Written by: Teona Gvasalia, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
We are lucky to live in this time. We have so many opportunities to travel, see the world and create unique stories of our lives. I started traveling 4 years ago when I was a student and had some part-time jobs. I was not a millionaire, but I decided to explore the world and I saw so much beauty in the amazing world we live in. When I travel, I always meet so many great people and I always get the chance to go on so many amazing adventures.
When people hear about my travelings and about all the places I've visited, the first question is usually: "How much money do you spend?". This is something that many people wonder about and the beauty of my way of traveling is that it doesn't have to cost much at all. If you decide you want to travel and discover, there is always a way to do it.
Traveling is not about spending several nights at luxury hotels and visiting tourist attractions; it's about adventure; it's about the people we meet, about local places and culture. Nature can give us more luxury than any 5-star hotel.
We don't need expensive spas when there are natural waterfalls with treating clay or beautiful lakes, natural jacuzzis and local dinners with the locals. Homemade food can be better than any expensive restaurant can offer us, lifting can be more fun and comfortable than super-expensive flights and 1st class seats by train. Instead, you could get a lift with a convertible, a Ferrari or even track while creating experiences that would be unforgettable memories.
Material things are temporary, but memories, people and friends all over the world are permanent. We really don't live once, we live every day and we die once. We can't take everything with us, but memories and stories are something we can carry with us every day, and it will fulfill our lives.
Many of us have the luxury of living the life we really want. The first steps are always the most difficult, but once you have taken them you will become unstoppable. I know some people are scared, others don't trust others and some are scared to change their lifestyle. For that reason, I would like to share some of my first steps and experiences to motivate you and make you see that anyone can travel, if there is only a will and a little courage.
What you need to know before traveling
First of all, you don’t need a huge amount of money to do it. Just find your free time, do your homework and let’s go. By homework, I mean to prepare for the place you are going to visit. We all have social media accounts or access to Google. I would say the best way is to join some Facebook groups, and you will find many. Look for groups like; "About solo travelers", "Solo female travelers", "Backpacking", "Hitchhiking", "Europe buckets list", etc...
Second, you don't need to spend a lot of money on transportation. Register on every cheap airline’s webpage or get an application, and frequently check their deals. Flixbus is a super-cheap and comfortable way to travel short distances. Also consider the interrail, which offers a good price by train between different cities and countries in Europe.
And my favorite, hitchhiking. You may find it scary but it might be a good time to try something new and getting over your fears. Try to cleanse your mind and instead of thinking about what bad things can happen, try to focus on the positive. Visit the hitchiwiki website and check out all the best options to start your journey. If you have any doubts, join hitchhiking groups on Facebook and ask any questions you have. Be patient, stay positive and be open to the good things that happen to you, and most importantly, trust others, there are many amazing people out there.
"Every stranger is a friend we don’t know yet"
Don’t think that traveling is going far from home, the whole world is our home and we are all brothers and sisters. Register on Couchsurfing or workaway (if you have a lot of time and want to stay longer in other countries or cities). Some people are afraid to use Couchsurfing or don’t understand the idea "Why would someone host me for free?". It is simple, once you start to travel, you are becoming a traveler, and you are joining a huge community of travelers where we all help each other. Couchsurfing is not about a free place to stay, it’s about connecting with people, involving people in local life, making friends all around. Every stranger is a friend we don’t know yet, and every person knows something we don’t know yet. So let yourself be open to all the new things, there is always something we do for the first time, and if we don’t try, we will never know.
If you trust my experience, Couchsurfing is the best way to travel, and no hotel can be compared with this experience. I made a lot of friends after visiting their houses and some of them stayed at my home as well. Couchsurfing allows you to live a life like a local, meet your host’s friends, family, see how people live, what their habits are, what they eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, how they hang out. It’s not about the money, because from your side, you can share your knowledge of something they don’t know, you can cook your traditional meals, or teach your language, or other things that you think are valuable to share… My advice if you start using Couchsurfing: get your profile verified and always check references before you request to stay with them.
So grab your backpack, passport, the money that you have, find free time and go. Don’t forget to smile and be grateful for the life you have, and enjoy the beauty of the earth we live in...
Teona Gvasalia, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Teona Gvasalia is a traveler, skier, doctor, but most importantly, a huge life lover. While studying med school for 6 years, she found out that mountains and especially skiing was something that she could do with love and passion. In the 3rd and hardest year at med school, she decided to take a ski instructor qualification in France, Meribel, which allowed her to study all year, work in winter holidays and travel the whole summer. After she did her first solo trip to Europe, she realized that life isn't happening while you sit at home or do something you don't like. She realized that traveling isn't all about money; you just need to take the first steps and make your own unforgettable stories. She has been a motivation for a lot of her friends, who were afraid to travel alone, or to travel on a budget... She graduated from medical school but dedicated her life to skiing and traveling and writing her own stories and amazing adventures.