Welcome to my first feature on a fellow traveler! When seeing the world, it’s fun meeting different people from a variety of countries and continents, all with a love to travel. One of the best outcomes of traveling solo is being more open to meeting new people. Staying in hostels can make this very fun and easy.
This feature is on Gia, who I met at a hostel in Venice during May of this year. We were both traveling solo and enjoyed a day of walking the cobblestone streets winding between the canals of this majestic city. When we parted ways, she was heading to Milan, while I was traveling to Rome. Gia was fun to talk to about traveling, having seen a lot of places I’ve never been to. She is from Lithuania, used to live in the UK and has recently moved to China. When I recently caught up with her, here’s what we talked about:
“Getting to know people that travel as much as I do or know the place as their own makes the whole trip much more worthy in my eyes.” – Gia
What sparked your interest in moving to China?
Traditions of tea, meditation and the language. When I lived in England, I discovered my interest in organic tea and tea ceremonies. I also realised how it’s connected to Buddhism and meditation, and China just seemed to be a place for all of it! The more I read about the old China, the more I wanted to see it and to learn the language. Although learning the language has proven to be complicated, I’ve seen one of the Shaolin performances of martial arts and it was everything that originally fascinated me with ‘the old China’!
What do you like the most about living there?
I find living here liberating. You can be whoever you want to be and no one really cares or judges you, which makes it so much easier to start new things and find new hobbies. I love that I can go to a shop, start a conversation in a language that I barely know and understand just enough to feel like I’ve just been on this incredible adventure… and it’s like that every day! 🙂
What do you miss from home?
I’ve recently read this phrase: ‘Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask me where I’m local.’ It really sums up my experience travelling for the past 6 years. I’m not sure I can say I miss something about home because I don’t think I can define where home is anymore. Of course, I can say my home is always where my family is, but not by location, rather by people. If my family and the people I care about are in the UK, then that’s home, if it’s China, then it’s here now. Although the one and only thing I always miss is the traditional Lithuanian food, especially my grandma’s cooking 🙂 Even the smell that remotely resembles it, reminds me of home and gets me nostalgic.
What’s a must-do in your hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania?
You must try traditional Lithuanian food, see Vilnius Old Town and climb up the Gediminas’ Tower!
Do you have a trip planned? If so, where?
Well, I’ve recently come back from South Korea, and I fell in love with Seoul. My next trip will be back there and also visiting Tokyo and Hong Kong. Chinese New Year holiday is coming in just a few months and that’s a long holiday for us here so I’m definitely preparing for a long adventure :).
What’s your favorite trip you’ve ever done?
Ahhh that’s a hard question. It would either be the States when I was studying abroad or Portugal. My year in Wisconsin was everything I could hope for including different Hollywood movie-like experiences, incredible opportunities for professional life and amazing friends that I’ve made along the way. But then again Portugal, to be more exact Lisbon, is the place where I always want to go back. It has everything that fuels my passion for dancing, the people are incredibly family-like and the city just feels like my place.
Who’s your favorite travel companion and why?
I don’t mind traveling with similar-minded companions, but I love travelling alone and meeting different people wherever I go. I believe that when I’m alone, I’m more open to meeting people. Getting to know people that travel as much as I do or know the place as their own makes the whole trip much more worthy in my eyes.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Again one of those questions that I have multiple answers to, but if I had to pick, it would be Hawaii. For some unknown reason I feel a really strong pull to visit the islands!