new york

Travel and tell stories about it

Beijing Great WallThe first time I ever went abroad was back in 2006, when I was 14 and freshly out of middle school. That was the year my dad managed to find the necessary cash for us to drive and visit not one, not two, but eleven countries in Europe, checking out their most famous sightseeing spots as we moved ahead. At the time, I had heard so many stories about “strainatate” (countries abroad) and knew that the chance of visiting all of them was so little, that there was no use for me to hope to see the world. We had had little to no budget of going on vacations over the past years and I was starting to get used to the fact that Bucharest would probably be my last stop on the journey towards self discovery.

Then I met Vienna. It was my glimpse of hope for a better future, for myself as well as for the ones that will arrive after me. I felt secure walking down the streets of this wonderful city, it felt like the home I never quite managed to get in my hometown of Sibiu. It was the city I needed for a start worthy of the dreams I’ve always had – and just didn’t have the courage to pursue until that age. And soon after, in 2008, after visiting Croatia and traveling back to Sibiu via Vienna, I called my father telling him that I want to study in Vienna more than anything in the world.

In 2010, we made it happen. With the help of my amazing family, I’m able to write these thoughts from one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world, getting ready to wrap up my studies in the field of Communication and Media. It’s 2014 and I’ve been traveling these past months more than I did in my entire life (just read the first paragraph again to see how many countries I saw in my first trip through Europe and come back here). I’m trying to remember all the places I’ve seen in 2013 and up until now, but honestly, I didn’t even get the chance to upload all the photos I’ve shot in my last 5 trips onto my computer let alone think about each experience. And that’s a shame.

Since photography is a just a hobby, but writing is my life, I really want to tell you the stories I’ve been living these years. Some are boring and need a lot of insider information to get even slightly logical, but the most of them make a lot of sense and are worthy of being written down. If somebody would have told me that I can get to NY for 300 Euro and to Beijing for 250 Euro, I would have probably laughed hard and thought that person is crazy. But look at what I’m doing now…and look at where I’m heading towards next ;) .

The city that never ends

The cityIt’s been a great week, a week that has left a lot of beautiful memories behind of the streets that have been walked and the words that have been talked. It feels as if I am leaving a piece of me behind in this place, in this room, in this city. I’d roam through Manhattan 24 hours a day if the Starbucks coffee I plentifully enjoyed over the last couple of days would have actually kicked in. I’ve met interesting people and the people I already knew have become even more interesting than before.

The city has been a cold, but colorful companion to me. It’s been kind, hasn’t ripped me off even though I still am just a tourist wondering on its lanes and getting lost on its avenues. Although I enjoyed the warm, Californian weather on its Western coast more, this country has made me truly believe that if I can made it there, I’ll make it everywhere. I’m so in love with the images that have once been showed to me on the big screen and are now being revealed in real life.

Normally, it feels so hard to go away and try to live your life in another spot. New York makes you want to reconsider your options once more and see just how soon you can find a new ticket to return to its streets. I didn’t even care about the fashion, all I could think about these days was to go more in depth with the buildings, the people, the lives, the places, the food, the coffee, the endless search for a good WiFi to post my shots in real time.

New York, I promise I’ll be a good girl if you promise to have me back soon. Until then, let’s keep in touch through blog posts and novels that still need to be written.

Writing about traveling as a non-travel blogger

Reaching for the EmpireI may not be a travel blogger, but I really do like to travel a lot! Thing is, until just about two days ago, I didn’t quite manage to get the time, sit down and just write what I’m experiencing during my trips because…well, I really like to travel and I’m more of a “let’s go out and explore the city instead of sitting around” kind of person. So much so that I didn’t even manage to post the photos I liked most from my past three trips (London, Dublin and London again) – not to mention start blogging about them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. I’d write 10 hours a day if I knew that by the end of it something good will come out of my thoughts. The fact that this trip to NY is just about me and about how I can manage my own sightseeing + shopping + gift buying time meant that there could finally be a part of the day during which I focus on…you guessed it, writing. I didn’t even know I needed this extra time until I got here. And I’m so glad that I’m doing this right now, right here, from the 23rd floor of a beautiful Manhattan room.

I’ve been wishing for this moment to come for the past 12 years of my life. That moment when I sit down and write my soul away on the streets of a big city – that moment has arrived. This is the time to stop wasting the days in places I don’t belong and simply focus on what’s most important to me. And right now, I really need to get to Chinatown, check out Bleecker Street once more and tell you all about it. See you later!

