I was born in the early eighties, under the iron curtain of a Soviet Union, in the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia. There weren’t any prospects of traveling abroad, if not taking in consideration the idea of going to our neighboring Hungary, or the former Yugoslavia.
I was still really young, when the Soviet Union fell apart and suddenly the doors magically popped open for us everywhere. We literally couldn’t comprehend the riches of the world that was all of a sudden available for us to discover. Imagine the joy, just to be able to visit Vienna without any hustle and bustle of filling forms, checking stamps in your ID and passport.
Now, the reality of things was a little different, as not many people could afford to go anywhere other than the good old Hungary, or the former Yugoslavia. But the idea that we could, it was absolutely exhilarating!
When I turned twenty, I had the chance to join a great modeling agency and get the opportunity to travel the world. I personally believe that there is seriously nothing better for a child, than a good education and the experiences that life has to offer. I was lucky enough that my dad put me through a private high school, giving me one of the best possible chances to do something useful with my life. So when I accepted my status as a model, he was mortified.
I reasoned with him that a higher education wouldn’t offer me as much as, let’s say,watching the summer solstice in Stonehenge, walk through the ancient markets of Istanbul, or feed the tiger cubs and play with them at the tiger sanctuary in Thailand. I have done all these things and many more, and none of them is more precious to me than the rest.
Every single one of my memories is stored in my heart and more importantly, on my computer drive. I did actually studies further and graduated from the International hotel management school. I spent one summer in Rome and one in Venice as a tour guide, navigating the crazy Italian streets with about thirty tourist from Slovakia.
I could safely say that without being able to experience life as I did, I wouldn’t be the same person as I am today. The people I got to meet on my travels, the stories I had the privilege to hear, it all makes me appreciate the life and the goodness of most people in this world. It shaped my personality in so many ways, as I got to see the riches, the wonders, but also the poverty and the sadness.
With good memories, there are of course the scary stories. I’ve got lost in Egypt at the city of Alexandria and some guys started to yell at me in their native tongue, while waving their guns, that was quiet frightening. I also got my money stolen on the island of Majorca, while on a trip to see the capital. I was also stuck on a bus with no air-conditioning, in the middle of July for almost twenty four hours, traveling to France through Italy. Call it a dumb luck, the fact that my traveling angel is constantly looking over me, or simply that good people are everywhere in the world, I always got out of every sticky situation fairly unscathed.
Now I live in Hawaii, the city of Honolulu, enjoying the “easy” island life, having a dream of becoming a professional writer. If someone told me as a child, growing up under the iron curtain of a socialism, that I would live such a rich life, full of amazement and travel, I would probably think that the person was mentally unstable, or high on drugs.
And even though I don’t travel as much anymore, as I used to, I will always have the memories, the stories of people that I shared the bus, the plane, the boat or the car with. I will always have the photographs and every time I look at them, my heart skips a beat, remembering the rush, the noise, the smells and the wonders of every single place I was so fortunate to see.
There are still roads less traveled that are calling my name. Cambodia is the biggest dream of mine, together with Japan and Vietnam. It might sound like a cliché, but I hundred percent believe that if you wish and dream of something hard enough, with a little bit of luck and a hard work, your dreams will come true, traveling, or otherwise.
About the Author: My name is Stanislava Dobnak, I am thirty years old, living in the sunny Honolulu. My passion is writing, movies and dark chocolate. Read more about me on my blog, StanislavaDobnak