Positive Mindset

How is it that sometimes we meet people who just burst out with their positive attitude toward everything and sometimes we get to know these who complain about every aspect of their lives?

When I was thinking deeper about our ability to think in a positive way and how we can learn it, it occurred to me there had to be, for a certain amount of time, a person present in our childhood who would show us how to always look on the bright side of life. In my case that was my father. Even though my relationship with him got a bit toxic, but when I look back at my childhood I remember him showing me the world through travels, sending me to English classes that in 1990s in Poland were extremely expensive, comforting me when something went wrong and making me search for the silver lining in every situation. In the same he also taught me an incredible responsibility for my actions.

After my 3 years of therapy and knowing some friends who also attend theirs, I noticed they did not become happier. I know the therapy’s aim is not to change anyone’s attitude toward life from negative into a positive one, but to get to know yourself better and in most cases stop hurting yourself subconsciously. Yet I noticed that the way my friends were unhappy with their lives before the therapy, they are still unhappy after it. Now they are more conscious about their unhappiness. So where comes this incredible positive attitude toward life in some of the people from? My observation is that it must have been taught from others. There just had to happen a person in our early days who would show us their optimism, easy-going personality and positive mindset. Only by observing such a person we were able to learn how to stay optimists.

I remember a one girl I met through Couchsuring who I spent with 2 weeks traveling in Asia. It was supposed to be an amazing time – Taiwan and Philippines with her and then South Korea on my own. Unfortunately what I noticed about her behaviour was that she compared everything to Thailand she visited a year before. While traveling around Taiwan she did not like the landscape, the food, the beaches etc. With the Philippines it was the same. I felt like telling her one day to buy the tickets and immediately fly to Thailand if she loved it that much. Anyway I shut up and just backed off. And after a while we were sharing only a hotel room and spending the days on our own. It was a good lesson for me to be learnt:

  1. Never go traveling with a person you know so little
  2. Just because someone attended psychoanalysis does not mean they are able to appreciate life
  3. Stay away from negativity and toxic people

I remember I was so happy when going on my Asian trip. Gee, I flew 8000 km and visited 3 countries in 3 days! 3 new cultures, many Couchsurfing experiences, meeting incredible people, sleeping in strangers’ houses – imagine in Taiwan out of 8 nights 5 we spent Couchsurfing!, making new friendships and experiencing amazing landscapes! I was able to live through these 3 amazing weeks! Yet I chose an improper person to share my positive emotions with. Now I know I will never do that to myself again.

I consider myself a very positive. Whatever happens and has a negative impact on my life I try to look for a silver lining every time. I think every situation will teach me a lesson, and I do not want to stay negative, but rather think of good aspects of every story. What I have also learnt is that positive mindset has to be taught to us. It does not come itself. It is possible to try to change our way of thinking, but that is a very long way. It is easier when there was a person in our surroundings showing us good aspects of life and in the same teaching us how to appreciate it while we were young. It really helps! Now I am grateful to my father who, even though was showing his miserable attitude sometimes, managed to teach me that life can be amazing and it is only up to me what I do with it! 🙂

73-year-old Couchsurfer

Can you imagine how surprised I was when a few weeks ago I received a request to host a 73-year-old woman?! I consider the couchsurfing website as the one mostly used by quite young people, aged 20 to 40. This time however, and for the first time in my whole couchsurfing adventure, I received a request from an old woman! Unfortunately I need use such an adjective as “old” because there is no better equivalent. I accepted her even though I had some doubts if we get along. And again another person brought new perceptions and a lot of new ideas into my life! 🙂 What makes her amazing is that she learnt English only when she was 40, as her biggest dream was to visit the United States. She managed to do so, and even worked for a whole year there. She started travelling once her two sons grew up and moved out to make their own families. In my opinion it was her second chance to make the most of her life. In her case the statement in which some claim that life begins after 40 makes sense and proves it right 🙂 While observing her I noticed only the generation gap between us, especially when it comes to technology. However she made me so surprised and amazed with her eagerness to travel, willingness to get to know the world, being incredibly open-minded, having such a free spirit as well as using couchsurfing both ways –  to be hosted in strangers’ houses and hosting others.

