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

Travel Diary: Crazy Cruise to Stockholm

It has been a few weeks and I am already missing traveling… So, it is time to start writing about my trip as travel diary. Today we are going to start from the beginning. (You can also read this kind of funny story how I booked my trip.)  My first day went by on board of cruise ship from Finland to Sweden. And after that I spent three days in Stockholm before flying to Poland.

I hope you will enjoy these stories! (And like always beware, long boring stories ahead…)

Day 1: Day cruise and strange people

I think the tittle says everything. My hypothesis is that only crazy people do day cruises. Or I just happen to have bad luck and meet all the not so normal ones. If you know me you also know that I have bad luck when traveling. This early morning at 2 am when I left my home wasn’t exception. I was stupid and didn’t look outside before going. But for my defense it had been good weather when I went shopping the morning before.

Travel Diary: cruise ship and seaI was wearing my green sneakers and leather jacket. Not the best choice when you have to walk in snow storm. There was snow everywhere and when at last I reached the train station I probably looked like snowman. And then because of the snow my train was of course late. Don’t get me wrong… It was one of the most beautiful moment I have had this winter! Warm street lights around me. Quiet atmosphere that is only possible in Finland’s cities. And of course clean pure white snow all around me. But it was also scary. I prefer not standing alone in empty train station in the middle of night.

When my train finally arrived I was still only one waiting for it. However even if people from Kokkola don’t like night trains other people do. My train was full and there was a lot of tourists. Finland’s Lapland is popular travel destination for those wanting to see northern lights or meet Santa Claus.

I shared my row with three German travelers who tried to sleep and failed miserably. I didn’t even try. Sleeping in trains has always been hard for me (except when I fall in sleep accidentally and almost miss my station…)

Travel Diary: Stockholm, MariehamnAfter too many hours of listening to music and dreaming about my future adventures I finally arrived to Turku’s bay. I was able to find my cruise ship without getting lost (okay… I just followed a few other people exiting the train). After doing check-in and other official things I boarded my ship. Next obstacle I had was to find perfect spot where I could sit the next ten hours. I walked around until I saw girl with huge bag sleeping in small sofa. I put my things down and opened my computer ready to watch Netflix to the table next to her. It seemed like good safe place to spend time.

It took me about two minutes to realize that Netflix, Youtube and other sites playing videos were banned when using the ship’s internet. (Viking Line please fix this… I would have had better day if I just could have watched some movies.) Because I had nothing to do I ended up staring outside of the window for my first hour on board. Fortunately Finnish islands are beautiful.

Soon after the ship left bay these two older ladies decided to share the table with me. I am not stalker but I could not hear them talking. The subject was “Tom of Finland” movie that had just come out (no pun intended here). One of the ladies had went to see it and was totally in love while the other lady didn’t understand why her friend would go to see movie about gays. Their conversation was so much fun to listen. Two friends bickering about their views of this world.

Half way to Sweden! I need sleep 🇸🇪☕️💤 #travel #cruise #wanderlust #blogger

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At some point I got bored to sitting next to the window and entertaining myself with people watching (once again not stalking just observing!). I decided to visit the deck and take some photos. Once again, not so good decision. Winter, sea and wind don’t go together that well. It was quite warm and sun was shining beautifully BUT there was slippery ice everywhere. Me and a few tourists all tried to take some photos while not falling and breaking our bones. I survived but I saw some skillful flips performed by the tourists.

Disclaimer! If you don’t live in northern countries, use winter shoes at winter time. Only locals can master the skill of walking on ice with sneakers or other slippery summer shoes.

When I came back inside my spot was taken and I had to find new one. This time I was in more public place that means more crazy people trying to make contact with me. For some reason I have always been people magnet. Where ever I go someone starts to talk with me! I don’t get it because I definitely look like someone who doesn’t want to answer for you. My huge headphones should tell enough…

So it didn’t take long before some crazy things started to happen. Apparently I had taken the same ship with some kind of biker gang. And now they were causing problems in the restaurant next to me. First there was one guard running towards the restaurant, then second, third and in the end there was bunch of guards running back and worth in front of me.

stockholm cruise sea

First thug they took out seemed peaceful even if he was wearing all leather and all black. The second one they walked out of the restaurant and in front of me seemed also peaceful but well… let’s just say that I would have gone without him showing his ass for me when they walked past me. I think the guards agreed with me.

After that incident my cruise was not so eventful if we don’t count in some intoxicated Finns, fighting boys and children trying to kill me several times. No really I have no idea what those children had against me. One stole my eyeglasses while his mum just laughed and another one kicked my computer so hard it flew to ground.

