#13 Hitchhiking Baltic Tour

Hey! 

How's it going?

It's been a long since I'm not around here writting this blog. No excuses: after one week, that amazing story I wanted to tell about my Hitchhiking trip around Baltics started to seem reeeeally long and (probably) unnecessary. So I was sitting in front of the screen writing but because some technical issues I ended up postponing and postponing; and in the end: nothing.

I actually might have loads of things to speak about the trip. It was live-changing. It was challenging as f*ck, but at the same time eeeasy and smooth. It was intense, funny, unexpected.

But I have one problem: I don't feel like to talk about it anymore. Somehow, I guess the time has passed, and I believe telling the story won't add nothing new to this world. So here I am again, sitting in front of the screen trying to end up what I started. 

 

The trip was something like:

First day: Liepāja-Rīga-Salacgrība-Tartu

Second day: Pärnu-Tallin

Third day: Tallin

Fourth day: Tallin-Tartu

Fifth day: Tartu-Võru -Alūksne-Balvi

Sixth day: Balvi-Rēzekne-Daugavpils

Seventh day: Daugavpils-Vilnius

Eighth day: Vilnius

Ninth day: Vilnius-Kaunas

Tenth day: Kaunas-Klaipėda -Palanga-Liepāja

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 The idea was to travel in the lowest cost way possible, by hitchhiking and couchsourfing. If you travel this way, there's no much space for planning. For example, on the fifth day we got stuck in Balvi and we couldn't reach the city we wanted to sleep in (at others volunteers's house). So we had to rent a room in a hostel. And the next day, to take a bus to Rēzekne. 

There's no much point for me in describing what kind of adventures or random situations we had every different day. Because everyday was full of them, every single moment was and adventure itself. And it's veeeery long to tell. So I would like to have the priviledge to keep it for myself. But. Now that I look at it with perspective, I can tell some of the big learnings I had from that experience.

 

-If you want to do something, just freaking do it. But do it now.

-Life is about receiving and paying back. The most I receive, the most I want to give back.

-Don’t plan much. We cannot have control over things anyways.

-Hitchhiking tip: No worries, the right car will always come.

-Never say no to a drive, even if it’s for 10km.

-You can survive 10 intense days eating snickers, fruit, tomatoes and bread with hummus.

-Never miss an opportunity to drink water.

-Daily fights with your travel partner are inevitable, even with the best communication.

-Celebrate every little victory as if it were a great triunf.

-Enjoy the little beautiful things of every moment.Tomorrow might be worst.

-The key for overpassing the hard situations is humor. For real.

-There's good people ready to help you everywhere.

-Smiling and being grateful will open you all the doors among people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5

I feel lonely.

I have been feeling this within me for about a week, daily. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up, and I notice it heavily every night when I turn off the light and try to fall asleep in a 2x2m bed. I feel lonely, in a foreign country with a culture that is not mine. Away from my family, my friends. Held in my house most of the time, or going out alone for a walk.

Our group of volunteers within the organization has never stand as one. While there might be a team feeling when we worked daily in the office, at the end of the day we have rarely met the four of us to hang out. I would say never. Since the social distancing norm began and the events began to be canceled, everything has been magnified. We have become much more individualistic, if possible.

The activists are very nice people, with some I have a very good relationship. But COVID has changed the priorities of the whole world, of course, and everyone here has their own life. Their family.

I also can't travel to visit other wonderful volunteers I met at my Arrival Training, some of them also feel like me, others long ago accepted that their stay in Latvia was going to be an introspective experience, not a social one.

But I am a person of collective spirit. My blood is warm thanks to the Mediterranean sun and the energy of its people. I am a social animal, my friends and family are the most basic pillar on which I base myself. From there, I can start to grow. I have always been a tree flower, I grow together with hundreds of others, I have never been a tulip that grows alone.

 

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Every day I wonder why I am here. And the only answer that gives me a minimum of sense is that soon everything will be for the better. But I live in the now, not the future or the past, and this now appears sad, gray. The biggest challenge of my life is happenig right now: having no one except myself. And from this I will come out either stronger than ever, or with a suitcase to Spain (and neither is incompatible with the other), but in both situations with my head held high, because I am not ashamed to admit that in Latvia I have discovered that the most important in my life is my culture, my climate, my people and their light.

#3 Paliec Mājās

Hello, it's Gloria Again!

 

Today I'm going to talk about the #Paliecmājās movement. In order to stop the pandemic, Latvian government has set a lot of measures and restrictions, same as the rest of countries. Here we don't have proper quarantine as in Spain but they order to avoid social contact as much as possible. That means stay at home and not go out unless it is strictly necessary. Don't meet with groups of people, or visit others. Go to the supermarket as little as possible.

