Julija‘s story:  „Each trip brings its own benefits and new stories to cherish.“

Embark on a captivating journey with Julija as she shares her remarkable adventures and insights into the transformative power of travel. From her humble beginnings studying tourism in the UK to exploring over 33 countries, Julija’s story is a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to explore beyond their comfort zones. Join us as we delve into her experiences, lessons learned, and the profound impact travel has had on her life and perspective.

Tell us your story: What did your life look like before, and why did you decide to change it?

I began traveling when I moved to the UK to study tourism right after school. Before that, I have never been abroad (despite Poland and Latvia).  Thus this influenced me to embark on a year-long Erasmus exchange program in Prague. Since Prague is located in the middle of Europe it helped to visit other countries that are close by – almost every weekend we had trips somewhere. This experience fueled my love for exploring new cultures and destinations.
Over time, I honed my trip planning skills and delved deeper into understanding the cultures and habits of the places I visited, analyzing tourists’ motivations and behaviors. From Poland to more unique destinations like China, the USA, Morocco, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia, I’ve explored over 33 countries.
My all-time favorite destinations include Italy for its beauty, nature, food, people, and style, as well as the USA for its stunning national parks. I find Balkan countries like Albania and Croatia underrated, offering scenic views similar to Italy but at more affordable prices.
On the other hand, I find Asian countries like Thailand, Bali, and Cambodia overrated, with their abundance of dirt and slums. However, there are a few places in these countries that are breathtakingly beautiful and make the journey worthwhile.

What were the biggest lessons you learned on the trip, and what did you understand about yourself?

I learned that life becomes significantly more beautiful when we pause to reflect. Similarly, I discovered that people are inherently filled with positivity, which becomes evident through travel experiences. On travels you can meet amazing people who become your life long friends. Sometimes if you are lucky enough you can meet even famous people too. One of the most rewarding aspects of traveling is realizing the extent of our capabilities. One of the most significant realizations about myself was recognizing my resilience and adaptability. Throughout the journey, I found that I possess a natural ability to maintain composure and remain calm in challenging situations. Moreover, I thrive when pushed outside of my comfort zone.

Do you feel like your life has turned out differently than you previously thought? Have you found yourself to be different from what you always thought?

Absolutely! My travels have led me on a journey filled with surprises and unexpected adventures. I never imagined or planned to travel as much as I do, but it has become quite addictive. Despite choosing a different career path than tourism, I worried if I would be able to continue my adventures. However, these days, it’s easier to manage work and travel, finding a balance between long and short trips.

If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?

If I were to revisit my younger years when I first started stepping out of my comfort zone and traveling, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every memory and failure has contributed to a unique history worth sharing with future generations. However, if I could revisit specific trips, I might approach them with better planning. Looking back, I see how much smoother and less stressful some journeys could have been, especially those undertaken at the age of 19, when my planning and decision-making skills were still developing. In those early days, I often embarked on trips without much planning, leading to some memorable failures. Over the past decade of traveling, I’ve learned that too much planning can also be detrimental. It’s essential to strike a balance between spontaneity and preparation. Despite becoming somewhat of a planning geek over the years, I still find myself irresistibly drawn to following itineraries.

If someone is secretly dreaming about the lifestyle you are living now, what would you tell them?

If someone is secretly dreaming about the lifestyle I’m living now, I’d tell them not to be scared and to simply take the first step! Traveling has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life, opening my eyes to new cultures, perspectives, and adventures. Moreover, some travels can even be free with specific programs. Each trip brings its own benefits and new stories to cherish. So, if you’re dreaming of a life filled with travel, start by setting goals, saving money, and planning your adventures. And when the time comes, take that leap of faith and embark on the journey. You won’t regret it!.

Is it scary to go on the adventure of a lifetime?

Not at all; it’s quite the opposite – it’s very exciting. You just need to maintain a positive attitude and be flexible if something goes wrong. While it might seem a bit daunting at first, the rewards of stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing the adventure are absolutely worth it.

What was going through your mind?

Since childhood, I’ve always dreamt of seeing the wider world and experiencing culturally diverse things abroad. My mind was buzzing with a mix of excitement, anticipation, and perhaps a hint of nervousness. I was filled with a sense of adventure, eager to explore new places, meet new people, and immerse myself in unfamiliar cultures

Living the way you do, what was the hardest thing in this whole experience?

The hardest aspect of this entire experience is proper planning. When you have to manage your personal life, family, work, and hobbies, it becomes difficult to plan travels and manage time effectively in all areas. While it’s incredibly exciting to constantly encounter new places, people, and experiences, it can also be exhausting to always be on the move, adjusting to new environments, and sometimes feeling a bit disconnected from familiar comforts.

What are the first steps in preparation?

REPD = Research destinations; Evaluate your needs and availability; Plan activities and areas; Decide on an agenda. First things first, figure out where you want to go, like picking your dream destination. Then, sort out your travel documents, such as your passport and visas if you need them. You don’t want to get stuck at the airport without the right papers, right? Next, money matters, as budgeting is key. Figure out how much you will need for your trip – think about flights, accommodation, food, activities, all that jazz. Check the weather at your destination and pack accordingly. Oh, and one more thing – travel insurance. It might seem boring, but trust me, it’s a lifesaver if anything goes wrong – better to be safe than sorry.

What are your next steps? Is there any adventure you are planning?

There are plenty, but the soonest ones are Dubai, Brazil, and the exotic Amazon! South America is uncharted territory for me, and exotic spots like the Amazon add an extra sprinkle of excitement!

You can follow Julija’s adventure on:

Instagram: everywhereist_julija