Why travel stories? Seriously now. The internet is full of advice, and lists, and itineraries and guides. Why did I choose to write travel stories?
Because I have a problem. Well, one that’s in scope for this discussion. I am very honest. And this sounds good, and everyone says they like to hear honest opinions. I can tell you I have rarely heard something faker than this.
If all guides were honest, you wouldn’t be able to find so many stories about “Gods’ island”, about the wonders of Sicily or the charming capital city of the Czech Republic. You would never read stories that contain the word “vibrant”, advice like “get lost on the streets” or pictures with an intensively colored gelato.
And you know why? Because these things are not, in fact, amazing. They’re not extraordinary. Out of all Indonesia, I liked Bali the least. In Sicily, Catania looks dirty, the temperatures in the summer are through the roof, and you rarely see a car that hasn’t suffered an accident, that’s how good and careful the drivers are. In Prague, you finish doing everything in 3 days, and one of the top activities is walking around the city, looking at buildings. I mean, it’s nice and all, but does anyone ever go somewhere just to look at buildings?
What does “vibrant” really mean? Vibrant colors draw attention, but you don’t find those everywhere. A vibrant atmosphere maybe? But what does it refer to? Nightlife? The central square? The people in general, the fact that you can easily bond with them? I honestly have no idea.
How can anyone follow the advice of getting lost on the streets? The thing itself assumes the lack of intention, otherwise, it’s not natural anymore. Usually, when you get lost, it’s something that happens, not something you intentionally do.
The best gelato I have ever tasted was from a very hidden place, I don’t even think they had a sign outside. You couldn’t even see the ice cream since it was hidden in stainless steel containers that were shiny clean. All flavors looked kind of similar, in the area of white-cream-black, but I found grape seeds in one of the flavors, so it was clear it had seen fruits in this lifetime.
Also, in the travel stories we can find on-line, everything went perfectly. No one had a delayed train, airlines don’t cancel their flights, the weather is always amazing and all beaches have their sand as smooth as flour. Of course, no one ever goes to a highly recommended place and says: “Huh? This is it? Disappointing, I expected it to be bigger/cooler/better.”.
And we manage to create some expectations when we read these stories. It’s true, I never go somewhere based only on the travel stories I read on-line. And for me, my personal experience in there matters the most. And this is what I share with you guys. And I’m telling you exactly how I felt there, how did I get to the place, what happened on the way. It’s true, my talent in writing is maybe not impressive, but I do have one for getting into special situations. Just take a look:
- In Chisinau, we departed as a party of 5 and came back as a party of 4
- In Bulgaria, we managed to lose our car
- We got lost on the way to Rome
- I suffered from full memory loss in Munich
- In Athens, I found out how it is to be married
- I discovered that reality can hurt when I was in London
- In Indonesia, I found out I can live without clothes too
- In Tenerife, I found out about Capo Verde
- Our life completely changed in Basel
- In Wrocław I found out I can correctly pronounce Wrocław
- From Catania, I know that you can put anything on a pizza
- There is life after All Inclusive, even in The Maldives
- Stockholm is unusually dusty
- On the way to Prague, we had a funny flight attendant
- On the way to Berlin, I found out what does the “German punctuality” mean
Yes, I will probably also write some guides at one point. And I am quite good at making plans and itineraries. But life showed me I will never get to follow those plans 100%. And I rather share this with you. In the end, this is who I am, this is how I feel, this is how I see the world wherever I go. You will, of course, read stupid jokes. But, well, if you wanted some exact science you would have read Wikipedia, you wouldn’t have come here.
And me being honest can probably be observed in all areas. My talent for photography is somewhere in the area of none. My phone knows how to do things, but the artist also counts, not only the tools. And you can easily spot this across the website. Yes, I do use some filters here and there, but the poor quality of the pictures cannot be hidden by any filter. And you know what? That’s OK. Because I’m not a photographer. There are other people, better than me, where you can go and search for amazing pictures. And I truly advise you to do that. You should be here for the stories, not for the pictures. You will be disappointed if you’re here for the pictures.
Also, the way I handle social media is embarrassing. I am awful at this, mostly because I have to do unnatural things. Like being nice to people I don’t personally know. Or to start following accounts not for what they’re saying, but to ensure reciprocity and raise my account in the end. Or to take pictures in which I look like a model. Well, the pictures are not the problem, looking like a model is the challenge here.
But you know what? That’s OK too. This is who I am! I’m not a professional photographer, I’m not a social media manager, I’m not even a web designer. Honestly, if I should write for a living, I couldn’t afford rent. But I would like that when I get to a certain age, and my grandchildren will ask me what did I do with my life, to be able to point them towards these travel stories.
But it will take a while until I’ll have grandchildren. I would like to train myself with you guys before. And I would like us all to admit there are no real travel stories where people get lost on vibrant streets.