For our latest installment of Travel Blogger Thursday, we interviewed Ewa of Post Travel Thoughts. She loves travelling and exploring the world, especially to witness the beauty of nature. So far, Ewa has lived in Poland, England, Italy, and she currently resides in Russia. Her travel blog is unique as it is written in two languages: Polish and English.
What inspires you to travel and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
I’m inspired by little things. Sometimes it’s enough for me to read a few sentences of a book to start dreaming of a new travel destination – that was the case of Russia. I read a lot of documentary literature and it motivates me to get out of my comfort zone and meet other cultures. Sometimes I just see a picture of a mountain (that was the case of Kazbek in Georgia) and I know I have to go there. One of the biggest sources of inspiration for me are festivals and meetings with other travelers. Listening to all the unbelievable stories gives me a lot of inspiration and confidence that I can go wherever I want in my travels. What I enjoy most about travelling is that I discover and experience something new every moment. It’s challenging, but rewarding.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
Georgia, definitely. The beauty of the landscape combined with the openness of the people and the amazing food make it my destination number one. I will never forget climbing in the Caucasus mountains and the feeling when you unzip your tent at 5 am to see the breathtaking sunrise above 4000 metres above sea level. Or the moment when you’re surrounded by wild horses and as you look into the distance, a monastery emerges from the clouds. The trip to Georgia and Armenia also helped me get a new perspective and realize how lucky and grateful for my life I am and how small my problems are. The standard of living in the Caucasus is really low compared to the ‘West’, yet you never see the people complain. Instead, they will share with you the last piece of bread they have and welcome you with a smile.
When did you start to travel, and where did you first visit?
It all started with a globe model – when I was a kid, I used to close my eyes and point at random places, telling my parents, that when I grow older, I will go to all those places, which at that time were pure abstraction for me. Then it all came very naturally, as since I was seven years old, I started going on kids and later teenager summer camps in Poland and abroad, meanwhile also travelling with my parents. When I was in high school I started travelling with my friends – there were bike trips along the borders of Poland, climbing in Poland and abroad, kayaking… I also went to France to paint the Loara castles and to Germany to learn the language. However, I consider my first ‘proper’ travel the moment I moved out to study in London.
Why did you start your blog and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
The answer is very simple – I love writing and taking pictures. I needed a place for my travel-related thoughts and another distraction from writing my BA thesis I guess. What I love about blogging is being able to create my very own space where I can express myself. I’m also thrilled when I see that my travels are an inspiration for someone else.
How has being bilingual helped you in your travels and your blogging?
I guess I can say that being bilingual opened many doors to me and has influenced my travelling significantly. I moved to London where I started learning Italian, then I moved to Italy where I started learning Russian, now I live in Russia… As for blogging, Polish is the language where I can play with style, but I want to reach a wider audience and keep in touch with my friends abroad, hence I write in English too.
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
I don’t buy traditional souvenirs. The only exception is food – sometimes I buy local sweets, wine – anything I can share with my family and friends back home and that reminds me of the places I’ve visited. Memories are the most important thing I bring back from my travels but as it would be impossible to store everything in my head, I take pictures. The visual is very important to me. For some trips I take only my film camera so that I can focus on the travel (that was the case of Georgia, Armenia and Rome) instead of taking thousands of digital photographs. That’s a bit risky because you never know what the result will be but I believe in mindful photography which is more important than random pictures. And you don’t have to think about potential thieves all the time… who cares about a film camera nowadays?
What are your future travel plans?
Until mid-June I’ll be exploring Russia. I’m planning to see Italy south of Rome (and eat a lot of pizza in Sicily) in September to celebrate my graduation. Then there are plans-dreams… Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, other Central Asian states, New Zealand, Alaska. It’s all about trekking, hiking, climbing, experiencing nature and meeting the people. And solitude, too (says my introvert nature). I’m not interested in big European cities, they make me tired. I’ve been to Paris three times and still don’t understand why people find it amazing and romantic. There’s nothing romantic! If there’s a romantic city on this planet, it’s Tbilisi.
As Justin and I are both vegans, we are obviously interested in the fact that you are vegetarian!
What are your reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet, and how long have you been vegetarian?
I never really liked meat so it wasn’t difficult for me to stop eating it completely. I limited meat significantly when I was 17 and cut it completely when I was 20, so it’s been five years already. The fundamental reason for choosing a vegetarian diet was that I believed it to be a healthy choice. And indeed, I feel a lot better than a few years ago and my blood results confirm that. I don’t believe in ‘humanitarian killing’ and that’s also a reason, although it came with time. Majority of the food I eat is actually vegan, but I don’t feel ready for a complete change.
In your travels, where are the best places to find vegetarian and where are the worst places?
When I lived in London being vegetarian was very easy as there are many vegetarian and vegan bars and stores if you want to eat out or cook at home. Italy was also great, with a lot of fresh products available. I learned how to make great pasta and was just experimenting with various versions. I guess it would be more difficult now that I cut gluten. The real vegetarian challenge started when I moved to Russia. Being vegetarian (and generally, eating healthy) is rather expensive there and the products are not so easily available. But of course, impossible is nothing. When I was in Georgia and Armenia I tried to eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible, as they taste amazing there, but I tried some traditional meat too – felt really strange after years of not eating it at all!
Thank you, Ewa, for the inspiring interview – we truly adore your travel style and love that you get to thoroughly experience living in different countries! You can check out her travel blog at Post Travel Thoughts. There are also lots of ways to connect with Ewa via social media:
Every Thursday, we’re going to be featuring a fellow travel blogger and highlighting their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.