Tag Archives: rtw

Backpacks and Bunkbeds Interview

Backpacks and Bunkbeds Interview

I was honored to be interviewed by Neil from Backpacks and Bunkbeds about my trip around the world and my general obsession with travel. He finds awesome travel bloggers in order to pick their brain and I’m thrilled to be this week’s interview. Here is a bit from our conversation:

Neil: Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment. Best bits, worst bits etc.
Me: My husband and I have been making our way around the world in the last 4 months. We’ve been to Iceland, Scotland, England, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Greece and India this far. We are currently traveling through India, which was a bit of a culture shock after the Greek Isles. After getting over it, we are having a great time exploring the cuisine, culture and currently beautiful backwaters of Kerala. It is such a unique country, like none I’ve seen before in my years of travel. Though it might take some getting used to, it is worth visiting, exploring and eating you way through, I know I am! Best food of the trip so far.

Neil: First travel experience?
Me: When USSR finally fell and Russians were able to travel, my family took a long weekend trip to Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. I was blown away by the experience. I was 13. The next year, I crossed the Atlantic with my family and moved to the U.S. – that’s when the travel bug was truly planted. I get a high from adjusting to new cultures – it was a tough transition blending in with American teenagers in a high school located in the middle of a corn field, Ohio.

Neil: Future travel plans?
Me: On this trip we are planning to explore South East Asia after India. Right now the plan is Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. From there, we are headed to South America. Argentina, Brazil and Peru are musts but we haven’t planned that far in advance yet…

For the full interview please go here

Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight

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As soon as I arrived in Istanbul, that very first day, after our tiring 16 hour bus ride from Trabzon, when we got dropped off by a clueless taxi driver at a side street off of İstiklal Avenue and had to walk for another kilometer, and ask a kebab stand owner for directions, I had already fallen in love with this city. Bam! It’s happens so fast. It’s the same feeling I got when visiting my home city again, St. Petersburg and first stepping foot in London. Just like those places, Istanbul immediately felt comfortable and home-like to me. Once again I thought to myself: “Wow, I can really live here.”

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Georgia – the land of beauty, passion and poverty

Georgia – the land of beauty, passion and poverty

First off, I should remind you that Georgia was not on our itinerary for this trip originally. While traveling through Russia, we met a great couple who described their recent trip to Georgia. They were hosted by a family in the mountains outside of town called Kobuleti. After they shared their vivid impressions, we HAD to change our plans and check out the mysterious and intriguing Georgia. We were overcome with excitement after hearing their stories so we changed our itinerary by nixing Bulgaria and adding in Georgia. We traveled to Georgia on a heavy duty ferry boat that mostly transports trucks with imports and livestock along with truck drivers a few passengers like us on the boat. I describe this experience here.

Traveling to Batumi by boat was worth it for the view, if nothing else, that opens up right before your eyes as you approach the port. A truly awe-inspiring view: green mountain peaks, clear blue water, panoramic view of the Batumi skyline and dolphins greeting us:
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Communist Cruise

Communist Cruise

Given that air travel is the most expensive part of this trip, we try to avoid it as much as possible. Also, we are always on the look out for adventure so we decided to take a ferry to get from Odessa, Ukraine to Georgia. It’s a working ferry: mostly carrying various imports, livestock and vehicles. There is room for some passengers who are mostly truck drivers traveling with their vehicles to Georgia. Clearly, we had to try to get on the boat and experience it for ourselves. Getting on it was an adventure in itself, which Aaron wrote about is his post here.

Check-in
We had to get on the ship the day before we actually sail, which was rather disappointing to us as we spent the 4th of July on the boat docked in Illichivsk port. The tedious process of passing through customs was done in the “hurry up and wait” fashion as we were lead from one boring room to another:
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Forget your stereotypes – Ukraine

Forget your stereotypes – Ukraine

Did you know that I am half Ukrainian? My mother’s family comes from Ukraine so I was happy to travel to her motherland and see this hidden country. This country is overshadowed by the massive neighbor (Russia) and is often forgotten by travelers traveling in Eastern Europe, which is a mistake. Though Ukraine may look, smell and often feel like Russia, it is has a ton to offer such as beautiful churches of Kiev, cobble stone streets lining European L’viv and laid-back mentality of Odessa. Those are the three cities we visited.

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My Russian Soul Woke Up

My Russian Soul Woke Up

It has been quite a while since I’ve been back to my Motherland. The last time I traveled to Russia in 2004. I was young, traveled there with my American high school friend and was staying with Ira, my best friend who lives in St. Petersburg. During the 2004 trip I was very young (19), carefree and relied heavily on Ira to show us around. That trip involved quite a bit of partying as you might imagine given the lower drinking age in Europe.

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