It was 2008, during the summer, before the infamous greed-induced financial crisis hit Iceland. The Icelandic króna had been heaviliy overvalued for years and wages in Iceland were worth a fortune in foreign currencies. I had been lucky enough to have studied on a full scholarship by the Icelandic state for the past three years so I had saved a lot from working part time during the school year and full time during the summer.
That summer I had three jobs (at a hotel reception, at a home for people with disabilities and doing media monitoring for one of the infamous companies that were responsible for the crisis). Also, I was working on my BA thesis on the voice onset time of Icelandic, Swedish and Bulgarian stop consonants, which was a good way to relax from working too much.
Until then I had not travelled that much. While studying in Bulgaria, I had been too busy with my studies and working in order to make ends meet (the good news is I never had any debts). Besides, at the time, my salary of 250 BGN (125 EUR) a month was considered a good one, so you can imagine how much travelling abroad one could do with that amount of money. I had used a lot of my vacation to go to summer courses in Sweden and Denmark, luckily also with scholarships by those countries. So I had travelled a bit in Scandinavia, I had spent three years in Iceland, but besides some shorter trips to Turkey, Romania, Finland and Greenland, I had no travel experience whatsover.
So, a year before my graduation in 2008, I was planning to do a longer trip, to a far away place, after I graduated. The obvious choices were San Francisco or Japan, where two of my best friends lived, or New Zealand – a land of which I had daydreamed a lot, but I had never imagined I would actually visit. I remember vividly sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Reykjavik with my friend Yayo from Japan when she told me about round-the-world tickets. “You can visit all of them on one ticket”, she said. But then I’d need a lot more time and, respectively, a lot more money.
So there I was that summer, working hard on my three jobs and BA thesis and planning a 5-month trip around the world. I had found a cheap RTW ticket, the perfect destinations and I was terrified of leaving home. On that trip I visitied Trinidad and Tobago, the USA, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Singarore, Thailand, Japan and the UK. I got robbed (and miraculously managed to get my passport back), travelled all over the USA by train, snorkelled and met the friendliest people on this planet in the South Pacific, cycled and hiked around New Zealand, got sick in Thailand and spent Christmas and New Year’s in Tokyo. I will never forget it. And since then I could not stop. Some longer trips I have done are:
- Nepal to Iceland overland through Tibet, China, Mongolia, Russia and Scandinavia (2011)
- A month of wandering around Turkey with my friend Adro who was doing research for his PhD
- Hitchhiking all along Norway (2012)
- Mexico (2012)
- six months of cycling through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia… (2013)
- cycling through the highlands and the east fjords of Iceland (2013)
- 18 months that took me around the world – crewing on a sailboat from India to Malaysia, then two months in Myanmar, 4 months in Indonesia, West Papua, 2 months in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, 2 months in Vanuatu, 3 months of cycling in New Zealand, the Big Island of Hawaii, Baja California and California. (2013-2014-2015)
Check out the Travels page for details and photos and also this page.