Usually 70 something people are considered more as grandparents who usually stay home, watch TV, do some crosswords, take care of grandchildren and tend to have many illnesses. She was completely not that type! She is a great example that at any age you can fulfill your dreams, only if you really want them to happen. In my opinion it takes a lot of courage to travel alone when you are a pensioner. On the other hand she made me wonder who I will be by the age of 70? First of all will I still be alive, second of all will I still be travelling alone? Will I be in good physical condition to travel? Will I be willing to be hosted by strangers? Will I still be hosting? She made me wonder a bit about my future and where my life experience may lead me.

I think the most important is that she brought a lot of positive energy into my life and shows an amazing example that it is only a matter of strong personality and willingness to achieve your goal –  the age cannot even stop you! I realized I only want to be surrounded by such amazing people who show me there are no boundaries in anyone’s life and the only one who can stop us from fulfilling our dreams is ourselves, our fear of failure and million excuses! 🙂

Poland – Zakopane Weekend Break

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When I travel it is usually abroad. The reason is simple – there is always a  challenge awaiting when you travel to a foreign country. You need to find yourself in a new environment, sometimes there will be misunderstanding issues to deal with or you will get a meal in a restaurant with a taste you would not expect to have. I love these emotions traveling abroad gives me. In my opinion traveling within the country I live in does not give me much of an adventure. Anyway I find Poland very interesting with amazing places to see.

So I went to Zakopane, in the south, with a friend, one Thursday afternoon. It is a spot where you easily reach beautiful Tatra mountains. The trip from the capital – Warsaw, took 5 hours, to my surprise. A few years ago it would take whole night by train. So I am impressed by the transportation, especially railway, that changed in Poland and became faster. My and my friend took a train to Krakow from Warsaw, and then a bus from Krakow to Zakopane. The whole trip took 5 hours. In my opinion it is bearable.

The next day we woke up at 6am to get to the mountains and see the famous Morskie Oko. It is a lake surrounded by hills where you can get only by 9 km walking. There are some horses going there, but I am not going to encourage anyone to use this kind of transportation, as the walk is a very simple one. There is a straight asphalt path going to the lake. Some people even say it is the most boring path in Tatra mountains. I am not into using horses to go to Morskie Oko. The walk is only about 2 hours – that is what took me and my friend to get there.

Now from the beginning – we had to take a bus from Zakopane to Palenica. That is the spot where you can start your walk to Morskie Oko. Palenica is around 30km from Zakopane and buses go there every 15 minutes. Probably during the summer season there is some traffic on the road, but as we were in the end of September, kind of summer season ending, we got there within 30 minutes. It is easier to take the bus as if you decide to go by car, there might be a problem parking. Especially if you go quite late. And for the spot, quite late for me, is midday. That time you can even forget about a parking spot near the Palenica.

2 hours walking starting at 8 in the morning, a break in a shelter at 10 am, then walking around the lake, a quick-lunch in a shelter again, and then walking down made our trip  around 20 km long. By 4 pm we were heading back to Zakopane.  The weather was just perfect – warm and sunny. It was my third time visiting the spot and I truly recommend it 🙂

However the weather the next day was not that great. Me and my friend decided to take a cable railway to get to very high mountains, that is Kasprowy Wierch. And imagine by the time we got there, and it was around 10 am – it started snowing! 🙂 Already, in September! 🙂 It was my first time there and unfortunately I did not get to see much of the views, however I will get back there one day to see what I was not able to catch this time! The cable railway takes you within 15 minutes to very high mountains where from you can either go down or head to other spots. If you take it early in the morning, you can spend the whole day in the mountains admiring their amazing views.

