September 17, 2018
La Hulpe, Belgium
I’ve been living in La Hulpe for two months and a half. There’s a process of adjustment going on that I was not expecting. I thought I’d simply move house and country and that’s that. But no. It’s as if I’ve turned on my GPS in a new location and it is now recalculating the route. My route. My life’s route. Totally different environment, people, energy. I still haven’t finished unpacking, but we go on bike trips in Ardennes and it is wonderful. My baby is almost one year old. I still love documenting my journey, though I have less time on my hands. And I find I am more prone to writing in Romanian lately – perhaps because I have a bunch of readers in mind. And travel writing in Romanian is still so feeble and scarce.
July 1, 2016
“What time do we arrive?”
“I have no idea. I’m just happy we’re going.”
This is a dialogue I remember having with a child in my class while on a trip. And this is pretty much the way I’ve always felt about travelling. I remember growing up in my small hometown in the mountains, in southern Transylvania, and going on hikes, camping and exploring the beautiful places surrounding our home. And, when I became a teenager, whether I was looking out the window or moving about the town, I kept trying to see beyond the familiar, beyond the mountains and the trees, the railway cutting along the town, side by side with the main road, the dark river, the hills, the tall mining shafts. And everything seemed to be in parallel lines: a line of mountains, a line of hills, a line of houses, lines of blocks of flats, my street, the main road, the railway, lines of houses again, the river, another line of hills. “I’m suffocating here”, I remember telling my mom once when she caught me crying at the window.
When I leaned forward at my window, I could see the mountains on the left, often covered in snow patches even in the summer. The rest of the view was made up of tall trees with a thick foliage, as if the block of flats was growing in the middle of a forest. Through the branches and the leaves you could guess the presence of other blocks of flats quite close, like tall anthills deep inside a forest. It was (and still is) a beautiful view. And yet I longed for the road.
“When I grow up I’ll leave this place.” I was telling my best friend back then. And I did. I was 18 when I left. I’ve now been living in Bucharest ever since and I leave as often as I can. I am convinced I began leaving before I was even born and I haven’t stopped since. Sometimes I still feel guilty for wanting to go away, as if I were somehow betraying my home each time I get that leaving feeling, but leaving is still one of my greatest wishes. It’s not the arriving, not being someplace else that I long for, but being on the road, going from one place to another, tasting that freedom that only travelling can allow you.
Therefore, I’ve decided to live every day as a traveler and, for exactly one year today, although I’ve worked more than ever before, I’ve been on holiday every single day. Since I travel all the time, not all my journeys can be in faraway places (although some of them actually are), so I also take trips in time or just trips to work, to the market, to the shop, to the park, to the terrace downstairs, to a friend’s house and wherever else each day decides to take me.
And if there’s anything I love as much as travelling, it’s writing. I started blogging in 2005 and in 2013 I closed down my personal blog, Cosas de Nada, because I felt it was no longer about who I was anymore and thought it was too heavy with past experiences. For three years I stopped writing online except for my Facebook account and the occasional posts on my DIY blog in Romanian. I’ve now decided it’s time to write again, so here I am.