The Story Of My Life: Get To Know Voices of Travel
Life sometimes makes you push your boundaries a lot. Or at least it suggests you make a step further and get out of your comfort zone. It might be because you are currently going through a difficult stage in your life, or maybe you just have to make a change for a better future. I feel like both of them are part of my life story.
I knew inside my heart that life is much more than just going to school, coming back, going out, and eventually going to bed and sleep. Since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to make the most out of my life… see as much of the world as I can and explore various cultures. I wanted to experience how people live, what kind of problems they tackle, what they believe in. The idea of getting stuck in one place, believing in everything they told us at school when I was a child kind of scared me. I wanted to understand and see through my own eyes what the world is all about. But for that, I knew I needed to get out of my comfort zone and, besides, gain some language skills… And so I started working on it.
If you don’t have time to read the whole story, or you don’t feel like it… please go to the end of the article as I have a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YOU guys.
The Slovakian Town Where I Grew Up
I grew up in a small Slovakian town, where a bus to other bigger cities operates 8 times a day. It feels like not much is going on, just going to work and school in the morning and coming back late in the evening. Where we go to church every Sunday and sometimes meet with other families for lunch. Once a year, maybe going on holiday and then coming back to the routine. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to complain or say anything wrong about my hometown. I simply describe the way of life, which made me feel there was something much more than such a life routine.
By the way, Slovakia is a beautiful country, so if you haven’t been, you should definitely check it out. Get inspired by my Slovakia road trip itinerary for places you can see and visit.
I was telling myself, there must be something more people do in other parts of the world. There must be thousands of ways people live and how it looks like in other parts of the world. And I had a great desire to discover it. But at the same time, I was afraid of the big unknown, getting lost in the huge world out there. So I took an English textbook and started to learn vocabulary. Later on, I had a German book in my hands, learning words to communicate in another language. And so it went on. I made everything possible to get out there and start exploring the world step by step.
First Steps To The Unknown
At the age of 17, I was going through some challenging times in my life when things didn’t really go fine in my family. Also, I was disappointed by love, and I just felt generally lonely and slightly lost. But I understood that life was trying to teach me a lesson and made me push my boundaries.
Therefore, I decided to make my first big journey to the unknown. I found a high school exchange program in New Zealand that summer, and decided to participate. I started to collect as much information as I could and learn English more than ever. It felt to me like the right decision to make, which would change my life and help me get through that difficult time. So one summer day in 2012, I went to my parents and told them I was going to New Zealand for half a year. My mum was shocked, and my dad as well, but he was at least trying to hide it. My mum didn’t really want to let me go, she was afraid, but thanks to my dad, who believed in me and persuaded my mum that it would be fine, I could convince them about my journey.
Life & Travelling In New Zealand
So there it came. In January 2013, I packed my bags and set off to the yet biggest adventure. I spent half a year with Kiwis on the Southern Island of New Zealand, in Christchurch. I was going to school and living with a lovely host family. It was my first such experience being far away from home alone, living in a completely different culture. At first, it was not easy, but I never stopped appreciating where I was and what I got to experience.
When we got school holidays in April, I decided to travel through South Island and explore other unique places. I was shocked by the beauty as I had never experienced anything like that in my life before. We travelled in a group and slept in tents. We saw the highlighs of South Island – Kaikoura, Christchurch, Mt. Cook, Dunedin, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Franz Joseph Glacier, Abel Tasman National Park and much more.
My Reverse Cultural Shock
When my New Zealand life was coming to an end, I was really sad. Even though I was excited to go back home and share my thoughts with family and friends. Soon I experienced a reverse cultural shock back home. That was the time when I realized that I had a worse cultural shock coming home than having a cultural shock when travelling to a new country.
My Thoughts Coming Back Home
I was amazed by my adventure and felt, inside my heart, that it was what I wanted to do. Travel, experience various cultures, and understand their ways of living. Because sometimes we are so locked in our homes, struggling with things that we are going through, and we think we are having the worst time ever. And our routine pushes us to be silent and just follow the rules. But I realized that travelling opens up your heart so much and broadens your horizons.
You realize how people live on the other side of the Earth, what problems they have to deal with, and conclude that we are all the same and everybody goes through some struggles from time to time. I felt like travelling has changed me so much, and I could not relate anymore to some of my friends back home.
What is more, I could not integrate into that routine I had before my New Zealand life. I also realized that some people around me weren’t interested in hearing about my adventure. And so I kind of felt lonely again once I got back from my New Zealand adventure.
