Monday, July 7, 2014

Tourism- bringing the best out of the world!


As a young solo traveler, whenever I plan my next trip I somehow always end up focusing on big names on the map, such as London, Stockholm or some other capital city promoted on the Internet.I don't know how other travelers think, but I don't know if the small village of Sapanta  in the north of Romania(http://www.romanianmonasteries.org/maramures/sapanta) is somehwere on their travel list.Or the small town of Medjugorje in Bosnia&Herzegovina.
 
 Before turning 18 ,I went on many roadtrips with my father in my country ,Romania, and got to see almost all it has to offer.Yes,Romania is one of the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.And yes,it is behind Western Europe and the U.S. in many aspects.But what I have noticed in the small,poor villages I passed through were the tourists who realized that having a good holiday doesn't mean going to Paris. There were not as many as I wished there were but I think that Romania is slowly  progressing now that tourism is present.
 
I always feel like crying when I see a very old, modest- looking woman selling beautiful hand made objects,standing right next to a young man wearing designer sunglasses and selling mass produced refrigerator magnets .And sadly most people prefer the refrigerator magnets. When people will realise that tourism  brings growth in every aspect to a community which is struggling, then things will move in a good direction.
 Right now, Medjugorje comes to mind.For non- religious people,it might mean nothing but it sure shows what tourism can do over time.The village from the 1980s is now a very touristic town, with loads of religious and non-religious objects for sale  but also locally produced fruits,vegetables and wine. The local farmers  seemed content  and the competition between them and the people selling key chains,pens and mugs seemed  more fair. When I returned back home,my old high school classmates laughed at me for going to Bosnia and later on, adults sometimes asked, to my surprise “Bosnia? Did you see any land mines?”.
 
Medjugorje ,1981(Source:http://genesmusings-gene.blogspot.de)
 
 Medjugorje today(Source:Adriamark)
 

I am very thankful to live in a country that has visibly changed since I was a child and to see these changes myself.The region I live in is probably the most touristic area of my country thanks to  the legend of Dracula.I have met many people who came here as tourists and I've witnessed the city turn more and more beautiful so I  can safely say that tourism has brought good changes in my life and the life of the community.

 
I am also very fortunate to be able to compare                     
Vienna,London,Helsinki and Venice to small ,thriving communities such as Colmar,Medjugorje,Rupea and many others. As I'm sitting here on a couch in Singen,Germany ,I'm contemplating the huge turistic potential of the Bodensee area and thinking of my upcomming trip in Eastern Asia or Mexico.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Smile : It's your right to be happy!

Hello ,lovely people of the world!

Today is a new beautiful day, perfect to take a break  from our daily activities and think a little bit about some important issues facing youth all over the world.

First of all, the World Conference on Youth 2014 is just around the corner and this year it will take place in exotic,beautiful  Colombo in Sri Lanka. The conference is a meeting place for youth to discuss and ponder on some important issues such as Youth Rights and Gender Equality.

Speaking of which, young people have a huge impact on culture and sports and all sorts of recreational activities that they get involved in but, at the same time , those activities have a great influence on them, shaping their views which they will use later on in their jobs and personal lives. All the features that people want to find in their friends and that employers ask of their employees can be easily learnt through sports and activities. Sharing your culture with others is also an invaluable "teacher".

What have I learnt from sports?
I am not a professional athlete in any way,shape or form but I go hiking regularly during summer,whether for a couple of hours or for several days, testing my limits and experiencing the greatness that is nature. And let me tell you something : I have learned to be more tolerant with others. When you hike with other people you have to adapt to their walking pace and have patience.You can't really go ahead and leave them behind,can you?(that's just mean)  I've learned to not give up. Countless of times, I genuinely felt like I can't go on but there was that little voice that told me "You might as well go on, there's really nothing to lose. That, or you might become dinner for whatever carnivore creatures roam the forest :D " And guess what? You can take this philosophy and apply it to other aspects of your life, not just hiking.

And of course, team work, endurance and determination are qualities a lot of people strive to have.
When it comes to certain sports in my country , I would also like to bring into discussion gender equality. Growing up, I loved watching football games on TV and attending live games. Most of the people thought it strange that a girl is passionate about a men  sport.But why is it a sport for men? Sure, some countries like Great Britain , the U.S or Germany give a certain amount of attention to women football. But Romania does not and I do hope that in the near future, this" football is for men" stereotype will diminish.