We did not want to hang around in the snow, so we took the cable railway down and decided to have some rest in the Aquapark in Zakopane. That was fun! 🙂 Jacuzzi, swimming, sliding and resting 🙂 For me 2 hours there was enough. After our swimming pool rest we went to Gubalowka – a hill with a view of whole Zakopane. You can either walk there or take a cable railway which takes you there within 3 minutes. Walking is around 2 km only as far as I recall, a it up the hill.

The weekend break in Zakopane was a good idea. Poland is a beautiful country and from time to time I like traveling around it. When it comes to prices – I would not say it was very expensive, even though the spot is very touristic and prices can be high. Accommodation was around 20 Euros per night in a center of Zakopane and in a B&B. Bus tickets to Palenica (Morskie Oko) and back – 5 Euros, Aquapark 2,5h entrance 10 Euros, cable railway to Kasprowy Wierch both ways – 25 Euros and the one to Gubalowka both ways 5 Euros. When it comes to food it was not expensive at all. This weekend break was definitely worth it! 🙂

Travelling Perception

I have been thinking lately how my way of travelling changed during the past few years. I am not counting the time when I was 19 and left Poland for 3 years to live in France, but the time when I came back, started my professional career at the age of 22 and started travelling. At the beginning it was just for holiday once a year, later on a few times per year. I remember my first holiday – it was Rodos, a Greek island. And an organized trip :/ Crap, did I really do that?! Did I really buy an organized trip by a travel agency? Was I that lazy? Yeah, I did it :/ I do not blame myself for that, it was just easy. I was young, did not have much experience in travelling, not mentioning traveling on my own, and wanted to go abroad. But ss they say – there always has to be the first time for everything. It came, a bit later on when I made some observations about traveling and decided how I really want to travel.

Travelling with an agency is simple – they organize everything for you and you do not need to worry about anything. My opinion now is that even though it is that simple, you might miss a lot. First of all – if you buy an all-inclusive trip you will not eat outside and taste local cuisine as you are provided with the food in the hotels’ restaurants, so what is the point of spending more money to try local cuisine? You have already paid quite a lot for you trip, haven’t you? Second of all – you will probably not move from the hotel. And again – you have paid already for accommodation, so what is the point of going to and exploring another place as you already have what you need. Third of all – you are so lazy to make an effort to organize a trip on your own that you make it the easiest way possible and just stay in one place the whole holiday. My question is – so what is the point of traveling if you want to stay only in one place, eat and drink just because you paid for it? You can eat and drink at home too, can’t you? 😉 These are the observations based mostly on myself. I used to travel like that a bit, luckily only a few times. It happened I went to all-inclusive trip 3 times in my life. I visited already 20 counties so far and some of them more than once. That means most of my trips were prepared by myself and for myself 🙂 In Greece I was 8 times already and I know it is not the end 🙂 So in general out of around 50 times I flew abroad, only 3 were all-inclusive. However my way of travelling changed so much over these past few years.

These all-inclusive trips are not such a bad idea if you know how to make most of them. However in my opinion these are usually used to go abroad, especially to a warm country, stay in a hotel for a week, get drunk every night, eat a few times a day, go to a beach, and have fun. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just it is not my style of travelling at all! I want to explore the place I am in, meet new people, either locals of foreigners; try local food; get on a local bus and admire the views; organize everything on my own – book the hotel I want to stay in, Airbnb or a much better option – Couchsurfing; eat in local restaurants, see how local people live and work there. Yet that way of traveling took a bit of time for me to learn. Now I mostly travel on my own. To be free. To feel free. To get the emotions travels give me – like getting lost and finding the way out, or making my brain work quickly in finding a solution no matter what might happen. And adventures always happen when you travel 🙂 People I meet on my way are always helpful and amazing. Those I met through Couchsurfing will stay in my heart forever as they teach me and show me that all of us, around the world are good, warm, and open-hearted 🙂 If I was only traveling through all-inclusive trips I would never experience such incredible places and meet such great people. It required a bit of courage for a lonely, young girl to pack one day and say to herself – ok, I am doing it on my own, I do not need a companion, we will see what world has for me to offer and hell yeah, I am going on my solo trip! 🙂 I do not even member now what country I chose for my first lonely trip, yet I gave myself a chance to do so and knew I could make it on my own. No regrets at all! The best decision I ever made! Now, when I want to travel I just buy a fight ticket, make a plan for my trip and off I go. I do not search for people to keep me company, the best company I am already in , and that is myself 🙂

