Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2013 - Off to a Good Start

2012 was a hell of a great year, easily the best year of my life. I can look back and say I did pretty much everything I wanted to. It certainly won't be easy for the coming year to outdo the year that just ended. But I think I've gotten off to a pretty good start so far.

January 1, 2013

This morning, I woke up to a fresh new year in a fresh new situation. I woke up in Sibiu, Romania, in my Couchsurfing host's home. After my friendly hosts had fed me very well throughout my entire stay, they gave me one last wonderful breakfast, consisting of many homemade traditional products. I packed everything, said goodbye, walked outside and, feeling the morning sun on my face, felt that my possibilities were endless today, and nothing I wanted was too far beyond the horizon.

At this point, I would like to introduce you to my Couchsurfing friend, Anna, who I travelled with in Romania. She is a truly inspiring person. She is also quite adventurous. She took me hitchhiking for the first time less than a week ago.

Aside from some small bumps in the road, pardon the pun, hitchhiking was a lot easier than it sounds. And it is generally safe, but only if the proper precautions are taken. Having completed my first hitchhiking trip with Anna to guide me, I was in high spirits and had the momentum on my side. It was also not just a new day, but a new year, and, on top of that, the morning sun shone brightly on my face, and I felt invincible.

I started walking to the edge of Sibiu. With some help from the locals to point me in the right direction, I eventually reached the edge of the city. Then I stuck out my thumb into the road, high and proud, and held up my sign, with "BV" for Brasov written in thick black marker, and stood waiting patiently, with a subtle smile on my face and a feeling of peace deep down inside. Traffic was low and the city was still sleepy from New Year's Eve celebrations, which made me a bit nervous. But about 15 minutes later somebody stopped on the shoulder beside me and let me in. The man drove a nice car and gave me a reassuring smile, signs that I would be safe. He was not so talkative and his English was not great, but it allowed me to enjoy the scenery. Only a few hours later I arrived at my destination. My first time hitchhiking alone, a success... incredible! And a great start to 2013!


I am currently in Brasov, a pretty city nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, and home of the famous Dracula's Castle. But aside from attractions such as Dracula's Castle, Romania has a lot to offer.

My time in this country up until now has been surprising and filled with discovery, a continuing trend in Eastern European countries due to their being relatively outside of North Americans' consciousness. I won't divulge Romania's history to you in detail, like I did in my Ukraine blog, but I will ask you to Wiki the name "Ceaucescu." His dictatorship until 1989 left many scars on the country which still show in the things you see and the people you encounter in the country.

Anna has really helped to answer all of the questions I had upon arriving in Romania and witnessing the bleak atmosphere. I initially connected with her through Couchsurfing and she not only hosted me but took me under her wing as an understudy to learn all about Romania, its people and its culture. Later on we hitchhiked together and stayed at the Sibiu host's place. She has an adventurous spirit and good heart and is on a quest to make the world a better place. Thanks Anna for the deep, humbling conversations, and for sharing in a great time in Sibiu!

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