When you want to do a thing, or want to plan a thing, it seems like writing about it is going to jinx it.

You don’t want to tell anyone about a new job before your first day, you know? You don’t want to tell people you’ve won a prize until it’s in your hands, don’t want to tell anyone you won the lottery. The whole don’t count your chickens before they hatch thing.

But maybe planning isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s okay to talk about planning, and maybe sometimes things are okay to do in a group space. Maybe it doesn’t jinx it, but maybe it empowers you to actually do the thing.

The new year is always a time of resolutions and “I’m going to do this! REALLY! I SWEAR!” and trying to re-do things. I find that I suck at keeping resolutions, that it’s fun to jump on the bandwagon of fruitless pledges, but where does it really go from there? Nobody ever actually does anything.

Which is why I’m starting before the new year. I’m starting now, and I’m starting by turning an “I want” into an “I am going to.” I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to travel abroad and especially that I wanted to go visit eastern Europe, especially Romania. So instead of dreaming wistfully about it and looking up flights I don’t actually plan on booking, I’m making it happen. I don’t “want” to go to Romania, I am going to go to Romania.

Maybe I haven’t figured out the details yet, but that’s why we’re here.

The first problem I ran in to with trying to travel abroad is that there are almost zero guides or blogs out there about starting from scratch. The ones that do tell you to “just go” and don’t tell you the finer points of how to do things and what you need to register and where you need to go and blah blah blah. So I decided I’m going to start there and bring you guys along with me. I’m very aware that I might not be able to do this. I might not be able to earn enough money, there might be some weird European crisis in the next year that prevents me from traveling there, whatever. But maybe, just maybe, by writing about it I’ll be able to stay on track and keep myself focused on my goals instead of on, say, the fact that I really, really want to go for Denny’s at 4 in the morning. Because I don’t. I want to pocket that cash for my plane tickets. But anyway.

Before You Ask…

This section is geared more toward my parents, family, and friends who I know are going to have these questions, but maybe it’ll be helpful to you when your family and friends inevitably nag you about the when and the what and the why.

Uh…wait…hold on, Romania? Why, exactly?

The shortest answer? It’s an incredibly interesting country with a long and storied history, a whole bunch of beautiful castles, and a music scene that I just have to check out in person. As a bonus, from everything I can tell, Romania is cheap to visit. Sure, I’d like to see London like any normal person, but have you seen how much things cost out there? I’m trying to be realistic, here.

Do you speak Romanian? 

Eu vorbesc un pic. I’m working on it. I’ve actually spent a large chunk of the last year studying the Romanian language, watching Romanian television programs, and listening to Romanian music to help me get an idea of how it should be pronounced since I don’t have anyone to speak with on a daily basis. (And if you’re new here, you should probably check out some of my previous posts about Romanian music.) The language is actually a huge part of the reason I want to go: it’s such a beautiful language, and while I enjoyed studying French for years, Romanian is my new language love. Imi pare rau, France. It was good.

How are you going to do this? Isn’t travel expensive?! What about time off work?!

Okay, slow your roll, alternate-Manda who’s asking the questions. First off, I am a freelance web developer who runs her own business (Small Finch Studios, for those of you in need of that sort of thing) so the time off work isn’t really a big deal. I haven’t exactly figured out how to work it in to my budget yet, but for the sake of comparison: it’s going to cost me about $650 to fly from Chicago, IL, USA to Bucharest, Romania. If I was still living in North Carolina and wanted to fly to LAX, Google Flights tells me I’d be paying $480. See? Perspective.

On the real, though, I’m just going to need to budget. Remember the Denny’s comment? We all have things that we buy unnecessarily. This blog post, in fact, is me holding myself accountable: I can do this, I just need to buckle down. We all also have other important expenses, too, myself definitely included, but I think if I prioritize right I can make everything work.

Oh, and I guess if you really, really want to chip in, you can support my blog on Patreon, which will help me out in a very direct way. (I have a PayPal tip jar too, but that’s only for those of you who are suuuuuper into this blog. For everyone else, there’s Patreon!)


So what now?

Now, the work begins. I have a lot to do. A lot. I need to get a passport, which I’m kind of embarrassed to say I didn’t have before now. Something could happen and I might not get one! And then this whole journey would be over and I’ll just go to, like, California or something, but I hope that doesn’t happen. I also really would like to travel with my boyfriend, so we need to probably go through the same process for him, which is going to give us even MORE to do.

Right, but anyway, I have a lot to do:

  • I need to get a new Driver’s License so that I can get a passport, since mine is out of state.
  • I need to get photos taken for a passport, and actually submit the passport form.
  • I need to book plane tickets and a place to stay (we have looked at some NEAT apartments.)
  • I desperately need a new camera so I can document the journey (and hopefully do some videos!)
  • …I really, really need to keep working on my Romanian so I can at least figure out how to order things at restaurants because right now unless I want o bere or papanasi I am S.O.L.

I plan on updating along the way. And, again, maybe I’ve jinxed it. Maybe this won’t work. But maybe it will work. Maybe I’ll finally get to take the trip I’ve been dreaming of since I was a teenager. When I was in school years ago I had to do a project where we spent $3000 on a trip, and mine was on a trip to Chicago. It took me like 10-15 years, but I eventually got there, and gosh dang it I am eventually going to get to Europe too.

Let’s do this. One step at a time. The world is a lot bigger than my backyard, and I really want to see it.