I do remember, at the beginning, that I felt a bit ashamed to sit in a restaurant and have dinner on my own. As if I needed company, either male or female, does not matter who, but there had to be someone with me. As if I was not allowing myself to have a meal on my own, as if I would be judged by the society that I am a single girl nobody wanted to go on holiday with. So, I felt, there had to be something wrong with me, right? Now I know the only thing that was wrong, was my way of thinking. Everything is totally ok with me. I have right to sit in a restaurant and eat on my own. I have right to travel on my own. I have right to see all of the places I want to see on my own. I have right to be on my own! 🙂 I do not need others to make me feel good, because my mood depends only on myself. If I do not feel good with myself, no one will make me feel better, not even a traveling companion. Another thing I have learnt – how I manage my emotions is the key to my happiness. The truth is I never feel lonely while travelling – there is always nature right next to me, there are always amazing views surrounding me, there are always people around even though they are strangers, there are always thing happening 🙂 And I love walking around in a foreign country, admiring life happening there, enjoying every single moment, tasting coffee and food, seeing how people rush to work or relax by the beach. I think life is amazing, and the only thing you need to do is wanting to see it that way. Not being afraid of being on your own with your own thoughts is another succesful key if you want to travel alone 🙂 I stick to that. No more all-inclusive trips in such case 🙂 Just experiencing beautiful life happening around every single day!

A girl – a Lonely Traveler

Why I am travelling alone? Is it still such a strange thing to see a girl who travels on her own? Lots of my friends tend to admire me for doing such a thing. And for me it is not a big thing. I just want to do it, and I am doing it!

From the beginning now 🙂 I think it was my dad who subconsciously encouraged me to travel. I remember when I was young he was reading me to sleep “Gulliver’s travels”. It might have been that time my mind started getting used to the idea of traveling. When I was 19 I left Poland and went living as an au-pair girl in Paris for a few years. I need to mention I did not speak French at all then. I spoke English, yet those who know a bit of French culture will immediately figure out knowing English was not much of a help 🙂 I leant French there. Brave, isn’t it? As some may claim that going to a foreign country may be risky for such a young girl, I think it was just an adventure for a 19-year-old girl. It taught her how to manage in such a cosmopolitan city like Paris. It was 2002. In Poland capitalism was only 13 years old, and even though the capital and the country itself was quickly developing, it was nothing in comparaison to a 12 million Ile-de-France region. My 3 years adventure of living in France taught me only amazing skills, like: becoming very independent and more tolerant, counting only on myself, managing in all kinds of situations and finding out what freedom means to me. I am now not afraid of buying flight tickets and going abroad alone. I would even say I love it! What I love about traveling alone is that I do not need to compromise on anything. I go to places I want to see and visit. I do not need to ask anyone for their opinion or plans for the trip or for the day. It may sound egoist, and yes I am aware of it. Yet I prefer to travel alone than in a bad company. Most of us know how hard it is to find a good companion, especially when it comes to traveling. People have different needs and expectations. In my life there are only 2 people I am willing to travel with – my father and one of my girlfriends. The reason I can fly with them is that they know some unpredictable things and situations will happen and they do not panic then. They are both chilled out and relaxed, they love enjoying life, so if we feel like sitting in a café and drinking some, we just do so. Both of them do not care about money that much, so we are not counting penny for each meal in a restaurant or each souvenir that we buy to know how much we have left. Of course we are being reasonable and not wasting money on stupid things, just enjoying every single moment of our journey.  Rest of my friends do not travel the same way I do, so there is no point going anywhere with them, as it would be only waste of my energy.