After all,sports should be for everyone, regardless of sex,race or language.

The freedom and chance to get involved in an activity that you love, that's what makes a young person develop into a happy,healthy adult. Whether it be music, dance or knitting ,there should be an equal chance for you to practice what you love. Meeting like-minded people, getting better at your favorite activity and sharing it with the world is something fulfilling for a young adult.

Last but not least, culture. This notion that is often misunderstood. The notion that was defined for the first time by Edward Tylor as such:  "a complex whole which includes knowledge,belief,art,law,morals,custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
So ,no matter where you live in this world ,you have a culture and a right to share your culture.As a young person, you learn so much about your own culture by sharing it with others but you also learn about the other's culture, so all this exchange brings is more useful knowledge.

Through my travels,I  have encountered many different cultures.Some were easier to adapt to,some were considerably harder.Some nations were very open and you could have mistaken it for a disrespect of personal space and some cultures made you think "They have some very strange habits!"It is scary when you think of it at first, but experiencing life in a different country is a rewarding experience.


In today's society, intercultural exchanges are important means by which youth can grow, learn ,make friends and rise above conflicts and gender inequality.
Because, as it has been said many times, young people are the future of this world! :D

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette Giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win the luxurious and sophisticated Vice 2 Palette from Urban Decay a $59 value. Enjoy:
http://www.urbandecay.com/urban-decay/makeup-palettes-%26-gifts/vice-2/386.html
Description:
Experiment with insanely cool brights, not-your-average neutrals, and sexy hits of smoke, all in our decadent, revamped formula. In case you weren’t around for the frenzy of the original Vice Palette, here’s the deal: yes, Vice 2 is limited edition and it WILL sell out. (With 20 EXCLUSIVE shades you won’t find anywhere else, what would you expect!?)

What you get:
Smokeout (dark taupey-black satin), Lovesick (black matte w/iridescent micro-glitter), Shellshock (bright metallic silver), Coax (medium metallic pink w/golden iridescent micro-sparkle), X-Rated (baby pink satin), Prank (deep navy matte w/turquoise floating pearl), Madness (bright metallic blue shimmer w/blue micro-glitter), Strike (antique gold shimmer w/silver micro-glitter), Stash (deep olive green shimmer w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Poison (charcoal satin w/iridescent micro-sparkle), Radar (metallic brown shimmer w/iridescent micro-glitter), Damaged (bright metallic emerald shimmer), Voodoo (metallic purple shimmer w/iridescent purple micro-glitter), Betrayal (bright purple satin w/blue shift), Derailed (medium metallic taupey-brown shimmer), Dope (warm champagne satin), Toxic (metallic copper-pink shimmer w/tonal micro-glitter), Habit (light nude matte), Ambush (metallic brown satin) and Rewind (medium brown matte).

Fill Weight: 20 x 0.8 g NET WT. 20 x 0.03 oz



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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Israel: a mix between the expected and the unexpected

I can't believe it has been more than a week since I came back from the Holy Land.I still miss it and want to go back there to see all the places I haven't seen yet.And trust me, 4 days is a ridiculously short amount of time to spend there.

Why 4 days ,you ask? Firstly,I'm a student and secondly,I'm a student :) In other words,staying for a shorter amount of time means spending less money(at least it should) and I also went on this trip during the academic year(yes, I skip classes quite a lot-that's what happens when you don't like what you're studying)

So,if you ever wanted to travel to Israel but thought "It's too expensive!" or "I'm gonna die in  a terrorist attack!" ,think again because none of it is true if you find a cheap flight and avoid eye contact with strange looking men on the street so you don't get unwanted attention (common sense,right?).

I am of course writing this from a young woman's perspective, but anyone can take something from my positive experience in Israel.
How much did I pay for my trip?

I flew with WizzAir ,a Hungarian low cost company, which I consider to be one of the cheapest ,most reliable airlines,with a wide range of travel destinations to choose from  (and no,they did not pay me to say that). I booked the tickets 2 months in advance and payed almost 70 euros for a round trip.Oh...and my route was Bucharest Otopeni- Tel Aviv Ben Gurion :)

What other costs did my trip imply?
Well,I used Couchsurfing to find accommodation and great people to host me and hang out with . My entire perspective on traveling has changed since using this amazing site to find friendly,awesome,lovely people (again, I wasn't bribed by the site or the awesome,lovely people to say that).
Of course,I payed for train tickets and bus tickets to and from Jerusalem -everything was about 66 shekels (19 dollars/14 euros) .
The rest depends on how much you want to go out,eat in fancy restaurants or attend I don't know what music gigs.