How to fly to New York City for under 305 Euro

Because New YorkFirst of all, you need a dream. If you don’t dream enough of being in the city you once loved, then loathed, then loved again, you will probably not see the deal to get from FRA to JFK appearing right in front of your eyes one crazy night in November at around 11.40 pm.

Then, you need to be just a little bit creative and take advantage of the error fare on the site you caught by trying out locations that are closer to you, such as München. Oh great, 289 Euro for a flight at the End of February. “I can do that, I can definitely do that”, now let’s ask the boyfriend/travelling buddy. No wait, let’s check out Vienna first. Holy §$%&, it’s 300 Euros for a direct return flight with United (aka Austrian operated by Tyrolean aka more than 4000 bonus Star Alliance miles aka cheaper than just buying those miles online). NOW let’s ask the boyfriend. He doesn’t want to come because it’s the end of February and he might have a thing then. That’s great, “I’ll just give up”.

If you are thinking that right now, go to the kitchen, get a glass of good red wine, go back to the desk and play your favourite New York songs. Remember just how much you wanted to be there during Fashion Week and how close you are to achieving that. Then go back to the error fare site and find out it’s not working anymore. Well, it was worth a shot.

No wait, just go back into your History and check out the reservation link you created before. Bingo! Now change the dates to the ones fitting New York Fashion Week and find out it costs exactly the same. Ask your boyfriend if he wants to join once more and after a second hesitation from his side, just book the damn thing. You always wanted to be there, it doesn’t matter who you are with or what you are doing. Just click book now. You have exactly that amount of money left on your credit card, that must be a sign to do it. Click it. Click it woman!

Yes, you are doing this. You’re going to New York alone in Fashion Week for 304 Euro. Now all you need is to find a decent place to sleep and the world belongs to you…

(Stay tuned, there’s more coming at you…)

Paris preparations

What to do on a rainy Sunday morning? All is still so quiet and naive, thoughts are dribbling and turning and twisting through my mind. The faces I’ve met one day ago seem so crisp, yet so vague, so I can’t write about desires that haven’t been defined so far.

That’s why I turn to you, dear Paris. You’ve inspired me to write ever since we crossed roads in 2007, and now it’s finally time to meet again. You’re the one I’ve faithfully been waiting for all this time, the one that hasn’t made me decide whether New York has more beautiful streets and buildings than you do.

Because it’s about so much more than just the streets and the buildings. It’s about so, so much more than job opportunities and safety and the comfort of living close to the center, but just not quite there yet. It’s about a new state of mind, another way of thinking things through, a path to self discovery and evolution. It’s all about inspiration. About the fact that you give wings to my words.

Paris, I don’t know if New York’s time has arrived yet. But I know for sure that we have waited too long for each other. And that it won’t matter if it’s cold outside, because I still love you. And I always will, no matter where I am. No matter what language I speak on the outside.

À plus tard!

If I can make it there

The city has its intrepid way of figuring out a story for itself. That’s maybe why it was so hard to get started on writing a story about the city. But finally, my fingers started to literally point out the emotions I tried to keep locked in for so long and here it is: my own version of the American dream.

It all started on a warm August night when we arrived by cab in the big apple. The same big apple I had been raving about for so many years, the one I’ve dreamed about since watching Sex and the City and the adventures of a wild PR called Samantha that gets up in the morning with two thoughts: to make cash and to make love.

The first glimpses of the city seemed very promising and as we headed towards our hotel directly across Times Square, things looked amazingly bright around here. Our first night included a hot dog delight and a walk around some blocks of Midtown (42nd to 48th and Broadway, to be precise). The following days would bring a touristiquey perspective to the setting as we moved throughout the whole city on a double deck bus. And it was great, and it was grand, and it was not like Sex and the City, but rather like Girls. Fine with me.

What to say about the rest? The top of Empire State Building was cloudy, yet amazing. My passionate department store shopaholic sense still needs to develop, since I am definitely more into one brand at a time than 10000 at once. Got my first Guess shoes, my first Levi’s jeans, my first Dooney & Bourke bag (and nobody in Vienna has a clue what that is) and…my first collection(s) of VS lingerie. The rest lies in the details.

