My 5 Favorite Travel Experiences

Traveling changes us. That’s a fact. Going to new places, seeing all these interesting countries and meeting these people who have been raised so differently when compared to your childhood. Traveling is full of amazing experiences and if I had time I would love to share all my own with you and hear all of yours.

Recently my travel blogger buddy from DreamsVoyager wrote post about his best travel experiences. In the end he asked everyone to share the first 5 travel experiences that come to their mind. So, here I am copying him and answering this question. What are my 5 favorite travel experiences?

Travel Blog Gdansk

5. Rainy Gdansk with princess umbrella

I never found inspiration to write about my Gdansk trip so you haven’t even heard about my unfortunately meeting with ‘umbrella man’. Maybe I will share that funny story with you sometime soon? Well however, it was raining in Gdansk during my trip. And when I say raining I mean RAINING. There was water everywhere and I was almost considering not going outside at all one day. In the end I went and it’s one of my favorite travel experiences so far.

I took tram from the city center to close-by beach. I had my white lace-heart-rose-ribbon decorated umbrella with me (all blame for buying that cute thing goes for the umbrella man…) and my sneakers had huge holes in them. Not so good outfit for rainy beach. It was almost the last tram stop and I was only left in the carriage. When I exited the tram I saw no one. It was raining, there was mist in the air and not even single person anywhere. I walked through small place looking like a ghost town before seeing the sea. Have I ever mentioned how much I love sea?

After that I walked along the empty beach, sat down every now and then to the towel I had smuggled out of the hostel and just enjoyed life in the rainy weather. It just felt magical. I continued walking until I came to long wooden pier. It was my first time seeing one in person and I fell in love. Old wooden piers are just thing to live for. So pretty, magical and like from storybook. After a while I was freezing and all my clothes were wet.

I decided to find the tram again and leave but then small cozy looking restaurant by the sea took my attention. Of course I went inside. It was empty expect the workers. Handsome looking waiter took my order and came soon back with warm ginger chai tea and cheesecake. I ate while watching the sea and started writing this story that had been in my mind for a while. It was so simple and still so perfect.

I have so many moments like this and if I could I would list all of them as my favorite travel experiences.

Travel Blog Origami Japan

4. All the people I meet and things I learn from them

I am totally introverted but I also love meeting new people and talking for people that come from different culture or just different place than I. Mostly I have met these people in hostels or through funny travel situations. In the other hand lately I have been talking for super cool people because of my blog and even been brave enough to meet someone face to face. I never thought that I would be able to connect with so many people just because I am writing to internet. (I am always happy to talk with other travelers so feel free to start conversation for example in FacebookTwitter or in Instagram‘s private messages. Just be warned that I am and will always be super shy and awkward!)

However, just meeting these people isn’t my favorite thing. Learning something new and unexpected from these people made meeting all of them one of my favorite travel experiences. So what have I learned? EVERYTHING… I once listened three hours when German guy taught me and two Korean dudes how they learn hiragana and katakana (Japanese alphabets) in Germany. May sound dull but I had amazing night.

On the other hand, I have learned a lot about different cultures and things to do and not do in countries I didn’t even know existed. A few times other hostel guests have tried to teach me how to cook. That never works out but at least I get to taste tasty food. Sometimes you meet people who know something really special. Once I got some tips from this professional travel magazine photographer and another time older lady with her 5 years old grandchild taught me how to make origami.

Travel Blog: Japan

3. Concerts, gigs and music in general

If you have been reading my blog for some time you may know (or if you are new: hello welcome, now you will learn something new about me!) that I love music and especially listening to live music. When I say music I really mean all kind of music from classical symphonies to hardcore rock. This is why music has made its way to my top 5 travel experiences list.

The photo above is from my Japan trip. I saw that group playing drums million times while they were having street performances around Harajuku. I had to stop and listen every time. My first trip to foreigner country without my family was to see Super Junior’s concert in London. I had amazing adventure with my friend and the concert was totally worth all that money and traveling.

I have a lot of music related travel memories. If possible I always try to go to local gig or concert while in new country. In Brighton I didn’t even have to find the music because it came for me. I was staying in hostel and that hostel had also local lively bar. That nice small bar also had live performances every freaking evening. If you have ever been in hostel, you know that those buildings are never soundproof. So, when I was hanging out in my hostel room at 7pm or trying to sleep at 2am, I had to listen these local bands and DJs. Funny thing was that I was able to hear it as loudly as if I had been standing in the bar…

Travel Blog Flying

2. Leaving for my first solo trip

There is no feeling like standing alone in the airport with your too big suitcase before sunrise. More rational people would have first gone for shorter sole trip but I decided to start from the extreme. Three months alone in Japan living in hostels. I didn’t speak the language. I had never even lived alone. I was just lost 20 years old girl who had no idea what to do with her life.

It was crazy to sit alone in the plane and know that after 24 hours and a few layovers I would be alone in Japan. This 24 hours of flying goes to my best travel experiences list. I have never felt so alive and I will probably never feel like that again. Being first time alone, just surviving by yourself, is amazing scary experience that changed me as person. 

abandoned japanese amusement park

1. Getting lost in abandoned amusement park

And then number one in my travel experiences list. Accidentally visiting abandoned amusement park and getting in trouble! This is memory that will forever stay in my mind. If you haven’t yet read the whole story, check our my three too long and boring posts about this mishap. Seeing abandoned place is always special. Place that is left by humans and taken over by the nature.

This travel experience was even more special because of the people I met. All those polices and driving crazily small streets in their police car while they asked me all kind of funny questions and gave touristy travel tips. People who went inside the amusement park before me. And of course talking with fellow travelers in hostel afterwards and laughing for my adventure. It may have been against law and I may have gotten in trouble but I would probably do it million times again to just experience all this.

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These are my favorite travel experiences but like Anub did in his post I will now throw the ball for you. What are your favorite travel experiences? Don’t think too much. First five things that come to your mind. What amazing things have you experienced? 

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Photo Diary: Cherry Blossoms in Stockholm

Cherry blossoms are usually seen as Japanese thing but suprisingly you can see these beautiful pinkish flowers even in cold northern countries like Sweden. During our day trip to Stockholm a few weeks ago the most important thing we wanted to do was to see the popular cherry blossoms on Kungsträdgården.

Earlier today, I asked my sister if sharing post full of cherry blossom photo would be okay. She said no… Apparently this is boring idea. So, here is post full of only cherry blossom photos I took in Stockholm! I am always been kind of rebel and not so good at listening others’ opinions. I hope you enjoy.

Cherry Blossom Trees in Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

We were scared that there wouldn’t be any cherry blossoms left because it was cold day in Stockholm (and it was even snowing at one point). Luckily for us half of the trees were still blossoming and we got to see these beautiful flowers.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

We weren’t the only one who had came to central Stockholm to see cherry blossoms. Under the trees everyone from families to excited tourists were taking photos and admiring pink flowers.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Here I am looking totally lost and awkward like usually. But hey, we traveled to Stockholm to see these trees so at least I can share one photo of me with them.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

cherryblossom_in_stockholm

I have to say that seeing a few cherry blossoms in Stockholm made me want to travel back to Japan. Maybe next spring? I love pink and pretty things so seeing even more cherry blossoms would be like a dream. Now I just have to plan this trip, right?

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Have you ever seen cherry blossoms? Or what are your favorite beautiful travel spots? Feel free to comment anything like always.

With these cherry blossom photos from Stockholm it is good to start spring. It is snowing today in Finland but my summer holiday started yesterday. Because I don’t have school anymore before autumn I will have more time to write this blog. So, wait for better post next Wednesday! I will come up with something interesting.

With love,

Viivi Severina

Tips For Solo Female Travelers

Happy International Women’s Day all fellow female travelers!

Traveling as solo female traveler is adventure not any man can even imagine. There is many small things you have to remember if you decide to do adventure as solo female traveler. Not all countries are as safe or as comfortable to go without male company or safe group. It’s kind of annoying that gender can affect our lives so much but this is our society and we have to deal with it.

Women’s Day is often seen as the celebration for independent and strong girls. And that’ why I wanted to share today some tips for all women who want to travel alone. I may not be the best person to give these tips but this text is based on my own experiences and observations.

I hope you will enjoy my tips. And I hope you will keep traveling even if many people seem to think that solo female travelers are just playing with the fire. Let’s show them some girl power, shall we?

1. Trust people but doubt everyone.

female_travelers
Photos from: unsplash

I often hear that as female traveler I shouldn’t believe anyone (especially men). You may follow this advice blindly but I have one I think fits traveling better. Trust everyone but always doubt anything said for you. 

Trusting people has taken me to the most amazing experiences. Getting tour around Tokyo by super nice local girl, going around Helsinki with fellow travel blogger (when my friends thought I would surely get murdered) and maybe the funniest memory: forgetting my umbrella when it was raining and random person offering to walk me back to my hostel so I don’t get wet. If I hadn’t trusted those strangers I would have never ended up to the most memorable situations of my life.

Some people may call me starry-eyed and naive but trusting people doesn’t mean that I am not on my toes in these situations. I trust people but I doubt everyone. And when i say everyone I mean literally everyone because you never know what are the people’s true nature if you have only known them for a short moment.

2. Be ready to lie if needed.

solo_girl_travel

When you travel alone as girl you have to be ready to use all your actor skills. Walking alone at night? Talk to phone like you are having conversation with your beloved badass boyfriend. Too enthusiastic wooer? You are waiting for you best friend and can’t talk right now. Make stories ready before traveling so when you have to do some acting it feels natural to lie.

This may sound funny or stupid but sooner or later as female solo traveler you will feel need to escape some kind of situation. If you want to take this to next level some woman travelers use fake wedding rings to avoid unwanted attention.

3. Girls are confident, strong and cool.

solo_female_travelers

Whatever you were boy or girl acting like local can save you from many problems “normal” tourists have to face. One of the key features I think is important for surviving as solo female traveler is being confident, strong minded and seem cool but kind. The truth is that “bad people” try to find easy targets so you have to make yourself someone who will probably survive anything.

  • So how to act like you belong to this new unknown city you are visiting as solo female traveler? It is easier than it may sound like. (Maybe I should write longer post about this subject?) Walk like you know where you are going.
  • Throw away maps and download them to your phone so you can check them like you were just reading text message.
  • Always listen to music or act like you are listening to music. Put headphones on and listen to your favorite songs. It will calm you down but also make you fit in better. No lost scared tourist would close the world away with music. If you hate music or feel like you want to hear what is happening around you, you can just listen quietness and act like you are listening to music.
  • When in need ask help but continue your way after that like you own the whole city.
  • Practice basic words (thanks, sorry, etc.) and use them while smiling sweetly. If someone asks you something tell them confidently that you are not living here so you can’t help them. Being honest is the best in these situations.

4. Say no! (And yes…)

For me the hardest thing to learn has been how to say no. Believe me you have to learn and use that word a lot. No, I am not bying anything. No, I am not going to that shady looking bar you are trying to track me because they will pay you if I go inside. No, no, no… But between saying no to everyone you have to learn when is the right situation to use yes. That one small word will get you to the most amazing adventures. Don’t be afraid to say yes to other people but more importantly to yourself.

5. Check everything before going.

solo_female_travel

Where is closest police station? From where you can get help if needed? What time sun sets? Is there any areas you should avoid or be careful in? Is there any known scams or other warnings happening in the area? When does the last bus/metro leave and if you miss it what can you do?

You should do some research before going. Not only about the places but also how to survive in bad situations or who to trust when in trouble. Not police can be trusted in all countries and not all places are safe to go alone as female traveler. Even if you will probably survive without checking things before your trip knowing as much as possible will calm your mind and make the travel experience more enjoyable.

6. Trust your instincts.

Female_solo_traveler

At first this may sound funny but I think it is the best safety net one can have. Our instincts are usually the first thing telling us that something is wrong or that we should definitely run from this dangerous situation. If you feel like person isn’t trustworthy or that you are taken to place you don’t want to go just say no.

Even if you don’t realize it your brains keep reading other people and their body language. If someone is acting threateningly or if the situation quickly changes to weird, it is your instincts that make the alarms go off in your head. Sometimes our instinct may be wrong but it is better to be safe than dead in side alley because you didn’t trust your own judgement.

7. Know the risks and dangers.

It may feel uncomfortable and unpleasant to think these thing but before deciding to travel alone you should truthfully tell yourself all the problems you may have to face or risks you are taking. If even after thinking trough all of those you feel like traveling is the only option for you, you are ready.

8. Don’t think too much and just go.

travel_girls

You will often meet skeptic people and probably your own family or friends will try to change your mind about traveling as solo female traveler. Lonely woman who is traveling is often seen as crazy person who is just trying to find the trouble. Our society even now thinks that women can’t travel the world alone like men.

You shouldn’t listen these people. Of course there is some dangers and risks that only female solo travelers have to face but other than that girls are as capable to travel as boys. If world is place where women have to stay in kitchen just so we can live and not get in danger, I don’t know if I even want to be here anymore. Is staying back home and not risking it by traveling life worth of living? Maybe for some people but definitely not for me.

So, I will keep solo traveling as lonely totally risk hazard female and I courage you to do the same. Let’s enjoy our lives and not believe those who don’t believe in us. Happy Women’s Day everyone!

 

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Like always feel free to tell your thought and tips on the comments. Have you any bad or surprisingly good experiences as female traveler? Or if you are man what is your view to this whole “female solo traveler” thing?

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi

 

(Not so helpful) Flight Booking Guide

This Wanderlust Wednesday, I wanted to try something new. So here is post I wrote yesterday (totally not during my political economy class…).

Many people are wondering how to book the flight tickets like traveler. In fact some of my most popular posts that get new comments often are about travelling cheap and adventuring like traveler not tourist. Whatever that “like traveler” means here is my 5 levels of booking tickets. This works for me but please don’t take anything seriously and maybe listen someone more experienced than me. I hope you will enjoy!


