Moroccan dream. Atlas mountains on low budget.

It was my first time outside of Eurasia. I had no extra money for traveling and no available vacation days. But what I did have, was a colleague planning a trip to Morocco. The goal was to go to Atlas Mountains and climb its’ highest peak – Toubkal (by the way, it is the highest peak of Northern Africa as well). I watched him planing the trip, buying the tickets and looking for someone who would like to accompany him. I told him that it looks awesome and I would really wanna come, but it probably is too expensive for me to join in. What happened next was a start for my love for warm countries.

The tickets were not expensive. Since it was December, it was not a tourist season, but who cares about winter if it means minimum +25 Celsius. I paid around 80 euros for a return ticket and voilà! Morocco, here I come!

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Here are the things I had to overcome:

  • Since I did not have money to spend on food, I borrowed some from my friend and gave it back after 2 days of work. (Food is really cheap there)
  • Since I did not have day offs from work, I had to call my manager and ask if it is okay if I don’t show up for work for 11 days.
  • Since I did not have hiking boots, I had to buy some. (Just a useful tip for you: You can buy hiking boots cheeper in kids section. And, yes, they do have grown up shoe sizes )
  • Since I did not have any hiking clothes, I had to improvise. I wore my winter leggings, Christmas reindeer sweater and borrowed a bag from a friend.

But what I gained from this experience was:

  • First time experience in another continent.
  • Very warm weather while it was freezing cold in my own country.
  • Chance to meet new and amazing people (and then spend 10 days with them)
  • Culture shock when entering city full of people who want to sell you everything you can imagine. ( If you have spent all your money – no worries – you can still trade stuff you have for what they offer. )
  • Contrast between crowded city life and peacful mountain life.
  • Incredible beauty of Atlas Mountains.
  • The longest walk in my life.
  • Understanding that you can visit another continent even if your budget is very tight.

What is my point here? You do not need a lot of money to experience the best vacation in your life. Just. Go. For. It. 

Cheers!

P.S. Pictures were taken by amazing Mareks Steins who was capturing our best moments.

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5 things you should not do when visiting mountains. (learned this the hard way)

During my years of some occasional traveling I learned a thing or two about what you should not do while in mountains. Yes, you get some stories to tell, but, no, it is not always worth it. My life always takes me to cold places for some reason. This one goes for those who enjoy the North of our planet.

  1. Do not forget your gloves.
    Even though it seems like it is warm outside and you don’t see a reason for bringing gloves- take them with you. Really. Weather conditions in mountains can be surprising and change rapidly. It may be very sunny when you start your hike, but soon get very chilly when you are getting closer to the top. In the moment when you have made a snowman out of yourself, you will remember my words. Especially when you are going on a long hike and it might be even snowing on the top of the mountain. Don’t let the cold ruin the view you are about to experience.
  2. Do not forget to wear a t-shirt under your sweater. 
    As I said, it may be snowing on the top of the mountain, but- surprise, surprise- it could also be very sunny. So do not make a mistake by wearing only warm clothes. Remember to put on your t-shirt as well. It might be very helpful and you would be very thankful to yourself in case it is a hot day up there. Just like the cold could distract you from enjoying the beauty, also being hot could. This is in case you are not ready to get naked.

    Estonia. Madara Parma Photography.
    Estonia.
  3. Do not take a shortcut. 
    Yes. Do not. Just don’t. Even if it seems like the shortcut is going to take you to the place you are headed towards, it could also make you get lost. Some of the roads end in many crossroads and some of them even end in the middle of nowhere. Trust me, I learned it the hard way. If you are alone and don’t know the place- just keep on the main track! Otherwise you are gonna have to wander around for hours trying to find the way back. Walking from one mountain top to another and not finding the right path.
  4. Do not forget your phone. 
    A phone is an essential item these days, but sometimes we just want to forget it in our car, because we have come to enjoy the nature, not the technologies we use every day. But still, I must say it again, if you do not now the place, there is a possibility to get lost. A phone can save you from wandering in the mountains for 3 hours in the dawn. It can be a phone call or even offline maps, but if you do get lost in the mountains, you really wish that you had this little device with you. If your travel with someone, they will thank you too.
  5. Do not settle for enjoying the view from your car. 
    Remember that this world is not that small. When you are traveling, you don’t know if you will ever return to the exact same place again. So better enjoy it at its’ best. Don’t just sit in the car. Get out of the car, walk around, enjoy the hike and take loads of pictures, even if you only capture them with your mind. Make every second count. You can enjoy sitting in your car in your home city.

    ROADTRIP-60
    Slovakian mountains. 

     
    Cheers to all amateur mountain hikers! 

Movies That Will Make You Get Up Your Coach and Travel! (My Favourite Travel Movie List).

Dear reader, I would like to present to you some of the movies which have inspired me to get on moving on this life and explore the world.

The Way.

