This week we would like to introduce Marysia Maciocha of My Travel Affairs. Marysia is a traveler by heart, a jet setter. She dedicates her time and energy to unconventional explorations around the world in search of amazing people, unique places and immersing stores– just wait until you hear some of them!
1. What inspires you to travel, and how would you define the word ‘traveler’?
Curiosity! My travels have always been driven by the curiosity in another cultures, people, mentalities, different political and religion systems. I travel to understand, to learn, to make my own mind about places which majority people knows only from the headline news.
Traveler is a person who travel and is passionate about travels. Doesn’t matter if you travel for work or for pleasure. If you are a backpacker on the beaten path or just a luxurious weekend. If you do it and you love it you are a traveler.
I always tried to avoid very common discussion about tourists, travelers and who travels better. I find it ridiculous, you should never judge other people and everyone should do and travel to places that satisfy they likings.
2. For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style? (nomadic traveler, annual leave traveler, etc)
I have a very erratic style of travels; I always say I have 2 travel personas. First is Marysia the crazy adventure and off the beaten path traveler, and this Girl takes for 6 months, switch off her phone and discover countries such as Azerbaijan, Benin and Iran.
The other travel persona could be a jet setter. And this Marysia travels extensively in Europe and big international cities, enjoy luxury of Michelin starred restaurants in Paris, catch up with friends while sailing in Sardinia and Corsica, go skiing in French Alps etc.
If I think about it I myself am much more in favour of Marysia ‘The Crazy Traveller’. But life is life, I’m an European with friends and family around the world, and as much as I love travel I love to keep a strong bond with my significant others. I can not afford loosing this connections therefore you may find me complaining about how 5 weddings this summer destroyed my travel plans for 2014 but family and friends always come first for me and seeing their faces always make up for everything!
3. How do you afford your travels?
I have always been lucky with money, I have made some smart investments in the past and they pay off. It is not a fortune but enough to travel. You must take in consideration that I do not have much of financial obligations like other people. I do not own an apartment or a car. I have no husband and no kids so I can actually use all the income for my travels. Oh and as surprised I was on the very beginning the blog brings some income every month, not as much as I would love to, but helping a lot.
4. Where was your first international trip and how old were you?
It must be when I was about 6 or 7 and we went to Czech Republic with my Mom, but I do not have much relocations of this trip except pictures.
My first serious solo international travel was back in April of 2008 when I flew to Brazil.
5. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?
I love Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. My top 5 favourite countries are Iran, Oman, Azerbaijan, Jordan, and Benin. I love Israel, but I live here so I do not consider it as travels anymore, same as Turkey as I’m there many times a year.
My least favorite is Egypt, but I guess the bad experiences I had there are to blame. Men in this country have been terrible. Maybe one day I will give this country another chance, lets see for that.
I’m not a big fan of Armenia either. The country is super beautiful and it is definitely must visit. But overall experience with people and their attitude to travelers was below positive.
And may be because I have visited so many countries where people been above amazing, I’m being pickier as my standards as set up very high. Like Iranian high. Where I have met the most fabulous and nice people in the whole world.
6. If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
Actually this question meets me in Israel, where I just moved 2 months ago.
I have been visiting this country for past 6 year, 6-7 times a year and I’m currently giving Tel Aviv a test ride to check if I could settle here.
Why? Because Tel Aviv is a prefect city. Fun, hip, relaxed, always sunny, super friendly people, amazing food, superb party scene, well-established culture… I could go forever with listing my reasons.
But Israel is not an easy place to live so let’s see how things go.
7. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?
I tend to keep my expectation low in most cases but I have been disappointed with Venice. It is a beautiful city; there is not doubt about that. But it is dead, like a museum. And I love lively places. But this is not too bad for almost 10 years of my serious travels so no hard feelings J
8. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
To be honest it is hard for me to be surprised as I always accept different cultures as they are, and I do not compare to my own, maybe that is why everyone always say that I’m the most liberal and tolerant person they ever knew. But there is this one story from Iran, which left me lost for words. It is a bit too long but cutting it short. My friend and I were hitch hiking from Kurdistan to Esfahan. We got the ride in actual tour bus and bus driver demanded us to take money from him! He couldn’t understand the idea that we are hitch hiking because we want to meet locals, experience some adventure not because we have no money. Actually I though it was beautiful gesture but we just couldn’t take money from someone who earns ten times less than us! And I know from experience that Iranian are hospitable but this completely different level!
9. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?
I do not really have anything like that. Maybe I could consider scarfs to be such thing, I get them in most countries I travel to and I’m seriously addicted to them, I almost never leave a house without one.
10. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
Hair dryer. I know it seems a bit odd, but I’m a bit OCD. I can’t imagine travelling without a camera as well as I love taking pictures!
11. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your blog name?
I started my blog in the summer of 2011, so 3 years ago. And the name really shows my attitude to travel. My travels are always like affairs, passionate and never meant forever. I can stay in the country for few months but I know there will always be some new, more alluring lover on my radar ha ha ha
12. What’s next for 2014?
As I have mentioned, I have many weddings to attend this year so I’m staying around Europe till October. I’m currently in Tel Aviv and my plans include. Italy, both Tuscany and Piedmont. North of France, Brittany and Normandy.
Greece couple of times as of TEBX and friend’s wedding. Turkey at some point, some travels in Israel. US for few weeks in between the weddings.
After October I have no set up plans, but I should hit Panama and Central America most probably.
Backpack or suitcase? Suitcase, I like order and nicely folded clothes.
Window or aisle? Aisle always.
Solo or group? Solo.
Tapas or sushi? That is a hard one, love both! Honestly can’t decide.
Beach or mountains? Can I go for a third option? Desert!
Be sure to follow all of Marysia’s crazy adventures: