Travel Rant: Dear Mom & Dad…

Warning! Very personal rant ahead…

 

Dear mom & dad,

(and all other family members, friends and curious strangers),

you can’t stop me so please let me do my own thing. Sorry.

I didn’t know how to tell this for you face to face so here I am writing my blog. You know me and that’s why this may not be so huge surprise. I have booked a trip. Or well several trips to be exact. Adventures around the world. I have done some planning and that’s never a good thing from your point of view.

This coming autumn I will do a few week trips around Europe. I will go to Iceland because it has been my dream to visit that cold country as long as I can remember. I will finally visit America for the first time in my life. And if I get a good last minute deal to anywhere, I will take it.

But don’t worry. My autumn won’t be just all fun and games. Or well it kind of will be but in the good way. You already know that I will start studying creative writing in remote open university. During this autumn I’m planning to write a lot. And when I say that I mean A LOT. The last week I have been planning my autumn’s time management. I want to give even more time for blogging. Because I need money to do all this I will take even more jobs from internet. I have everything planned out.

I know you hope that I would just “get a job” or “go to real school” but it’s not that simple.

Why do you think I have been changing my plans so much lately? Veterinary, translation, literature, business, media studies. The universities I have been applied to have been all over the place. And then for some reason I have never found the strength to study enough to get in. I am not stupid, I just don’t have any motivation to get in any of those schools.

After reading about this creative writing course I felt like everything just made so much more sense. Can you even understand how excited and happy I am right now? I don’t think I have been waiting anything this enthusiastically since the time I started in high school. And even then it didn’t feel as right choice as this one does.

I know that creative writing isn’t exactly the most paying job. And I know that using all my savings to travel sounds immature and just plainly stupid. This won’t be the easiest route and there would probably be a lot better choices I could have made. BUT I will regret the rest of my life if I don’t try living the way I want right now.

The point of this small post was to tell you that this next year and probably during the rest of my life I will be doing a lot of decisions that may seem idiotic to you. The way I spend money traveling may seem reckless. And the things I decide to study will probably sound as useless as possible. But I hope you remember that this is MY LIFE and that I have to do this because if I just accept the normal path everyone else is taking I will never know if taking the crazy path would have worked out just fine.

So please, just accept the things I do. Because even if you aren’t here for me during this crazy adventure, I will keep going towards the future I want.

With love,

Your oldest child
Viivi

Travel Diary: Bremen

My Bremen-London-Brighton trip is already over but I enjoyed every moment on the road. I am again a little late but today I want to share with you my days in Bremen. Are you ready for another probably boring travel adventure? I hope you enjoy!

Day 1: Wait, Bremen is COOL?!

After reading things from internet and seeing some photos of Bremen I truly thought it would be just city I was passing by quickly to get somewhere else. The photos I saw looked so dull and gray. Why didn’t I find any photos of colorful street art, charming tiny alleys or beautiful parks when researching? Apparently many people travel to Bremen because it is cheap but this city doesn’t get as much recognition as it should.

I really want to return there because I liked the feeling of being traveler in Bremen but two full days were quite enough to see the major attractions. If anyone is now planning Bremen trip, I recommend staying for a weekend. It seems like perfect European weekend gateway destination. However, for longer time it may be a little boring if you don’t decide to do day trips to cities close by like Hamburg.

Travel Blog: Bremen

But now back to my first day! This trip started totally differently than my travels usually do. No early wake up or long way to the airport. I had evening flight from Tampere to Bremen. My flight only costed 30€ and it is one of the reasons I decided to go in the first place. I am all for the cheap trips and budget traveling.

My dad drove me to the airport and I may have been a little surprised of the size of Tampere’s airport. I knew it was small but never thought THAT SMALL. Surprisingly I have lived my whole life near Tampere but have never visited our own airport! In addition to being amazed by the small size of the airport I soon noticed that I had to share my flight with too exited group of teens on field trip. Fortunately, they didn’t sit next to me on the plane even if Ryanair gives the seats to you randomly.

