Vive la France and the whole world – to all nomadic souls out there!

« Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that. » ~ Bill Shankly

Dear Friends,

Today France became a world champion in Football World Cup. Until recently, I was not into football, but discovered the crazy joyful fun of watching the matches together and teasing my foreign friends during the competition. I like France. It has been my home since September 2007, I studied here, I met great people, fell in love and became independent financially (finally, phew, this was something!). I learned a new craft (totally unexpectedly) and grew up (a little bit). I will never be fully French, neither totally Polish. After living abroad for more than a decade, I apparently speak English with French accent (I am working on it!), still love pierogi and appreciate the naughty French habit of questioning the status quo (ok, let’s be fair – questioning every single thing). I am a bittersweet mix and hopefully took the best from both sides. 😀 I strongly believe that we can be happy, wherever we are. Merci, la France, my adoptive country, for the opportunities you gave me, for offering me the environment where I could learn, have fun and contribute. I would like to see you smiling more often; being a little bit more open to various accents and origins and slightly humbler (this one is nearly impossible, I know!). But hey, lovely Frenchies – today we are champions, let’s show off a little bit and make some noise! 😀 Vive la France and the whole world – we are all nomads and a unique, beautiful and original blend of languages, cultures and experiences!

Love,

Paulina

 

« I had a meal last night. I ordered everything in French, surprised everybody. It was a Chinese restaurant. I said to this Chinese waiter, ‘Look, this chicken I got here is cold.’ He said, ‘It should be, it’s been dead two weeks.’ » ~ Tommy Cooper

 

« We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it. » ~ Marge Simpson

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The poem has nothing to do with the above text, buy hey – who told it should? Enjoy! 😀

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Nothing belongs to me
My home is in the moving
My heart is empty
Hungry for connection like a wild wolf
Woof woof  🙂
And fresh like a forest after a summer storm
At times, it feels heavy under a tone of teardrops
Intense like a big blue ocean not-that-pacific
I resist hard not to dive deep or weep
Then I relax, with a silent yes on my lips
And it all becomes like a warm friendly hug
I breathe in and out
It flows freely
It cleans my clutter
It purifies my spirit
I feel safe, soft and sure
Like a sunny silk sky
There is enough space
To let it all in
The good
The bad
The ugly

***
It comes and goes
I say welcome
Please be my guest
Let’s have a tea
Let’s chat (I’ll try to shut up)
And we’ll simply be together
For a long tender while
Then the wind will come
To take you somewhere else
While I’ll still stand here
Like I am
Purer
Emptier
Richer

***

« I’m an adaptable nomad. I love Paris, I’ve been living in Los Angeles and New York since 1990. I love London, too. My roots are inside of me. » ~ Julie Delpy

 

« A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places. » ~ Isabelle Eberhardt

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London calling {my soul}

« Don’t force anything. Let life be a deep let go. » ~ Eileen Caddy

My beloved London, in 2017 I was lucky enough to live with you for a very brief while. I was both stressed and grateful, while falling asleep and waking up in your classy arms. I would love to learn more of your lingo, walk again through your frenetic streets decorated with colourful breath-taking art pieces. I want to taste more of your take away surprising dishes and explore your clubs, coffee shops and peaceful sacred spots. I would like to dance at your glory, go to your concerts, run through your parks and gracefully squeeze in your crowded tube. {I am a little size – it is ok if it is tight!} Yes, I am afraid; we do not know each other very well. But I simply cannot ignore my drive to explore and connect. I want to meet your people. I want to lose myself in your hectic and noisy melting pot. One way or another, I will be back. Maybe for a couple of days, a few months or even longer, who knows? Hope you don’t mind? 😉 Anyway, thank you so much for having me, really appreciated the whole bitter-sweet  intense and enriching experience!

 

Magnificent piece of street art on Hanbury Street by artist Dale Grimshaw

« The best bribe which London offers today to the imagination, is, that, in such a vast variety of people and conditions, one can believe there is room for persons of romantic character to exist, and that the poet, the mystic, and the hero may hope to confront their counterparts. » ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wrote a (not very) sophisticated poem, voilà!