What does the travelling alone give me? Lots of positive emotions. Facing challenges. Proving myself I am invincible. Crossing my boundaries. Realizing I am amazing. I love the feeling of getting on a plane, then landing in a foreign country and the story begins – finding myself, asking for direction, searching for places I want to visit, tasting different food, enjoying sunsets and sunrises, admiring landscapes, listening to the sound of sea, ocean and wind. Feeling the universe, understanding it, being grateful for such an opportunity of being where I happen to be. This is what I get when I travel. All range of positive emotions. And people I meet on my way are amazing too: couchsurfers, pedestrians, other tourists. They are always helpful and always making me smile.

Many times, here in Poland, I heard my friends saying that traveling alone is not such a common thing, especially for a girl. I keep wondering why? Are women afraid of doing so and being alone? Are we still thinking only by having with someone around our life has a meaning? Are Polish women still brought up the way they need a man to take care of them, as they are a weaker sex and need protection? Really, are they? If so in my opinion they are missing a lot. Especially their freedom, as they have resigned from it in order to get a false sense of security provided by men. I am aware I am a grown up, does not matter a girl or a boy, as an adult human being I know I am responsible for myself. No one else! At least that is the philosophy of life of a Polish girl who travels alone 🙂 And loves doing it! There are so many amazing places for me to see and I cannot wait to buy another ticket after my 8th Greek holiday this year I am starting soon 🙂 I am sure the moment I come back I will be googling some other flights to places I have never been before. In my opinion we are living in such amazing times and the world is so open to any of those who are willing to take the most of it. And I am one of them 🙂 I want 100% of this world! I know the opportunity is there, just waiting for me to take it. So why would I be like most of Polish girls waiting for their price charm to arrive, when I have millions of flight routes to choose from and still at least 100 countries to visit! I may be egoist, I may not be adapting to society by not having a family and kids, yet I am happy in every single day of my life as thanks to my travels I am such and my open-minded person that has so and many plans for the future! Not only these concerning traveling of course 🙂

Weekend break in an Italian style

 

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It was just 3 days. Me and my friend left on a Thursday early morning to arrive to Naples at 10 am. We heard there was no point staying in the city and the best is to leave it immediately. We listened to the advice and went to Sorrento straight away, from the airport. Connection was perfect and the city is lovely. Small, touristic, safe. And if we stayed longer there we would spend a lot of money on sea cruises, beaches, and other attractions this area has to offer 🙂

What is the most surprising is that the public beaches almost do not exist there. In Sorrento there is just a space by the sea with a platform on which you can stay, rent a sunbed and relax, only if you pay for it. And it is not really cheap as about 15 euros for the whole day. If there are 2 of you it makes 30. In my opinion that is quite a lot. You will not find a proper beach open to public for free. That was a bit sad. Anyway I was staying there only 2 nights, so it was not such a big issue. And our schedule was tight. Only 3 days and lots of things to see! We wanted to make the most of our trip! The next day we took a bus that goes from Sorrento to Positano and from there we had a 7h cruise booked 🙂

The views are below:

On a boat there were about 12 people, so the cruise was quite small and seems a bit private one. I could lie on the boat’s hull, enjoy the views and sunbathe.  The captain had for us some Prosecco, some Limoncello and some champagne 😉 A perfect way to spend a day on an Italian coast. And it was worth every penny 🙂 We had a 3h stop in Amalfi – another lovely city on this coast line.

I do admire these bus drivers as the road even from Naples to Sorrento or from Sorrento to Positano is incredibly dangerous in my opinion. My imagination was immediately seeing the bus tumbling into the sea. Well… nothing like that happened, the road seems safe, but when you are on a bus and look through the window just to see a steep slope, your mind can build many strange scenarios of the nearest future 😉 Mine does, fortunately I know it is just my imagination. So really a huge “thank you” for the Italian bus drivers that each day make sure tourists have an opportunity to admire lovely Positano-Amalfi coast 🙂

Naples however disappointed me. Dirty, unsafe city. We did a good job leaving it immediately the moment we arrived. However before our flight back we decided to spend at least half a day there. So we took a train from Sorrento Saturday afternoon and got within 1h to Naples. Hanging out in the center area was nothing special. Another city in an Italian style. Observations we had were two – laundry hanging everywhere and trash crumbling on every corner. It is surprising the city did not stink. And lots of, in my opinion, dangerous men, on the streets. I do not know if these were immigrants or some gang members, however I did not want to stay outside after dark in the city. By 10pm me and my friend went back to our B&B safe and sound.

