As a famous Hungarian lyric say: Go down the road, keep going. Don’t look back. I’m not a past-living type, and I’m not in the habit of soaring about what’s gone. But now I make an exception and look back on this year. 2019 has been difficult in many ways, but in terms of travel, it has been the most dream-come true year. I’ve been to 20 countries this year, I’ve been on planes 38 times, but I’ve travelled by bus, train, ferry, boat, and even inside a submarine in Tallin. I spent a total of 75 days abroad and spent dozens of days hiking in domestic landscapes.
Doing all this with full-time work required a lot of organization. In 2019, I wrote 44 articles on www.traveladdict.hu only in a 415,000-character range (about 140 A4 pages), which does not include posts on my Instagram (here) and Facebook (here) pages. Although the numbers alone don’t say anything and you forget them, I rather brought you 12 pictures and descriptions of what 2019 has gave or taught me.
1) Diving is a lifelong love
For the first time in my life, I dived underwater in 2009, so this year I celebrated the 10th anniversary. When you look at relationships, the initial enthusiasm wears out by now, but for me, it works the other way around. The more I see the underwater wonderland, the more insatiable I am and I want more of it. This year, a great dream was fulfilled by swimming among manta rays and watching their underwater ballet performance up close.
2) There are karmic things in life
I received a bracelet blessed by a Buddhist monk at Dambulla Rock Temples in Sri Lanka at the end of January. This cord must not be taken off, it must be worn until it breaks or falls off on its own. It can take years sometimes, and I proudly wore the cord every day until November of this year. In 11 months, the blessed cord had already stretched out, and after an unpleasant phone call, I suddenly noticed that it had fallen off my wrist. It didn’t break away, it left on its own. For me, this had quite a karmic meaning and confirmed if there is a situation in which you no longer feel comfortable you should exit from it.
3) Travel isn’t just about abroad
I’ve never hidden how much I care about showing domestic landscapes from time to time. After all, our little country abounds in sights and undiscovered places, in fact. In 2019, I spent dozens of weekends on trips to Hungary and how well Hungarian content is needed on the blog is also justified by the website numbers. The most read article of all time was this year, about Water Reservoir in Kőbánya, which was read by almost 40,000 people, or at least clicked on it. Next year, I would like to strengthen the domestic line even more, because for me, the journey is also about domestic trips.
4) We have to look at the wonders of the world as long as we can see them.
I had been planning to my trip to Malta for years, but I managed to travel to the island only in 2019. By the time I got to the famous Azure Window on the island of Gozo, it collapsed and had been placed at the bottom of the sea. Although the Maltese coast was still beautiful, it made me realize how fragile our world is and we have to go somewhere as long as the place is still in its original glory. That is why Africa is one of the priority targets in 2020 for me to see the animals in their natural environment, because who knows how much longer we can do that.
5) Bus trips can be also fun
I’ve been organizing my own trips for several years, except for diving trips. This often involved not a little stress and time, but in return I do not have to adapt to a group and I can explore the place at my own pace. In 2019, I went to Plitvice with a coupon code by bus that worked out much better than expected. Inciting this, next year, I’m going to put in some similar trips to closer places.
6) Don’t have to be afraid of what you don’t know
One of the most anticipated programs of my trip to Macedonia was to visit Suto Orizari, the Roma capital of the world. A place that tourists usually avoid from afar, because there is nothing to see here other than poverty and Roma people. I admit, because of the stereotypes, I was (also) pretty afraid of what was in store for me there. Walking the streets in Suto Orizari, I didn’t feel for a minute that I wasn’t safe or should be afraid of anything. Meeting and talking to people who live there, I learned a lot of interesting things about a Roma culture I had barely known before. And traveling is about exploring something new and expanding our comfort zone, right?
7) You can travel alone too
For lack of a relationship, I usually travel with my friends or family. Many times, however, I found a good plane ticket and I’m enthusiastic people around me are not as heated by the desire to travel as I am. In 2019, for the first time in my life, I traveled abroad alone, to Dublin, where I spent a great weekend. Incited by the new experience and the coincidence that I didn’t feel like a loser or a loner in the meantime, I also went to Nice on a solo trip.
8) Be proud of where we live
Going around the world, I am always pleased to hear that the Hungarians have helped here, founded a university there or what kind of connection we had with another country throughout history. However, we must not only be proud of our Hungarian roots when we are abroad, but we can also find this when we are at home. For me, one of the most defining domestic excursions was Hollókő. It’s one thing that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but what’s really heartwarming is the way they cultivate Palóc and rural traditions in the village to this day.
9) Natural places really get me excited
When it comes to travel, I’m omnivorous and like spend inga few days in a bustling big city. However, if I have a choice, I am sure to travel to a place that is less touristy, historical and cultural, but mostly rich in natural attractions. In the Azores, there was no shortage of the latter. We spent many days on an island where we barely met tourists, and I admit we didn’t miss them. When I walk through untouched or less visited places, I feel like every bush, bird and lake is just waiting for me to explore. I may have watched too many David Attenborough films when I was a kid, but I feel like nature is my real place where I belong to.
10) Aurora borealis does exist
The above statement sounds like a bagatelle, because of course there are countless photos that prove it. But I’ve never seen it live, and since Iceland got out of luck a few years ago in winter, I’ve been even more eager to see the lights. This bucket-list dream finally came true in Norway this year, when the first greenish lights appeared in the dark sky between the Norwegian fjords, following a dive with the orcas. It was a child’s pleasure to finally see the Northern Lights live after years of waiting.
Photo: Czimer Dávid
11) Dare to dream big in professional field
Nowadays, with a little exaggeration, everyone who travels, and posts is already considered a travel blogger. And with a certain number of followers, they’re already influencers. In the great media noise, I want to continue to create values while documenting my personal experiences. I know I’m tiny among travel bloggers, but maybe I’ll grow up someday. It was a great pleasure and honor to have my first article published on National Geographic in early January 2019 and since then I have been a collaborative partner of the magazine. In December, I received the following invitation to write articles on travel topics on the website Egy.hu Borbás Marcsi and Feri Rákóczi. I didn’t draw attention to these specifically during the year because I didn’t want to brag about them. I know that I should be proud of my own successes.
12) Dare to be weak and brave at the same time
In 2019, I first wrote about my illness (read here), which I kept to myself for years. You rarely talk about taboos like death or dying. It’s not a happy story that at the age of 32 I got cancer, but surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments saved my life. Although I’ll never have a 100% quality of life anymore, I’m not complaining because thank God I’m alive and I’m well. And now you can understand what motivates me to travel so much. Because when I travel, that’s when I feel the most alive. And living is a very good thing, and I’ve been given a second chance from life to live. Next year, the critical five years will be over, when, according to statistics, I will be declared as cured. So I’m going to open champagne on March 13, 2020. And it’s also possible that in a special place because there’s rarely an occasion in a person’s life to be five years old twice.