Matt Damon vs Snaps&Blabs or how we got more media coverage than him

 

“You have more pages than Matt Damon!” exclaimed Mr.Blab after flicking through the latest edition of Grazia magazine. There, tucked in the later part of the publication, are three pages devoted to our story. For those of you who have little knowledge of Bulgarian, I have done my best to translate the whole article.

 

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by Zlatina Georgieva

 

“A recommendation from a friend of a friend, a link and long hours spent reading incredible stories of travel. That is how I found Geri’s blog, who in the last year travels with her husband and three children through some of the most exotic places in the world”

“Our interview continued via email for weeks, while she was writing from India or sending pictures from Dubai, until it turned into a story of how dreams come true.

Even though she is Bulgarian, Geri hasn’t lived here for awhile, so the starting point for the round the world journey is Australia. “I was born in Sofia and with exception of the few yearly trips to my grandfather’s village, I hadn’t really traveled.  My mom and I always dreamed of taking off somewhere, which never happened. As I grew up, deep in teenhood, I did not want to go anywhere – young with a lot of friends, old Trabant, work as a secretary and first year in the University – what more could I want? But one day, it turns out that a friend of a friend had connections in the South African embassy and I was faced with a choice. A real choice. And that is how, barely an adult I left Bulgaria in 1995. I found myself in Australia with two suitcases three years later”

Today Geri has three kids and a man with whom they had dreamed about that round the world trip, which could happen when the children grow up and they have saved some money in the bank.

“We spent hours dreaming, fueled by information from the numerous travel guides and books, which we were collecting, but were slowly wasting away on the shelves. At one point we achieved middle class living, in which we were both working with good incomes, the kids were in school and daycare, madness in the morning, madness in the evenings, weekends spent catching up, cooking, cleaning and getting to know our children, only to repeat the whole crazy ritual the following week, and the one after that. We managed to hold up for a few months like that, but this life was killing us.
Why don’t we travel now?, was the question we asked ourselves one day. We had some savings, we were healthy, the kids were good ages – 2, 6 and 10 respectively, and we still hadn’t bought a house. The only thing that was standing in our way was money. Luckily that did not stop us and about four months after we had asked ourselves that question, having sold the car, the furniture, the crap we had collected, fitted everything else in a small storage space, the cash in an account with high interest and with glowing faces, we were flying to Bali, Indonesia.

Our plan has been always written with a pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other. We wanted to travel as much as possible by land. First, because it is so much cheaper, and second, because it is so much more interesting. After our flight from Bali to Singapore we did not get on another plane until we reached Seoul in South Korea, through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Japan. Our third flight took us to India, where we spent almost 3 months. We welcomed the new year in Dubai, we were amongst the crowds in Tahrir Square for the anniversary of the Egypt Revolution,  we saw Istanbul covered in snow, and welcomed Grandma Marta in Sofia, where we are resting for a little bit before heading West. Of course, the eraser is firmly in the left hand and we have no idea how things will turn out. That we know for sure, after 12 months of travel”

A year on the road with young children is surely an adventure.

“I will lie if I say that I have not had worries. I did not worry about the lack of school, friends or our social circle. They are clever, flexible and capable children and I never doubted that they will deal competently with the challenges which surely come from immersing in different cultures and societies or just from living a nomadic lifestyle. My fears came in the middle of the night when while falling asleep I wondered: what if a car hits them, a dog bites them, or if they get sick and its my fault that I have dragged them here and there. In the morning, after a big cup of coffee, I would welcome the realization that bad things happen anywhere. The weight of the experience, which my kids would be getting from seeing the world in a way that very few people get a chance to do, put my normal parental worries in perspective. It turned out that the world is not that scary after all.

 

The kids have grown up in the time we have been traveling. My eldest turned 11 years in Vietnam, the youngest 3 in Japan. From the beginning they have accepted everything with enthusiasm and ease. Even now their only complaint is when we go to visit temples, which, it turns out, become impossibly boring after the tenth one. After the Himalayas my daughter also doesn’t want to explore any more mountains, but if she hears of a cheap second hand book store, we could not stop her walking there, even if we tried. The little ones are traveling heroes. They take everything as normal, floating on the daily currents without any complaints – they fall asleep anywhere, be it in a train, falling apart bus, squished between luggage or people, boats and cars. Somehow they manage to turn their journey into a magical experience, while I might be worrying about the stains on the surfaces around them”

More than a year now, Geri writes about everything they see, try and feel on the road. She shares that for the whole family, the most interesting spots are the markets and the small streets, especially their favorite old market in Cambodia.

“From the famous landmarks the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and Angkor were approved by everyone. I doubt we will be able to forget Hiroshima, although for different reasons. The children are in love with Bangkok and Japan as a whole”, summarizes the traveler.

The most frustrating part has been organizing the transport. India and China have proven the most difficult – a lot of population, full trains, lack of central reservation system. In those countries the ability to find tickets has dictated the destination in which the five of them head in.

Already 365 days Geri and her family are citizens of the world. Literally. Realizing the around the world journey, so many dream about, but so few dare to take on. What is her advice for those who still collect travel guides at home: “There is no such thing as a perfect moment! I have noticed that a lot of people are waiting for it, be it in regards to when to have children, start a business or before facing any big change. And maybe for a few that illusive moment does come, but for the rest of us the choice is either to jump in with two feet into the adventure, or to spend our lives waiting and thinking of excuses. There are no guarantees, but there is the chance that we will succeed in something that we dream about.”

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Thank you, Zlatina for the interest, for the wonderful article and for making this such a wonderful experience.

Sorry, Matt. Two pages is not that bad really.