OUT & ABOUT
I personally believe that we are all citizens of the world and we should know it better. The world can teach you a lot not just about places and people but about yourself. Countries come and go, borders change constantly. If I was born in the same city 150 years ago I would have been Prussian. That country doesn't even exist anymore. In each one of us should be a part proud of our heritage, but this part should never prevail - in any context. At the end of the day we are share the same genes and come from Africa.
So to reach into my heritage - I come from a nation that for couple of centuries now, for various reasons, has been traveling around the world. Most of the time not for fame or scientific discoveries but out of curiosity often supported by political or economical emergency. There isn't a continent or country, I dare say, with no Polish people, even if it means going back few generations. They helped build cities, railways, roads, etc. They have done some exploring. The highest mountain in Australia is named after a Polish war hero Kościuszko, as it was measured by a Polish geologist Paweł Strzelecki, who has done geographical surveys in Australia, New Zeland and Tasmania from 1839 to 1843. The team that has discovered the source of the Amazon River was lead by Jacek Pałkiewicz. Just to name a couple.
I haven't descovered anything of geographical importance and I haven't lead any surveys in the wild. Reason why I travel is to see all those places I have read about my entire childhood. Books by Alfred Szklarski are my companions till today. The protagonist Tomek Wilmowski has visited all the continents and sailed half of the world. On Sundays, my parents and I used to watch "Pieprz i Wanilia" ("Pepper and Vanilla") showing Elżbieta Dzikowska and Tony Halik in the wild, face to face with forgotten tribes, lost in exotic cities, jungles and deserts. Tony Halik was also the man who in the 50ties drove with his wife from Ushuaia in Argentina to Alaska. Often with no roads or access to civilization, through the Andes and the Amazon forrest. It took them 4 years and they had a baby on the way. And let's not forget one of the greatest travel writers in the world and a political journalist Ryszard Kapuściński. I know I cannot be them, however the least I can do is aspire to have a life rich in experiences and learnings. Just like them.
To paraphrase Terry Pratchett: you only know you have been somewhere when you come home and tell the story. I'm old school, but in this day and age in order to communicate you have to get online. So I've started blogging earlier this year and now it's time for a website. It gave me an opportunity to gather all the materials I have and to realize how much I have.
I don't know if I would have started travelling if not for the books I read as a child. They took me almost everywhere in the world and I always dreamt about making this reality. Seeing those places for myself, meeting the people in person, breathing the air and atmosphere, taking it all in in person.
As a child I used to pretend I had a travel agency, like others pretend to have a tea party or to be Luke Skywalker. I used to check different places on the map and sell flights to imaginary customers. Then I realized I don't want to send people there, I always wanted to go to those places myself. Hence although I did some Travel Studies I never ended up working for a tour operator or having my own travel agency. Instead I got a tour guide license and worked as such occasionally.
So while people I know were getting married, buying property, having babies, I spent (and still am spending) all my money on travels. One of my friends calls it politely "itchy feet syndrome", another one, less politically correct and making sense only in Polish: "parzydupstwo". I tried to settle down a little bit few times, but the minute one trip is over, another one pops into my head. And I don't mean anything hard core, a weekend here, a weekend there. Sometimes that's all I need. Call it a hobby.
This website is about places I have visited and some weird/interesting encounters I had. I don't pretend I know everything or I have seen everything. Quite often I probably missed some interesting places hidden away due to lack of time or becasue I was distracted with somtething else. Only what I have seen and experienced is truly mine and that is what I'm trying to share here.
If I had to name a goal here it would be to get people to travel or at least get them interested in some particular places in the world. I won't be objective, I might even be offensive if I still feel strongly about people and places I have seen. You may find it interesting, funny, boring or just luke warm, but if you have never heard about a place and now you know it - I'm happy.