Nevertheless, I found out that it was something that drives me, something I want to do in my life as much as I can. Travel, speak languages, and experience the life of locals.
High School Graduation – Languages – What’s Next?
I had my graduation year ahead of me in high school. Besides studying for my final exams, I opened the English and German textbooks even more and was learning these 2 languages. I knew I wanted to continue my studies abroad, so I tried to improve these languages. I also started to pick up some French.
Eventually, I found a University in Salzburg, Austria, which offered a tourism management degree together with languages. As I realized I wanted to do something with travel tourism and languages, and this degree perfectly combined my two passions, I decided to apply. Before my final exams in high school, I got a letter that I was accepted, and I was super excited. A new adventure was ahead of me.
My University Studies In Salzburg
In September 2014, I packed my bags to start another chapter of my life – University studies abroad. Being nervous but at the same time, super excited, I moved to Salzburg and lived there for 3 years throughout my Bachelor’s studies. I loved my University, the people, my classmates, and the Salzburg city with its surroundings. Besides, I was working hard to finance my studies and my life there, so I started working as a waitress during my free time. I was serving customers and helping with congresses, huge events, and weddings. That experience helped me to improve my German a lot.
If you plan to visit Salzburg, check out my Salzburg itinerary and places to visit in its surroundings with the best day trips from Salzburg.
If you want to see more of Austria, get inspiration with my 10-day Austria road trip itinerary.
TUI, Travel Agency & Tour Escorting
In addition to my University degree, we had to gain experience within the tourism field to complete our studies. Right in the first year, I started looking for opportunities in the job market and explored what the tourism sector offers. In the summer after my first University year, I started working in a travel agency in Slovakia, where I did an internship for two months. Later on, I was looking for other opportunities when I got a contract with TUI tour operator escorting English groups during their skiing holidays in Austria.
But my most exciting job was just to come. I applied to be a tour director for AESU tour operator. They are based in Baltimore, USA but also in Vienna. Initially, I didn´t really believe they would accept my application as I was only 20 years old at that time. Too young to escort groups on tour travelling through Europe.
Working As European Tour Manager
Nevertheless, they invited me for an interview in Vienna. After two months of waiting, I eventually got a call from our boss, who told me I was accepted, and my first tour would start in two weeks. Imagine how excited I was. The job I always dreamt about – managing and escorting group tours became a reality for me. In May 2016, I packed my bags for the first tour. It was training for me, so I joined a group led by another tour director and was learning everything on the way.
Since then, I did it every year in the summer alone, and I have absolutely fallen in love with this job. So I started working as a tour director, leading groups of American Uni students through Europe. Each tour takes from 2 weeks up to 1 month. We usually start in London, and the tour continues through France, Belgium, Nehterlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and finishes in Greece. I have gained so much experience from travelling with groups, and I keep doing it until now. I absolutely love it. It has allowed me to travel even more and explore this wonderful world.
Back to my University studies… In my third year of studies, I got the chance to choose an exchange program for half a year, studying at a different University. And what was my choice?
In my first year of University, I started taking Spanish classes, which I absolutely loved. Therefore, I decided to do my exchange program in Spain to improve my Spanish. My Uni had a partnership with a University in Barcelona, so I switched places for half a year.
In August 2016, I again packed my bags, left my temporary hometown, Salzburg, and headed for another adventure, but this time a Spanish one.
My Life, Studies & Travelling In Spain
As my goal was to have fun and travel as much of Spain as I possibly could and improve my Spanish language, I signed up for a 2-week Spanish course in Barcelona in August. I found a flat which I shared with a Spanish girl and attended this course every day while studying Spanish. I was also happy to live and practice Spanish with my flatmate (who was luckily patient enough to listen to me, although my Spanish skills were quite poor at that time).
In September 2016, I started University courses in Barcelona. I also took a tour guiding course, which was in Spanish, and at the end of the year, I got to guide the entire class through Barcelona’s old town, speaking Spanish. This pushed my boundaries, and I have never forgotten about this experience ever since.
Thanks to my experience, I’ve designed a perfect 3-day Barcelona itinerary for you guys. So if you plan to visit Barcelona any time, get some inspiration for walking tours, top places to see and things to do.
I have to say that half a year spent studying in Barcelona and enjoying life was the best time of my life so far. I was also very excited to spend it with my other friends from Salzburg. They are as passionate travellers as I am. Together, we made a road trip from Barcelona to Andorra and travelled through Catalunya’s hidden gems. We also experience the crazy La Tomatina festival and had so much fun together.