Then there was this one girl who sat in front of me and kept staring my every move. It was so disturbing that I decided to find new place to sit in but when I stood up she stood up too and when I started walking she followed me. In the end I just walked back to the same place I had earlier left. This time this small girl who had followed me (where the heck were her parents??) started to dance and sing around for no reason. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.

When the ship finally arrived to Stockholm I was so ready leave all that madness. I walked towards the doors, saw that same biker gang there and knew right away that there was going to be problems. I wasn’t wrong. They kept picking a fight with guards and everyone else in front of the still closed doors. Because of them it took some extra time before they agreed to open the doors.

At this point I was ready to run away but it is not so easy to do. There was breaking alcohol bags everywhere and people picking up their rolling bottles and cans. One bag broke in front of me in escalator and it was almost impossible to jump over them and jump over the man picking them up. I have no idea how I survived to the over-prices bus I had earlier booked so I could get close to my hostel.

You may think that this unfortunately day was already over for me and I just walked safely to my hostel but if you have read my blog before you know that is not possible. I got lost… I exited my bus at central train station, had no idea where to go and did the wrong thin (walking aimlessly until I found my hostel). Fortunately I had guessed this would happen and booked hostel with 24 hours check-in.

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After being awake for almost whole day, running away from crazy people in cruise and getting lost I was dead. Being dead and having handsome receptionist isn’t good mix. Half of what he said went over my head. (He had cute eyes, okay! I didn’t have time to listen to useless things like where my room was going to be…) So after getting my key and somehow finding stairs towards the rooms I thought that I had finally done it. WRONG.

Between me and my rooms door there was locked inner door. I had no idea how to open it. There wasn’t lock or any way to open it. I used maybe 5 minutes just standing there hoping that someone would open the door. Finally someone walked past me and I asked him how the heck use that damn door. It was surprisingly easy but I hope there had been some kind of introductions. I had to use my key to pad that was on the other side of the room between two elevators.

Surprise surprise my key didn’t work. I was ready to cry but I decided to walk back down bravely and ask new key from that cute eyed receptionist. He said that many people don’t know how to use the door but gave me new key. I walked back up, tried again and… my key didn’t work. Then fortunately someone opened that door and I get in the corridor and one step closer to my room. I found my room tried to open the door and of course it didn’t work.

sweden_photo

At this point I decided to check my room number one last time before going back down to embarrass myself because I couldn’t use normal door. I stared my key for a few minutes and didn’t know should I cry or laugh. This whole time I had been in totally wrong floor. No wonder it didn’t work. After that I found my room without much problems and got inside.

If this doesn’t feel too embarrassing for you, I would like to mention that there was security camera pointing to the door I first tried to open and towards the corridor. So the workers probably got good laughs when I desperately tried to get in wrong room and then run to the right place tail between my legs.

I liked the room and hostel even if I didn’t have a lot time to look at it because I just wanted to sleep. All the beds in my dorm were full but no one was in the room. I was ready to sleep but I still had one problem. This is the problem I still have in hostel even after living three months in them in Japan. Do I shut the lights or do I not shut the light in dorm room? Feel free to tell your opinion in this matter because – even if it sounds stupid – it is always problem for me.

stockholm_graffiti

I closed the lights and it was the last wrong decision I did that day. You may have once again thought that this post and my catastrophic day was finally over. However I still succeeded to get myself in embarrassing situation. I had almost fallen asleep when someone entered the room. They went to toilet and I continued my sleeping. Then they went to their own bed that was under mine.

For moment it was quiet and I tried to sleep despite the lights he had put on. After that moment he started to sing. I am 100% sure that he had no idea I was in the room. So for about a hour I listened him singing, watching movies and talking too loudly in phone. All this while I tried not to move because I had no idea what to do and it would have been super awkward to tell him that I had been there the whole time.

Then I was saved by another of my roommates coming back. I was so ready to sleep at this point so it took just a few second after that from me to fall asleep.

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And so ends my first story from this trip. All comments are welcome like always. Do you have any crazy cruise ship stories? Or maybe embarrassing hostel stories?
With love,

Viivi Severina

 

Travel Planning Once Again

Hello everyone!

The year has started so it’s again time to do some planning. I did this same thing last year and it was fun to write but also popular post among you readers. So here is listed some travel destinations I hope to visit this year and other plans I have for the current year! (And like you can see from the last post probably even half of them are not going to happen…)

Travels

Travel year 2016 Montpellier

First and foremost I still have my free flights problems. I have enough Finnair flight point to fly any European country (or Dubai). Only problem is the timing because I can’t use the points on holidays. I haven’t yet decided the destination either so please feel free to suggest destinations.