COVID-19 restrictions can affect us all, but they can be especially dangerous to high risk groups, for example, senior citizens. Them staying at home can save their life. That's why #Paliecmājās arose. The volunteers movement #stayhome is a self-organised group which by using technologies – an app with tasks – helps those most in need. They propose that the active ones can help the people of our city and community by buying groceries, taking a dog for a walk or simply just giving a call for a chat.

 We recently received about 200 flyers on the campaign in the organization, and last Friday Linda and I cycled to Karosta to put the posters there, in places visible to the neighborhood community, like bus stops or the garbage place. It was a beautiful morning touring the entire area and enjoying spring in the vegetation of the place. In the end, Linda and I left with a good feeling.

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#4 Kety's interview

 

 Name: Kety

 

Age: 26

 

Where are you from?: from Georgia

 

When did you arrive to Latvia?: 24th of July 2019

 

When is going to end your project?: 27th of July 2020

 

In what city do you live?: Liepaja, Nica's municipality

 

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Describe your organisation. What were you doing there before the quarantine?: Nīcas jauniešu centrs- Nica's youth centre. Full of energy and activities. I did different kind of activities, like: movie day, cooking day, craft day, competition day, game day, English day, Georgian traditions presentation day, etc.

 

What happened when the quarantine started? Did your organisation closed?: Yes, my youth centre also closed.

 

How were you feeling when everything started?: Scared and confused.

 

How is the situation in the place you live? (your city in Latvia) Is it different from the situation in your origin country?: Same, everyone stay home for their safety, sometimes they go out for shopping.

 

What are your feelings now, during quarantine? How is your everyday routine?: My sleep time has changed :) I'm watching movies, speaking with my family and friends... I started to learn a new language. Also I do my hobbies (handmade and care of flowers), sometimes I go for a walk or with the bicycle to shore and forest. I have discovered a lot of beautiful spots in this place where I'm living.

 

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Have you think on going home?: I think it's more dangerous to go home now than to stay here. Travel isn't safe in this situation, in my opinion.

 

What are your expectations about the end of this situation?: Crisis, more poor people without jobs. More crime. Expensive products and travels, but in the end, of course, I have a big HOPE everything will be fine soon.

#1 Hello!

 

 

Hey! It’s Gloria, the Spanish volunteer :D  (You can know me better if you read this).

Things are crazy, aren’t they? This global pandemic is a historical situation. I could imagine that every single one is freaking out a bit with all the steps and restrictions the governments are setting, or at least I am. I mean, it looks like dystopia has become true. But I’m a Spanish girl doing my ESC in Latvia, so the purpose of this blog is to show everyone who are interested how’s the life of an European Volunteer during the COVID 19 in Latvia.

I’ve been living in Liepāja since November 2019, so I’ve experienced all the process with a very different perspective, because back home the situation is way more critical.

At the beginning of March the Latvian government began to advise avoiding social contact, increasing hygiene... but nothing seemed too serious. By the time it started to feel like everything was changing here, there was already confinement in Spain. At first everyone was joking about the virus, but I had the impression that nobody took it seriously. At the same time, I, who am always in contact with my family and friends back at home so at the same time I kept on receiving information about how crazy things got there, and I started to get a little scared, thinking that the same thing could happen here. It was around March 14 when the measure to close educational centers as well as many shops came into force, and the restrictions began. By then in Spain it was already prohibited to go outside with fines implemented by the police and with the supervision of the Army.

Here, little by little, more strict measure were implemented, such as limiting the capacity of bars and restaurants, respecting the safety distance in public shops... At first, everything seemed very normal, but then all events got canceled. All concerts. National celebrations, fairs, festivals… From the side of the project, we stop going to the office daily to work, we change to online work.

I feel very fortunate because due to the project I have financial stability and I don't have to worry about how I will pay for food or rent these months. Also, unlike my Spanish friends and family, I can go outside!!!! I think that's what I'm most grateful right now. Personally I follow the emergency recommendations: I go to the supermarket once per week, I respect the security distance and I have not entered into a cafeteria for a month.

At first I was motivated, but after a month I begin to notice how I'm losing the sense of what I’m doing related with the project. Life has changed a lot for me, and for all of us, but I walk every day on the beach or the forest and enjoy the wonderful spring this country has. At least, I appreciate the privilege of being able to do it…

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I’ll keep reporting!! XoXo

 

Volunteering project “Solidarity Seekers” is financed by the European Solidarity Corps Programme of the European Union that in Latvia is administered by the Agency for International Programs for Youth. This publication reflects only the viewpoint of the author.

ErasmusLV

AgencyLV