Incredible European Travel Adventure & Beyond
Once my exchange semester was coming to an end, we made a huge travel plan with my friend Gunel. She is truly one of the craziest persons I have ever met (same as me :D), and we decided to travel through Spain together. At the end of the year 2016, we set off for a big adventure.
I have designed a travel itinerary through Spain for you, about which you can read more here. Also, if you want to learn more about places to see in Spain based on your interests, let me inspire you with my Spain Travel Guide.
Also, check out my Andalucia road trip itinerary for 10 days to explore southern Spain.
We explored and travelled throughout the entire Andalusia, visited Toledo, Madrid, Valencia, and Alicante. After, we flew to the south of France and explored many cities, including Toulouse, Montpelier, Carcassonne, Marseille, and Chamonix. Eventually, we crossed the Swiss border and visited Geneve and Zurich.
As we didn’t want our trip to be over, we decided to extend our journey and kept up with travelling. Gunel is from Azerbaijan, and so we decided to explore her country, too. She flew back home, and I went to Slovakia to see my family. After one week, I took a bus from Slovakia to Ukraine, visited Kyiv, and from there, flew to Baku, Azerbaijan. We spent incredible two weeks travelling through Azerbaijan. In the end, we also made it to Georgia, Tbilisi, and back to Ukraine. This entire journey, starting in Barcelona and finishing in Kyiv, took us over 2 months. It has been an unforgettable experience.
University Graduation & Life After Studies
After our increadible trip, we returned to Salzburg to finish our Bachelor’s studies. I graduated in June 2017. (The little guy on the photo is my brother :)).
That year in summer, I kept working in Salzburg and also as a tour director escorting groups through Europe while saving up. In September, I decided to go back to Barcelona and spend some time there. I started working for a tour operator, Europe Express, where I was designing travel itineraries for groups (American groups) travelling through Europe. I loved that job so much as I was always passionate about organizing trips and putting travel itineraries together.
However, at that time, I was going through another challenging time in my life when my family also moved to Barcelona. Many problems occurred for my family in Slovakia, and we also lost our house. That is why they came to Barcelona and kind of wanted to start a new life. As much as I was willing and happy to help them, I felt so much pressure and burden on my shoulders. I didn’t really enjoy my life and just worked every day, trying to financially support my family (because at that time, I was the only person working in our family, unfortunately).
An Unexpected Step To The Unknown
In the middle of the year 2018, I couldn’t resist it all anymore. I felt like I didn’t live my life properly. All the money I earned in my 9-5 job was gone right after I got it. And I couldn’t even go anywhere. That is why I decided to make a big step into the unknown. I quit my job and saved the entire salary from my last month of working there. I didn’t know what would happen, where life would guide me, and if I was going to make it. But I felt like I had to do it. Rather going into the unknown and strive for a better life, than staying depressed in one place, hoping for a better future. So in August 2018, I packed the only backpack I had with the most necessary things, booked a one-way flight to Milano, and headed to Switzerland.
Switzerland Cheese Farming & Travelling
As I worked for the tour operator in Barcelona, I got many contacts. I found out there was an opportunity to do a farm stay in the Swiss mountains. I didn’t really know what to expect from this, but I knew I needed a rest, be in nature, feel the quietness and power of the mountains, and reflect on my life. Also, I needed to stop for a while and think about the next steps and what I would do. So I decided to book this farm stay for 2 weeks, and that is why I booked that one-way flight and headed to Switzerland. During that time, I helped a Swiss family make Alpine cheese in their hut, surrounded by Swiss mountains. You can read more about my Swiss cheese farming adventure.
After my farming experience, I decided to stay in Switzerland for an additional week and fulfilled my yet biggest dream of seeing this spectacular country. I got the Swiss Travel Pass, with which I travelled through almost the entire country, visiting the Swiss highlights.
I have also created a Swiss itinerary for you to see the highlights of Switzerland without coming back home completely broke. Read more about Switzerland, get inspiration from my Swiss Travel Guide, get to know the top 5 Swiss scenic trains, or find out how to have a perfect time in the Jungfrau region in my little Swiss section.
After my Swiss adventure, I had to face reality a little bit :D. As I was kind of homeless at that time, I had to manage my life somehow. I felt like Prague would be a good place to start all over again. I thought to myself, it is a big city where I have job opportunities, but at the same time, it is not so expensive so I could survive until I find the job.
