Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Live to travel? Travel to live!

It might be totally cliche or obvious or whatever, but I really love to travel. I love the feeling of being in a new place, especially one I've never been to before and the rush, the excitement, even the confusion it all brings! It must have began when I was little and my parents would bring us back to Poland (from PA). I find it so interesting to hear about what I was like when I was little, how frustrated I got being in Poland and not understanding my family speak Polish around me. It's hard for me to imagine NOT wanting to speak another language, but apparently I was really against speaking Polish for a while. After that trip, I vowed to speak only in Polish with my parents so that the next time we went to Poland, I would be ready.

And ready I was, am, and always will be! I'm sort of obsessed with learning other languages. Going to Germany for CBYX  was one of the best experiences of my life and I'm so glad I got to go at such a young age (15/16 for one year, living with a host family, adapting to life in a foreign country, with a foreign language, and a new and different school system). It taught  me so much, about myself and about the world and about other cultures. It really helped shape my future and I'm so thankful to have had that amazing year in Bayern.

Anyway, I could talk about this sort of thing forever because I'm so passionate about it and really believe that young people should experience life abroad to allow themselves to learn, immerse themselves in another culture and grow and mature with that. The other thing I wanted to mention is that even if you are on a serious budget, you can still find ways to travel. Believe me, you really can! As a high school student, I obviously didn't have money to travel so I'm really thankful that I found out about that scholarship. There are tons of scholarship opportunities, especially for college students so you just have to do some research (early!) so that you know what the requirements are for certain scholarships. Here are some other ways that you can travel on the cheap, or ways to make money while traveling!

  1.  Be a caretaker (basically, a professional house sitter): If you're interested in getting paid to take care of someones home/pets or perhaps even a hostel or bed  and breakfast, definitely check out this very informative article here. It's a great way to earn money while experience life in a new place, if you're up for it.
  2. Teach! Teach what you know, whether it be teaching English (or another language you may know). Depending on what country you are in, you may not need a teaching degree to teach the English language. Tutoring is always a great way to earn some extra dough, and you can find a tutoring gig by posting on local forums or at the local university. Also if you have any special skills like playing the guitar, that's something else you could potentially teach!
  3. Along the lines of music, become a busker. If you have an instrument and a talent, you can earn some serious cash if you find an area that gets a lot of foot traffic!
  4.  Become a tour guide. Find out anything and everything about the city you are hoping to go to, or that you live in. Learn everything you can about the historical aspect and be ready for questions that anyone might want to know. You can plan your own tour of the town and advertise your services then. It's a bonus if you speak several languages, but if you have a friendly and outgoing personality, you may be able to start your own 'business.' Or, seek out a tour agency and see if they could use a freelancer!
  5. Couchsurf: Although this isn't a way to make money, I think CouchSurfing has to be mentioned as something every traveler needs to know about. CouchSurfing is an amazing community of interesting, opening minded, and welcoming people. One of the taglines of CouchSurfing is: Imagine having an interesting friend wherever you go -- whether that’s 2,000 miles away, or right in your hometown. CouchSurfers are commited to intercultural understanding. If you haven't been on the website yet, go check it out now. You don't have to go anywhere to get involved, you can start by maybe hosting someone or just meeting up in your hometown for a coffee with a new traveling friend. It's a way to make friends all over the world!
  6. Finally, one of the most inspiring CouchSurfers and people I know is Thomas Love Perko. You have to check out his page Thomas Love's Adventures. He writes in both Croatian and English (and maybe a few other words/phrases here and in there in other languages!). He is a CouchSurfing ambassador, hitchhiking advocate, and one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Check out his page to read all about the adventures he's had and to learn more about how he found sponsorship (from the likes of MasterCard and the travel agency Da Da Da) for some of his recent travels. He is currently traveling for his Project '1000 Days of Summer - following the Sun on a journey around the World' using alternative ways of travel (couchsurfing, hitchhiking, busking). Read more about it (in Croatian) here. Or just check out his Facebook page! 
The King of CouchSurfing himself!

Just do it! Go, put yourself out there and do it now, because if you don't go now, when will you do it? If it feels right, just go for it and make it work! And if you have any questions or need any help or advice about anything, please feel free to ask!

To get a better understanding for what Thomas Love's project 1000 Days of Summer is really like, check out this short trailer about it:


  1. Love this post! I seriously love to travel but have never gone the couchsurfing route. My best friend and I almost tried it in Nashville this summer but along one of our friends was against it - I'm definitely going to research more because it seems amazing!

  2. Dana you totally should!! Seriously couchsurfing is awesome. It's a great way to meet new people in general (especially in the communities), even to meet someone and show them around for an hour or vice versa! My first couchsurfing experience was a girl from Cali, she stayed with me in Philly for 2 days and it was so much fun! It's definitely more common in Europe, I'd say, but still, it's just such a great community and I know in Philly they do a lot of meet ups :)

  3. I was totally like that about Hungarian for a while, but my mom forced me to get my graduation in hungary every year and now I am so glad!!! Good thing we didn't lose it in the end!!!! Love your tips! Love you! Miss you!!



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