I’ve always loved hearing the stories behind how someone earned skills and that’s why I decided to tell you about my travel journey (can we really say one has travel skill?). I wrote about my first traveling experiences in a previous post and ended my “to be continued” post with my year in Hungary as a student in a Bible institute. Well, like I said, I couldn’t keep into place during this year and ended up travelling to many countries! So here is that part of my travel journey…
When I first got to Hungary, I was planning on travelling throughout Europe after the school year, in the summer. But I quickly learned that the training included a summer internship, in a location of my choice…. Which meant my plan of seeing the whole continent wasn’t possible anymore. This turned out to be the best thing since my internship was a total blast, but more on that later. When I found out I couldn’t spend my summer traveling, I decided I had to do it during the school year and it started less than 2 weeks after I first got to Hungary, during fall break, when I went to Romania. Two of my friends’ families were living there and, with a few friends; we went there for a few days. We took the train for 16h, which was crazy long but we had so much fun. We went hiking in the mountains, shopping in a Gipsy market, visited a castle ruins and walked around the city. I just loved Romania!
I had plans of going back home for Christmas, which I did but, since I had a few days in between the end of school and my flight back home, I decided to take a bus ride to Vienna with a friend. Because Budapest-Vienna is only 3h and 17$ by bus (ah, Europe!). We stayed with a friend I met back in my home town, which turned out to be the best since she could show us around the touristic stuff but also bring us to places only known by locals, like this awesome jazz bar we went to! We enjoyed going to the Zoo, see Princess Sisi’s castle, walking around the historical streets. We went to the Opera (paying only 3$) shopping a bit and, since it was middle of December, we went to the Christmas market, one of the largest and most beautiful in the world!
The first two months after I came back from being homebound for Christmas, were a bit quiet, it was cold in Hungary and I enjoyed the view of the snowed in beautiful campus. But with March came another travel opportunity when I went back to Czech Republic, this time in Brno with a group of people to do open air skits and talk with the people about our faith. We also did sight seeing and stopped by Bratislava (Slovakia) on the way back.
Not long after that, spring break came along and I went back to Vienna (Because… 17$ bus ride.), alone, to meet my friend there. We went to her hometown, just outside the city and drove around vineyards, where I cooked with a renowned orchestra conductor and jammed with a great guitarist! On my second part of my time there, two friends from my school joined me. I went back to the opera (twice) and to other spots I already went (because Vienna is amazing and once is not enough) and to new places, like the Natural History Museum.
The second part of spring break was spent in Rome, with a German friend, when I stayed for the first time in a hostel… which was only 5 minutes walk away from the Coliseum! On our first day, we went to Vatican where we happened to see the Pope. During my time in Italy, I only ate Nutella spreaded bread, Gelato, pastas and pizza. And guys, I believe I truly understood what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Eat Pray Love when she says: “I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. ». Soooo. Good. Of course, Rome was gorgeous and became one of my favourite cities on the world. I ended my trip there throwing a few centimes in the Trevi fountain, wishing to go back one day.
In May, I decided it was time to see Paris so I arranged with an old friend, who was in France for an internship, to meet there. We stayed at a friend’s friend’s house and we spent a wonderful weekend in Paris, despite the heavy rain. We saw the Louvres, Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, we sang « Aux Champs Élysés », while walking on them, went up Notre-Dame cathedral, went to Mont-Marte to see Sacre-Cœur and Moulin-Rouge. Oh, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower! Once again, I had an amazing time, wishing I could have stayed longer!
Now, like I told you earlier, my plan of backpacking around Europe in the summer was cancelled when I learned I had to spend that time in an internship. At that point, all I knew was that I didn’t want to go back to Canada for it. However, I knew I wanted to go to a French speaking area to be able to have a bit more of an impact in the life of the people I would meet. France? Not to many opportunities were there for me… After looking through a few options, an amazing door opened for me: I would go do my mission internship in Senegal, West Africa, with an organization called New Tribes Mission. I flew there in the end of May and spent 2 amazing months there. I mostly stayed in Dakar where I translated some Bible lessons for the organization. While in the capital, I also taught English to a group of young women and helped with a children ministry that was feeding and organizing activities for Talibe kids. I also got the opportunity to travel into villages where I met really wonderful people with who I built really strong friendship. These 2 months are part of the best times in my life!
I came back to Hungary for a few days after my time in Senegal before leaving on a long bus and train trip to Poland. There, I spent a few days with a Polish friend from my Hungarian school and we helped in a Christian Camp. I wish could have had the opportunity to enjoy Poland more but I surely loved my time there. I than flew back to Canada, happy to see my family and my head full of memories. There, I moved to Montreal to start a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my future, but I was sure I was going to travel again. And guys, I did! To be continued in a future post…
If you want to learn more about any of the places I wrote about in My Travel Journey, let me know in the comments and I’ll write an article about it!