Time for the second interview with a Polish blogger. This time let me present you Agnieszka who runs Zależna w podróży, a blog about green and responsible tourism as well as solo female travels. She has recently came back from Israel, before she has traveled extensively around Middle East, Asia or Sicily. We met in June in Berlin and well, now we have plans to conquer the world together but more about that later. So without a further ado meet Agnieszka!
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, some interesting facts about yourself.
Well, I’m a 26 years old blond girl who finished her university a year ago. Since I remember I’ve always loved to write. As a child I used to to write short fiction stories. Actually that’s why I started to write a blog. It was more about creating than telling my travel stories.
What is your blog about? What do you like to write about the most?
Nobody wants to hear that it’s about traveling. That’s more than obvious. But that’s the truth. I believe in catching the moment so I write what I want to write in the very day. But of course I have my main topics. Many people conect me with Sicily where I used to live for few months. I covered few Middle East countries and I’m just about to go to Morocco so there will be even more about Arab culture and stunning deserts. For sure I like local experiences, writing about food and alcohol and places off the beaten path. I write about my way of traveling and it’s more and more responsible tourism. I don’t like to use this phrase a lot but I hope it’s visible in my articles.
When and why did you start blogging?
It was more than two years ago. I saved some money from my scholarship and bought one way ticket to Bejing. Firstly, I planned to come back to Poland by Trans-Siberian train. But my father was so afraid that he suggested me participating in costs of my journey if I’d change my route. This way I visited China, Malaysia and Thailand. And I started a blog. Just for friends and family.
Are you traveling long time or just occassionally?
My job is connected with traveling. I’m a travel writer and write guidebooks. That makes me travel a lot. Almost every month I do one 10 days trip + a weekend getaway. But I miss travelling longer. My greatest journeys were these that lasted almost 2 months. Then I feel that I really have time to travel slow.
Why do you travel? What inspires you to discover the world?
They say that people travel because of lack of acceptation. Sometimes it’s because of society, sometimes it’s a broken heart. I’m not sure if it’s the main reason but maybe it worked for me these 7 years ago. But actually I was always traveling a lot with my parents. It was obvious that instead of buying new furnitures to the house they were booking hotels. Now I’m doing the same.
What’s the craziest / most adventurous / most memorable thing you’ve done while travelling?
It was falling in love in Thailand. Imagine the most romantic tropical island. I decided: let’s go crazy. I want to learn diving. I went to diving course and there he was. This strange American guy who – that was obvious – liked me from the very first moment. I was supposed to hike with him the next day but I’ve got terrible sick. Sure I would never see him again I was dying from sickness in my perfect cabine on the beach and 2 days later there he was. Came there just for me. Let’s be honest – it scared me a lot. How weird was that to book a room in the exactly same place? But anyway he did it! I got crush on him. We spent together next 3 days and 2 months later I went to visit him in Oregon on the West Coast.
So I hitchhiked huge part of Middle East, got crazy drunk in the middle of the night on steppe, traveled alone China and hiked the way from Istanbul to Edirne but none of these things was such crazy as this love.
Your top 3 visited places and why?
Sahara Desert – For my friends it’s not a surprise that I do love deserts more than any other landscape. Give me mountains, give me city skylines, give me ocean – I’d like everything of that. But give me desert and just leave. Because I could watch it for many hours. And from these that I’ve seen I love Sahara the most. It’s so wild. So dangerous. So romantic.
The Great Wall – because that’s the most amazing connection of architecture and nature that I’ve ever seen. You look at one side and there it is. The building that never ends. You look at the other side and it’s the same over there. I wish to come back and hike it for few days.
Petra – actually I’m sure I love it so much also because of the fact that this ancient city is set on the desert. But not only. The place is stunning. It’s not just the famous temple (that it’s actually a grave) that you see on photos. It’s the whole huge city. And Bedouins used to live there till few years ago. Just stunning.
Which place in Poland would you recommend and why?
I always invite everyone to my fantastic Cracow. If you’re going there find me on Couchsurfing. I’d love to show you around! But Poland is not only about Cracow. We have some fantastic off beaten track treasures. I would like to be more involved in promoting Beskid Niski (Lower Beskid). It’s such a wild and exotic land. I’m sure that tourists from abroad would love it!
