Sunday, 13 September 2015

Before going on an adventure

     I picked the title of this post intentionally- any long distance trip or a stay abroad is not just mere travelling. It`s an adventure! I`ll try to explain my reasoning in following lines. Don`t worry, I don`t intend to fall into philosophy, so after a short introduction, I`ll try to give you some examples of bad ideas, as well as good ones I came up with before and during my adventures.

     I`m going to divide this post into 2 sections- the first one dealing with things and ideas before the actual journey and the second for advice during your stay, trip, etc. so anyone can find what they need. Hurraaayy, let`s do this!

Before the journey- To do list

     Picking the right destination for your adventure! That`s probably the first thing that comes to mind. And that`s the exact reason I`m not going to cover this topic here. Choose whatever place or country you like, my advice should be universal.

Do your research
     I really can`t stress this enough. And that was my first mistake too. I`m currently living in Brussels and I came here from Slovakia. So you could say it`s all Europe right? On the top of that Brussels is a "capital city of the EU" so we all heard what is the city like, didn`t we? The answer is: NO! I thought I know everything about Brussels and guess what? Never have I been so wrong!

     Let me set this straight- Brussels is a city full of wonders. Good ones as well as bad ones. There are different areas like in every other city so don`t think there is no criminality or problems just cause it`s the business card of Europe. Let`s make it universal, okay? Don`t let your prejudices blind you! Test them first, separate what`s right from what`s wrong. Do your research. The best thing how to do it is to ask somebody who`s already been there, but have multiple sources.

     Brussels is a wonderful city. Lots of parks, multinational environment, many places to visit and do business. That`s all so awesome! But let`s try to take a peak from different angle, shall we? Multiculturalism brings many unknown elements to your life and also the unpredictable environment. For example: There are some places you should avoid at all costs when you are in an arabian area. Are there any signs? Of course not. You are expected to know.

     Brussels is also a city with huge percentage of unemployed people- almost 21%!!! As a consequence to this number there is a lot of criminality and burglars are sometimes not afraid even in a daylight. That`s also true for a Schuman area (and especially for this area), where organised break-ins into offices are in some places perpetual.
     Mixed with business plans most of people here have, moods here are more formal, men and women are always rushing somewhere. You get the idea.

     Now, I don`t want to insult any Brussels natives, so again, this aside, Brussels is a beautiful city. But, it has it`s problems. Problems you won`t hear about unless you do a proper research.

Choose what`s important in finding your future place to live
     Trivial as it may sound, I had only 2 criterions: How far is it to Lidl and How far is is to work? You might have already noticed that I didn`t write anything about appartment, room, landlord... These things are basic and you can find them listed on the top of every travel guide out there. Therefore, I`m not  listing them.

     The main criterion you should be guided by is this one: Is it safe there? What are the surroundings like? Let me provide you with my experience. I have the ideal position to get to work, to get to the city centre, to get to metro, to get to the shop, to get to the bus station...BUT, once I came here I heard that the city area I live in is not so safe. Let`s put it this way: It has the highest unemployment rate in Brussels. Don`t do the same mistake! However, I still live in a part that is normal, but one kilometer is enough to get you to nasty places.

     There is 1 more thing I`d like to stress here, since I didn`t take it into consideration. Environment. Sure, the place could be safe but if it`s all greyish and there is nothing much to do in an immediate area you chose wrong.

     I was lucky. One meter from my appartment there is a park with children playing in the afternoon. And let me tell you this: You have no idea (or maybe you do, what do I know) how good it sounds when children play next to your appartment! First, your mood gets better for whatever reason after a day spent in front of Pc screen and on business conferences. Second, children and families playing in a park are a proof that your area is somewhat safe and with activities to do nearby. Last but not least, famillies tend to be more cheerful and helpful than businessmen. And of course, if it`s too noisy, you can always close the window!

Visit your friends and family before the journey

     ...and have a great time. Simple enough, more than once I found myself thinking "it`s all right, I`ll come to visit during Christmas, right?". WRONG. Skype and Facebook might help, but there is nothing like a good old personal contact with your loved ones.

     People`s lives tend to change and this is one way of saying "I won`t forget you no matter what". Show them you mean it by finding time for them and agreeing to means of communication while away.

