Why I will probably never couch surf again

Port of Helsinki from the top deck of the cruise ship

I had my first ever CouchSurfing experience in Helsinki, on a couch belonging to two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Whilst staying with them, it felt like I was staying over at a friend’s place, not a complete stranger’s couch (reality). Within the first few hours, I was offered an authentic Finnish breakfast of tea, cucumbers, cheese and rye bread, which was very much appreciated as I was starving from the incredibly long bus ride I took the night before.

IMG_5433
They have the cutest rabbits I’ve ever met.

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Staying inspired

Despite being given the opportunity of a lifetime and being the luckiest girl ever, all the planning and paperwork has been a serious pain in the butt. First came the visa paperwork, then the travel insurance (being a student in the UK, I have no idea if I classify as a UK resident or a Malaysian one, if I’m registered with a GP, what my national insurance number is etc.), then the booking of accommodation (as it turns out, Paris is really expensive, so is Provence and Scandinavia) and finally the packing (What do I bring? Should I get a sleeping bag liner? Should I get a microfibre towel? Two pairs of trousers or one???) I’m not complaining at all, or at least I really shouldn’t be, but it can get really frustrating at times. It makes me want to flip a table,

Let’s take a moment to appreciate this in all its table flipping glory.

throw a tantrum,

Oh Liz, you need to calm down.

and burn everything to the ground.

This is more like it.
I might have some issues.

So after allowing myself a few minutes to appreciate self-destruction, here are (three, no four, oh it became five) FIVE magical things I do to pull myself together.

  1. Read up or just look at beautiful hipster photos taken by hipster globe trotters. Although reality will never look like that because I refuse to pay for additional filters on VSCO cam. I found a couple of really well designed blogs like The Travelling Light (amazing photos), Melting Butter (just for general inspiration because my pocket doesn’t go that deep, sadly), Adventurous Kate (I could become a travel blogger, a girl can dream!) and Fathom (where I found all the other awesome sites).
  2. Watch a documentary or a movie or a YouTube video set in the countries you’ll be visiting. I recently watched a documentary on Vienna by BBC and I am not only super excited to visit such an amazing place, but I’ve also got a few more recommendations for things to do in the city and spots I definitely do not want to miss. I’ve mentioned her before but Sonia’s Travels does some really neat short clips that will perk up the wanderluster in you.
  3. Get plugged into a community of travelling, like minded people. For me, this has been the Couch Surfing community (where I’ve been looking for a host in Scandinavia because it’s REALLY expensive) and just generally following blogs and commenting every now and then. It doesn’t hurt to ask a question or two so why not do it?
  4. Go through old photos from your previous travels. Those moments when you found a beautiful building, or an amazing sunset or some graffiti on a wall that made you chuckle have some serious wonderluster-awakening powers. Blogging has forced me to go through old images and it is seriously therapeutic. I recall the the experiences and the great memories and feel inspired to carry on filling out that form or searching for the best place to stay without breaking the bank.
  5. Lastly, talk to people around you about it. I’ve found that older and/or real adults are way more excited about this opportunity than I have been, and their excitement can be infectious. I’ve not met one person who has told me that travelling solo has been a bad idea (except when I insisted on going to Russia, but I’m stubborn like that).
Eastbourne 2015

Eastbourne 2015

In a nutshell, grow a pair and get back to planning because the world is waiting for you. It’s worth it.

Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/CwAPtUUWp91cc/giphy.gif Source: http://i.imgur.com/2FMK9Oj.gif Source: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llm585TieK1qc42hk.gif