#12 Hitchhiking Baltic Tour: Before the beginning*

Hi there!

I'm so exited to tell you I made THE TRIP. I was dreaming about something like this even before coming to Latvia. One of the reasons why I finally choosed this country for my volunteering was to be able to travel around the Baltics, at the moment I though it could be easy and cheap. Living in Latvia is not as cheap as I thought, not at all. But the trip, yeah, the trip was.

You know, before coming to Latvia I was in a point in my life where I wasn't happy. I mean, I was okay, but I knew my path was somewhere else, and I knew I needed to travel and to meet new people and to live fresh and different situations. To challenge myself. Because I was doing that before, much before, 6 years ago at least, and It felt great. It felt I was being me, fully me, and It kept me active, positive, nonconformist, fighter and happy. But anxiety came and my path changed. You can never tell or predict this emotional issues, they just appear. Since 2017 I've been struggling against that. I stopped my whole life. I quit my role as coordinator in the Greenpeace volunteering local group of my city. I quit the crossfit. I quit the colab with the neuroscience laboratory of my university. I had to extend my psychology studies for another year. Fears came out. I felt empty. I felt I couldn't scape from that. But slowly (and with psychological support and therapy) I started to understand, so I could heal. I learned anxiety is something you cannot avoid, only deal with it in the best way as possible. But what you can do is try to look for the best life for you, the one makes you shine. Then, anxiety will appear less often, I can guarantee you.

For this year I wanted to study a master degree, but I wasn't admitted to any university. On that point, I felt everything in my life was too much as it was too less for my soul. So the month before coming here I knew it was exactly the moment to jump again into this adventurous and full of crazyness path. The path that really feeds my spirit. At the moment I was dreaming about travelling with the backpack, doing hitchhiking, sleeping somewhere for free... It seemed so difficult to reach. Because I was swimming very deep in a non confortable- confortable zone. But life always drives you exactly to the point you need, and you just have to be brave enough to take the opportunity. I was scared, of course I was, but I truly felt it was the right way. At the beggining I was looking for projects in France to improve my french language skills, however, I saw the announcement of this one Radi Vidi Pats organisation in Latvia (I didn't even know where it was Latvia), and something made me apply. Then I understood If I wanted to scape from everything and really get out of my confort zone, I should come to somewhere like Latvia, somewhere I've never been before, with a language I don't speak, with a totally different weather and culture. So I choosed this country. And nowadays I feel extremely lucky for being part of RVP, because it is exactly the place I needed to be, with exactly the people I needed to be surrounded by.

During all this time here I've grown and learned such a lot. I've met tons of different and amazing people and I've gained enough confidence for actually make my dreamy trip on that natural way as I did! It was so easy, funny and exciting to travel by hitchhiking and couchsourfing that It's hard to believe how far away it seemed to me one year ago. I have to say Madalin made it much more easier since he's already such and expert on hitchhiking and I'm glad I travelled with him (even so we wanted to kill each other most of the time haha).

Now you may be wondering: BUT HOW IT WAS THE TRIP?! Let me tell you the whole story in the next three posts, so I can slowly express how wonderful it was. <3

 

 

(*) Before the beginning is also the name of one John Frusciante's song. Is the one I was listening on loop while writing this post.

 

#11 RVP birthday

Čau!

I'm back in Liepāja but not for so long, it seems like I'm stoping home only for a few hours every time. Where I was last time? In Sabile. And for the best reason: it was the 15 birthday of Radi Vidi Pats! 

 

So last friday (3th July) around 20 people, some activists, some members, some volunteers, arrived to the beautiful countryside spot Agata's grandma has. All of us, we went in different ways. Me and Edīte, we went together by hitchhiking. It took us around 3 hours to arrive, but it was a super nice adventure in the end.

 

((This pic was in the moment we were in Aizpute waiting for someone who could drive us until Kuldīga. Some other RVP members passed with the car right next to us, so they took that picture! haha :D))

Autostop to Sabile

 

The birthday celebration was together with other project, so Saturday and Sunday we had also some speaking space/excursions/workshop time. I even collected a bit of amazing blue clay in the river to make natural cosmetics! <33

excursiōn bosque Sabile

arcilla azul en Sabile

 

Saturday evening we were cooking some cakes and in the end, after all dinner and the chill gatherings next to the fireplace, we made it. We were singing birthday songs in all languages possible with 4 different cakes! Such a magical moment where the speech of the oldest members and the new members of the board was the cherry of the cake.

 

 

gente en SAbile

birthday RVP tartas

tartas sabile

 Last day (sunday) Edīte and me we decided to come back to Liepāja after lunch, by hitchhiking aswell. It was raining and we were tired but in the end, again was very fast and pleasant experience. I'm really surprised about how good it works here in Latvia. Travelling in this way is such an experience, and if you ever come to Latvia or you're already here, I highly reccomend you to try it! :)

Tomorrow I'll start a new adventure, this time I won't hitchhike because I'm riding the bike... to Lithuania!!! But I'll tell you more in some days.

 

Until that, take care!

 

 

#9 Līgo at Dimzēni

 

I'm back!