5. The art of decising your destination

Deciding where you want to go seems like good way of starting trip planning and flight booking. This is a lie! Be adventurous and leave deciding for those who just want safe boring holiday. Throw dart to world map and go where it points. Or look the flight deals and take cheap one. Where ever you there is amazing adventures coming to your way.

 

plane_tickets
Photos from: unsplash.com

4. Three months before your trip and other tricks

There is as many secret tricks as there is people. Some say that best time to book your flight tickets is three months before your trip. Others swear for the only buy your tickets on Tuesday rule. I have never really thought these. Usually I am too late for that three months mark and who has time to wait for Tuesday when wanderlust is taking over your life!

So is there any tricks I have learned? Making my travel route complicated. Did you know that cheapest round trip flight tickets from Finland to France cost 120€ while from Stockholm to France it costs only 35€ (and it takes 30€ from Finland to Stockholm and back). So you see why I love this ‘trick’? Other one I have learned is collecting airline points.

 

airplane

 

3. Panic, be unproductive and plan like a pro

The most important part of any travel planning is the panicking stage. Walk circles in your home and think all the negative things this trip may cause. Never forget considering airplanes falling or your luggage disappearing. After panicking enough it’s time to stare guide books without doing any real planning. This may take hours, days, weeks or even months. In hopeless cases even years.

After getting over your insecurities it’s time to start the real planning. What time do you want to travel, how to get to airport and from airport to the city?

 

 

2. Time to buy the tickets

It’s finally time to buy the tickets! Go on the right web site (I prefer to buy straight from the airline websites.It’s usually cheaper.), select your flights and use your beloved money to buy the tickets. That’s it really. The most important (only important) part of buying your tickets part. Don’t consider or get scared, just buy.

 

airport

1. Share the good news with world (after panicking some more)

Again time to panic! You have flight tickets so it is real now: you are going to travel somewhere. If you are like me you probably forgot the plan properly ahead part and are now in totally phase of panicking. Don’t worry it will pass quickly.

After panicking it is time to take the next step (also known as the “make all your social media friends jealous”). Yep, it’s time to tell everyone that you are going. I recommend leaving that make everyone jealous part out of this step but I know how it feels to be excited about your new flight tickets. So smile for the camera and put nice photo to Facebook telling everyone the cool destination you will soon head to.

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I hope you liked my not so helpful tips that will probably make your flight tickets booking experience horrible. For me this works but I am that person who has to fail to win.

Do you have any bad flight ticket booking tips? Or maybe good ones that would be helpful for everyone? Like always feel free to comment whatever you have in mind?

So did you like this kind of ‘not so official’ travel post?
I hope you are all having an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

 

My Travel Year 2016

It’s the last day of year 2016 and I have decided to (totally not be original and) write summary of my travel year 2016.

This year has been eventful one for me. A lot of travelling, move to new city and starting studying again. Because everyone else is doing these year 2016 things I decided to gather together my own travel memories and best post from the present year (four hours till midnight!)

Missing Japan

Travel Year 2016: Japan KyotoMy year started with being happy to be finally back at home but still missing my amazing three months in Japan. At this state of my mind I also started this blog! One of the best decisions of my year I think. Who said after travel blues can’t cause good things to happen.

Surprising Trip To France

Travel year 2016 MontpellierThe first trip of my year was to France! I was invited to spend two weeks in sunny Montpellier. I got to see the beautiful beach towns, old streets and kind French people.

Too many cruises

Tallinn's Old Town QuoteThis year was also full of shorter cruises because my schedule was quite booked with the school. I did family cruise to Sweden and travelled to Tallinn for the first time (and for the second time to see the Christmas Market).

Travelling in Finland

Travel Year 2016 Helsinki

End of my summer was full of university exams around Finland so I did more than a few trips around the country. Sometimes it’s good to explore your own home country and see what is has to offer. For example I visited Helsinki, Seitseminen National Park and moved to new city.

London Holiday

Big ben and Telephone box London

The biggest travel I did this autumn was to London. I got to visit Harry Potter attractions and see a lot of things I had seen when I was younger. Everything is in different point of view when you see it for the second, third or fourth time.

 

My Blogging Year 2016

When this year changes we also come closer to my blog’s first year’s end. I have written many different posts but here is some of the best/most popular ones:

insane

My travel bucket list post of me explaining what are my biggest travel dreams.

My travel post about seeing Tallinn’s Christmas market.

My travel diary to London.

Kiasma museum helsinki

30 travel things I want to do before I turn 30 years old.

Travel rant: being scared…

So all in all I have had quite good year, right? A lot of travelling but I think my next year is going to be even more full of adventures. How has your year been? And how are you going to spend the coming year 2017?

Happy New Year for Everyone!

With love,

Viivi Severina