When I was little, my parents used to take us camping to the mountains in Transylvania. We always found a nice place for our tents in a valley by a stream, hiked all day, then cooked dinner on a small gas cylinder or roasted sausages over a campfire. Sometimes we had to spend the afternoon in the tent because of the rain, sometimes a cow attacked our tent and ate our soap. But was it an unforgettable adventure? Of course. Does it sound like they were cool parents? They are. But now they rent a room in a Hütte whenever they go to hike, because they don’t want to deal anymore with soaked tents, attacking cows, and having to clean and brush their teeth in an ice-cold stream.
I still don’t mind doing these things. And probably my twenties are the years when I can act the most carefree, flexible, free and selfish. When I have the most energy to seek discomfort, to throw myself into crazy situations and enjoy them. Because one day I’d probably also would like to trade the wild camping for a cozy little Hütte – makes sense. But I’d like to do it with lots of wild camping memories.
Moving to another country by myself for 10 months is also one such memory.
No doubt that I loved my life in Budapest: I was in my beautiful bubble, I loved the city, I loved my tiny flat in Astoria, the first home I created, I loved my flatmate, and that my sister could come over anytime between her classes to take a nap. I loved my friends, I knew in which Café can I drink the best lemonade, where can I buy fresh vegetables for the cheapest price, I loved sitting on the Liberty Bridge and talking about life, going on dates with myself on the Margaret Island, singing really loudly on my favorite Hungarian band’s concerts or dancing until 5am on the A38 or in the Toldi.
So, I already knew how amazing life can be there. And/but it just wouldn’t have been fair not to try how wonderful life could be elsewhere.
I left my Master’s program exactly one year ago, because the voices of curiosity and wanderlust danced, jumped and sang in my head so passionately and impatiently that I simply knew I couldn’t stay. I went to Poland to lead camps for children with amazing people, sailed the sea in Croatia with the coolest sailors, studied and got invited to fancy parties and Award Shows in Cannes. While traveling and discovering new places, communities and lifestyles, I realized that it really doesn’t matter where I go, I’m going to be in love with my life anyway. And I really want to enjoy this feeling, and use it, because I know that sometimes it really is a privilege.
So, coming to Bremen wasn’t the first time I decided to pack my stuff in a suitcase or a backpack and go to a completely new country without knowing there anyone. And certainly not the last one.
But it was the first time I made an appointment with the doctor in German and the first time I interviewed the director of a museum auf Deutsch (I was so proud of myself!). The first time I had breakfast from a bowl I had made – I’m learning how to do ceramics. The first time I taught Hungarian folk dance in the tram station while waiting for the night bus at 4 am. The first time I went on a date with a German guy (really practical to do so when you need some local connection). The first time I learned how easy and how difficult it is to make friends when you really need friends (and you do, because none of your old friends are here). The first time I went to Spain for an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange. The first time I saw a Russian military document, which means that if my friend was in Russia, he could be mobilized any time.
I learned small and big things about the world and myself. Things that I love, things that scare me, things that surprise me, things that I need to work on.
I learned how amazing it is to have someone to have breakfast with every morning. And I learned how heartbreaking is when that someone leaves. We are volunteers from different countries: one day we live together as a family, we go for long walks and have fun bike tours, cook together, talk for hours every evening over a tea, we share our silence, cover each other with a blanket when one is sad and make each other feel at home. And the next day we have to say goodbye. And these heartbreaks will never ever get any easier.
But these heartbreaks also mean that I had something really wonderful.
On my last days back at home someone skeptically asked me, for how long do I plan to keep doing this finding-yourself-thing through these volunteering-traveling-things?
But it’s not about finding myself. It’s more about grabbing my own hand with love, and appreciating my life enough to go and collect amazing experiences for myself. For free, basically.
Plus, the more I experience life and the world, the more things I can find to love. And hey, that is the coolest thing ever, isn’t it?
See you in seven months!