“503 481 steps” or “The way I discovered every experience deserves a great story”

(foto bocanci)

A while back, I became fascinated with the idea of travelling, backpacking on foot, through Romania – it is the only way that I can gather as many stories as I can fit inside my soul; so I chose a place dear to me and started planning a small trip, just 3-4 days to see how it will go. What started as a joke and maybe a farfetched idea, became a clear goal: to walk all across Dobrogea. So I had to just start walking!

Always start with The why

I chose Dobrogea because it is a blend of 13 nationalities and 5 different religions. It is a truly wonderful cultural experience if you just open all your senses to the opportunity. In this journey where I could find so many stories, told by people, by places, by forests and roads, I tasted, smelt, seen, heard and felt much of Dobrogea. I really believe every experience needs an open-mind, open-body, open-heart traveller. It was a once in a lifetime adventure in which the plans I made back home were just guidelines. (foto Dobrogea)

It was a Friday morning when I chose to leave just for a weekend. But 503481 steps later (that is 404 km), after 25 days of adventuring and walking all across the lands of Dobrogea, I came back with my backpack full of beautiful memories.

My journey started with a wine tasting and with camping in the oldest mountains of Europe – Macin Mountains. Afterwards, it continues with walking and meeting people that still kept the ancient custom of hospitality; I visited museums (ancient castles and fortresses, old houses and crafts museums). Some caves needed exploring. I travelled to the Danube Delta and the Black Sea, but most of all I visited my soul. The hot air of summer in Dobrogea, the stars and the Moon, are simply breathtaking. The scenery and the walking has been a perfect mixture for a spiritual pilgrimage; it was both an inner and an outer journey! I found peace and quiet and my why not only for travelling but for being myself

We are the product of all our experiences and people we met, we are unique and unrepeatable.

Time passed since I completed this adventure. I’ve been called afterwards a professional traveller and I made my way through more and more places in Romania and abroad. There are so many stories out there waiting to be collected, so many people to meet, so much to see, so travelling and guiding has become a way of living for me.

Short story of hospitality

I walked 503481 steps; this number is like a mantra for me. It wasn’t always easy, I wanted to quit many times, but I was so proud I didn’t. One of the best experiences I had was when I came down from the mountains. It was in mid July, 40 degrees in the shade. I had to walk across a field that seemed it never ends; thirsty and just looking in the distance at a water well. I reached the well, put down my 25 kg backpack and started drawing water. A very old lady came slowly, pressing down on a cane, only to give me a cup so that I can drink water in a civilised way.

This is the principle of hospitality! I thanked her, drank the cold water and went on my way. She never asked me why I was walking, who I was. She just wanted to help.

Every time I drink cold water from a well or a spring, it brings me back the memory of that particular moment. The feeling I had, the story. It is part of my past, it is part of me. It is one of the stories in my backpack.

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