Israeli customs? !

Not cool, bro ,not cool. If it's your first time in Israel and you're using Couchsurfing to find accommodation they might give you a funny look and ask you tons and tons of question before giving you a visa. Also, when you leave the country ,your luggage will get checked.As in "let's take everything  out and make you pack your bag again" kind of checked. Jolly good times at the airport. Other than that, everything's great .

What did I eat? Can I recommend any dishes?
Oooh..wait for it...falafel! What were you expecting?It's tasty, cheap and probably not that healthy.Still better than McDonald's .

Tip: If the guy selling falafel asks you if you like spicy and your first instinct is to say "no",say "no" .Otherwise you might have to drink lots of water after that.

Also, Tahini sauce is cool. And you should try a freshly made juice in one of the many markets in Israel.Make sure you get a not so usual combination like the passion fruit-banana-forgot the other one that I tried at shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv.Also expect to pay for it as much as you would pay for your train ticket from Tel Aviv HaHagana to Ben Gurion aiport.

Tel Aviv vs.Jerusalem

With an equal amount of time spent in both of the cities, I can make a very subjective comparison.
If you're more religious,you'll love Jerusalem. If you're not religious,you'll love Jerusalem anyway.
If you love getting a tan in November,you'll love Tel Aviv. If you like to party ,you'll love Tel Aviv even more.If you're more the religious type than the "get drunk and forget where I live" type, get on a bus and go to Jerusalem.

What did I see in Jerusalem in 2 days?
The Old City-have no idea how much of it.I got lost there every time.More specifically- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre ,Via Dolorosa-or at least a part of it , a lot of market vendors,the Wailing Wall
The Garden of Ghetsimani and the Church of Agony,The Church of Mary's Tomb - It took me forever to get there by foot and with a shitty map.
Mamilla, some parts of the city center, an awesome place where you could see the city from above(oh wait,there were a lot of such places)
I also saw some pubs and walked along Jaffa street quite a lot.
What did I see in Tel Aviv in 2 days?

The beach.The Old City-awesome tour guide by the way. Some parts of the city center. More beach.
Shuk HaCarmel. A really awesome ice cream place.More beach. I also walked from the HaCarmel area to HaHagana train station at 5 in the morning.Not advisable for women to do on their own, but allows you to see a different face of the otherwise bustling, lively Tel Aviv.

Would I go back?

Where's that plane ticket? Gimme it! I'm free tomorrow :) I can stay for a few weeks..or months.

What did I miss?
The Dead Sea, Haifa, Bethlehem ,Nazareth, some hiking...oh,I need to make a list .

Advice for anyone planning on going to the Holy Land?
Be patient and polite at customs. If you're a young lady traveling by herself, cover yourself. And don't look at men unless you want a creepy pseudo- date with them.
Try some local food and meet with locals to have a truly awesome experience.

Pictures?

Why yes of course.

Wailing Wall

 Stairs leading to the Wailing Wall
Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Mount of Olives
Garden of Ghetsimani

Neighborhood in Jerusalem

The beach in Tel Aviv
"Flying" orange tree,Tel Aviv- Jafo 

Nice contrast between the old and the new


Another tip : Don't take selfies when you're lost,tired and hungry
There is so much more to say about Israel but you have to go on your own and experience for yourself. Israel is not an exotic destination for rich,adventurous people. Ok,maybe you have to be  a little bit adventurous...but admit it,your personality has that side too :)

Happy travels!
Mihaela

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Portrait: Cara Delevingne + GoFundMe Campaign

Hola!

I'm back with a new portrait after quite a long time. I did this portrait back in summer but I didn't like how some parts turned out so I kept postponing this post. I'm finally posting it now, even though I'm not 100 % happy with it.


I've also recently come back from Israel and it was quite the experience.I might write a post about it in the near future.What do you think?
I've also started a campaign on gofundme.com to raise money for a big tour of Europe I'm planning for next summer. I would deeply appreciate it if you could share it on social media or help me in any way you can (my link) :)

As usual, I'm waiting for your portrait suggestions in the comments.

Have a super happy evening :D