"I’ve never really told my family about my passion for travel as I don’t think they would understand. My parents still see me as a little girl, not as a grown woman."
I live a pretty ordinary life. I’m a single woman, I work at an insurance company from 8am to 5pm, I have a mortgage loan and despite that I have no reason to stay at home and miss out on the opportunity to fulfill my dream - to see as much of the world as I can. I love to travel, I ‘m addicted to it. I love going to places that my friends think aren’t worth seeing or are too afraid to go to.
Each country I’ve been to has taught me something new about myself. I’ve experienced many different situations that showed me that I’m stronger than I ever knew and that I have the courage to stand up for myself and others.
If I would have to make a list of countries that I like most, I couldn’t judge them by the cities I’ve visited but by the experiences and adventures I’ve had, and the lessons I’ve learned.
- 1) In Scotland, I shared a hostel room with a girl from Canada whose name was Pascal. My first name is Pascu. What are the chances that you meet a complete stranger away from your home country with such a similar name to you? We hit it off and this made me realise that you are never alone in this world. There are always other people somewhere out there that feel exactly like you. Travel really does bring people together no matter what their background is and where they are from, this is one of the things I love the most about it.
- 2) In Ireland, I got sick on a bus and vomited into my scarf. I went to the bathroom and I bumped into a girl from the USA who had a bleeding nose due to altitude sickness. I keep thinking back on this situation: Me vomiting and another girl bleeding. Two complete strangers, suffering together in a foreign place. Both of us chose to go traveling on our own, far away from our homes, families and friends to follow our dreams and fight through whatever would be standing in our way. Minor setbacks like this couldn’t stop us from exploring the beautiful “Cliffs of Moher” in Ireland and I’m so glad we pushed on and saw them in all their glory.
- 3) In Palestine when I went to Bethlehem, there were two men fighting at a bus station. A Palestinian man started an argument with someone from Japan because he felt disrespected. I tried to stop the fight and started talking to the Palestinian man, asking him different questions about the town and his work (he was a taxi driver). I asked him to tell me more about his country to distract him from the conflict and it worked. In my daily life back home I’m usually not that courageous. But in this particular moment, when I chose to intervene, I felt incredibly proud. It gave me a big confidence boost because I felt my actions could make a difference.
- On this trip, I also noticed that women who travel alone are often protected by locals. The same day I witnessed the fight, I had to return to Jerusalem in Tel Aviv. Since it was Friday Sabbath for the Jewish, all transportation systems were shut which means I had to catch a taxi. I had to share it with a single girl from the US, a guy from Letonia, another one from Italy and two men from Turkey. The taxi driver noticed the concerned look on my face and instantly reassured me: “Don’t worry, you are safe with me”. And I was!
- 4) In Romania, we have a proverb that says: “God makes a nest for the blind bird.” On my trip to Spain I was left with no money on my last day, walking the streets with no more than three euros in my pocket when I met a man from Great Britain whom I asked to take a photo of me. He did, and we started talking and ended up spending all day together (nothing like you might think… he is 71 years old ;) He bought a ticket for the both of us to visit the Castle in Malaga, he bought me a drink and paid for my dinner while we sat on the beach and talked for ages. The universe was looking out for me that day.
Since I’ve started traveling, I get quite annoyed with some of the questions that my friends and co-workers ask me. Especially: Aren’t you afraid to travel on your own? And my answer is always: Why should I be afraid? I’ve heard this question so many times. I’m really sick of it.
Right now I am preparing for my next adventure. I’m planning to go to Finland, Russia and Estonia in June and I can’t wait to see what it will be like over there.
You know what the beauty is about my travels? Traveling is something that belongs to me alone. It’s something I am really passionate about and something I do for myself. My family doesn’t know anything about my travels. I’ve never really told my family about my passion for travel as I don’t think they would understand. My parents still see me as a little girl, not as a grown woman.
While I’m writing this story, I realise for the first time that I am using the word “woman” when talking about myself.
P.S. Last night I dreamed about being on an island so I’ll put this on my list. Stay tuned! ;)
Author - Ana Pascu
I'm currently work in a office, day job. But if I got a job that required me to travel... i won't hesitate to leave it all behind and go.