Travel stages and perspectives

I already mentioned to ya all that traveling is an addiction that I’m planning to fuel for as long as I can but lately I’ve also noticed that my travel passion had different stages and at each stage my expectations were different. It went from summer vacation once a year, through binge traveling and photographing everything there is, to picking my destinations cautiously with a special purpose. Actually not sure how that happened but pretty sure scuba diving did contribute a lot to the change.

Once a year

There was a time when traveling for me was possible only once a year. That was during school times and even then I was going on holiday alone, OK on organised trips for teenagers but still without parents. Probably Mum and Dad wanted to have some peace and quiet for two weeks, hence agreeing to send me on my own to a foreign country 😛 I have some pretty cool memories associated with those trips, like my first trip without parents to Italy, then to Bulgaria. The most memorable one however was to Turkey, as at the age of 16 I met my first big love SP. It all started in the hotel lobby, when SP asked if I need help with my luggage… yeah ofcoz I need help with my suitcase. As the first ice was broken then it went straight to cloud number 9. Two days later he asked me out on a date, which was super cute. I put on a sexy dress and we went for a drink – yes I started to drink when I was 16. The evening ended up with roses and a romantic walk on the beach.

Alice in the wild Alanya enjoying the party scene… I was 16 here 😀 Turkey 2002
Always loved palm trees. Alanya, Turkey 2002

YAY! I had my first proper boyfriend and we spent lots of time together during those two weeks of the Turkey holiday. After the trip was over we were still seeing each other until the distance between us killed the relationship. Unfortunately, we lived in different parts of Poland so keeping it alive was somehow difficult. However even after all those years we are still in touch and even now when I hear one song from the polish band Lady Pank I literally see SP in front of my eyes playing that song on his guitar – yes he used to do that. Ahhh memories 🙂

I think that this stage is very useful as you discover traveling, get familiar with all the travel rituals like check into a hotel, learn basic navigation techniques around a new city and most of all you start to smell the subtle smell of freedom traveling brings. In most cases the once a year stage takes place in the region you grew up, which is somehow natural, until you come to the conclusion that it’s time to discover something more than the region you live in and go for your first big adventure. Here I have a theory, a bit later about that.

Binge traveling

My first big trip outside of Europe was on a student’s exchange programme to Singapore and my first biggest travel high was in Thailand. After that, I started binge travelling, I wanted more and the more I travelled the more I wanted. I’ve spent hours and hours in front of the laptop to look for travel deals, reading guidebooks, making plans, searching for special sales.

That paid off as between 2009 and mid 2019 I’ve visited the majority of countries that were on my bucket list. Russia, India, China, Brazil, the Caribbean’s, Mexico, Australia, Cambodia, the Balkans and so on… and I didn’t have enough.

During those trips I was photographing literally everything and the feeling I had was something like – OK Dubrovnik, done, next one. I didn’t care about the place I was going to, all I cared was to see it and tick it off the list. It was more like chasing after something, like being in the middle of a race that I created for myself, that I have to win. After coming back from a trip I immediately started to plan the next one, like there was no tomorrow. The most intense travel year I had was 2012. It started with a two-week business trip to Bulgaria, two months later a three week trip to India, two months later a scuba diving trip to Egypt, two months’ later holidays in Israel and Jordan, the year finished with an organised sightseeing trip to the Balkans. So you get the picture right, I was like a junkie that has to continue and doesn’t know where to stop and what enough is. Suddenly mid 2019 after Australia something changed… the race feeling wasn’t there anymore. The “you have to”, got replaced with “you can”. Why? No idea why… like a switch in my mind changed. I find here a wired correlation with my personal life, as at that point I decided that I have enough of the long term relationship I was in. Maybe that was the trigger to stop running and chasing something imaginary.

Despite all that, the binge travel stage is also a useful one, as you discover yourself new, test your endurance, patience and determination. Plus you learn how to take care of yourself 🙂

A special purpose

After Australia, I continued to travel a lot but this time my attitude was different. For each trip, I came up with a purpose, a goal I wanted to reach. The Philippines, Komodo National Park, Zanzibar the main goal was to go scuba diving and enjoy it fully… Now that’s the magical word, enjoy without all this go go go, want to, have to. Besides diving I planned to see something special in the region I was visiting, so in the Philippines those were tarsiers, those fist small big eyed monkeys, in Komodo, obviously the dragons and on Zanzibar? The birthplace of The Legend – Freddie Mercury… OK and try out some other water sports other than diving 🙂

Now I’m three weeks away from my Maldives diving holiday, what is my attitude before that? Pretty chilled out as the main goal is diving with high hopes to see lots of sharks, mantas and other marine life. Do I have the feeling like it’s another part of that imaginary race? No way it’s more like, how cool, you will go and enjoy your time on the boat, meet other divers, exchange diving stories and have some decompression drinks after the diving day. How marvellous J. You know what, now travelling makes me happier than ever, there is no more pressure associated with it, yeah the pressure I have put on myself sadly. I finally find pleasure in travelling again, same as in the once a year stage, because I regained some of the childish curiosity that I had before which got lost somewhere between China and Brazil in the binge travelling stage. OR!!! Maybe I’m single again and the only person I want to make happy is myself 😀

Conclusion: once a year stage + binge travelling stage = a special purpose. You somehow need to go through the first two stages to figure out what makes you so incredibly passionate about travelling… for me it’s freedom.

There is the theory of mine, that you fall in love with the region you go to for your first big travel adventure and then you keep coming back over and over again to the same region. Not sure how genuine that theory is but speaking to my friends somehow proves it. One of my friends fell in love with South America as her first big trip was to Argentina another one fell in love with the Middle East as his big trip was to Iran… dunno but there is something in it. I fell in love with Asia and doubt that this feeling will ever expire, despite the distance 🙂

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