Why I’m spending winter in Slovakia?
Let me start off with these things so you understand the point of this blog post:
1. Slovakia is my home country.
2. Thinking of the past, this winter from December 2018 to March 2019 has been the first winter that I’ve spent most of it in Slovakia since 2003. Yes in the past 15 years I was or in Czech republic studying at the University, or then working abroad as a flight attendant until 2011, or since 2011 spending cold Slovak winter in rather warm exotic destinations thanks to my travel blog (the one you are reading right now). I would usually go home to Slovakia to spend Christmas with family, sometimes NYE, too, and then run as far as I could. Preferably somewhere with over 30 Celsius degrees.
3. I do not do any winter sports. I tried to learn how to ski when I was a teenager and the first day I stood on a pair of skis was the day I also crashed into a schoolmate so badly that I’ve had a torn meniscus in my right knee ever since.
4. Those of you following me for quite some time might know that I am not a fan of winter. It’s just enough to go to my instagram and you will see 99% of my photos in warm destinations. Well, that says it all, doesn’t it? When I was a kid, I was even diagnosed with allergy to the cold. Not kidding. I would get red skin rash after spending a few hours in cold weather. It was itchy and not pleasant at all.
Thankfully my cold allergy (called cold urticaria) disappeared completely since I turned vegan in 2013. Although I do not get reddish itchy skin in freezing weather any more, winter is still not my favorite season. I do love snow, don’t get me wrong, but having to wear 10 layers of clothes in order not to freeze is not fun. And it does not look that cool on photos either, right? Wearing bikini only is way better than feeling like a snowman or onion. You agree? Now, knowing all of the above, you might ask… so why I’m spending winter in Slovakia?
There’s not just 1 reason only, but a handful of reasons…
And NO, I am NOT pregnant like some of you asked me online.
Why I’m spending winter in Slovakia?
1. Family issues
When talking of my family, there’s a few different things I need to mention in this article. Family has been 1 of my main 2 reasons to spend winter in Slovakia. My grandpa was sick for a few weeks and he was in hospital, so I would not feel ok leaving my home town when he was not fine. Four of my close family members already died when I was abroad (brother, uncle, other grandpa and grandma) and trust me, it’s not a good feeling at all not to be able to say the last goodbye to them. I did not want to feel guilty and selfish leaving on yet another trip. *Update, I did a right thing staying at home for a few months as my grandpa unfortunately passed away in the end of July so I was glad I spent some time with him until then.
Another family thing… My dad wanted to travel around Asia for 2 months to escape winter. Initially, I was planning on going with him (remember our trips together in India, Thailand and Malaysia?). But then I’d be too stressed (read below my point number 2) so in the end I decided not to go and stay in my home town Snina. That way I could take care of dad’s house and his pets together with my mum. Athough my parents are divorced, they have a normal friendly relationship now but I still did not want my mum to spend so much time taking care of dad’s things and wanted to help her. Today my dad has just got back from his 2-month solo Asian trip so now I can make it public. Until now it was better not to talk about it to keep dad’s house safe.
2. To finish online work
After a month traveling around Sri Lanka with limited both wifi and time for online work, I got back home for Christmas and NYE. First, I needed to relax a little bit and then I had to catch up on online work and writing. Imagine not really working for a month and a half, or even 2 months (talking of my blog, not other online things like social media channels), and then having to do it all asap. It was so stressful and honestly, I was freaking out that I lost loads of readers in the meantime. You know, online world also has some rules, unfortunately.
Leaving on yet another trip at that time, knowing I might not have fast wifi nor time for my blog, was not an option. I mean all the previous 7 years of blogging it was exactly what I did. Always in the mid or maximum end of January I would leave somewhere exotic and thus letting online work to pile up. It’s easy to do so when I am my own boss. However, this year I did not want to do the same.
And there’s always things to improve when it comes to a blog. It’s a never-ending process so I am using my home time and less traveling to work on my blog and change some things that a normal reader might not even notice, but they make my blog to work better and faster.
