day at work is particularly hard I’m motivating myself with simply stating when I’m going to visit some great place. Right now I’m counting days until my next adventure: I’m going for a weekend to Brussels, Belgium with a couple of friends and that is exactly what makes me endure some tough moments.

The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life.

So why is it that sometimes we forget travel makes us happy and instead we rot at home? Mostly it’s the amount of chores we impose on each other, deadlines, sometimes feeling overwhelmed with social issues and workload. I know that when I become corporate robot I forget about anything really and simply sink in all the chores. If you’re in the same place right now where you walk and walk but you’re always in the same spot and feel zero motivation to move and drive anywhere really, here are several reasons why you should keep going and never give up on travelling.

1. Travelling broadens horizons and makes you a better person

It sounds strong, doesn’t it? Like getting into a car and driving to a nearby city for a sightseeing tour would make you truly a better person. And yet… It’s true, or at least I believe so. Going on an excursion always broadens your horizons. Even if it’s very short, to a place you’ve already been to, it’s still going to teach you something. It’s going to build up your experience and simply make you wiser. Example? Visiting another nation and learn about their culture.

Bonus anecdote: When I moved to Portugal (for my Erasmus) I was pretty much disgusted with all the people simply snapping their fingers to call a waiter at a restaurant. I thought it’s so rude! And yet… it’s normal there, so I learned that when I’m in Warsaw, I don’t have to get all airtight and silently rant and rave on their bad manners, but rather understand they might come from a completely different place than I do.

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A photograph of Prague, Czech Republic 2018

2. You can learn another language and improve your CV (resume)

Learning languages is vital. I don’t think I can stress enough how amazing it is to be able to communicate in a foreign language wherever you go. Right now, I’m using skills I learned years ago and can (hopefully) successfully communicate with you, my dear Reader in English. Before I moved to Portugal I used to learn the language from books and some additional classes, but only when I moved my knowledge of Portuguese sky-rocketed. Knowing languages can improve your position in applying for a job or even grant you get one!

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Nazare Beach in Portugal, 2014

3. Travelling makes you stay younger

Ok, I might not have any scientifical proof that it’s true, but I do believe travel makes you more active and therefore younger. Constant planning and plotting stimulates the brain and sightseeing is a great way to reach your 10000 steps needed for a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, when you spend so much money on plane tickets and hotels you just can’t afford food anymore… Just kidding, although it might be true in some cases. For New Years Eve this year I travelled to a city of Torun in Poland. Just for one day, a very short trip. And during this day I visited so many places, I walked more than 20 km in less than 10 hours!

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Barcelona, Spain, 2014

4. You can make friends from across the globe and cement relationships you already have

Meeting people from around the world not only broadens the horizon (see point 1), but also creates connections which not only let you have so much fun, but also allow you to travel further and cheaper. I keep in touch with many of my friends from Erasmus and we’ve exchanged many trips (I travelled to their hometown, they visited mine) for a fraction of a normal price. But what’s most important? The memories, because as you know, people forget years and remember moments. All these precious moments laughing at similarities and differences between our cultures (sometimes very distant, hello, my Brazilian friends!), teaching each other various things or simply hanging around could never be the same if I only had friends from my own country.

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Porto, Portugal, 2014

5. Travel lets you experience amazing cuisines

Oh, the food… how I love it. One of the best virtues of travelling is trying out different cuisines, flavours and products. My long time dream is to visit Italy, Parma, to be exact, and try all the amazing dishes there, including pizza with potatoes and different flavours of pasta. When I visited Croatia last year I fell in love with white wine (Grasevina), sea food, eating freshly caught tuna grilled at the beach, watermelon at noon under an umbrella, and so forth. Celebration of food teaches us love of life. I also learned several tricks of Croatian and Portuguese cuisine and definitely improved my cooking skills.

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A great steak in Lisbon, Portugal

So let’s go on an adventure!

So, don’t dwell on tough times, take a look at some sites with cheap flights, bus or train tickets or even, for a free trip, pack your bag and venture to a place you’ve never visited in your city. Learn new things and don’t let work and chores overwhelm you. Travelling really is a sollution for sadness!

Do you travel often? If yes, did you learn anything interesting during your trips?

Let me know in the comments.

New years resolutions

As January approaches it is the last moment to let the old year pass and take a look forward to the new one. And what would January be without casual new years resolutions? All these goals we are never going to achieve, but we think about for at least a week until we find ourselves on a coach with a bar of chocolate and a glass of wine, even though we solemnly swore never to touch any of it again?

