Krystianna (KP) from Volumes & Voyages has been one of my favourite travel bloggers I’ve discovered this year. In addition to compiling the most incredibly detailed destination guides and itineraries on her site, she also writes about her love for reading, and often writes engaging book reviews. Here, KP talks about how she inspires others to travel and how she lived out her wildest dreams!
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a huge reader. Books have always played a significant role in my life. Both of my parents are readers, and we have random bookcases and stacks of books all over the house.
As you can imagine, their love for the written word wore off on me.
Around 2012, I decided to start my own blog finally and take the leap. Back then, my blog was called Downright Dystopian. I was a mere 14 yrs. old at the time, and blogs were starting to get popular.
Starting a blog was something I did because I wanted to find other awesome readers who love similar books to me. It was great to feel like I was part of a community.
As the years went on and I got older, I managed to read between 150 and 200 books a year. But… I always felt like something was missing. I felt like there was truly something more out there, and I just hadn’t found that missing piece yet.
I started college in 2016 in Boston, and soon enough decided that I needed to try to study abroad. I figured that maybe that was what was missing. Instead of reading about Harry, Hermione, and Ron, why not go abroad and take a trip to London to live out my own adventure in the very places that I had spent so many years reading about?
So, study abroad, I did. Spring 2019 rolled around, and I set off to a school called University College Dublin in Ireland. I had wanted to study in London, but I figured that Dublin would be a bit more affordable.
Before I knew it, I completely fell in love with the country and all of its lovely inhabitants. I’ve honestly never been to a more beautiful place.
While studying abroad, I took trips to 13 different countries, which, having never left the United States until spring 2019, was incredible. I made it to over 30 cities too, and I did it all with $5000 in my pocket. I slept at Ibis Budget hotels almost everywhere that I went, did all the free things to do in each city, and honestly had the time of my life.
(Plus, I vlogged the whole experience on my brand new Canon EOS M100 if you’re interested in seeing that too! Though I’m a travel blogger, I dream of working as hard on videos as I do on my blog one day.)
At the end of it all, I can genuinely say that chasing my wanderlust led me to happiness and opened up a brand new world for me. Now, especially during these strange times, I spend many of my days growing my travel bucket list, eagerly awaiting until I can explore more of this fantastic world.
So, I’m here to tell you the importance of pursuing adventure and why I can’t recommend it enough.
1. It gets you out of your comfort zone.
One of the best things about going on trips and traveling is that it honestly gets you out of your comfort zone. I did many things while traveling that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do.
For example, I:
- practiced my French in France, even if it wasn’t that great. I had taken French for six years before that and had only ever practiced with other Americans.
- finally learned how to speak up for myself, such as if my hotel room wasn’t up to snuff, etc.
- made new friends, which can be challenging for me because I’m very much an introvert!
I honestly did a lot and I came out of the experience feeling a lot more independent. I now know that I can honestly do anything that I set my mind to. There’s genuinely nothing stopping me! It’s a very empowering feeling.
2. Chasing adventure isn’t as expensive as you think it is.
I always scoffed at people who often traveled because I thought it was incredibly expensive. Little did I know, that’s not the case at all if you plan your trips right.
Sure, my flight out of the United States was a little costly. I think I paid around $750 round trip from Bradley International Airport in Connecticut to Dublin International Airport, but that also included an extra $100 fee to bring two suitcases.
BUT, once I got to Europe, it was very cheap to fly everywhere. I had a $20 round-trip flight to Edinburgh for a week, which was shocking. Though it was on Ryanair, I didn’t mind living out of my backpack for a week if it meant I only had to pay $20 for a flight!
The most expensive flight I had was around $150, and that was from Dublin to Zurich, Switzerland. Still, that’s incredibly cheap compared to flights in the United States.
I’ve taken spring break trips to Florida that cost $500 round trip, and it’s in my own country, a 4-hour plane ride away! It’s crazy how much more affordable travel is once you get out and explore more.
Plus, I thought that I’d have to stay in hostels. That wasn’t the case at all! I found that with my friend that I studied abroad with, we could easily afford to stay at Travelodges and Ibis budget hotels.
These were nice because they were private ensuite rooms that sometimes included free breakfast. I never paid more than $60 total (which was then split between my friend and me) for each place we stayed at.
3. You’ll meet some seriously incredible people.
If you try to get involved while traveling, you’ll meet people that you never would have met. Oftentimes, these friends will stick with you and you’ll find them again in the future while traveling.
I was lucky enough to make a lot of friends at the university I was studying abroad at. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by joining the school’s club lacrosse team and made many friends that way. It truly was a fantastic experience.
4. A lot of the experiences you’ll have are ones that you could genuinely write stories about.
You know those adventure movies where people travel to other countries? Well, you’ll truly feel like you’re living a movie while traveling.
I even wrote my own story about my experience when I came home. I wrote a book for students who wish to study abroad and travel to let them know that it can be more affordable than they think. I titled it Chasing Wanderlust, which I thought was perfect.
Trust me, once you leave the country and start traveling, all you’ll want to do is talk about your amazing adventures in any way possible, whether through writing, videography, photography, etc.
5. It helps put everything in perspective, and you’ll learn so much.
I feel like I was a bit reserved because I never left the country before. Sure, I knew some things about other cultures, but it was all through watching tv and reading. It’s very different to go out and have these experiences first-hand.
Like, I never would’ve known how genuinely kind and helpful the people in Ireland are. I had countless situations when an Irish native would come up and ask me if I needed help.
It showed to me how big the world is, and how much more there is to go out and explore and learn about.
6. The food is incredible.
Okay, I admit, one of the best parts of traveling is the food. I ate so much good food to the point where my mom joked I should start my own travel food show instead.
My favorite food was the amazing dishes in Italy, but that might just be because my family is Italian. The food in Germany was divine too.
I honestly would go back to so many places just because of the food, even if I didn’t enjoy the place that much. For instance, I was excited to visit Brussels but was ultimately let down by my experience.
But… I’d go back just to buy waffles from a food truck again. That’s just how good it was.
7. Planning trips and trying to get everything in a schedule to fit together is like playing Tetris.
My friend and I got in a groove by the end of our trip. We had a sort of mental checklist of things we had to do.
We found that she was great at putting together the flights/transportation. She’d do so much research to get us the best prices. Though this often meant leaving at 4:00 a.m., we didn’t mind, because it meant we’d have the whole next day to travel.
I was best at planning itineraries. I love looking up a city and trying to find all the best things to do there. I like to do a good mix of the must-see touristic spots and hidden gems that aren’t as well-known.
Seeing a bit of both helps me feel like I truly got to experience a city, mostly since I was only in most places for 2 to 4 days.
I hope I inspired you to go out and seek adventures!
I’m here to tell you that you truly won’t regret it. Your life will be changed for the better. I haven’t left the country since coming back in May of 2019, and all I do is think about the day when I’ll be able to get out and explore again.
Take my word for it: chase your wanderlust.
Thanks again to KP for writing this guest post! Follow KP on Volumes & Voyages (her travel and books blog), Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. All images have been provided courtesy of Volumes & Voyages and are property of Krystianna Pietzrak.