Why Do You Travel?

I recently returned home after a long trip that took me literally around the world. It’s wonderful to see my friends and family but I cannot help but think back fondly on my trip. I keep asking myself why do I miss traveling so much?

Traveling is amazing, but I think that it’s important to have a purpose. It can be as simple as to follow your love of food and acquaint yourself with the flavors of the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t set goals or define a purpose before I left. So I’ve forced myself to think back through my trip and find an underlying theme. What did I find myself doing in every country I visited? Although delicious, I know that I did something more profound that getting to know how the McDonald’s menus differed from country to country.

I finally came to the conclusion that I travel to see the most beautiful nature that the world has to offer. That’s right, I am a beach guy. When I really think about it, my favorite cities have always been right beside an Ocean or a Sea. With that in mind here are five of the most beautiful beach towns that I have visited.

David Hilborn

Read the whole article here: Transenter

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The Polish Experience

 The reason I came to Poland is in order to complete my internship for the end of my second year at University. I love travelling and experiencing new cultures so the idea of going to Poland seemed very nice to me.

The internship in itself has been very mind-opening. As interns we are given responsibility and are allowed to make decisions of our own. The team works with and listens to each intern’s insights. The intercultural team gives each member the chance to discover different perspectives and ways of approaching various markets.

Wroclaw as a town is very nice with lots of night life and atmosphere especially when the sun comes out. There are many beautiful places to visit and historical facts to learn about. The Wroclaw dwarves which commemorate the Orange Alternative movement are also a very interesting aspect of the City.

Living in Poland is pretty nice for people who are coming from other Western countries as it is the 8th least expensive place to live in the world. It is especially nice when planning on travelling. A bus to Krakow will cost you 20 euros return, a bus to Warsaw won’t cost you much more and you can also travel to Prague and Berlin very easily and cheaply.

“People make the place” would be the best sentence to sum my 3 month internship in Poland up. My internship was successful not only thanks to the special Polish people I met but also thanks to the team of interns. The internship program brings interesting people from all over the world together. This may sound cheesy but they are the main reason my stay has been fun and interesting and we will definitely be staying in contact thanks to our common polish “experience” for many years to come.

Polly Hodgkins

 

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The Silver Lining of Communication Issues

My arrival in Poland was slightly delayed thanks to a broken bus. When I finally arrived it was 23:30, dark, and rainy. To top it all off no one around me spoke English. I was standing still with two large bags as the world was spinning around me. I was cold, wet, and buzzing with nervous energy. How could I survive here if I can’t communicate with anyone? I had to decide what to do with myself before the rain soaked my luggage. Luckily I spotted a hotel on the drive into the city; I quickly made a dash for it.

When I arrived I was shocked by the immediate change in atmosphere. The hotel felt modern, the fresh coat of strawberry red paint gave the room a feeling of warmth. The memory of that room is strong because of how thankful I was to be out of the cold. I was dripping wet from the rain, but the biggest surprise for me was when I was greeted in English.

Like many when I arrived in Poland I had little knowledge of the country. Most of the knowledge I had was from friend’s stories and a few sentences from “The Lonely Planet”. The information that I had gathered pointed towards communication being an issue; and it was. What I was not aware of was the attitudes of the Polish citizens that spoke English.

The hotel attendant was cheerful, kind, but most of all helpful. He quickly asked me where I came from, I told him Canada. He was brimming with excitement. He had visited Toronto before and was eager to tell me how much he loved my country. I was weary from travel, but the attitude of the attendant gave me the will to muster a conversation. We spoke for several minutes before he helped me with booking a hotel room, figuring out public transit to find my apartment the following day, and give me advice on how to spend my time in Wroclaw.

This experience has proved to be a common scenario in Poland. Communication is an issue, which is a fact. English is not spoken by a large percentage of the population. However, those that do speak English are very helpful and kind. Building small fleeting connections with the people of Poland to facilitate daily life has been a wonderful challenge that I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience.

David Hilborn

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Wroclaw: A hub of Polish culture

Some may think that as Wroclaw was German for many years it may have affected the Polish culture of the City. Well, not really. At various times it has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, and Germany; it has been part of Poland since 1945, as a result of border changes after World War II. A small German minority remains in the city and the Polish population was dramatically increased by the resettlement of Poles during postwar population transfers as well as during the forced deportations from Polish lands annexed by the Soviet Union in the east region.

Wroclaw is a perfect example of the diversity of cultures Poland has experienced in the past. For instance, Wroclaw has a unique square “Dzielnica Czterech Świątyń” (Borough of Four Temples) where a Synagogue, a Lutheran Church, a Roman Catholic church and an Eastern Orthodox church stand near each other; these religions cohabitate in total harmony. There are very few places in the world where this can be witnessed.

Wrocław is also a unique European city of mixed heritage, with architecture influenced by Bohemian, Austrian and Prussian traditions.

This harmony felt around the city is probably in a big part thanks to Polish culture. It may seem a bit peculiar at first, however of what I have seen there are many lovely aspects. Poles in general are very polite, thoughtful and friendly people. One of the first times I took the Tram I was astonished when a man my age got up to leave me his seat. At the time I just thought it was a nice exception but then another held the door open for me and then I saw everyone get up when an old lady walked in. It is amazing how Polish are very united. One will not leave another behind. It is very badly thought of when one doesn’t get up to leave a seat for the elderly or when a man doesn’t try his best to be a gentleman. Another experience (and I have only been here four weeks) was when getting off the Tram one evening a man was lying on the platform. He seemed perfectly happy having an afternoon nap in the sun so we didn’t worry about it until this woman started shouting at us in Polish from the other side of the Tram stop. Speaking a very small amount of Polish we didn’t understand a word of what she was telling us. We thought we had done something wrong when actually she was just asking us to check if the man was ok. Everyone feels concerned and worries about the wellbeing of one another.

All in all my Polish experience in Wroclaw until now has been very pleasant. I feel very safe living here and was very pleasantly surprised with the City and its people with their relaxed way of life.

Polly Hodgkins

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Being Dutch, Going Dutch

Most of us know the term of ‘Going Dutch’, meaning that two or more people are splitting the bill in public spaces. In my opinion, this type of saying: Going Dutch doesn’t sound very nice about us (the Dutch people) and so are tons of other expressions including the word “Dutch”, but how Dutch is this Going Dutch actually?

First of all let’s look at the history of this saying; research indicates that it originated during the English-Dutch war around the 17th/18th century. The use of the word Dutch, was only mentioned in negative situations since both countries were at war. Other sayings including the word “Dutch” are: a Dutch Feast (when the host is getting drunk before his/her guests), and a Dutch treat (the part of the bill when it is split).

Read whole article – “Being Dutch, Going Dutch.

 

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