 

***
London chéri
You are so damn expensive (oh shit!*)
This is how you test someone’s commitment to build a lasting partnership
Many brave hearts play with destiny to get a sense
Of your crazy, intense and colourful spirit
Full of smiley faces and exotic accents
(They all find a common ground after a few drinks)
You are extravagant, sweet, free and fresh
(Also because of the rain, your sky is so capricious and dramatic)
You are hectic, eclectic and business oriented
Yet, you host so many places of worship
Where people pray in countless ways
With same pure, infinite beauty
You taste like a delicious mixture of best dishes from around the globe
I love your vibrant, funky look when you dress to impress on a dance floor
(You never wear tights, I am not sure why)
You politely point out where to look while crossing the street
And how many seconds are left to get to the other side safely
Yet, you make us all feel like non-diagnosed dyslexics
Or headless chickens running against the clock
London – I miss you and your freaky folks
Plus our romantic random lonely walks
Bear with me ~ I’ll be back!
Me enamoré
***

* Nom de Dieu

A few pictures + a few quotes, enjoy!

« It is not what you say that matters. It is what you are and how you live. » ~ Eileen Caddy

“Wild Warrior Women will save the world.” ~ Rune Lazuli

Tower Bridge
The Queen’s Theatre
Camden Town
Camden Town chic
Pure crazy joy at Camden Town (!!)
Brick Lane Market
Near Brick Lane Market
Lucky tube station
Hyde Park, picture by Virginie Petorin: https://www.virginiepetorin.co.uk/

« Let there be more joy and laughter in your living. » ~ Eileen Caddy

Thanks for reading, what about you – any countries, cities or places that you want to explore? I wish you enjoy yourself and feel home (free + safe + Wi-Fi), wherever you are. 😉

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Where I come from (!!)

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

My home city – Warsaw. Poland.
To everyone who has ever left something dear to their heart

I welcomed your first scream
First breath
First look into your parents’ eyes
Filled with joy and wonder
I taught you how to write, read and count (on yourself)
I nourished you and sang you sweet lullabies
So that you could enter the kingdom of colourful soft dreams
You grew beautifully under my wings
You fell in love for the first time
You suffered and became stronger
You discovered deep blue sea and enjoyed its powerful fresh waves
You looked in awe at the most magnificent
Mountains covered with vibrant autumn leaves
I offered you your first job opportunity
And put excellent teachers on your path
Who ignited passion for foreign lands and languages

***
And then you abandoned us
To pursue joy abroad
You betrayed both your ancestors and I
You left your parents’ comfortable home
And were gone, once and for all
Into the wild and gorgeous (oh là là) land
“I am sorry” – you say somewhat sad
Even though you owe me every-single-thing
And will never repay your debts
My little sweetheart
As long as there is spark in your eyes
And fire in your belly
As long as you love intensely
And carry me in your heart
With humble gratitude
You have my blessings
I gave you roots and wings
So please use both wisely
And travel foolishly if this is your soul’s calling
Remember to call your parents
Not only when you are lost or sad
You naughty nomadic curious spirit

***
I will always be there for you
Like an old beautiful peaceful tree
You are welcome any time
To rest in my arms and whisper your stories
With your funny foreign accent and weird wording

Love,
Pau-land

****

“Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness.” ~ Vernon Baker

View from my parents’ house. Warsaw.

“In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Countryside near my grandparents’ house.

“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.” ~ Santosh Kalwar

tree of life
Tree of life.

Nice Polish song – old but gold! 😀

Another Polish song – a little more nostalgic – I love it, hope you will enjoy. 😀

If you are unsure, whether to visit Poland, watch the below short video! 😀

More on my home country, please visit and check it on your own!
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The trip – from Vilnius to Istanbul!

Paris -> Vilnius ->Eišiškės ->Trakai -> Kapadokya ->Istanbul -> Paris

« Before you cross the street take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. » ~ John Lennon – Beautiful Boy

Happy mailbox in Vilnius, Užupis.

