6 things I learned travelling solo

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On August 22nd, 2017 I was sitting in an airport terminal with a little bag of hand luggage, stealing nervous gazes at the clock. My cheeks were burning, heart racing. I was both terrified and excited: closer to my dream life than I’d ever been before. All I had to do was board that plane.

I’ll never forget the feeling of sitting on that plan back then, heading towards the unknown. Not knowing where I will live, what I will do and who I’ll meet in the months that followed. It was a truly exhilarating feeling: the feeling of absolute freedom.

And oh boy, if I’d known all the adventures and the people that were to follow. The craziest, funniest, most amazing memories shared with people that became so important to me in a few short weeks and months. As they say, a year away from your country isn’t just a year in your lifetime. It’s one insane, twisted, memorable, adventurous lifetime in a year.

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You’ll never be alone. One of my greatest fears was not being able to make friends in another language: not being able to express myself in a way that’ll make my personality come across the right way. The most stupid fear I ever had! Ever since boarding that plane in Helsinki, I was never alone, not one second. I made more friends in a year than I have in all of my school years combined. I made friends that I I felt like shared my soul, even if we came from completely different cultures and parts of the world. I know these friends will stay with me for a lifetime, even if we live in different countries now.

You’ll grow so much as a person. I have never been more confident in myself, in my decisions and in my life. I trust myself and my intuition, I know what’s right for myself and how to work for my dreams to come true. Heck, I moved to the other side of the world on my own: from now on, nothing is impossible!

You don’t have to settle. When you’re living your dream and constantly go “I only have a year to do all the things I want to!” your whole mindset changes. Why settle for a crappy job that drains all your energy and that you don’t enjoy? You can find another one! You have the right and the ability to create the kind of life you want for yourself. Don’t let fear hold you back.

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You’ll see your own country in a different light. Only now I can truly see what’s good about my country, things I completely took for granted before (like cheap, limitless data and the comfort of having a private bedroom). But sure enough, now I can also see the things I don’t like about it even clearer, like the darkness, coldness and the rudeness of people here.

You’ll meet people you never expected to. My favourite, favourite part of the whole experience! Never did I expect to end up singing korean karaoke with a bunch of Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Aussie friends or having a roadtrip in Tasmania and sleeping in a cottage on top of a mountain. Always say yes to new adventures, you never know where they’ll take you or who you’ll meet.

Everything will always work out in the end. The most important lesson of all. Everything happens for a reason, and all you can do sometimes is trust that something good is on it’s way to you. Bad things need to happen from time to time to clear up space from our lives for even better things to come.

xx

Miia

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Photos of me by Emma Koskinen

Paris photo diary

After a weekend in a little village in Alsace, Louisa and I headed back to Strasbourg to catch a train to Paris. After two hours, our train rolled onto a platform at Gare de l'Est. I couldn't believe it: there we were, in Paris together like we'd talked about all year in Melbourne. It's completely insane sometimes, the ways life leads you.

We headed up to Montmartre to our little Airbnb, which was a complete dream! Sure, the shoebox of an apartment was hot and humid like a rainforest and the toilet wouldn't flush without some aggressive pounding of the wall above it, but it was just sooo beautiful. I said to Louisa: this is what my apartment will look like when I have one, in whatever city in the world that may be.

Obviously, being the kind of creative minds as we are, we also had to have a photoshoot in the apartment. After getting a confirmation from our lovely host that this was OK, I grabbed my camera and we played around in the apartment for a solid hour looking for the best light and corner to capture the spirit of the beautiful space. 

During our trip we (obviously) also enjoyed some really yummy food (Cloud Cakes and Love Juice Bar, get on it guys if you're ever in Paris!). We had a picnic almost at the Eiffel Tower, after searching for a free spot in the grass for an hour in the heat. We walked until our feet were sore, we sat in little bistros talking for hours, did some shopping, had baguette after baguette, visited an art show, saw a sunset over Sacre Coeur... and more than anything, felt refreshed and inspired to return to our normal lives waiting for us at home.

my trip to Berlin

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Oh Berlin! Where to start? I guess I didn't quite expect to fall in love with you as fiercely as I did. I didn't expect to see so much beauty, so much greenery, so many cute vintage shops and cafes and ultimate hipster vibes... yes, I'm sold!

The purpose behind the trip was to meet up with my lovely friend Louisa, who I hadn't seen in four months since she left Melbourne to return to France. Obviously we had so much to catch up on, and it felt so great to be able to talk face to face again instead of our many hour long calls over the phone.

One of the best things in travelling is, of course, all the awesome food you'll get to try. And Berlin has heaps. We tried so many places and weren't disappointed once! Here's a list of a few favourites that are a simple must in when in the city:

Daluma

A super nice breakfast place if you're after healthy and nutritious food and good coffee! Everything we tried was insanely tasty.

Cafe Neue Liebe

AMAZING waffles! Like seriously amazing. Coffe was good too! They also do heaps of vegan pastries like apple pie and croissants. Bonus points for a super cute and cozy outdoor terrace.

Hummus & Friends

Probably the best dinner I've had all summer! We literally skipped the talking and smashed our dinner in complete silence and the occasional "OMG" when tasting something new. We ordered a plate of hommus, pita bread, a baked eggplant and a whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce. 

Yellow Sunshine Burger

If you're up to super duper tasty vegan burgers, look no further. One of the best ones I've ever had in my life.

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If you love artsy magazines and books, don't miss SODA BERLIN and Do You Read Me? I wish I'd had space in my luggage to buy something to take home! Next time I'll know to come prepared.

We did so many things during our three days in the city! Can't wait to be back here again one day.

xx

Miia