TIP 1: Visiting Sri Lanka? Here’s important things you need to know about Southern Sri Lanka.
TIP 2: Are you a beach bum like me? If so, then you should visit top 10 beaches in Southern Sri Lanka. Check out my pros and cons of each beach, and a lot of photos 😉
3. To get myself together
Traveling has always been a cure for my mental hygiene… but you know, I cannot do it all the time.
It is said that everything changes every 7 years, right? I guess you’ve heard of it already. All the relationships get weird every 7 years, and your energy, body and mind change every 7 years etc. And even though I would not like to believe it, it is true when it comes to my online work and my inner self.
In March 2018 it was exactly 7 years since I started travel blogging professionally, and ever since many things have changed now during my 8th year.
It’s been a year when I kind of felt stuck, both personally and professionally.
There were days when I wanted to quit blogging, wanted to disappear from online world where unknown people think they know you better than yourself and they criticize you for all the possible things, even when they do not have a clue. Especially here in Slovakia, which is known for its negativity, it can be a nightmare not to let all the negativity get to you.
Honestly, now having more time to notice, I’ve realized how many other bloggers and ”influencers” behave in (in my opinion) an unhuman and unprofessional way and thus put all of us, other bloggers, in the same basket. They ask for too much money for nothing and work with companies without having similar audiences and without being a good fit for them. I’ve been in touch with a few companies and hotels that do not want to work with influencers any more after one or a couple of negative experiences with some influencers. But the problem can be also that the companies do not do a proper research and then just work with anyone, based on numbers, and not similar audience. I will not lie… the whole situation left me upset.
Anyway, spending winter at home gave me time to work on some things to get myself together.
- I am doing more yoga and meditation, eat healthier, listen to audio books and webinars, read more, work on my inner peace.
- I also spend time offline without phone and laptop.
- I am trying to work on forgiving myself and others.
- I am in the process of getting rid of people, material things and situations that do not serve me any more.
- I am selling and giving away things I do not need any more.
- I am setting up boundaries when it comes to relationships (family, friends, business, my yoga students).
It’s been hell of a ride and it’s just the beginning…
4. No more running away from problems
There’s alwyas some problems at home that I’ve been trying to avoid as much as I can. Be it problems with family and friends, or things I need to forgive, or finally accept to be happier. As I’ve mentioned above in point 3, some are even my own issues I need to work on to move forward.
When I am at home living in a sort of stereotype when sometimes even 5 days a week seem the same, I usually think of all those obstacles a lot more because they are right there in front of my eyes. Altough I’ve been doing my best in overcoming most of them in the past years, some are still there and they hurt me more when at home. Unlikely, when I am on the road, I don’t think of the issues very often as I am busy enjoying new experiences in the present moment.
I finally realized that running away from home and going on yet another trip will not solve those issues. Going back home afterwards, I would see that the issues have been still there. That’s exactly how it’s been for many years until now. The things at home don’t really change; vs. I do change on the road. If I don’t want to go crazy at home, I need to accept what’s there and what cannot be changed; or try to change my point of view; or try to improve the things until I am happy with them. Other people will not change just because I think it would be for their best.
As you can see, this point goes hand in hand with point number 3 but here I’m talking more about others than myself.
And if on my Instagram or Facebook you’ve noticed I’ve been more negative than I usually am, this is the reason. I am working on becoming a better person and here in Slovakia, full of negative people, is not an easy task to do.
5. Save money
After my 2018 calculations in December 2018 I realized I have not saved as much as I’d like to. 2018 has been a lot more difficult than all the previous 7 years of travel blogging so I ended up not very happy about it. While I am at home I always manage to save more than when traveling, but to be honest, I could still save even more than that. But I like challenges 😀
TIP 3: Although I’ve been spending most of my time outside of my home country Slovakia since 2003, there’s always 7 things I miss a lot when I am abroad.
Follow me on Instagram to see more photos like the one below, but not only photos from winter 😉
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