This year I approached my resolutions a little differently than in the past. I have established five main goals for me to achieve and then described them all down in something I’d like to call my “bullet journal” when it’s actually a notebook with words scribbled in a way imitating calligraphy. Or trying to imitate. imitating trying to imitate. It’s really bad, honestly. I hope this list is going to help you establish your new goals/resolutions and maybe this time we are able to achieve them.

  1. Explore new hobbies and develop old ones

This is by far the most important goal of mine. I really would like to pursue new interests, especially sport related; like systematically attend Zumba classes (which are awesome), or start taking longer walks after work. I have learned (with all the previous resolutions) that unless my goal is tangible, can be verified easily and assessed “binarily” (either 0 or 1), I will never achieve it. So for this point my goal is to attend Zumba class every single week of 2019.  If you aren’t into dance classes you can always pick any other one; like pilates, yoga, swimming, jogging, whatever really, that you actually like. If you don’t have a heart for it, there is no way that you will stick to your resolution.

In terms of developing old hobbies I really would like to work on my blog and Instagram account more. I have great plans for both of these platforms, so if you have any tips I’ll be happy to hear it.

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2. Do one thing at a time.

I know, I know, you are not a real woman unless you’re juggling work, home, 10 children + 5 adopted ones, neighbours’ house, volunteering work and oh, yeah, training for climbing K2. Obviously, everybody want us to think it’s better if we work harder, more efficient and faster. I thought that it’s going to make me excel at work as well, but only when I relaxed and let myself do one thing at time I’ve noticed positive results – not only in my well-being, but also in how my boss perceived me – I got a raise and a bonus, so hey me! For the upcoming year I would really like to keep going, master my self-assertion, work on the way I think and simply slow down. I really love, as mentioned here, slow living movement. Savouring each moment of our lives with amazing food, great places, trips and mind-fullness. I’m listening to a YouTube video right now while typing, so this rule obviously doesn’t apply to background music na videos.

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So what about quantifiability of this one? Simple, for the upcoming year I’m going to assess how much time I need to perform tasks and keep myself only working (by doing one thing at a time) during this period. For example, if I go to work, I’m going to work for eight hours only. If I work on my blog I’m going to spend exactly the time needed without interruptions (like checking Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

3. Spend less time glued to the phone.

I conducted an experiment several weeks ago when I didn’t use my phone at all (not even calling, just put it in the drawer and forget it exists) after work. This time, I think I endured around 5 days, was eye-opening. Not only did I suddenly have time for everything, I also realised how much time I spend on the Internet. I quit using the phone, left my blog, Instagram account, Twitter (which I have yet to explore) and stopped checking out Facebook. I didn’t manage to stay away from the phone completely after those 5 days, but I think it was a good start. Now, my goal for 2019 is simply to limit my phone usage to absolute minimum – that is Instagram (which is a mean of helping my blog develop), Twitter and occasional e-mail check. No more YouTube beauty drama videos, no more weight loss successes, Little Mix Acapella nor Crazy Roommate stories for hours in my bed eating chips.

As with all the other goals, I’d like to specify this resolution to a point that’ll allow me to assess progress and verify if I really achieved what I hoped for. Therefore, phone usage of 1 hour a day is allowed. This will enable me to work on the blog and Instagram without wasting time on things I don’t really need to.

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4. Keep clutter out of the house.

I was generally inspired by a great YouTuber and blogger Miss Amy Rach, who I really love binge watching while cleaning my house. I noticed recently both my boyfriend Floret and I have been gathering things and not getting rid of any obsolete ones, so expect a lot of decluttering posts here.  I planned my decluttering process in steps, as described here:

  • step 1 – Declutter living room (get rid of boxes, old candles, useless papers, sell books),
  • step 2 – Declutter kitchen (get rid of broken things, check all the jars and labels for expiration date and/or content),
  • step 3 – Declutter bathroom (throw out all the expired products, things I don’t use anymore, product I hate),
  • step 4 – Declutter wardrobe (get rid of things which weren’t worn in ages).

I plan to spend a quarter of the year for each step, so that it doesn’t seem like a burden, but rather a goal to achieve drop weight off my shoulders.

