This week we would like to introduce Vanessa of On the Road Again. Vanessa is a 22 year old German with a passion for travel. After graduating university, she wanted to do something different, both personally and academically, so she took a gap year which led her to sign up for an Arctic Studies program at the University of Tromso in Norway. Since then she’s traveled to other countries including Scotland, Sweden and Latvia and hopes to return to Tromso as an expat in the near future.

1. What inspires you to travel, and how would you define the word ‘traveler’?

I always wanted to leave my little hometown and see the world. As a kid I imagined myself having an important career that would allow me to travel constantly. I’m still working on that…. 😉van1

Besides, I’m pretty restless and always in search of something new and different so that’s why I love to travel so much. I define a traveler as someone who searches for new experiences, be it to experience another culture, a change of climate or simply a different food.

2. For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style? 

Currently I’m a gap year traveler with the aim of becoming an expat/Masters degree student abroad, soon.

3. How do you afford your travels?

I have some savings that I use for plane tickets and accommodation and I always get money for food from my family as they’re afraid I might starve to death when I’m abroad.

4. Where was your first international trip and how old were you?

My parents went on a vacation to the Canary Isles in Spain with me when I was about 4 years old. So my first flight already took 4 hours!

5. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?

My favorite destination is the Arctic region of Northern Norway where I spend one month last year. It was my first solo trip and the best but also one of the hardest experiences of my life so far. My least favorite destination is Prague in the Czech Republic. All I remember of the trip is severe headache and bad company so I wasn’t able to enjoy the city, sorry Prague!

6. If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?van2

This is a hard one. I probably will never really settle down unless I really have to because no matter how great the location might be, I would definitely get bored at some point and long after new experiences. However I can imagine living in Scandinavia for a long time…..but forever?

7. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?

Travel mishaps? Constantly! Getting lost in France because you’re thinking it would be a great idea to walk instead of taking the bus?  Trying to push 30kg of luggage up a hill to a hotel in Norway while the streets are icy? Falling with your luggage into a hotel in Scotland because you missed the steps? Yes that was me, me aaaaand yes, me!

And I wouldn’t call it disappointing but I sometimes have very high expectations of a certain destination that are just not realistic. Like the time I was in Sweden for the very first time and Stockholm wasn’t pretty at all but instead the city presented itself very grey and depressing. And also the North Cape wasn’t as amazing as I imagined it. I mean it was great to have been there but if you look at it realistically, it is just a rock with a globe on it

that isn’t even the real northernmost point of Europe.

8. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?

It was funny to watch about 30 Scots properly standing in line and forming a 10 meter queue at the bus stop while it was raining cats and dogs. A huge difference to Germany where the bus shelter would be crowded with people pushing each other to get some space in there too.

But it was weird and disgusting at times to watch people in Sweden (and not just juveniles, old gents and ladies too!) sniffing back their snot and spitting.

9. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?van3

I always have to buy and send a postcard to my mum so that she can decorate the kitchen with it.  I also always buy potato chips and chocolate at the airport abroad because they just don’t have all the good stuff in Germany.

I used to keep loads of tickets and brochures from my travels but now I only take the interesting ones with me that I can show my family. The more I travel the less use they seem to have for me.

10. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?

Bandanas! Great if you’re having a bad hair day or just no time to wash and style your hair properly while being on the road. And you can also pull them over your ears when it’s cold and windy. I always bring loads of them!

11. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your blog name?

I began blogging simply to keep my family and friends updated. It started with a blog on Facebook but with time it became an obsession. I opened a proper Blogspot site and now I’m constantly working on my blog to make it better and more professional.

My blog name is inspired by a folk song from Jaren Scott which is named “On the Road again”. It was the soundtrack of a Norwegian documentary series on life in the Arctic that aired shortly after I came back from my trip up North and it reminded me so much of my experiences that I listened to it over and over again.

12. What’s next for 2014?

I just got back from Stockholm and I will head back to Sweden for the summer to explore Malmö, Gothenburg, Oslo and Copenhagen. I hope that I get a study place for my Master’s degree in Norway or Scotland soon and that I will make the big move in August or September then.

Traveler Toss-upsvan4

Backpack or suitcase? Suitcase, preferably overweighed and filled with stuff I don’t use anyway. I have yet to learn the art of packing…..

Window or aisle? Aisle because you’re being served the food first aaaand because I have a teeny-weeny fear of flying and heights. Seriously, a teeny-weeny one!

Solo or group? Solo

Tapas or sushi? Tapas

Beach or mountains? Mountains

Be sure to follow in Vanessa’s upcoming expat experience:

Visit Vanessa’s site: On the Road Again
Follow Vanessa on Twitter: @van_brune
“Like” Vanessa on Facebook: On the Road Again

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