I have always been quite a dreamer. Already at the elementary school I was a perfectly excellent student… except… except of the fact that my parents regularly got angry remarks from the teacher telling about me staring out the window during classes. And when life wasn’t exciting enough for the young me, I was imagining myself in fairy tale situations far from the reality.
The reality was far from a fairy tale, however. The first years of my life overlapped with the last years of communism in my home country, Bulgaria. It was a time, when everything enjoyable and satisfying was forbidden and thus done only in secret. Travelling was one of those forbidden things too, at least travelling for fun or vacation. Nobody was even aware of the term globalization, so I am happy that I at least grew up in a major tourist destination and a port town, and in a multicultural family (my granny is Greek), so as a kick start I got more points of view.
If you think that things got better after the fall of communism, I will disappoint you. That was the time when people really lost their dreams – together with the promises of a bright future that never happened. People lost their welfare totally, and had to work at 2-3 jobs at a time to feed their children. My parents were among these people. So the closest I got to a travel at that time was when I got an international passport issued, because my parents were considering emigration. But with two young children they never dared, and my passport eventually expired. The only time when the family booked a domestic destination holiday both me and my sister got sick and the trip was cancelled. The dreams seemed to never come true.
But I was stubborn enough to never stop dreaming. Probably the most serious plans of my life I built in 7th grade out of totally baseless dreams. I was very much into singing, and I decided the best way to succeed is to go to a reality show in Germany, so I studied hard and got into a high school, where for 5 years I tortured myself studying almost all subjects in German. I never moved to Germany afterwards, but that road took me somewhere else. The other thing (my mom claims) I decided in 7th grade was that someday I will marry a Finnish guy. Well, this seems quite realistic now, but it always gives me chills to think about how precise prediction I’ve given back then.
As a teenager there was one thing I really didn’t want for myself – a career in tourism. Living in Varna, a place where everyone sooner or later goes through the tourist industry, I was fed up with it. And after trying so hard in music, after studying marketing, sport, project work… guess what I am doing now! I am a project manager developing rural tourism at a Finnish destination. You can’t escape your destiny, I guess.
Travelling inspires me
The first time I traveled was a short road trip with my parents. I don’t remember anything of course, but I have listened to my father telling this story millions of times. It was in spring, so I have been a few months old (I was born in January). They took me to a “test drive” with the car to see if the baby would feel sick. For their surprise I not only handled it well, but really enjoyed it too! When the car started going the white blossom leaves fallen on the back window started flying, and I was fascinated. Hm, totally me – helpless romantic.
My first trip abroad was to a school exchange in Romania. I was in 12th grade but I was so excited about it that I felt sick the night before, risking it all. My first flight… took me to Finland actually. Since then I have become a frequent traveler. I always take a window seat. Looking at the clouds makes me relax. A different perspective of these same clouds that used to call me so invitingly through the school window, taking me to my fairy tale future.
I am a citizen of the world. Living abroad has never been difficult for me. I don’t feel homesick. As cliche as it sounds, for me the whole life is a constant trip, and home is everywhere where I decide. I am confident that I can feel completely at home at least in every corner of Europe. It is strange though, when I visit Varna nowadays, I feel more like a tourist than a local.
Literally every day I come up with some new place I totally have to visit. Sometimes I feel like one life is not enough for my travel plans. Prioritizing is difficult. But if I have to mention a few places I have in my mind for my future adventures…
- Romantic trip to Easter Island
- Girl trip to Reykjavik
- Adventurous journey on the Trans-Siberian Express
- Pizza tasting in Naples
- Valentine’s Day in Venice
- Road trip to Nordkapp
I promise to tell you sometimes why each of these places is important for me.
About my Nordic South Sister
Anna Maria is one of the most exceptional people I have ever met. She can talk about fashion and shopping, and suddenly switch to brain research or society issues. As easily she switches through different languages too. She is really sophisticated person with fine taste, and probably the most important of all is her thinking outside the box. Only rarely in my adult life I meet people I can admire, and AM is totally one of them.