Your next travel plans.
I’m going to visit Sicily in January (again). This time I will be focused on the eastern part of the island. But can I tell you a secret? I’m not looking forward to it. It’s going to be cold, I will be alone and I’m doing it for work (gonna write guidebook about Catania and its area). BUT in February I’m going to spend 11 days in Morocco. And that’s something I can’t wait. My beloved Sahara is waiting for me there.
Other Polish blogger you’d recommend to follow.
I do think that Polish travel blogs are really great. We have some heavy travelers, great writers, specialists of social media and amazing photographers. You already know Kami, so I’m going to recommend 3 different blogs.
Firstly, Rodzynki sułtańskie. Gosia writes about her life in Turkey, so one of my favourite country ever. But it’s not so important. Actually Gosia could write about anything and I’d read it anyway. This girl has amazing writing skills. If she’d ever write a book I’m the first one who buys it.
Secondly, BearGirl. That’s a girl that I admire. In this very moment she’s somewhere there on Yukon riding her bicycle in deep snow and asking bears not to eat her. That’s something I would never do. Firstly, I’m not brave enough. And secondly – I think I got a little bit lazy. I do enjoy ending a day in a bed with hot shower.
And the third blog is Chwytaj dzień. I’ve stared to read it few months ago while its authors were on a road trip in the US. Such a journey is my biggest travel dream and these guys they just take amazing photos. I didn’t miss any single post from their American serie.
You’re not only a travel blogger but also a travel writer. Could you tell a little bit more about that. What are you currently working on?
OK, I’m writing a guidebook about Berlin right now but that’s not the most important thing. Some time ago I was looking at Polish travel blogs and I said to myself „Wow! These guys are doing amazing job. They should be able to do just this”. And then the project started. I shared the idea with my father and some travel bloggers and right now 8 people are writing tourist guidebooks to different cities in Europe. We plan to publish them the early Spring. I do believe that’s a great idea to give people the knowledge of our bloggers and let them be guided through the cities. Hopefully Kamila will be one of the authors. The guidebooks are supposed to be translated to English as well so look for them on the Internet and in your bookstores.
You did some extensive solo travels. What are the places you’d say are a big no for fellow travelling girls?
I wouldn’t say it’s a region or the country. It’s rather the place inside the country or a way of travelling. If you stay in the tourist spots and go back to your hostel in the early evening you can go whereever you want. But if you want to stay in a small village or hike in the countryside alone then something may happen. I would keep eye on Muslim countries. Let’s be honest. The feminism there is very weak and for many men you’re just a sexual object that can be used however they want. So: visit Istanbul, go to Casablanca, have fun in Petra. BUT find a company to hike national parks, don’t go alone to local village and keep in mind that Couchsurfing in some countries means pretty much that you agree to sleep with your host.
You promote ecotourism and responsible travels. Why do you think it’s so important to go this way?
Well, yeah I try. I just hate these mass tourism businesses. I went to Egypt last year and I was terrified. The hotel industry totally destroyed the landmark of Taba region, the pollutions from the hotel were drained directly to the sea. The cay is destroyed more and more and Polish and Russian girls are flirting with barmen whose wives are 15 years old and whose clitoris are circumcised. That’s just wrong. That shouldn’t happen. There is no excuse for this, specially not because of the fact that we want to spend a cheap week in All Inclusive hotel.
But I don’t think that tourism should be banned at all. Yes, let’s go to Egypt but let’s stay in eco-lodge. Let’s ask the owner of camels how he treats his animals. Let’s make some research and find a person who treats them well. I did find this kind of guy in Mitzpe Ramon in Israel. How? I asked few people there. Everybody recomended me him. The most progresive beduin they know.
If we show people from tourism industry that we want to buy fresh fruits from a local farmer and not the ones that are shipped from Europe, if we spend more money in green hotels the guys will see that these are good money. And they will try to change their business to please us. That’s better for everyone: locals, nature, animals and us
Thank you Agnieszka for taking the time to answer all these questions! It’s been a pleasure to interview you!
Thank you for these questions. It was really amazing to chalenge them and to discover more about myself. They reminded me that I do what I like and that I should keep going this way.
Is there anything you’d like to ask Agnieszka about?
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