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Feb 10 2015

Expat Life: Four Months In

I had no idea what to post for today.  There was no need to fret, though, because my subconscious mind was on it without me knowing.  I found that out when I bedded down for the night.  I was all comfy and warm, tucked up in bed, when the idea came to me about updating you on expat life.  Well, it has been four months.  So, what’s been happening?

To be honest, not a huge amount because I’ve been working.  I think that, coupled with tiredness, and a head cold, I haven’t had a lot of inspiration to write a post about travel.  I could have written a post about romantic destinations in Europe.  I’ve done one before around this time of year, and that was what I was planning to do, but I’m single and it seems a bit weird writing a post about that in the circumstances.  I know it probably doesn’t matter, but I decided against it.  I could have written a list post, like the 10 best places in Europe to blah, blah.  Maybe I’ll write one of those another day when I know what blah, blah is.  It’s that bad.  It’s definitely time to dust off my backpack and do a bit of travelling!


One promise I made to myself at the end of 2014 was to get the balance right in my life, and somehow travel more even with working six days a week.  A couple of weeks ago, that was made easier by the fact that I no longer have to begin my working week on Monday mornings at 7am – woo hoo!  I will need to be organised, but it means I can leave late Saturday afternoon, once I’ve finished work, and I don’t have to return until Monday morning.  That gives me a bit more time to travel to places up to 3 hours away, which is fantastic.  Maybe I will be able to restore the balance in my life after all, as I promised myself.


Talking about travelling, I have a two-week holiday coming up this weekend, so I’m raring to go.  Initially, I was thinking of going to see the Northern Lights.  You know what it’s like.  You see all those incredible pictures, and then yearn to see it in person.  However, the reality of the cost hit home, and I needed to book everything ahead of time because my holiday coincides with the high season.  My Polish wage wouldn’t go very far in Sweden, Norway, or Finland, and there are no guarantees that I would see anything.  I thought about jetting off somewhere warm, but there are no direct flights from my nearest airport to anywhere hot, and the flights seemed really pricey.  By pricey, I mean almost a month’s salary.  In the end, I decided to do what I had planned to do before moving here, and that is to explore the country.  I haven’t been anywhere or seen much, apart from Krakow, since I arrived four months ago.  It’s high time I did, so that’s what I am going to do.

My initial plan was to see as much of Poland as I could in the time I had, but I’m not sure that’s realistic now because of the weather.  There’s a lot of snow on the ground, and it’s still snowing.

Snowball fight, anyone?

A photo posted by Teresa Keane Blogger I (@indtravhelp) on

It doesn’t look set to stop anytime soon either.  While it looks pretty as a picture, with everything white outside, it isn’t going to be the easiest backpacking experience I’ve ever had.  This certainly won’t be a holiday of me racing around here, there, and everywhere.  Instead, it’s going to more mellow.  I will see what I can, chill out, treat myself a bit, and enjoy the time off.  Backpacking in the snow will be… interesting, and a whole new experience for me.

I don’t have a set plan, so I’ll play it by ear.  That isn’t unusual for me because it’s how I generally like to travel.  I’ll suss it out as I go.  All I know for sure is that I am heading for Gdansk.  I’m living in the south of Poland, so I thought it’d be sensible to go as far north as I can, explore that area, and slowly make my way back down south.

Travelling around Poland, or as much of it as I can, makes so much sense.  I’ve been learning Polish, so this will give me the chance to actually put the little I know into practice.  It means I will be able to stay within my budget even with indulging a bit.  I do like my occasional luxury treats and spa visits.  Oh, a spa day or a couple of days at a spa sounds… perfect!


This is my chance to learn more about Poland, so I feel really excited, apart from backpacking in the snow.  I’m not looking forward to that, if I’m honest.

All I need to do now is book my train journey online.  Apparently, there’s a fast train which takes five and a half hours, so I’ll probably go for that one.  I have sorted out my accommodation already for the first couple of nights.  I’m staying with a female couchsurfer.  She sounds lovely, so I’m looking forward to meeting her and discovering what her city and the surrounding area has to offer before continuing my travels.