It is good that finally I saw what the difference is between poor south and rich north of the country. It was not my first time in Italy, but the first one so south. And there is really a big difference. Probably I will never visit Naples again, and if so only to treat it as a quick stop before going further. Or maybe I just do not like crowded places and feel much better in touristic spots like Sorrento, Positano or Amafli? What always makes me wonder in such small towns where each day there are tons of tourists, is locals’ life. What do they do for a living? Where do they work? Is really each of them working either in a hotel, a restaurant or on a boat? What about winter season? How do they manage then? How do they like their life by the coast? Are they happier than people working in big corporations in big European capitals or they want to escape their lives as it is boring and looks the same every day?

I left the south coast of Italy full of positive emotions, lots of thoughts and still a need to come back there to check Vesuvius! I had no time in my schedule to climb it :/ The good news is Italy is quite close to my country, so another weekend break might be just right to come back there and see the Pompeii part as well as the volcano 🙂 That is the plan for the future 🙂

And the food is something I would not want to miss again 😀

Bergen – in Norway

It was just one March weekend break. I left on a Friday and came back on a Monday. Quick trip. A very quiet one with lots of amazing views. I love travelling to countries that make me feel safe, and I admit Norway gave me such a feeling 🙂

When it comes to the weather it was not that cold, anyway one day it was snowing and foggy. In such a northen part of Europe I would never expect a great weather, especially that not even spring season started. What I was told by a friend who has been living there for the past 10 years was that during the summer the tempartues are around 14 degrees. That is not even summer for me :/ Anyway it would be nice to check myself one summer weekend how really Bergen weather is  🙂

As most of us know Scandinavian countries are expensive. I do agree. Well, the truth is it is just food that is so expensive, and it makes me wonder why? As for the tram ticket from Bergen airport to the city center I paid around 5 euros, for a simple lunch I had to pay at least 30. The prices in the restaurants as well as shops surprised me. I thought that 30 euros during my Cote d’Azur trip for lunch or dinner was quite expensive, after visiting Norway I changed my mind and now claim that was not that much 😉 perspective change 🙂 and in the South of France I always had a glass of wine to go with the meal. I did not do it in Bergen, that would probably even double the price. Anyway the food was delicious and I really enjoyed it, but I could spend a fortune there on it.

It was March, winter season, there was still snow in the mountains what made my trip more interesting. The most incredible thing is that Norwegians are so close to nature. I was again couchsurfing and to my surprise a Polish girl hosted me. Her flat was situated in an area that you simply go out from the block of flats, turn right and then turn back and there is a path going into the mountains. We had a nice 1 hour walk to the top of it. Just a perfect Friday afternoon in a deserted mountain area where you can calm yourself down. I love Norway for that 🙂 I even envy them they are sourrounded by such lovely landscapes. For me, in my native country, it requires taking a train and a few hour trip to be so close to the nature as they are.

Bergen is a nice spot if you are interested in the views. You can climb mountains around its area as well as take a boat to see the fiords part. I could not miss that! The trip was 3 hours long and I thought it would be terribly cold there. It was in fact, but the boat inside was perfectly warm, so what I was doing was from time to time getting outside, taking lots of pictures and coming back inside 🙂 see these incredible shots below

The feeling the city gave me was amazing. I felt calm, relaxed, safe and protected. I knew nothing would happen there that would cause me any harm. The trip, even though, was a quick one, will stay on my mind 🙂 and finally I saw myself how Scandinavian countires look like. I have visited mostly all parts of Europe, and now at least a got small portion of its Northen part.

Once I read again some of Jo Nesbo’s books I will perfectly know where the plot takes place 🙂