After so many new things this past year, it's time for me to settle in to where I am right now. So, goodbye 2017, goodbye (for now) TSW, and thank you. For everything. 2018, let's make this a good one.
Saying goodbye to New York has never gotten easier, but I like to think I outdid myself this time- using my last day in the city to play tour guide to a friend that had never been and ending with dinner at Kafana, a whimsical Serbian restaurant in Alphabet City.
For the past few years, I’ve thought of my summers as a period of meditation-- of uninterrupted reflection, as I usually spend them working in New York, away from my friends who are scattered all over the globe. This summer was no exception and has been one of my most productive yet.
“No city makes you feel more like a New Yorker than Belgrade.”
An addendum to the previous list...
Now, if you pulled me aside during my freshman year of high school and told me that, at nineteen, I would be spending six months working with an (absolutely incredible!!!) nonprofit in Belgrade I would have laughed in your face. Hell, if you told me that during my freshman year of college my reaction would’ve been the same. And yet…
By a conservative estimate I have traveled a total of 21,752 miles in 2016. That’s just 3,149 miles short of the distance around earth, which clocks in at 24,901 mi.
Things I’ve done that would make excellent short films:
Been that one city slicker on surrounded by midwesterners on a plane to Indianapolis
Pretended to be married to a travel mate in order to not be separated at the airport
Driven through about half of Idaho in search of the Craters of the Moon state park
Spoken with an Italian accent in order to not get ripped off at a bar in Sarajevo
As a part of my program at Northeastern University, I will be participating in a cooperative education experience, or co-op, during the spring semester. This means that in just under a month I will be boarding a plane to Belgrade using a one way ticket; I thought it a bit advantageous to plan a departure date six months in advance, especially when I don't know where I will be heading come June.
The next few months are sure to be filled with a multitude of firsts, and they are already beginning. For example, I have never flown anywhere on a one way ticket, nor have I flown internationally entirely by myself. My apartment in Belgrade will be the first lease I sign, and Serbia will be the first foreign country I live in. This will be the longest continuous work experience I have ever had, and subsequently be the longest gap in my academic career since entering school.
This list of firsts doesn't even account for everything I plan to do while abroad; I've been making lists of travel destinations in the region since I accepted the position in October.
It is these firsts that are precisely the reason I created Travel, She Writes. It can be easy to find yourself caught up in life, work, and everything in between and I want to be sure that I take time to appreciate every experience I have in the next sixth months. This blog is a way to keep myself accountable for reflecting on them.
In doing so I hope to enrich my own experience, but to also encourage others to do the same. Traveling is fun no matter how you do it, but I find I enjoy it more when I make an effort to learn about the places I visit and find out why they are the way they are.
One of my chief complaints about todays world, in which information is thrown at us from every angle at all hours of the day, is that people are increasingly apathetic towards the world around them. Few things disappoint me more than this willful ignorance, which is why, through sharing my travels, I hope to get as many people as I can to p a y a t t e n t i o n. They'll be all the better for it.
Hello & welcome to my little corner of the internet. My name is Alena and I will be running this blog to document my travels both for my own benefit as a way to share these opportunities with as many people as possible.
Despite my hesitance to share most of my creations I have always loved writing and find it significantly easier to communicate on paper (or in this case, on digital paper) than out loud. Over the past three years I've watched several friends start blogs of their own and been intrigued by the idea. However, there was the small issue that I didn't have anything that I wanted to talk about.
Since my study abroad experience this past summer, this has changed. I realized that, beginning while still in high school, I rarely spent more than one month in the same city. Though I don't live any kind of extravagant, vagabond, lifestyle, I have definitely earned the titles of 'unlost nomad' and 'queen of transportation' as I have dubbed by friends. The more I though about it, the more I realized that I had too many travel stories that were too strange not to share; this blog will be a combination of past and present adventures.
My goal in starting this blog is to use it as a platform to share my experiences with others and to push myself to be reflective so as to truly gain the most from this journey. Please join me as I begin my whirlwind of a year come 2017. Happy reading!