Yes. We were young and silly.
Yes. We had just finished our studies.
Yes. We didn’t know anything about travelling.
And you know what? Not much has changed since then. Neither of us is enlightened, silliness – it is rather incurable and travelling? We know even less … But we travel. Perhaps in less exotic way, but it is our own way (what’s so far behind us? Click LINK), recently even with two dogs.
How has it all started and what gave us a ‘nomadic kick’ to further exploring (read: go a little bit further than the home backyard)?
I decided to go a little back in time and give you a bit about our first trip and share my thoughts from 4 years ago. Maybe you need this kick right now and this post can help somehow?
So here we go. Starring: article published long time ago on unknown polish website… and us. A lot of us. But what else can you except reading our own blog? I already feel sorry for you, but fingers crossed for surviving till the end! Feel free to give us any feedback after.
Overcome yourself – Poland – Croatia walking trip 2012
“- Are we buying a caravan? – Too expensive … – Cycling holidays? – I don’t know … – So what about… trip on foot?
And so it all began. Maybe it was the movie “Into the Wild” or maybe Martyna Wojciechowska (polish journalist) and her books about moving the horizon. Maybe view of busy people, and routine swelling inside them up to the limit. Maybe inner frustration and desire to do something … Exactly. Just do something. So we chose walking trip. And why from Poland to Croatia? We just wanted to go abroad. Does every choice need to have a reasonable explanation?
The timing was perfect. Well, maybe we had a little influence on it. Working, studying, working, studying … How long can you exist like this? Time for a change – quitting jobs, spending the last money on equipment. Because why not? Long awaited July 15 has come … We’re setting off!
According to the plan “tour” started in Zwardon (polish-slovakia border). Happy, free, possessed by cyclical attacks of adrenaline we… are scared to death. In fact, nothing is buttoned up the last button. We have only the outline of the route – we know that we will go through Slovakia and Hungary to the Croatian border. Then we hitchhike to the coast and have a nice rest. Who could have predicted that we won’t have enough strength for the coast! But we don’t know it yet. We just feel, inhale, absorb two times more. We cherish every step, every backpack wave and throw ourselves into adventure. It is great!
We are struck by the intensity of the colors, the beautiful mountainous landscapes, overwhelmed by repeatedly passing trucks ..
Cause it is not always colorful. For navigation reasons we chose the simplest but probably not the most pleasant route – quite busy streets. While, at first glance, it didn’t look physically demanding, we soon discovered the state of the roads’ shoulders that basically didn’t exist. In addition, I have to tell, air turbulences generated while passing us didn’t really help while we tried to walk with heavy backpacks. After a few days we cursed all drivers going too fast, too slow, and even those not driving. Why the International Car Free Day does not last a whole month? We wouldn’t need to drink hectoliters of milk – antidote (it is unknown if it really works – greetings to Grandma and charming placebo) and a trip would be quieter … But the choice is a choice. In our opinion, it comes with the consequence too. Even though it sometimes falls outside the chosen schedule…
We’re creating the flag. Just for a change and to make our march more interesting we decide not to be incognito. If people already honk and wave to us why not to let them know we are Poles. We buy a towel, a sort of marker … And here it is! Much better. The need to belong to somewhere is not a joke. We are rebuilding our identity. And towel can be useful for a bath as well…
…but we don’t take many baths, This is the worse side of a trip, but also not accidental. In fact, we have a lot of opportunities to enjoy the benefits of a roadside streams or fall into the arms of the river along the motorway … But we don’t always want to. Reason? Twenty kilo backpacks in conjunction with twenty km walk a day (we tried to do thirty but quickly changed our minds). You can say it is nothing … try – we tried. And we ended up with almost untouched soap in a backpack…
…But we enjoyed walk itself. Besides few crises, some arguments and sinusoidal discouragement /dying at times, we were almost flying. Of course – usually this feeling appeared when we took our packs off during blissful rest, but sometimes it imperceptibly attacked, overcame and clung to us during the march. Often wading through layers of flying we unexpectedly faced additional good mood. And so it went. We were walking, stumbling, laughing, singing a little. The main song turned out to be the one about “a man, who drew his bow – and then died – what a bad luck …” (it rhymes in polish!! But that’s all.)
… And bad luck also visited us from time to time. Fortunately not often, and it was only “raining, not pouring”. It happened once that somebody inadvertently lost a jumper, even pants (even if it sounds weird!), or some mouse bit our walking pole … Fortunately there was always “happy end”. Things were eventually found and the mouse had a meal …
… Which (meals), in turn, were often various and plentiful. We’ve even created some kind of classification for you: first place is a”biscuit-burger”, two biscuits combined with delicious three-day cheese, (yum-yum!) – hungry backpacker can eat anything, and McDonald’s would win a fortune. Second place – rolls with cheese from Slovakia or rather cheese with rolls from Slovakia. While leaving Slovakia we realized what really became the short-term goal every day … Apart from those two, we were eating standard supermarket’s menu and sometimes cakes or garden vegetables from people with golden hearts met on our way.
Our memories from the trip are really good. It is true that the weather was tricky from the beginning, which often ended up choosing extremely strange places to sleep (under the bridge, at the railway station, bus station) or delays (but did we hurry for anything?), waiting in the tent for rain to stop, but also added some adrenaline – really needed sometimes. Rest times initially depended on showers from above too, so the first choice were again bus stations, but after a while it didn’t really matter. We felt the most comfortable on green meadows and hills, away from civilization, but roadside ditches also proved to be cozy! One day, we even found some jigsaw there … And the day before we were talking about jigsaw. How strange is that?
Contacts with family and friends were restricted to a minimum. We took one mobile, which we didn’t even loaded once during month trip. Text message on average every two days, one call, one attempt to send an e-mail from a e-mail spot in Hungary (incidentally our parents never received it). Although civilization was near all the time, we tried to push ‘her’ away. And I can say we managed it in a way. We were hanging around fields, rivers, lying under the trees and enjoyed the endless hills, sunflowers and even storms.
One of the most important thing during the march was music. We took a guitar and djembe. Initially, because of the number of kilometers a day we didn’t have time and even mood to play. As time passed, we chilled more and more…along with music. It was wonderful being ‘on the road’ and at the same time travel through completely different dimension.
And if not, at least get to know new people, which we had a lot around! Big backpacks, music and two people sitting on the mat in random places. As usual, we tried not to attract any attention …
To give you some idea how was on the trip we attach a piece of diary written by us every day back then…
…Or maybe next time. I will give you a rest for a moment.