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5. Morning and evening beauty routines

For obvious reasons. I am not getting any younger. I can see thin lines around my eyes which surely weren’t there several months ago and it haunts me how quick time flies. To stop the aging process, I have decided to incorporate morning and evening beauty routines. Before Christmas I found several great deals and bought various cosmetics, including both of the Bioderma creams below.

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The pink one is Bioderma Sensibio Eyes and the blue one is Bioderma Hydrabio Perfecteur with SPF 30 filter.

I know I’ve said here that one of my beauty essentials is All about eyes rich by Clinique, but I was already sick and tired of all these products I’ve been using for years and needed a change. They came with the cute white toiletry bag made of material imitating leather reflecting various shades (unfortunately it can’t be seen in the picture above). I think it’s super cute, I really like simple things and the fact you can’t really see Bioderma logo is an added bonus. I know it is supposed to be a blog post about new years resolutions, but I have been using both of these creams for the last couple of weeks and I can really see a difference. Both give my skin a very delicate, velvety-like feeling as well as a little bit of glow (in a good way). If you have a similar skin to mine I think both are worth trying out!

For the evening routine I have yet to find appropriate night cream, so for now I’m using the ones I have – maybe you have any suggestions for rather dry skin?

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I can’t stress it enough but goals have to be specific. It’s not enough to decide not to eat junk, because there is no tangible way to evaluate progress, and therefore it is easier to be less inclined to stick with the resolution. Even though I decided to declutter my entire house I’m not planning to do it in one single day, because the thought of me decluttering for 24 hours straight is repellant. But if I say, ok, I have these four places that I have to take care of and I have an entire year to do so, it sounds much better in my head, so it is acceptable. Same with hobbies and phone usage, you can’t simply say ok, I’m not using my phone anymore ever, because that’s unrealistic (especially if you’re a blogger like me), nor that you’re going to start diving if you can’t swim.

To conclude this rather prolonged post let me just add, that my biggest hope for the upcoming year is to keep up with blogging at least once a week. I have various ideas for blog posts (I stacked 40 drafts already) and I really take a lot of pleasure from writing, taking pictures and following all of you guys.

So let this year be amazing for all of us.

Happy new year everybody!

My 2018 wrapped

2018 has been quite a year for me.  As a classic once said; I’ve been down for so long it looked like up to me, and when I finally conquered all of my demons I have discovered many new shades of myself, my friends, family and loved ones and finally reached a point in my life when I can honestly say I am happy with where I am.

It didn’t come without an adventure, of course, so let me tell you a story, of how I survived 2018 and how it’s been the most hectic and wonderful year of my life.

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2018 started exactly the same as any other year for the last decade. I made many plans, more or less unrealistic, from which only one withstood the test of time and only for a simple reason it was the most effortless and smooth one from all the rest. In the middle of January I already forgot about my “bikini body” and how I should take better care of my hair, skin and mind. I worked full-time (still am) and as I usually returned home I was drained. Quite literally exhausted, didn’t feel like doing anything really. In February, I applied for a two-part exam, that would enable me to get promotion and earn more. I blew it and the fact that 90% of other people also failed that particular day did not make me feel any better.

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Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

It was my first failure of that sort in a long time and I felt completely crushed. What saved me from dwelling and whining was… lack of time, really. I had so much work, with my full-time job and my side business (oh yeah, I forgot to mention launching my own company) that I completely forgot about the exam. I jumped right into normal flow of the day; waking up, going to work, eating junk (most of the time, really), returning home, lazing around watching YouTube and finally going to sleep. There was no activity whatsoever, I didn’t even like going out.

In August my boyfriend Floret and I went to Croatia for summer holidays. While enjoying the country (and people) I realized how amazing my life is and how much I should focus on fulfilling my dreams, rather than focusing on all the obstacles. My holidays made me grateful for what I have and who I’ve become. Upon my return I received a rather substantial raise, which might have been additional factor for realising my life doesn’t suck that much!

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In November I decided to perform several medical tests. I felt constantly exhausted (which didn’t escape Floret’s attention, his questions about my wellbeing motivated me to check what’s been going on with my body lately), I suffered from extensive hair loss, mood swings and, which hurt me the most, memory lapses. You know the feeling when you call someone and they say you just talked? Or that you get something delivered and it turned out you ordered it yourself but don’t remember a thing? Yep, that’s me. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease I wasn’t very shocked. A close relative suffered from it for years and as it might be hereditary I suspected I might have the same issue in the future, but now when I’m 28.