Travel Blog Flying

Instead I got very talkative man next to me. One of the first things he told me was that he got parachute in his bag right above us so if we crashed he was ready to save me. I didn’t know should I feel comfortable or even more scared. And he never made clear if it was normal thing for him to fly with parachute or if he was going to use it in the destination. You never know about people you meet during traveling.

After my short flight I arrived to Bremen’s airport and literally walked trough the customs without any slow downs. The place seemed dead. There was only people from our flight, a few staff members and no one else. Then outside of the airport I was totally in trouble. Everyone, remember to research how to get from airport to your accommodation before you are in foreigner country without internet! 

Travel Blog: Bremen

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. Next to me was this Asian girl who later told me that she studied in Finland and she was here to meet her boyfriend. We tried to find the tram together and then she even taught me how to buy right tram tickets (not as easy as it sounds like). She seemed nice but I lost her after getting on the tram.

My problems continued in the tram but once again I had nice people who were able to help me. I don’t know why but in Bremen’s tram your ticket won’t fit in the ticket machine where you should mark it. Who the heck has designed thing like that? Friendly group of local boys fortunately shoved me the logical solution: fold your ticket. I would have never figured out that by myself!

Like I said before, I wasn’t expecting a much from Bremen. Maybe that’s why it was love in the first sight. I stepped out of the tram in city centre. Old buildings all around me, students laughing and running over the tram tracks, trams passing by in lines. The last straw for me to be amazed was weather. You know that moment before storm when everything looks so fresh and vibrant. Sun is still shining but you can see dark clouds in the horizon.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I started walking to the direction I believed was right one (probably the first and last time in my life when I was right!) I had to walk past old buildings and old bridge. Then between two sides of the amazing park going through whole Bremen. And lastly to the area full of graffiti and artsy cafes. Later on I will tell you that this artsy area I totally fell in love with wasn’t as nice as I believed but first let’s talk about my hostel.

My hostel was nice and cozy. I got my key and basic information easily before going towards my new room for the next three nights. I scored lower bed but had to take bed that was in place where you will literally see everyone when they come to or leave the room. As shy person that’s good and bad thing. Why? Well, it is the easiest way to make friends in hostel. Just greet them with smile. However, after a while it will get tiring to not have your own hiding place.

Travel Blog: Bremen

It took a few hours and one trip to close-by convenience store (I may have bought too big bag of candies that took over my backpack and that I still have somewhere even if I gave them as souvenirs for my family and friends…) before I began meeting people in the hostel. There was a lot of people who had been on same plane as me. Finns talking everywhere. Surprisingly, I didn’t make friends with any of them but rather talked a little with some German guests. Pro tip for any traveler meeting Finns. We usually want to talk but we are just super quiet and don’t want to disturb anyone so you have to talk for us first.

Day 2: My Inner Science Nerd

I woke up late. Like breakfast was already over late but that’s wasn’t really problem for me because that food was expensive. However it was problem for a older hostel guest who was staying in same dorm room with me. He kept telling me that I should go to eat because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have no idea how the old hostel guests always want to take care of me. I feel like there is always someone who gets worried for my bad eating habits or wild adventures.

pink_cafe_bremenAfter my late start for the day I walked towards the closest metro stop. On my way I bought some food and ate it on the go. My tram trip was towards Universum Bremen museum. I love science museums but usually skip them while traveling because of the high prices. Visiting Universum was one of the best decisions I did in Bremen. That place was amazing! I can totally recommend.

16 euros (11 euros if you are student) sounds high but with that price you could stay the whole day in this interactive museum. Definitely better place if you have friends with you because then you can truly embarrass yourself while trying all the thing. For solo travelers this is quicker stop but still fun way to spent your one extra day in Bremen.

Bremen museums Universum

Only bad side was that it’s not the easiest place to find. I may have jumped of the tram like two kilometers too early. There is so many stops that have similar names. And then I couldn’t of course wait for the next tram because it would have been embarrassing! So, I did what any awkward traveler who is too scared to take public transportation would have done. I walked.

