After 9 years of traveling

What I learned about myself after 9 years of traveling

The very first time I traveled solo, I was 19. I was terrified, but determined. I wanted to go to Southeast Asia by myself and I wanted to prove to everyone else that I could do it. I tried to look confident, but in all honest, I was so scared. In that time, it wasn’t as easy to travel around like it is now. The tourism infrastructure was good 9 years ago in Thailand, but not at all as developed as it is now. I stayed in bungalows rather than hostels, and I met people on the streets rather than in common areas. But ever since, I’ve gained more and more confidence while traveling, and 9 years later, I can safely say that it’s been the best thing that’s happened to me. I’ve learnt so much about myself. I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I’ve repeated them by accident. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt anger, frustration, love, happiness and sadness. It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, one that I’m not quite ready to hop off. It’s been the best years of my life and without traveling, I’d be a completely different person than I am today. Here’s what I’ve learnt about myself after 9 years of traveling.

I’m very independent

At home, I wasn’t exposed to certain situations like I am when I’m traveling, so I never knew this about myself. I mean, not really. But I learned that I’m very independent after traveling solo for months and months, learning how to handle difficult situations all by myself and be fine with being alone. Instead of being scared of that thought, I started embracing it and appreciate all those moments when I could just be that; alone. Now I feel like I can take on the whole world!

I’m a problem solver

To be honest, I never knew I was a good problem solver until flights got cancelled or you missed them. When you travel, there’s a ton of things that can happen to you such as cancelled flights. But you just have to deal with it, you learn how to solve problems and you get quite good at it.

I love comfort

Some people are okay with sleeping amongst cockroaches, dirty beds and even sometimes on the streets just to save money. I’m not that kind of backpacker. I wanted to be, so I tried to a few times, but nope. That’s not me. And that’s totally fine, you don’t have to travel in a uncomfortable way just to call yourself a “true backpacker”.

I appreciate home much more

Traveling has always been my biggest passion, but after being abroad for so long, I’ve also learnt that I really like my home. I like how things work, I like my own bed, I like to be close to my family and friends and I love to eat a good homemade meal. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, there’ll never be a place like home.

Thank you to Microblading Boston for all your help with this post.

Moving overseas.

The best things about moving abroad

The first time I moved abroad, I was terrified. I told myself over and over again that I had made a huge mistake. All of a sudden, I just wanted to stay at home. I think many people who are moving abroad for the very first time might struggle a bit in the beginning. It is, after all, a huge change in your life. You’re not going to see your family or friends for a while, you won’t recognize the streets, you won’t know where you can find the best restaurants, etc. It’s a whirlwind the first time you move abroad, but it’s also one of the best experiences that you can have in life. Let’s see why.

It makes you develop more as a person

When we step outside of our comfort zone, we’re going to grow immensely as people. It might not always be the easiest thing to do, but it’s definitely rewarding. When you leave everything you’ve ever known behind for something completely different, it’s going to make you grow. And that’s just one of the best things about moving abroad.

Making new friends

You’re going to miss your friends at home a lot, but now is also a great time to form new connections in your life and get to know people from all over the world. You’ll most likely meet a lot of other people who has also moved to where you’re going. When I was an Au Pair in the US, I met girls (and a few boys actually) from all over the world, and some are still my close friends. There’s just this instant connection because you both know what you’re going through.

Change of scenery

You might be tired of your hometown and want to change your scenery a bit. Traveling is one way of doing it, but after a few weeks or days, you’ll come back again to where you started. But if you decide to move abroad for a while, can be just a few months, you’ll start to appreciate everything you had at home while also appreciating what you have abroad. By changing your scenery, you really learn more about what you love at home and what you miss.

The cultural exchange

Moving abroad means we have to adapt to a new culture, to learn about our host country’s culture and embrace it. It can be frustrating at times, especially if it’s a completely different culture than what we’re used to, but it’s also really fun and learning. How many times do you get an opportunity like this, to become a citizen of another country than your own?

You’ll learn so much about yourself

Perhaps the most important thing when you move abroad is that you’ll learn so much about yourself. You’ll learn that you can handle certain situations, you can be away from home for a long period of time, you can find your way in your new city and you can be independent. It’s a great feeling when you get to know that you’re capable of so much more than what you thought you were. So move abroad, spread your wings and embrace your new life!

Go here if you would like to check out the sponsor of this post. Thank you.

Berlin, a travelers paradise.

The most touristy things to see in Berlin

Most people are trying to get away from doing the most tourist things in place. People want “authenticity”, they want to find the hidden gems and they want to be the people who’ve found the places where there are no tourists. But people also forget that the places that are frequently visited by tourists usually are important landmarks that has made the place to what it is. So when I visited Berlin, I knew I wanted to go to the most touristy spots in the city because I was genuinely interested in seeing all the main attractions. And I’m so happy I did! Because it showed me that Berlin is quite a beauty. Here are the three most touristy places you must visit when you’re in Berlin.