Get in the line with appearance and language

     You don`t know how convinient this is once you arrive. Here are a few reasons why. Not only will people be more friendly, you will also get in the line. And that`s very important, since newcomers are always targeted by speculants and possibly by robbers too. Cause they are an easy prey and they are noticeable.

     The same goes for your outfit. I thought that since I`m in Brussels, I will always wear formal clothes, smokings, ties, etc. Now, even when I`m going to work, I wear old jacket and more than often jeans. I was given this piece of advice back in the office I work in. It`s important to blend in with a domestic population. You don`t want to be a target for anyone. Of course, this has to be arranged before going on an adventure, since you have to pack such stuff. Same goes for learning basic phrases.

Organise yourself

     Again, so easy yet only some of us understand what it really means. To make a schedule for visiting your friends before departure requires some level of organisation on your part. But that`s not enough. You`ll need to carefully plan your time and divide it at least into these cathegories: sightseeing, business, work, fun, self-development. Why is that important you ask? Because things that tend to be normal at home won`t be automatic once you leave.

     Work is that part of the day you are getting paid for. You might even do some work-related business, but that`s still work.
     Business is that part of the day you invest to develop your place in the society, or that part you spend on things neccessary for your well-being. Make an estimates before your departure, I can`t describe how much this piece of advice helped me to save my precious time.
     Self-development is time invested into activities like language learning, research on your immediate surroundings and others. You don`t have to stop developing your persona just because you are on an adventure. Actually, DON`T STOP please.
     You can link fun with sightseeing, but it`s much more than that. Go to a party! Go clubbing! Meet new people, make connections, network! That`s the most interesting part of an adventure. But before you get there, schedule. Make rough estimates so after your arrival you won`t be surprised by your time management.

Not to do list

Don`t travel by the cheapiest way possible

     I know what I`m talking about. I went by bus. Total journey was roughly 25 hours. All that, when I could `ve been there in 2 by plane. And do you know why I did it? Cause I wanted to see planescape! Was I stupid and naive? Yes!

     Here is the result: 6 hour delay, uncomfortable journey but the worst part was that I got a flu right after the day I finally arrived, probably from exhaustion and new environment. It`s important to say that it`s not only about yourself. Landlord had to wait for me till the evening and that most certainly hasn`t left a good first impression. Plus, my appearance wasn`t the best. And all that wasted time because of few Euros!! Gosh, never more!

Don`t delay things for later
How easy to say!! I can only hope some of you know that inner voice that says: "You can do it later. It will sort out itself." Well, don`t listen to it. I did and had few rush hours because of it. On the top of that, it`s also about convenience. For example: you can shave at home right before your trip, or the day before you `r going to have a business meeting in a country of your arrival. Which one from these 2 possibilities would you pick?

     Again, it`s also about things you do automatically at home. Keep in mind that getting ready for a journey is no ordinary routine, so things which are automatic might take some time.

Don`t overstuff your baggage

     Not only is this inconvinient for you personally, but it might get stuck with the custom`s control on an airport, or even if you travel by bus or train. What`s more, overstuffed baggage might not fit everywhere and can make your day pretty complicated. It`s better to pack only neccessary stuff and things you know you could easily, and I repeat EASILY buy at the point of your destination is better to leave at home.

     Funny story: I already mentioned I`ve been travelling by bus. But, since Europe now has problems with immigrants, regular customs checks were scheduled and I didn`t miss that too. Guys from customs opened my bag, checked it, but COULDN`T CLOSE IT :D As much as funny the story is, we wasted the time there. Not to speak of that anxiety you have when something doesn`t go as planned with the customs control.

Don`t let anyone else pack your stuff

     This goes for your family, mother, their suggestions and insists. Again, I know what I`m talking about. I packed my stuff, but checked if everything is in place with my mother. I was shocked when I found out after my arrival that I don`t have any sweatpants. How could this only happen?!
About Unknown

My name is Sidney Aldaine. And this is the start of my ultimate project, my Fantasma. My way of helping people to make them feel better. My way of contributing something of a value to the world we all live in. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy my little corner of the web. Place, where I left a piece of my soul and dreams. A Fantastic place. I would love to call myself a blogger and a writer some day. And I`m not going to give up this dream, at least not until my Fantasma comes into reality.

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