First Time Overseas: Central Europe


Central Europe Map

Central Europe Travel Path

Someone recently told me that I get the most out of my travels. It’s true and agree 100%! I want to say “I don’t know what it is”, but I do. As I expand my travels out further and further, as like every other traveler, something happens within. You grow, you change for the better, your perspective on life improves, and honestly, you are practically immune to negativity. It would be ethnically frowned upon, at least in my eyes, to try single myself out from the crowd. I am not trying to, but I really do get the most out of my trips. I know, meet, have met, and seen people via web who are travelers alike with the same wanderlust. But I feel deep within, my passion is on a completely different level than your average wanderlust.

Budapest Hungary Gallert Hill

View of Budapest from Gallert Hill

Budapest Hungary Chain Bridge

Infamous Budapest Chain Bridge


 

 
 

Couchsurfing is a great way to be a part of your destination with a local.

Budapest couchsurfing

Couchsurfing in Budapest

Vienna couchsurfing

Couchsurfing in Vienna

It has been only three days since my return from my two week journey into Central Europe, and I can’t begin to explain briefly how this trip has changed me. I usually wake up from dreams about places I want to go and see. But this morning I had a very vivid dream about where I just came from. I’ve been to a handful of places that I can say I fell in love with and while I did love all of these places visited on this journey, I can’t say “falling in love” happened. It wasn’t solely about the places I’ve seen. It was a different kind of admiration. On this voyage, I was tested beyond just getting to my destinations. For example, in the past I keenly used my sense of sight. This time I manage to use alI of them like a working machine. My appreciation for people in general has improved so much. I realized that although there are inconsiderate and heartless assholes out there, for the most part, people around the world are general friendly and are willing to help you. Without phone service and solely relying on wifi and sense of direction left me with the only possible means of communication: pointing, showing names, pronunciation attempts, hand and face gestures, and most importantly, smiles. No matter how wide the language barrier is, human interaction is always possible. Considering the few mishaps I had, I still continued on and understood these mishaps as part of my voyage, intelligently.

beautiful Vienna Austria

Hanging out in beautiful Vienna

Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria

Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria

Bratislava Slovakia

Sunset over Bratislava, Slovakia

Hrad Devin Devin Castle

Hrad Devin/Devin Castle

lost in Slovakia

Lost somewhere in Slovakia

Subclub bomb shelter nightclub Bratislava slovakia

Subclub: Soviet bomb shelter turned nightclub

I chose what many consider Eastern Europe because of the former Iron Curtain that separated a free Western Europe from a Socialist Eastern Europe. With much of Europe united, much of it now without physical border checkpoints, I traveled in Central Europe. This particular region, “just because it is not your usual first time Europe travel destination: Rome, London, Paris, Etc.” And what made me beyond happy, is that I made locals so proud that I chose their beloved country. I wanted something different, something new, and although not low density travel destinations, for a first time, it was more off the beaten path, the experience I wanted for myself. I tell myself two weeks is not enough time to travel, I mean really travel. But I guess it beats an extended weekend or a week. Personally, I would love to see Americans travel for a month to a month and a half, but two weeks does suffice, I guess.

Mikulov Czech republic

Off the beaten path in Mikulov, South Moravia, Czech Republic

Mikulov Czech republic

Off the beaten path in Valtice, South Moravia, Czech Republic

Brno Czech republic

Rainy day in Brno, Czech Republic, the second largest city in the country.

But in two weeks, I really did make the most out of my travels. After all, I lost my weekend job, got questioned with my primary job, and even got some frowns from family and loved ones. But that was actually only a fraction of why I made the most out of this. I never look to the past, BUT looking back is always a motivator to move forward strongly. I’ve suffered many years since birth with fighting parents, custody battles, struggling with depression in the later years, finally struggling to get on my feet in and out of unemployment, and the everyday financial obstacles that could deter ones desire to travel period. Who could blame me for having such a strong and powerful spirit in doing the one thing I love, traveling. So in the end, I’ve taken planes, trains, buses, and trams. I’ve hitchhiked, surfed couches, stayed in hostels, hotels, and apartments. Seen 5 countries, 6 cities, 4 towns, with 5 different languages. I’ve found myself exploring amazing places and even found myself completely lost. I’ve succeeded in my travels but also learned from mistakes. Sacrificed familiarities, time, and patience to get off the beaten path. Ate local food and drank local brews, and had amazing nightlife experiences, trying absinthe along the way. Set foot on history that served a purpose hundreds of years ago. Met many new faces and said my goodbyes with hopes for a new day to meet again maybe in a new place.

Špilberk Castle brno Czech republic

View of Brno from the Špilberk Castle

Sedlec Ossuary bone church kutna hora Czech republic

The creepy Sedlec Ossuary, a church with human bones as it’s interior décor.

Dresden, Germany

Spontaneous day trip to Dresden, Germany…Just because…

Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany

German Bier and grub.

It wasn’t just traveling to these places that impressed me for future travel, I tested my abilities on my own, traveling on a budget while still enjoying myself, diving into the various cultures I’ve experienced, and best of all, returning a better person than when I arrived. Even though I had to get used to bringing in a book bag for groceries, smaller and healthier food portions and spent about $10 US on public bathrooms, I also realized that even Europe has it’s own cultural differences. Traveling does good for everyone, after all travel is the one thing you buy that makes you richer. It is a learning experience that changes you for the better, helps you grow, and helps contribute to unite a divided world. Anyone can see photos and watch videos, but the state of being and leaping into other cultures and norms is what makes it a beautiful privilege beyond imagination. These past two weeks wasn’t just for me, but my sharing of pictures, and videos of my experiences I hope are enough to prove that there is more out there in the world to do, see and experience with hopes for you to work hard and do it as well.

Dresden, Germany

Strolling along the Charles Bridge in Prague.

Dresden, Germany

Prague Old Town Center

Dresden, Germany

Best view of Prague and her bridges.

Dresden, Germany

Karlštejn Castle, outside of Prague.

Of course I wanted to continue on from Prague. Maybe make my way to Berlin and continue onto Scandinavia. Or down to Munich and end up in southern Italy. Or make my way down to a place that I really want to go, and possibly my next trip, down to Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and the former Yugoslavia. But instead, and unlike other voyages, I was ready to return. I wasn’t depressed to return to “dreaded work”. Because I understand that this is what is funding my voyages in the first place. I wasn’t unhappy to return to the familiar, because I remind myself of those loved ones who support me to do what I love. I was ready to return, because after I share my stories with my loved ones and the minute I punch that clock at work, I have already begun the process on my next learning experience. As for one key quote I will never forget that my host in Budapest preached to me before I left his place, “You will leave something behind here from your three day stay”. I thought he was being literal but I was wrong. “You will leave three days of your life here”. So cheers to leaving two great weeks of my life in Central Europe. :)

Mikulov Czech Republic


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