Brandenburger Tor

Perhaps the most iconic spot in Berlin, the Brandenburg Tor (or Brandenburg Gate in English) is a military monument that symbolizes peace and unity. It is here where Berliners gathered to celebrate the fall of the Wall. The gate stands for reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. Although it got heavily damaged during the Second World War, it withstood it and is still standing strong. Close to the Brandenburger Tor is the Memorial for the Jewish who were killed during the war.

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom is located in the heart of the city in Mitte, surrounded by other iconic monuments. It’s an evangelical church that dates back to the middle of the 14th century, but was only completed in 1905. The church got damaged during the Second World War but reopened again in 1993. The Berliner Dom nowadays also serves as a venue for concerts and readings – yes, that’s right! It’s never been a traditional church in any sense, and perhaps that’s what makes it such a fascinating place to visit. Besides, it’s an icon for Berlin and one that’s pretty hard to avoid seeing. It’s massive! And there’s a park just in front of the church where both locals and foreigners alike sit and relax after a day of walking around Berlin.

East Side Gallery Wall

The East Side Gallery Wall is located a bit outside of the first two sights, but you could walk it if you feel like you’re up for the challenge (it’s about a 40 min walk) or you could take the metro or bus. It’s the world’s longest open air airt gallery and is a remaining piece of the Berlin Wall. What’s now filled with colorful graffiti used to be grey. It was the most visible symbol of Germany’s partition into two separate states. But when the wall fell, artists from 21 different countries went to Berlin to turn a section of the wall into a celebration of art and freedom. Nowadays, travelers love to walk around the wall and look at all the art that’s displayed here for free. It’s a beautiful reminder of what has happened in the past and how the Berliners has moved forward from it. Even if you’re not a big fan of art, it’s still an incredibly important place to visit. It’s touristy – that’s for sure – and it’s great.

Azerbaijan.

Exploring Azerbaijan in 8 ways

Azerbaijan is one of the lesser-known places to visit. In Asia. Its proximity to Eastern Europe makes one of the former states of Soviet Union an interesting country to see.

There are a lot of places you can visit if you are looking to visit and tour the country. The capital city of Baku for one can be the highlight of your trip.

If you are looking for some others, here are eight other ways you can explore Azerbaijan:

Absheron Peninsula

The Absheron Peninsula is in the capital city of Baku. The place is the country’s gold mine as  natural resources such as oil, lime, sand and salt are all abundant in the peninsula.

The peninsula has a number of lakes with Masazir, Khojahasan and Boyuk Shor being the more famous ones. Several ancient oil wells can also be found here.

Old City

Old City is pretty much self-explanatory. It is the most ancient part of Baku which is surrounded by stone walls for protection during ancient times.

The ancient landmark has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its religious, political and cultural significance. The Old City still looks like ancient civilization in some parts, particularly the shops.

Upland Park

Upland Park is another one of the significant places in Baku. It is located at the centre of the country’s capital.

One of the unique things about the Upland Park is the panoramic views of the city, Baku bay and beyond into the Caspian Sea.

The Park commemorates the victims of Black January 1990 as they are buried along with the soldiers killed in the Karabakh war in the Alley of Martyrs.

The park has a very calm and peaceful surrounding just like all parks should be. It’s a perfect place to unwind and de-stress when traveling.

Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev was the third president of Azerbaijan. He served as the country’s leader from 1993 to 2003.

The Heydar Aliyev Center was built in his honor. The 57,500 square meter building complex is known for its unique architecture.

The design consists of flowing, curved style angles. It was designed by Iraqui-British architect  Zaha Hadid, who was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

World class exhibitions are featured here regularly.

Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a 15th-century palace in Baku. It was built by the Shirvanshahs during the 15th century.

UNESCO describes the palace as one of the pearls of Azerbaijan’s architecture. It’s design reminds us of how advanced architecture was in the eastern part of Asia during that period.

The palace is complete with ancient royal facilities such as baths, shrines, mosques, and tombs.

Diri Baba Mausoleum

We go away from Baku one moment with a famous tomb in Maraza city, Gobustan Rayon, Azerbaijan.

The Diri Baba Mausoleum looks like an ancient tomb for somebody significant. Legend has it that the imperishable Saint Diri-Baba had been buried there.

This 15th century mosque has served as a landmark for pilgrims and curious visitors. What makes its architecture wonderful is the fact that the structure was actually built into the rock formation behind it.

It gives the impression that the tomb is suspended in the air.

Shamakhi

Shamakhi is a city of rich heritage. It has become a backdrop for major political events for two millenniums.

This part of northern Azerbaijan’s has been a prominent trading and cultural center for centuries already. It is because Shamakhi was a key town in what was the Silk Road.

Some of the places to visit in Shamakhi are the Juma Mosque, Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum, Gulustan Castle, and the House-Museum of Mirza Alakbar Sabir

Gobustan National Park

Gobustan State Reserve is one of the few national historical landmarks left in the world. It was declared such by the Azerbaijan government in an attempt to preserve the ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region.

There are around 6,000 rock carvings all over the reserve, a testament to the land’s primitive roots. Carvings are of primitive activites such as rituals, battles, hunting, and animals.

Some of these rock carvings date back as far as 5,000-20,000 years. Almost half of the planet’s mud volcanoes can also be found in Gobustan.