I also would like to do a few shorter weekend trips between my school weeks. I was thinking about Umeå in Sweden because it is easy to access from my current city and maybe Stockholm because I get good cruise deals there all the time. But these are still on planning level so let’s see if I ever make them come true.

My summer plans are still in darkness but I should at least do one longer trip before autumn. I am part of scouts here in Finland (you know the children in American movies who sell cookies, go camping to forest and collect cool badges through different activities). And for Finnish scouts of my age we have this activity where we “have to” do trip to foreigner country. The idea is to experience something new, meet scouts from different countries and volunteer.

For autumn I haven’t planned anything yet because I just don’t know what I will do with my school then.

School

travel blogger: Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Right now school is that one big thing in my life. Just last week I spoke with my student counselor and got some good news. Starting from autumn I can be part of our school’s remote business program. That means only a few days school every month (and of course a lot of internet work). Of course I should find internship place soon but I’m not going to think that now. Just celebrating my coming remote school years!

Blogging

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks

Some biggest news I have right now are concerning my blog. I think you will be as thrilled as I am because the Wanderlust Wednesdays are coming back! Some of you may remember me trying to write travel destination reviews every Wednesday. Now I am starting this series again but with a different idea.

Every Wednesday I am going to share more informative travel piece with you. This means city guides, destination reviews, travel tips and other posts helpful for travellers. I used to write texts like Top10 Tokyo and 13 Free Things In Montpellier. So I have been planning something like this. I can also share lists of destinations to add your bucket list.

However don’t worry! Saturdays are still going to be days for random personal travel posts like this one. Travel diaries, photo diaries, story times and travel rants are going to continue this normal schedule. So now there is going to be two posts every week!

Now when I have two post going out every week I can take more guests posters if anyone wants any more? (Contact me: viivi.severina@gmail.com) I’m kind of dreaming about this series where people would write about their own home countries and cities from the point of view of local. So if you would like to write for my blog and me to write for your blog (post exchange!) just send me a message. Let’s talk!

 

So what travel plans do you have for year 2017? Or do you have some cool blogging project coming soon?
With love,

Viivi Severina

“Beautiful” word from stranger

I have met kind people around the world. I have got new friends I will never meet again and memories staying with me forever. I wanted to share this story about the woman who impacted me greatly. I’m thankful to her and will be probably until the end of my life.

“Beautiful” How can one word change person?

It was my first week volunteering in Kyoto. I lived in small hostel free for working three hours day and it had taken only a couple of days for me to feel like in home. At daytime I explored the city and the nights I spend writing in the hostel’s common room. In one of those nights I met her.

She was older lady and I never really get to know what she did in the hostel. The language barrier between us was huge. I didn’t know Japanese and she didn’t speak English. However she kept talking to me and I tried to understand.

Soon I get to know that she knew one word in English. Beautiful. She told me just that. You beautiful. No one has ever called me beautiful. I have never felt particularly pretty. When I went to school people used to call me ugly and it has always stayed with me.

Beautiful. That one word and her kind eyes changed me. Nowadays when I feel ugly or worthless I recall that moment and feel better. That one moment and stranger impacted me for the rest of my life.

I didn’t see her the night after and come to the conclusion she had stayed only one night. I hoped I would have talked more with her. But like a magic and destiny I get to meet her once again. After two months and my last week in Japan we met like old friends.

I spend the night in common room like always and she came in. She put her things next to met and while she cooked we tried to talk like the last time. This time too she kept calling me beautiful and I even got to thank her. She was like angel with her bright smile.

Then she put plate in front of me and surprised me once again. She had cooked a miso soup for me. Even if I tried to say she shouldn’t or would she take some of my food as returning favor she didn’t take any of it. It was the perfect last week for my Japan trip.

I know I am probably not going to meet that woman again. I wil remember her. The kindness and the one word he was able to say in English. Beautiful. You just can’t forgot person like her.

 

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I didn’t have time to write anything long today (trying to back for my Sweden trip) so I came up with this memory. I have been thinking about writing “story times” or my memories once in while but I don’t know would those be interesting.

Have you met kind strangers? I think this world is full of kind people and I hope I will meet more of them while traveling. Maybe in the future I will write about all the people I have met on my travels.

With love and wanderlust,

Viivi Severina