When you come to the Universum building, you will recognize it from the whale like shape. However the main door isn’t in that building but on another one across the street. This museum has three parts. The first building with changing exhibitions and lobby. Whale looking building with the interactive exhibitions. And lastly outside area with adventure park. All of them are worth of checking out but I would use most of you time in the interactive area.

Universum museum BremenHere is small list of my favorite things in Universum:

  • Playing with small artificial tornado. It was like normal tornado but a lot smaller and you were allowed to touch it.
  • Dark labyrinth. There was room where you couldn’t see anything and then you had to walk towards trough all these strange rooms. There was sounds, weird materials, soft floor, different objects, smell and all kind of things expect sense of seeing.
  • Intelligent computers. I totally fell for the computer area. There was all kind of tests for you and computers who knew things. Well, at least they tried to know things. This one computer was meant to tell your age, gender and current emotion if you stood in front of its camera. Wanna guess what it told about me? Apparently I am middle-aged angry man… Yeah, so correct…
  • Aquariums and turtles! As person who used to study animals you can totally charm me with just showing me some animals. Aquariums and turtles have always interested me. I could spend hours just looking at them.

This list was just short example of things you can find from Universum. The interactive area has four floors so there is a lot of things to try.

Universum_park

Maybe the funniest thing during my visit here was that I had expected children and maybe teens but the museum was full of old ladies, a few romantic couples and me. So, I can recommend this for people of any age. Everyone I saw was having a lot of fun.

After taking another tram trip back to the city center I meant to go back to my hostel and rest for a while. Didn’t go as planned. When I exited the tram the old narrow streets just attracted me too much. I had to go and adventure a little more.

I can’t really say anything about the old city expect that it is worth of visit. Aesthetically appealing would be the right term. Especially when it’s sunny. So, I spent a few hours just walking around and visiting small shops. Then I ended up to newer part of the center and shopping small. That took even more of my time!

Travel Blog: Bremen

Bremen has a lot of shops selling cards with cool texts. I of course had to buy one travel themed card but later on was disappointed… Why? My mom told me that they sell exactly same card in her shop… She takes all the joy out of my travel shopping. Every time I find something cool I realize that I could get the same thing from my mom’s shop.

After walking all day my feet were literally dead. Wearing high-heel sneakers wasn’t probably the best possible choice. But hey at least those shoes look super nice? I returned to my hostel and felt wanted just to sleep. Instead of sleeping I went on my computer because as basic member of my age group day without computer would be impossible. Also I had some writing jobs to do and after traveling too much this year every penny counts.

I am happy that I decided to surf around the internet for a while because one of my roommates happened to leave the room with his computer in his hands. Surprisingly we had exactly same computers and having something identical with your hostel roommate means that you are automatically new best friends. We talked a little but then he had to work and I had to work and we decided to talk more later on.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I knew that I should rest for a while but my feet took me out of the hostel. I ended up visiting the close-by art museum. I have always loved art so I have nothing to complain about. Except well I may have accidentally interrupted some kind of art therapy yoga class. The last room of this museum had big windows and it was huge open space. There was art on the walls and a few sculptures on the floor but about five people in the middle of the room made me freeze.

One of the five was walking around and speaking while the rest of them had their eyes closed and stood in odd positions. For a moment I didn’t know if I should exit or just keep going. You never know in these modern art galleries if people are doing something important or if they are performing art as part of the exhibition. I think that one person who was walking around saw the horror in my eyes because he smiled and motioned me to continue my way around the museum.

Travel Blog: Bremen

Do I even have to say that I left that last room too quickly? I don’t even care that I paid to see the exhibition. That situation was too awkward for me to worry about lost money.

After the frightening museum experience I decided to walk a little bit around the are full of pretty graffiti before returning to my hostel for the second time on that evening. This time I stayed, spend some time in the common room and then went to bed too late.

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Have you ever visited Bremen? Or have you had anyone interesting sitting next to you in plane? All comments are welcome like always! And sorry for my blogging silence. I have had total lost of inspiration but I think I am slowly getting over it. Thanks for all the old and new people who are reading my blog. I will come back soon with another as boring and long travel article.