Settling in Prague For a While & Teaching Languages
To cut the story short, I settled in Prague for a while and started to teach languages, English, German, and Spanish. The story continues in quite an interesting way, also a very emotional one. But for now, it would be already too long to describe it. If you want, I can talk about it more in detail about what happened after I started living in Prague. Shortly, I was teaching languages, escorting tours through Europe in the summer. I also applied to be a Contiki tour manager, as I wanted to accompany tours full time, not only in summer.
However, another surprise came to my life. When they accepted me to be a Contiki manager (after my interview in London), I met my soul mate on the way to the Czech Republic. I had a hard time deciding what to do next. I had to choose, stay, and start a journey of two, together with my soul mate (boyfriend) or continue my life journey alone and become a Contiki tour manager. You understand that once you do a tour manager full time, you are basically travelling all the time… so that is why I had to choose one of them.
It was not an easy decision… but somehow, being all alone for everything until that time, I decided to start a life journey with somebody else. It is a much longer, very emotional, and interesting story of how it all happened. Therefore, if you were interested, I can talk about it later on for you…
Starting Voices of Travel – Travelling & Tour Escorting
Right now, we live in Switzerland with my boyfriend. I have started my little travel business – Voices of Travel, where I am finally combining my two passions – TRAVEL & LANGUAGES. Putting all of my experience in the tourism field together, escorting tours through Europe, working in a travel agency and for a tour operator, designing travel itineraries, I have created my own travel & language business.
On behalf of the name Voices of Travel, I design travel itineraries for you, individual travellers, who need ideas for what to see in a particular country in Europe, for your inspiration, and to help you plan your European trips. I basically follow my passions. Also, I am giving you some tips on how to learn a language for the purpose of travel. Firstly, helping you improve your language skills, learn a foreign language, and, secondly, help you authentically see the world, and give you travel itineraries and inspiration for places to see. I also keep working as a tour director, escorting tours through Europe in the summer.
I keep working on my travel website, creating more content for you guys. There are many interesting articles, travel itineraries, and stories to come, like my 3 pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela through Spain, itinerary for Azerbaijan or Georgia, and many more, so stay tuned.
This is my story and my passions. I hope you will get inspiration for your travels and motivation to learn languages (because they truly change the way you look at the world). I will be happy to design a travel itinerary fitted to your interests and needs. You can always contact me for information about European countries, and if you want me to design an itinerary for your journey.
My 3 Little Messages For You
Last but not least, I would like to leave 3 messages for you.
Leave your struggles behind and start over again
I would like to encourage you through my story that whatever is happening in your life, whatever you are going through, tell yourself you will make it. If you are unhappy, don’t close your eyes in front of what’s going on, and don’t wait until it is away (because it might not go away). Open your eyes and face reality. Change it; leave the stuff that makes you unhappy. You know, many people tell you that you are running away from things instead of facing them and trying to solve them. But, there are things in life that are just better to leave and start over again. Sometimes trying to face reality and trying to change it doesn’t really lead to happiness. You need to truly understand what you struggle with and how you can change it for the better. And sometimes it just means leaving everything behind.
Sometimes trying to face reality and trying to change it doesn’t really lead to happiness.
Follow Your Passions & Things That Drive You In Life
I would like to encourage you to live the life you want to. Set up your goals. Something you want to achieve or just do in your life that will make you happy. Find the power inside you that will drive you to reach these goals. Do everything to achieve it.
I really wanted to travel and see as much of the world we live in. Also, I wanted to learn languages and communicate with other travellers and locals while travelling to connect better. I did everything possible to make it happen. I sat down and studied languages or took a part-time job besides my Uni courses to save up for travelling later on. Believe me, I was broke so many times, but I still found a way, saved up again to be able to travel. Because that is something that I am truly passionate about, it gives me that drive in my life. So I encourage you to find what drives you, your special power, your passion, and follow it no matter what.
So I encourage you to find what drives you, your special power, your passion, and follow it no matter what.
Listen To Your Heart When It Comes To Decision Making
Lastly, I want to encourage you to listen to your heart and follow it. There are many times when we are just confused about what to do. We don’t know how to go further. It is also because other people are telling us their opinion on what we should do. But I encourage you to sit down in your room, in nature, whichever quiet place and be only with yourself. Calm down and analyze the options you have. Sit quietly and listen to what your heart is telling you. Never think what others will think about you if you make that or the other decision. Only listen to your heart and then decide.
Never think what others will think about you if you make that or the other decision. Only listen to your heart and then decide.
That’s my story and the messages I wanted to share with you guys with complete honesty. I encourage you to never be scared of anything. Open up your heart and live the life you want.
Never be scared of anything. Open up your heart and live the life you want.