My travel year 2017

The year 2017 is ending soon and like last year it’s time to look back at the amazing (and not so amazing) moments I had the privilege to experience. When 2017 was starting I promised myself that this year would finally be the year when I start truly traveling and will take it seriously. This may have been the first time when I kept my New Year’s resolution. Anyone who knows me or has been reading my Twitter knows that year 2017 was full of adventures and travels.

Travel Blog Flying

Starting my travel year from Travel Expo

I started my travel year 2017 with something inspiring and unbelievable. I went to Finnish travel expo “Matkamessut”. There I took part in this seminar meant for travel writers where they taught everything from writing a travel blog to taking better photos. Afterwards, I walked around the expo and collected a huge bag full of fliers from different travel themed companies and countries.

This all made me want to be a bigger part of the travel community. If I was writing Finnish blog, it would probably be easier. But at least during this year, I have made more traveler friends and even met a cool blogger from the other side of the world twice during 2017. Isn’t that amazing?

Travel Blog Gdansk

How to travel cheap?

Most Finnish people think that flying out from our lovely country is super expensive. In fact, this year I must have heard “How do you have enough money to travel?” at least hundred times from the mouths of my family and friends. Even randoms comment the amount I travel. One of the funniest comments this year must have been “Are you some kind of heiress with endless fortune?” Those who are wondering: I probably make less money than most normal people right now and everything is about budgeting.

During 2017 I have learned more and more ways to travel cheaply without giving up the best sides of traveling. I made my own schedule so that I can leave whenever and where ever flight tickets are inexpensive. Hotels are also out of the equation (if we don’t count traveling with my amazing mum!) and I have to skip some of the most touristy experiences. Traveling to so many places during this year has been possible because I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler.

Travel Diary: Bremen

Cities that surprised me

Because I had decided to travel cheap and my budget wasn’t great at spring, there wasn’t a lot of choices while picking out the destinations to visit. At first, I thought it would be a bad thing but surprisingly it just meant that I fell in love with cities I might not have visited on my own. During 2017 I was lucky enough to travel to three cities that took me by surprise. Bremen, Gdansk, and Bratislava.

All these three cities were sold short for me. The photos of Bremen I found online were dull and painted picture of an industrial dark city. Gdanks seemed like a place made for tourists and nothing else. While many people told me that there is nothing to see in Bratislava. In the end, all three of these cities ended up on my list of places I have to visit again with more time. Surprises make traveling so much better.

travel Brighton

I found home from Brighton

Some places you just know that you will fall in love even before visiting them. Brighton is a place like that for me. I saw the photos of its huge pier, idyllic streets, and endless beach. That’s all I wish for a perfect travel destination. Even if you know beforehand it always surprises you how one unknown place can make you feel like you have finally found your home. Dark alleys, colorful buildings and people so happy its ridiculous. I fell asleep listening to too loud live music playing under me in the hostel’s bar. Brighton felt like home.

Cherry Blossom Trees in Stockholm

Too many times in Stockholm

Stockholm, city probably 99% of Finns have visited at least once in their lifetime. Even if my statistics aren’t the truth, Stockholm has been known as the easy and cheap destination amongst Finnish people for a long time. Stockholm cruises are always a popular way of traveling. I have taken this form of traveling to the next level because it just happens that flights from Stockholm are nothing when compared to the flights leaving from Finland. Because of this, I have visited Stockholm too many times this year. If I counted correctly I have visited Stockholm 7 times during the last 12 months. 7 TIMES!

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Adventures with family

I am all for solo traveling but it doesn’t mean that adventuring with my family every once in a while wouldn’t be on my budget list. One of the first trips of 2017 was with my mom, siblings, and cousin to Sweden by cruise ship. The idea of this trip was to see the pinkish cherry blossoms for the first time in our lives. If I wasn’t planning a return trip to Japan before, after seeing cherry trees in Stockholm it came one of my most important agendas.

This cruise wasn’t the only trip I did with my family during the travels of 2017. At autumn I went to Rome with my mom. That trip interesting. Not bad but definitely torturous because of the endless sun and hot temperatures. We saw a lot of local history like Colosseum and Vatican but also just walked the idyllic streets full of tourists. After traveling together my mom flew back to Finland and I continued by bus to Venice.

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Two longtime dreams

I believe that every traveler has a few dream destinations that have always wanted to visit. Iceland and Venice have been dream destinations for me as long as I can remember. I’m not even sure how or when my mind decided that going to these places would be dream come true. It must have been primary school and something to do with geography homework.

2017 was a lucky year for me because I was able to visit both of my longtime dreams. After spending a week in Rome with my mom, I continued by over-night bus to Venice. I arrived at early morning hour and fell in love right after exiting the train station. Getting lost is my thing and in city full of canals, narrow alleys and ending roads it’s easy. Iceland was almost an opposite experience but still as breathtaking. Alone traveling around Iceland’s south coast would be boring but with a good friend and easy bus tour, everything felt perfect. I even hiked on a real glacier!

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Around East Europe by busses

Between my trip to Venice and Iceland, there was time for one more adventure. I think you know what that means! Time to do one more dream of mine. I booked a flight to Budapest and first bus from there to Bratislava. After that my plan was just to improvise and travel around East Europe by busses.

During the following two weeks, I had the privilege to visit four new countries and return to Poland. Like always traveling gave me more than enough funny memories, new stories and moments to share. However, I also experienced the most moving moment of my 2017 while taking a bus trip to Auschwitz. They teach us about it in school but really visiting this sadly famous place you truly could feel the pain and terror.