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When I started taking medicine, suddenly I felt so much better. I don’t think I ever felt so energized in my life. I can now work for 9 hours, return home, prepare lunch for the next day, dinner, clean the kitchen, take a walk and even go for fitness classes, which up until this point was unthinkable. Literally impossible. I can spend more quality time with Floret, improve my lifestyle and still have a little bit of time for myself.

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So here I am in December, planning my goals for 2019. This time, unlike all the previous years, I am going to succeed.

And how was your year? Did you struggle the way I did?

 

Yet another trip to the mountains

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that I had visited Bieszczady mountains last week. For those, who still didn’t click that follow button – yes, I took a week off from the “big city” and travelled all the way to Bieszczady mountains AGAIN. It took me around 5 hours to drive there and I have truly and passionately enjoyed every single moment there.

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Bieszczady is a mountain range running from Poland through Ukraine and Slovakia and is a part of Outer Eastern Carpathians. I have many times heard of beauties of that particular place, but up until last year I never had a chance to visit. I have described my last trip in details here.

An area of no light pollution

From what I’ve learned only Bieszczady Mountains out of all the mountain ranges in Poland maintain the original darkness of night, all the other areas are light polluted to varying degrees. This is probably one of very few places in which you can experience true darkness of the night. The night sky is absolutely stunning, I can’t even begin to describe how many stars can be seen there. Unfortunately, I don’t own any camera that could catch that picture and give it justice.

Winnie-the-Pooh house shelter

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Winnie-the-Pooh house is a shelter located on the top of the mountain in Bieszczady. It is the highest located shelter in this mountain range. The place has no electricity, nor running water and only sells tea (also with a little bit of additives like… cherry vodka) and other assortment for tired hikers.  You can also sleep there, for a symbolic price, if you ventured too late into the mountains and want to have some rest there.

I was quite interested about the history of this place. I have learned that it was build just after the war to check the borders. Later on, when the borders shifted a little bit, it was given to the Polish Tourist Association which runs it until now.

The road leading to the Pooh-house leads through the Carpathian mountain pasture of Wetlina, which is quite an easy route really. When we ventured there we’ve seen such little kids on the way, we were pretty ashamed we got so flustered after each peak.

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A great place to practice hiking

I am not used to hiking. For my entire life I lived in the place that was flat as a bottom of my shoe. The first time I tried hiking I didn’t really like it that much – I was sweating, tired and simply hated looking so terrible. After some time though, I got used to it and now, except that I whine all the time anyway, I really like it. Especially the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a great, great place and can finally rest.

Bieszczady mountains can be demanding. Can take a lot out of you and leave you exhausted. But each time you finish a hike you already want to go back. The mountains have undeniable charm that draws people back. I met a nice man while climbing to the Winnie-the-Pooh house, who told me he visits Bieszczady for the fifth time and already plans to come back for more.

Although getting tired is not so difficult here, you can also find various routes which are not as demanding. That way, the range is perfect both for experienced, and inexperienced hikers.

A great hotel base

Bieszczady was quite a popular touristic spot in the 90s and now it goes back to its full glory. Both Floret and I enjoyed nearly every single one of the accommodation spots we stayed in. Many of these places offered a lot more than we expected and we loved the owners, who were extremely nice.

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We ate dinner with such a view in one of the places and I totally loved it. The owner was so sweet she even drove us to the mechanic who worked on our car. Oh yeah, my car broke – again. Fortunately, they fixed it in time and we could continue our journey.

We also got friendly with other owners who even treated us with some delicious fruit infusion, let us play with their cute cat and adorable dog and made us a bonfire. I really loved staying there and if you get a chance you should definitely go and stay in the village of Precisne. It is a little remote from the more popular places, but I really enjoyed staying there.

How did we spend our time?

When we booked our holidays we were expecting some beautiful weather and great hiking conditions. It was a little rainy, and the sky was usually cloudy, but we didn’t let it destroy our holidays. Actually, we loved it even more.

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For a couple of days we were simply hiking and making a BBQ in the evening (we walked through more than 65 km) and we needed some rest, hence we decided to spend one full day on the beach at the Solina Lake, relax and try some kayaking. We also checked several other places, such as Arłamów SPA Center. We loved every single second of this trip and we can’t wait to go for another one already.

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Let me know what do you think of this place? Where did you go for a holidays?

Dorota