From the Central Station to Madison Avenue to Union Square and to the High Line, I tried to soak in as much information about the city as I could, while still obliging myself to stay focused for the future. My refusal to visit both the Met and MoMa will probably be the reason why I’m planning on returning in 2013, maybe for more than a week next time, to check out these big points of interest. Still, I was delighted in my own book-reading student way by the famous, yet quiet Bleecker Street, which housed us for my early birthday lunch and late birthday presents. We got Pizza at John’s (and next year we’re getting one at Lombardi’s, promise) and celebrated with wine and meatball spaghetti my turning of age. I’m 21 baby, legal in the States!

And then came THE Manhattan. That cocktail I had long been craving for, served with just a slightly bit too much Bourbon, that will always remind me of the first taste I’ve had of New York. Fruity, yet very rough at times, it’s a place to be and a place to get lost from.

It’s up to you, New York, New York.

Rethinking NYC – the BMW Guggenheim Lab

The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a mobile laboratory which will travel to nine major cities worldwide over the next six years. The project has already started in New York and addresses issues of contemporary urban life through programs and public discourse – a great thing considering the fact that people living in a city can bring their own ideas, experience and create forward-thinking solutions for city life. Let’s see what the founders of this project say about it in this following TEDxVienna article :)

influencers

No matter what I do, I want to make a change in the world.

No matter where I go, I want to leave a part of me behind and get hold of a new piece of me on the road.

No matter who I turn out to be, I still hope of becoming the best version of myself.

No matter how much I talk about myself, in the end it’s all about you.

Please click on the link below to watch a great short documentary on influencers:

INFLUENCERS FULL VERSION from R+I creative on Vimeo.

livin’ la vida loca

you’re young, living in a small city of a former comunist country, thinking of yourself as the smartest being to ever walk this road to success. you’re cooking up plans to take over the planet and find yourself on a crossroad between acting, singing and becoming a famous marketing superstar who does PR for V.I.P.s and gets to see all that happens behind stage. so you choose to continue your studies, get out and about and try to discover the world one european capital at a time.

you start off with something easy: a city with a population of about 2 million people (a finer, much more quiet version of the capital city in your homeland), two very nice parents looking up for you financially to get you the best conditions possible (within a reasonable amount of money) and three months and a half of “preparation mode”. now you’re ready to take off, get on those dancing boots and start making your way through the market (and earning some money, of course).

and after a couple of experiences, you realise that you love it here. so much, that you would not leave this place called “opportunity” for a million bucks. well, maybe for two million :) you start to get used to these conditions, start enjoying your daily rides on the tram and metro and start inviting people into your life and your soul. but you know that this is only a step in your way to conquering the world.

next up: finding a way of getting your Master’s degree in Paris and working during the summers in New York. if you know a way I could reach out for these 2, please comment below :D you would probably save a life!

biting the big apple

Fie ca intrebarea se refera la Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Viena, Budapesta sau Bucuresti, raspunsul e mereu acelasi: acolo vei gasi ceea ce cauti.

Dar atunci cand nu stii CE cauti, de unde stii ca acolo IL vei gasi? Adevarul, sentimentul de implinire absoluta. Poate o dorinta efemera de celebritate, bani si faima. Visuri desarte ce se risipesc pe strazile metropolelor (mai mult sau mai putin) europene. Speranta la o educatie a strazii mai buna, mai interesanta, mai directionata pe atributele pe care vrei, in timp, sa ti le insusesti.

Cand ratacesti intre alei autohtone si drumuri europenizate, gasesti la fiecare pas un nou motiv pentru a-ti face griji. Pe de o parte nu esti inca pe deplin convins ca esti in stare sa parcurgi drumul, avand in vedere ca nu ai un bilet de intoarcere. Pe de alta parte, privesti increzator inspre actiunile tale trecute si remarci ca au fost (in mare parte) incheiate cu succes. De ce nu ar merge si una ca aceasta?

Daca vei da peste aceleasi fuste, aceleasi cravate, aceleasi fetze? Atunci cum vei reactiona? Cum te vei descurca atunci cand situatiile in care vei fi pus sunt cu totul noi iar tu esti lipsit de inspiratie?

Cand stai in pragul usii, e bine sa-ti pui niste intrebari elementare. Sa vezi daca afara ploua sau e vreme buna, sa verifici daca esti indeajuns de gros imbracat pentru temperaturile de care te vei izbi. Dar indata ce ai verificat totul, poti sa incepi sa musti. Din marul pervers al maturizarii.

[jay z feat. alicia keys-empire state of mind]

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