Have an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Rant: Victim Of Travel Fever

“Is it time for your next trip?”
“It’s time to start packing!”
“Enjoy the sun, it’s time to travel?”

I am victim of advertising. How could I not book a trip when all these emails with crazier and crazier titles keep inspiring me to just leave? And in the end it’s not just these emails, it’s life as whole. When all you want to do is travel it’s easy to find ‘signs’ everywhere.

Someone speaks about New York with me right after I saw cheap flight deal there. I find abandoned travel brochure from bus stop. Somehow going to library, bookstore or shelf full of magazines means seeing travel themed magazines and books right away. I don’t even try but for some funny reason I always find myself standing in front of them. And then there is this blog. Every now and then I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I should stay at home this year and not travel anywhere. And then someone in comments tells me about new place or says a few inspiring words. I can’t stop.

Having soul full of wanderlust means you will see these signs everywhere. It’s like the world around you kept telling you to travel, travel and just travel. You may know about the phenomena of buying car and starting to see similar cars everywhere or getting a puppy and starting to see dogs everywhere you go. It’s same with travel.

Once you began traveling and you fall in love with it you start seeing indications to travel more everywhere you go. Even the smallest things come reasons to book your next trip and do something others would describe as crazy.

So, I am victim of travel fever. These adds in my email make me crazy. I am like alcoholic smelling the world’s finest wine. I keep staring these adds, these tempting title. Sometimes I even visit the travel websites and almost end up booking these trips. But I can’t. Not right now. Wait a week, maybe two, I keep telling myself. It’s like torture and I don’t know when I will break up. 

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Today’s post was just short thing I wrote after waking up too early. I am currently in the “how to be good enough for all these people reading my blog” phase because there is so many of you and writing is getting harder and harder. I will try my best (and try to finally write all those travel diaries I haven’t…) so please cope with me.

And like always I will now push this odd subject towards you. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever been in situation where you can’t book a new trip even if you desperately need to? All comments are appreciated.

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

Viivi Severina

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.

.          .         .

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

Travel Rant: The Moments After Travel

Returning home is always as terrible and as exciting. After being away for a week or two your own country seems so different than before leaving. Safe and sound. You know all the streets and understand what people are saying. You know how to act, how to fit in. It is easy and for the first few days that makes going back home so amazing. After surviving somewhere else being back at home is like relaxation that holiday should have given for you.

However after those few days coming home excitement disappears. You are back at home. Nothing has changed. Everything is exactly same as before you left. So many things have changed inside of you but no one seems to realize. Your family keeps doing normal stuff, friends keep asking photos from your trip and neighbors probably didn’t even know that you were away. In the end you are left standing there feeling odd. It is like this city, this country, these same old circles aren’t enough anymore. You need something different.

You need new streets, new cities, new places to explore. You want to taste foods you have never seen before and that will probably make you regret later even looking towards them. You grave for new interesting people who can teach you so much about cultures and countries you have only read from school textbooks. You need adventure. In your heart is traveler who just wants to see as much as possible because our time in this planet is limited.

Watching all the photos you have taken and going back to all the new memories you have collected, just makes everything worse. “I would still be there…” If you just hadn’t taken the flight back. If you just had decided to escape your life. If miracle had happened and you would do whatever you want with your life. But then again, if you didn’t return back to home every now and then would this traveling thing feel as good? Would every new experience be as exciting as right now if you knew that you could have them endlessly whenever you want? Who knows…

Right now all we can do is to try to survive this after travel blues. Enjoy the few days back at home and then start planning new trip for another adventure. Because we are travelers and that’s what we do. Endless cycle of planning trips, traveling to new places and coming back.

 

Travel Rants are my series of random travel related thoughts and opinions. It is non-edited thoughts straight from my brain and heart. I just returned from my Bremen London trip so it was good timing to bring this post series back. Like always all comments are welcome! Have you ever felt like this? Or how do you cope with after travel blues?

I hope you are having amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina