Saturday, September 4, 2010

Warsaw to Bialystok, Poland


On Friday I left Warsaw to come to Bialystok, Poland, where I am currently staying with friends of friends. Friday I woke up and timed myself with how fast I could pack up and leave the hostel. Including getting ready, packing, getting all my stuff off of my 9-ft-tall bunk while not waking up the British guy in the next bed, checking out and doing lots of other random stuff like leaving behind my first completed book and filling up my water bottle (turns out you can NOT drink Polish tap water), it took me about 49 minutes to get out the door.

I finished my first book, The Lottery, by Patricia Wood, my last night in Warsaw. If I keep reading at this rate I'm actually going to NEED to go to English language bookstores, rather than just want to. Inspired by my friend Will Watkinson's Rumi exploration earlier this summer, I'm reading another Sufi poet's work--Hafiz. Then it's I Capture the Castle, Everything is Illuminated, the end of the second Lord of the Rings, and my central asia guidebooks. And Letters to A Young Poet. It's always interesting to juxtapose what I'm reading with where I am.

The young couple I am staying with here in Bialystok can't understand why I like exploring places outside of the main tourist sites, and it got me thinking about that as well. A friend's parent described Poland as a "brown and crumbling place" before I left, and I realized that those words are pretty much the sole criteria for what makes a place worthwhile for me- if it's a little rough around the edges, has a complicated history or confused identity, then that is what I am looking for. The couple also has been off work for about a year, ever since they got back from the United States where they worked for several years. They actually met in the United States, although they live within a few blocks of each other here in Bialystok! I love stories like that, where fate seems to go out of its way to get two people to connect. But the way they live without having the structure of a job seems like it would be more challenging to me than actually having a job. I don't mind changing the structure of my life so much when I am on the road, but at home it's nice to have a routine of sorts to structure the day. But for them, I think it makes total sense, after living for years in a foreign country in order to earn more money, to take a bit of a sabbatical.

Headed back to Warsaw in order to get to Krakow, hopefully in the next day or two depending on the transportation situation... I'll keep you posted! And I'm working on connecting a map to my blog, so you can actually see where I am. I think my hosts think I'm crazy for being on the computer as much as I am!



  1. I have tried three times to post something profound!
    I will try again!

  2. OMG- I have written this 5 times! Ugh!
    Ok, here goes!
    I love to travel and witness "foreign" places because it is those differences that challenge a person to decide who they are and what they believe!
    Happy Trails from the techy-idiot- your Mom