I feel like I should write about this movie first, because it is quite important at this point in my life, as I am planning to walk The Road . Not necessary El Camino, but some trail that would help me to connect with my inner self. As you may have understood by now, this movie tells about one mans journey trough El Camino de Santiago.
What is specific about this movie is that the man did not walk it because of religious reasons as it may seem. He had his own idea about why he should walk it and he was not willing to share it openly with others he met on the road.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This movie represents a very special journey experienced by a very special boy. It is not only a travel movie. It is about life, about love, about family, about all the values which you could ever have in your life.

Into the Wild.

I believe that there could not exist a travel movie list without this one. It is a true story that has changed and inspired lives of many. It is about a men who called himself Alexander Supertramp and he was searching for himself. It is about a man who just wanted to live, to travel and to just be. He was tired of the everyday life and decided to fulfil his dream. I guess there is a little Alexander Supertramp hiding inside all of us.

 The Night on Earth.

This one is for sure nor a typical, nor commercial travel movie. It is directed by Jim Jarmusch who is kind of a fan of irritating the spectators. This movie takes us to 5 different countries and tells us the story of some cab drivers and passengers of 5 different countries. Jarmusch has very unusual sense of humour. If you do too, you should watch this piece of art. I suggest you to watch it with subtitles if you are not a polyglot.

All the Invisible Children

Also for this movie I suggest you to use subtitles. The movie is cinematically rich and simply beautiful at the same time. It tells the story about different children of our planet, about life, about the rich and the poor. Quite frankly, it shows the reality of our world. Powerful.

The Art of Travel.

I feel like the title of the movie fully represents it. It really is about the art of travel. It tells the story about a man who just decided to leave behind everything he had and to do something for himself. Many countries, different cultures and people from all over the world. Sweet.

Blood Diamond

A different perspective about traveling. Blood diamond is a movie about nature of people. Where are we ready to travel for money? How far are we willing to go just to get those paper pieces called money? Did I say that DiCaprio is in it?

 

Enjoy!

 

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If You Don’t Like it- Change it! (Iceland Experience.)

Since Facebook and Instagram lately has turned into a big platform of advertisement with some “funny cat videos” (which are not even funny) in the middle of it, I have desperately been searching for a new way of expressing my 21st century self. In the result this page was made.

As I have considered starting a blog as well, why not to combine it all in one? So here you go, dear readers. My first blog post which I would like to call “If you don’t like it- change it”! This one goes for everything- starting from your newsfeed and finishing with your everyday actions. If I always wanted to write a blog and never really did, I should not wait some magical inspiration to start it. I just need to start now. Today.

The picture which you can see below is a reminder that it is never too late to take your life in your own hands.

Holding volcano.
Holding volcano.

I am a big fan of cheap flights and couchsurfing experiences. So for my first blog entry I wanna share with you my opinion on why it is great to travel to Iceland in the wintertime.

1. Cheep tickets. Iceland, no doubt, is a famous destination for tourists, but the good news are that tourists expect almost guaranteed good weather with all other luxuries. Wintertime can be freezing cold, windy and snowy in Iceland, but surprise, surprise- so can be the summer time. So why not to take the chance to buy some cheap tickets and fly there in October, November or December? I went there in October and believe me or not, I experiences sunny weather 70 % of my time there. And I paid at least 3 times less for the flight tickets as I would have in the summertime. And I must add that hotel and car rent prices drops during this period as well. And after all, you don’t even have to enter National parks and tourist attractions with an entree fee. You can just drive around and enjoy it as it is. Newsflash! Nature is for free.

Mountain mist.
Mountain mist.

2. Amazing waves. As it is slightly windy during Autumn and Winter in Iceland, waves can get magnificently big at times. I managed to experience some waves that could be a dream come true for every surfing enthusiast. You just stand there – just a tiny organism – and waves come crushing down and disappear in the black sand coast of Iceland. Unforgettable moments. And still – for free.

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The Ocean and its’ cliffs.

3. Snowy mountains and glaciers that has not melted. Yes, snow is cold and glaciers are slippery, but the beauty it’s … indescribable. You can repeatedly hear that glaciers are melting and they may not be there in a few years. Yes, at the moment they are there even in the summertime, but all the tourists are there as well. Wouldn’t you regret not seeing them if tomorrow they would announce in news that all the glaciers have melted?

Reflection game.
Reflection game.

4. Less tourists. Iceland with its’ 332,529 inhabitants is not the most crowded place on the planet, but it can still get a bit crowded when it is travel season. If you are not a fan of crowded places, Godafoss waterfall would be like changing metro lines in London on Monday morning. In the wintertime, there are still some slightly crowded places, but people mostly get lost in the first few seconds of a wind breeze. And in those areas which are not marked in maps as a tourist attraction points, it is just a wasteland. Not a soul in there. Not a selfie there. Not a single drone is there.

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Black sand. Iceland.

In any case, I just wanted to remind myself and to you that it is not too late to change the things you are not happy about. Not even today. There is always a time for change. So if you wanna start a blog, save up for a car, buy a bitcoin or patch things up with somebody, as Shia LaBeouf said 2 years ago already: “Just do it!”

Cheers!