This was THE trip: 11 days, 5+ cities, 5 flights, 8 kg of luggage, a small cabin backpack and nearly the same outfit during the whole trip (too chilly to dress like a queen haha). For me, it was one BIG adventure. 😀 I was scared to death before leaving my cosy Parisian apartment as I have never travelled alone for more than a few days and without a full plan. I still cannot believe that I did it! What happened was magic and it was the best present I could have hoped for. I feel lucky and grateful.

Lithuania – back to the source.

« Life is more beautiful than prudence » ~ Abbé Pierre

Lithuania, Eišiškės – so green and peaceful.

My journey started in charming and green Vilnius – city of angels who fly at low altitude and (of course!) high speed. My goal was to learn more about my roots.

I rented a car and travelled to the city where my dad was born – Eišiškės. I made a tour of the village, asking questions, meeting locals and searching for a distant cousin or at least some more information on my dad’s childhood. One encounter leading to another, I finally end up in a small house, sitting on a couch with a lovely old couple. The lady’s mom’s maiden name was the same as my dad’s surname. I was a total stranger to them, coming out of the blue, but they treated me like their own daughter, gave me a big-long-warm hug and a kiss. They patiently answered all my questions, showed me a few family pictures and wished me the best of luck for the rest of my trip. I felt honoured and welcome.

I also (finally) understood the meaning of my surname. Indeed, in Poland, where I was born it sounds awkward. In Lithuania, however, it carries a sense. A deep one, haha. “Be dugno” means “without bottom” and “bedugnė” translates into “an abyss”. Hmm, let’s jump in, shall we?! 😀

I even learned (totally by accident!) that there was a village called “Bedugnė”, 60 km from Eišiškės. I did not go there, next time! Who knows, maybe my father’s family comes from there?

I also travelled to Trakai, a pleasant town near Vilnius, famous for its beautiful lakes and a castle. Is also known for the Karaims – people speaking the Turkic language, who have lived there since the 14th century and have preserved their traditions, including food. The most popular dish is kibinai – a small pasty stuffed with minced meat or vegetables. I tried it, of course! It offered me a perfect foretaste of my imminent trip to Turkey.

My stay in « the Jerusalem of the North » was a real treat! I tasted 3 totally different beetroot soups in 2 days, ate the best pancakes ever, drank delicious local beer, discussed about life, sang polish folkloric songs and was touched to tears by a beautiful poem of a lovely Ukrainian artist and graphic designer, who was in love with Vilnius and kind enough to be my companion and private paparazzi during my trip to Eišiškės. Arita, you rock!

Lithuania smelled, tasted and felt home, ačiū and hope to be back soon!

Turkey – from Kapadokya to Istanbul.

“And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” ~ Erica Jong

Somewhere above Turkey.

Turkey was a totally different story. I started my trip by booking a domestic flight to Kapadokya, a historical region in Central Anatolia known for its unique rock-cut temples, houses, beautiful valleys and underground cities. I stayed in a pleasant hotel near Göreme, recommended by Moroccan Nomad – very good travel website in French.

My dream was to participate in a hot-air balloon flight. I did it! At first, it was scary. Indeed, the balloon itself is HUGE, the basket, on the other hand, is pretty small and you fly high! Hopefully I was not totally conscious of the danger as they woke me up at 4 am. However, I fully trusted the pilot as I had a competent local guide who recommended a good company and offered a very competitive price. Teşekkür, Umut, yourself and your wife made my stay in Kapadokya relaxing and enjoyable, not to mention the delicious food!

I visited a few valleys and the Derinkuyu underground city. It felt so peaceful and liberating to see real open landscapes, instead of a casual open space in my office, regardless of how high tech and well-designed it is. Eating a breakfast on a sunny terrace with a view was priceless!