New York Travel

Taking over the USA!

The last trip of my travel year 2017 was to the USA. It was my first time crossing the Atlantic and visiting America. After Iceland, the first few days didn’t feel as marvelous as I would have probably felt if coming straight from Finland. It doesn’t mean that New York didn’t charm me. I loved running around with Starbucks mug and fancy paper bags. The museums I visited were unique and full of famous artists. Let’s not even talk about the three-story high bookstores or writing endless stories to my new notebooks in small cafes.

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Starting something new 2018

And that’s my travel year of 2017. Adventures, adventures and little more adventures. I will now start my year 2018 with a new theme. There will still be travels around the world – I don’t think there is any other way for me to live – but at the same time I have decided new goal. During 2017 I wanted to travel as much as possible but in 2018 I will give everything I have for blogging.

Laugh if you want because this year my blogging schedule has been just sad. Feel free to not believe me but remember that when I once decide something it’s hard to change my mind. Next year I have decided to do daily blogging. It may sound crazy but I think that’s just fitting for my current life. Just follow my lost side blog and there I will tell you more about this plan later this week.

What hopes or resolutions do you have for 2018? Or what were the most memorable trips you did during 2017? Like always all comments are more than welcome!

With love,

Lost Viivi

5 Reasons to Love Long-Distance Flights

Usually, we complain when facing too long travel times. 5 hours sitting on a train, 12 hours flight from Europe to the USA or cheap but forever long bus trip. First thing coming to your mind is probably torture. You can’t move or do anything. You just have to sit there in this small seat you get and wait for a long time so you can exit the vehicle in your dream destination.

I admit that if I can make a choice taking the longest route would be my pick but that doesn’t mean I hate long-distance flight or any form of long distance traveling. That’s why I decided that today I want to share 5 reasons I think that every once in a while all of us should sit alone in an airplane for hours. If you don’t think too much, it will be an amazing experience.

1. Get unplugged from the world

Okay, this isn’t as true anymore as it was about a year ago because most airplanes start to have wifi in them. But you can still do the choice to not use it and be unplugged during your long-distance flight. In the current world of social media and always being available being off the grid for hours is a luxury. No need to worry what everyone else is doing at the moment or telling everyone what you are experiencing. Just enjoy the moment and amazing views outside your window.

2. Read a book, watch a movie or just sleep

People often complain that there is nothing to do on long-distance trips. But I want to disagree! You can read a whole book during that time or even watch few movies. If you are a blogger like me, it’s a good moment to try to write some random posts ready beforehand. (Totally have never done that because I am lazy but in theory!) Most modern airplanes and even some of the cheaper options have movie screens.

In some cases, you have to share the screen with others and watch whatever the airline has decided but increasing amount of airplanes have gotten own screen for everyone. You may not believe me but the movies, music, audiobooks, games and TV series you can find are amazing! There is often some of the latest and hottest entertainment available. I can’t even remember all of the movies I have watched in airplanes but for example Wonder Woman, Now You See Me, Me Before You, Descendants, Tangled, Brave, and so many more!

3. You never know who you will meet

Sometimes long-distance flight will be like winning a lottery. And sometimes it’s like losing badly. You will never know who you will sit next to. Have I ever told about the time when I sat next to someone who told me that if the airplane dropped he had a parachute and the two of us would survive (I am low-key scared to death of flying so I was probably looking like the hell was breaking loose…) Also during my first solo trip flying from Finland to Japan, I met this super nice girl during layover who made me realize that maybe I truly could survive traveling alone in foreigner country.

Sharing armrest with someone for hours is a surprisingly intimate experience. Don’t be that annoying person who talks nonstop during the ten hours flight but you can always try to start a conversation. Every person has their own story and something new to teach you.

4. Get things done easily

You have a lot of time so why not to catch those undone things that have been waiting for too long! Those who are still at school like me can do their homework that they for some reason didn’t do before the trip and others can just plan their budget for the trip, work or really anything you can do sitting without internet. If are guidebook kind of person and not online travelers, sitting on a plane for a long time is also a perfect opportunity to plan your coming trip. One of the best tips I have for those who are a little late with their travel planning is to look through the destination introducing videos most long-distance planes nowadays have.

5. Dream eyes open (or closet)

Maybe it’s just me but there is nothing better than daydreaming for hours and napping in between. Stare out of the window or close your eyes and let your mind wander. What you want to do at the destination? What kind of dreams do you have? Or maybe you have had these amazing ideas lately you have wanted to think over? And you can always just create a million stories in your head during the flight. There is enough time to make your own mini-movie in your mind. But like I said maybe this is just my creative writer’s brain loving this? In that case, you can just sleep and try to prevent the lack of sleep caused by traveling.

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Hello everyone! Look I didn’t have another few months break between the posts this time. Today’s post is a little different from my blogs usual style. What do you think? Some of you may know that I currently mostly work as (travel) content writer for other people. The style I use for those articles is starting to rub off on my own blog writing too. Maybe it’s a bad thing maybe not…

Like always any comments, feedback, and opinions are more than welcome. Next week I will be sharing photos from my Iceland trip with you but if you want early sneak peek check out my Instagram. And those who miss my random rambling should stalk my surprisingly active Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Safe travels and merry Christmas,

Lost 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

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