So, come Sunday (that’s only a few days away), I’ll be off.  Roll on Sunday!  Providing my technology behaves itself (it’s been playing up recently), you will be able to keep track of my travels around Poland on Independent Travel Help’s Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.  I intend to update them as often as I can.  Please get in touch on any of these channels if you have any suggestions on where I should go.


This is the start of my Polish adventure.

Center map
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Have your say

As I said above, if you have any suggestions on places to visit, please get in touch.  You can leave a comment below or on any of my social media channels.


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  1. hello

    • Freya on 13/02/2015 at 11:03

    I hear you Teresa, I had kind of the same issue. I just did not feel like writing nor did I have any inspiration although I did quite some trips. Maybe I just got hit by the winter blues after returning from New Zealand. I agree sometimes it is just nice to take it slow, chill and of course a spa visit doesn’t sound bad at all either 🙂 Looking forward to read about your trip.

  2. Ah, yes, the winter blues, Freya!

    For me, making the time to travel is really important. I know that now, so I need to prioritise it. That’s important – taking the time to do the things that are important to you. I will be taking it slow on this trip, though, because I need to relax.

    Thanks for taking the time to get in touch,


    • Molly on 13/02/2015 at 16:10

    Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all.
    Inspiration seems to appear again when we don´t expect it.
    Last Summer I had Budget to be able to travel and also time off. However I had no inspiration or ideas of where to go.
    I decided not to do anything and all of a sudden clearing those weeks a few offers popped up out of nowhere

    I ended up on a Desert route 4×4 and camels in Morocco and had a great time
    2015 has only just begun we have a whole year of travel and adventures ahead of us.
    So far I haven´t planned a single one yet.

  3. When Ricky Gervais told his Mum that he was off to spend some time in France, she replied, “But there are parts of Reading you haven’t seen yet.” Since moving to the Canary Islands, I travel less than I did in London. But there are 80+ plus beaches to explore on Gran Canaria, for example. And currrently I’ve been to 50. So, that’s one travel goal close to home.

  4. Absolutely! Too many people don’t realize that making the most of your immediate surroundings counts as travel too! And weekend trips are generally the most fun. People travel from all over the world to visit our hometowns or places of residence, so why shouldn’t we spend time exploring our surrounds before jetting off to somewhere further away.

    Though admittedly the Northern Lights would have been cool 😀 Definitely not guaranteed to see them though – I flew to Finland one February from England just to see them and hit the 5% of the winter when they don’t show. Gutted!

  5. Hi Molly!

    That’s so true. Sometimes, the best thing to do is… nothing. I’m actually looking forward to just going and seeing what happens. I love that because it’s more of an adventure. I’m really looking forward to a much-needed break and it’s only 2 days away! 🙂

    Good luck with whatever pans out for you in 2015!


  6. That sounds like a great goal, Matthew. I’m doing the same – travelling around the country I’m in rather than going abroad.

    Good luck with your goal!


  7. Yes, you’re right, Meg. It’s important to make the most of where you are. Poland is a beautiful country. There is a lot to see, and so many stories to tell. I was just being wooed by the Northern Lights. You know, all those gorgeous photos floating around at the moment of the sky at night… I would have been gutted to if I had got there and didn’t see them. I’ve definitely made the best decision to travel around Poland.


    • noel on 14/02/2015 at 00:10

    I’m dying to go to Poland so I’m looking forward to getting your updates on your travels there. I wish I was based in Europe so many wonderful choices you can always be making for short trips around the region

  8. Hi Noel.

    I’m really looking forward to exploring more of the country, and the adventure begins tomorrow -yay!

    Yes, being in Europe certainly has its advantages because there are so many countries to explore.


    • Leigh on 20/02/2015 at 17:36

    Actually exploring Poland seems like an incredible way to spend a few weeks – even in the depths of winter – to me. Hope it ends up exceeding your expectations.

  9. It is a great way to spend a few weeks. I’m up by the Baltic Sea at the mo, and it is beautiful. You’re more of an adventurer than me by the sounds of it, Leigh. I’m glad there isn’t any snow because it’s making backpacking so much easier. 🙂


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