The next and final stop was Istanbul. I visited Hagia Sophia (under reconstruction, yet still impressive!), the Blue Mosque and the Galata Mawlavi House Museum. This is the oldest Mawlavi house in Istanbul or a temple for Islamic Sufi believers, also known as tall hatted Whirling Dervishes. Sadly, I did not see an authentic Whirling Dervish dance performance. Next time in Turkey I will make sure to come to Konya to check it out! I so much enjoy visiting sacred places, in both Vilnius and Istanbul there were plenty of them.

That being said, while in Istanbul, I also went to the business district, where I had a lunch with my colleagues. Video conferences are good, but face to face meetings are better! I proudly used my access card to enter the local office. I also grabbed a snack from the pantry. 😀

During the whole travel, I came across many great free spirits from all walks of life. The people I met and the time spent together made this trip truly memorable. I learned so much. It opened my eyes and gave me a fresh and totally new outlook on my current situation (which is pretty good, thanks, God!).

I took every possible mean of transportation (ships rock!). I walked like crazy, climbed every hill and entered every cave I could (the more difficult it was the better!). I enjoyed delicious food and drinks in charming company. I went to Turkish baths (unique experience, especially the bubble wash!). I laughed so much, I felt like a joyful, adventurous child discovering the world for the very first time.

Parisian jungle – going back home.

« The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. » ~ Marcel Proust

Parisian street art.

Coming back to work was not that bad. My Italian boss knows how to talk to me: “you were missed”. Oh, merci! I am very grateful to have a decent and interesting job so that I can spoil myself with such magic moments. Actually, I will need to check, but it did not cost that much. I mainly stayed in youth hostels (Downtown Forest & Orient) and had very good prices, especially in Turkey where people currently travel much less due to political reasons. 🙁 I can only say that I felt safe and had no issues at all, except being invited to every single restaurant I was passing near to, as, of course; it was absolutely the best in town and I could expect a special personal discount! 🙂

Words cannot express the joy, freedom and peace I felt during this trip. I was touched many times by the beauty of nature, architecture and people’s stories. I connected to the wild, adventurous and brave part of myself. I am a nomad. We all are. We are not meant to stay in front of the same screen, regardless of how high-tech and big it is, for 10+ years, checking e-mails and resolving tickets (those who work in big companies will understand!). Again, I am very grateful to be a part of an international team in a solid firm that offers great opportunities. Yet, my soul yearns for fresh air, new experiences, adventures and surprises. While looking back at this short and intense trip, I would not change a thing; maybe, I could only be a bit braver, crazier and trusted life and people even more? I consider myself curious and sociable; however, I am still learning to have both my heart and mind open to different people, ideas and experiences.

If you hesitate and are afraid of going somewhere new, then it may be the very exact thing you should do. Be alert. Act prudently, especially that sadly terrorist attacks become common in various destinations globally. Gather all the pieces of information you need ahead of time and then simply trust that everything will go right or even better. As it will!

Love,

Pau

***

Please find below more pictures from my trip. Enjoy, thanks for reading, sharing and your precious feedback!

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Vilnius – city of angels who fly at low altitude and the lovely car that we rented.

 

Vilnius, shop window – self-portrait. 😀

 

Eišiškės – my happy face, while waiting for some guidance to find my distant cousins! Credit goes to Arita Golub.

 

Eišiškės – the house where I found my distant cousins, it felt incredible.

 

Vilnius – beetroot soup – delicious and fresh!!

 

Trakai – its beautiful lake and castle.

 

Kapadokya – jumping for joy! Credit goes to Talieh Zarab Zadeh, merci, chérie!

 

Kapadokya, Göreme – food & drinks! Guys – it was great to have you around. 🙂 Credit goes to Talieh Zarab Zadeh.

 

Kapadokya – hot-air balloon flight, breathing in the space!

 

Kapadokya – wandering around.

 

Kapadokya – babouchkas! 😀

 

Kapadokya – rock-cut temple, one of many.

 

Istanbul, Orient hostel – view from the rooftop café, ah!

 

Istanbul at sunset.

 

Buttes Chaumont, my favourite park in Paris.

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Thank you, wishing you safe and magic travels! 😀

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