As I sip my espresso in Zadar, a 3,000 year old town on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, I reflect on the year just passed – 2014. Based in Romania the main focus of the year was learning to balance personal interests and parenting. While my compass always pointed towards my baby daughter, the year came with several exciting opportunities, especially to travel.
On January 2 we moved to Sibiu, one of the most beautiful cities in the very center of Romania. I had visited Sibiu early on my travels after in 2012. It was then I thought that the city would be a great live. Fast forward two years and an unexpected job provided the opportunity to explore the thought. Sibiu is an old medieval town surrounded by Carpathian Mountains. It feels like a place from childhood fairy tales. The people of Transylvania are unlike the reputation shadowed upon them by the story of Dracula. Instead they are warm and welcoming. We left a piece of our heart in Sibiu when we left in September.
Working as a professional in Romania provided a deeper insight in to the country and culture. I feel that this has been a valuable experience in getting to know this part of the world, it’s history and politics a lot better. Working for travel representing a Romanian group in the UK also provided a perspective on how Europeans relate to each other based on their geography. It’s a political and much debated discussion which I will leave out of this post.
My trip to London was work-related, however, it felt like a break to experience life closer to home. The first thing that came to surface was how much I miss communicating with English speakers. I felt that I could let my guard down and just relax. I enjoyed sharing ideas freely without having to explain what just said or two simply my phrases. To add to my joy the weather turned out to be great while I was there. Warm, clear sunny sky – it felt like Spring.
The most moving experience of the year was my trip to Israel and Palestine in May. The primary objective of my trip was to hike the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. It was a two-day walk, which I completed solo. Even the locals thought I was bonkers for walking alone through the country. However, the experience was nothing short of amazing! With the complicated situation in the region it has been difficult to share much about my trip – especially since the unjust war this past summer. Part of my reluctance towards writing about Israel and Palestine is that you can be sure that someone will chastise you for your opinion – positive or negative. I will say, however, that there is something very special about this small strip of land. I hope that a peaceful and fair resolution will allow everyone to live and travel there to experience the special energy this region has.