The time is now finally upon us, my friends. The Mo is going traveling!
I still can’t believe I’m writing this. In one week, ONE WEEK, I shall be embarking upon another Grand Tour, one which I am affectionately dubbing “Mo’s Grand Eastern European Adventure”, or “The Trip Behind the Iron Curtain”, or “Breeze Through the Balkans and Beyond”. Pick your favorite.
And I can’t help but remembering that it all happened here! The main purpose behind starting this blog in the first place was to chronicle my big trips, not my San Francisco ramblings or yearly camping sojourns. But big stuff! And it was in these virtual pages that I picked Eastern Europe as a destination.
Originally I thought it would be fun to write about the travel planning process. This ain’t my first rodeo, after all, I do have a grasp on what I am doing so why not share the ups and downs, decisions and discoveries with you all? But then I got so busy living my life, it was hard to plan the trip in the first place, much less attempt to write about it.
In fact, I don’t even know how to write about all that is going on right now. Where do I start? Often, I feel like I live many lives in one person. There’s my day job life, where I put in my dues at Sephora, cleaning and dealing with crazy customers and coworkers and occasionally getting the chance to be creative and life-changing, but more often cringing at the fact that I have a college degree yet still work in retail. There’s my theater life, as a designer and technician, where I get a chance to collaborate and play and stress and work hard and make beauty and get inspired. There’s my social life, the great hostess, entertaining, laughing, listening, being a little crazy and having fun.
And then there’s this other person, the traveler who wants to see the world, view life through a different lens, experience other cultures, drink the local firewater in each and every corner of the earth.
I’ve found that when one has so many lives to live, it’s all about balance, like a well-mixed cocktail. But lately the other lives have been too much. Work is stifling. I’m very proud of my new play that I costumed but the dress rehearsals were intense. I’m tired of playing hostess. It’s time to get out for a while.
And get out I will! Next Wednesday I fly to Istanbul, and will spend the following five weeks cavorting around Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary. I was originally drawn to these places because of the inexpensive price point, but after endless hours of pouring over my Rick Steeves and Lonely Planet guidebooks, I’ve discovered how much this part of the world has to offer. I’ll see Roman ruins, Medieval fortresses, Communist relics, and capital cities that were devastated 20 years ago due to the Yugoslav war but are now teeming with tourism and vitality.
The trip is also kind of crazy because of how it’s come together. I’m used to planning everything in advance, doing tons of research and having everything squared away long before I go. This time, I changed my dates several times, have multiple travel partners, and booked my last hostels only a few days ago. I even bought travel insurance, but not until this morning. Originally I thought that this bode ill for my trip, but now I see that it all worked out. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to make those decisions until now. I’ve certainly been learning to ease up and go with the flow, a mind set that is definitely an asset while traveling. And having multiple travel partners means that in one adventure, I get to have the boyfriend trip, the friend trip, and the solo trip all in the same trip. It’s kind of badass.
Right now Zac is in Turkey, where I’ll be joining him next week. He’s already been gone one week, and this is currently the longest I’ve been alone. Growing up with a twin, I’m always used to having someone around. It’s definitely weird, but I’m not as lonely as I thought. I’m enjoying spending some time with me. And I’m being very productive. Hey, that’s how all the details from the trip were finally able to come together! It’s just quiet is all. But this too is also good preparation for when I travel by myself, something I’ve never done before. I’m definitely nervous, but excited too. I think it will be good for me, a chance to grow and learn and see the world through my eyes alone. Even the stresses of planning the trip by myself, making every single decision based alone on what I want or think is good has been a learning and growing experience.
I thought when I sat down to write I would tell you all about the last few days of planning, reading my guidebooks, booking hostels, trying to decipher timetables on European railway sites (the Serbian National Rail site is the best, by the way), but after spending so much time waxing poetic, I think I’ll leave it at that for now. I hope you don’t mind.
Next week, this will be me! But without the kids.
Good Luck and Happy Travels!