As everything in life, all good things end. But I've spent such an amazing time this last week in Dimzēni, an ecological farm based on principles of sustainability and traditional Latvian lifestyle. On 19th of Jun Tadej, Madalin, Stas, the kids and me, we went to the farm in the Stas van (wich was very full of stuff and people), so it ended being very funny and messy adventure. We arrived in the evening, and spent the day after installing a cupola were we set an improvised projection area for the next days. We were working in the different daily activities they usually do in the farm, but finding all the time the moment to relax. 

Dimzēni is just gorgeous. All the nature around, the table under the big oak, the black sauna, the garden, the old/new barn with the goats, the horse, the river to swim, the big fields with hay rolls... Working in the garden kept me away from my thoughts and milking the goats or riding the horse fed my animal lover soul. Swimming in the river time to time when it was too hot, or in the night, or in the early morning! Ah, such an amazing countryside experience...

sauna house

river

barn

But the most special part of the week was for sure Līgo.

I wanted to explain you what this celebration is, so I googled it and I found that Līgo is the largest and most traditional festival of Latvian people, celebrated by all generations and all groups of society. It happens in midsummer holidays, celebrated during the summer solstice, when the night is the shortest and the day is the longest. With pagan roots but mixed with christianity (as they also celebrate Jānis –John Baptist–), one of the most important Midsummer traditions is to weave wreaths. For women, wreaths are made of flowers and for men, wreaths are usually made of oak leaves. This celebration is often associated with fertility cults and disaster prevention.

 

In Dimzēni they were doing such a beautiful festival for this magic night. After all the preparations (making flower and oak crowns included), we went up to the hill to make the first fire right after the sunset, this symbolizes that the sun leaves the sky but continues in the bonfire.

ligo3

ligo2

ligo

 

On that wonderful sunset we had a snack of black bread, Līgo traditional cheese and homemade Kvass, and after jumping over the small coals of the fire, we went again in the farm and we lit the second bonfire with the embers of the first. The sky did not become completely dark in the whole night, and afterwards we were eating, drinking, singing and dancing until dawn, which was at 4:30!!! We were on our way to meet the sun and all this adventure was such a magical moment that I will never forget.

fire 2

 

 

 

 

 

fire

fire noche

 

It's crazy how everything has changed in the past two months. Before it seemed like everything was wrong here and now midsummer has come. All the celebrations are still going on and I'm such a lucky Spanish since I'm really experiencing how wonderful this Baltic country can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#10 Bike ride to the concert!

 

 

Hey hey hey!

I'm back to tell you our last adventure in this COVID times. 

tasu

I put you in context: there is a wonderful group of people in Latvia who are going on Velomūzika (BikeMusic) trips every summer. This summer they have chosen Kurzeme (the region of Latvia where's Liepāja) so it's nice, nice! BikeMusic means that they are musicians who cover some distance during the day and in the evening they have a concert in a nice place that usually provides a free stay and dinner in exchange of the concert.

On June 28, last Sunday, they were going to be in Tāšu manor, which is 18km away from Liepāja. So Ana Paula posted that event in our personal RVP facebook group, and we decided to go!

It took us about an hour and a half to get there. At the beginning the way was on a bike lane or asphalt road. The last few kilometers we did on a dirt road with many potholes, so it was an extra effort! But in the end, it was totally worth it for the beautiful landscapes that were around.

Go to concert

in the concert copia

la casica del concert

 

We arrived at Tāšu muižā just in time for the concert. There was a very nice atmosphere with people sitting around on the grass.

After the concert, the trip back was even more fun if possible! With the sunset around, I was literally dancing on the bicycle (recently acquired skill that I'm planning to put on my Youthpass haha ;-P) and enjoying the feeling of freedom that Latvian summer gives. It was a nice adventure for a regular June evening. :)))))

 

leaving the concert

linda coming backkk

 

 

#8 Update!

Hello lovely people,

It's been one month since I don't publish anything here, and I wanted to make a short update. So the things finally seems different. I can see the light after the storm with all this COVID19 situation...

On May 15 they opened the borders between the three Baltic countries and everything started to seem more normal. We continued working online for a bit and at the same time we prepared ourselves for the event that set the before and after of this strange situation that we were experiencing in the project: the trip to Zadiņi.

Zadiņi is a permaculture farm. The community that lives there keeps an open space for volunteers and other people who wants to come help to lead a sustainable lifestyle. The 4 of us (Radi vidi pats volunteers), as well as other volunteers around Latvia coordinated by our organization, met in that beautiful place from May 21 to 28, where we spent a wonderful week all together.

IMG 0296

 

Since we arrived back, the feeling in Liepāja has been quite diferent. The weather is muuuuch more warm, and the city, as the plants, is blooming. Summer vibes are amazing, there's a lot of people walking around, going to the beach, in the parks... It's full of life. What amazes me the most is the light. Same as in winter it was depressing and dark, now you can see light in the sky until almost midnight, crazy! I could get used to it, though. :P

Midsummer it's almost here. We're planning to spend Līgo in Coutryside, this time in Dimzēni. I feel so exited about it, since it's probably the biggest festivity here in Latvia, so I can't wait to experience the mega-traditional activities they're doing there. I'll tell you guys more, but it will be next week, when I'll be back again in Liepāja. Until then... big greetings! :)

ErasmusEN

AgencyEN