Hi! My name is Sonia. I am a Czech currently based in Hong Kong where I relocated after a wonderful six years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am eternally grateful for this shift in my life as its timing couldn’t have been better. It’s been an amazing ride so far and I hope I can bring more stories from my new home to you soon.
When I started blogging two years ago, purely for fun, I had no idea where it’d take me. Today, despite the fact that travel the way we knew it isn’t possible anymore, I must admit that my blog is something I feel really proud of. Not because I’ve made money from it or found success in the form of an enormous readership. But because I’ve realised how incredibly satisfying it is to be revisiting my old posts and going back in time. Perhaps I should call it a journal. Though I hope I still provide useful insights into places I’ve visited or lived in. Below you can read more about me as well as the motivation behind this blog. Thanks for stopping by, folks.
Why travel blogging?
Like many other fellow bloggers I suffer from wanderlust and feel the urge to share experiences from my travels with you guys, and quite honestly, also with myself. I mean…
I love travel, photography and writing. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true and I am starting this blog because I just couldn’t stand the weight of all the memories and experiences I’ve collected any longer. It had to go out. The monumental idea ‘I NEED TO WRITE A TRAVEL BLOG’ just burst out one day and so here I am, on the travel and photo blogging journey.
To me, travel (as well as photography and writing) is a passion and I believe that humans are capable of producing wonderful things when they are truly passionate about something. So I want to prove myself right here.
My travelling always entails wandering around, discovering places with my camera, talking to people and making friends among locals, eating good food, living the unexpected, (unwillingly) getting into trouble and finding ways out it, being responsible and irresponsible at the same time, planning or going with the flow, learning new words in new languages (although I must admit that I find this really challenging in Asia).
Simply, creating lovely memories, filling my mind with new ideas, finding new inspiration and growing (ideally wiser).
I must admit that my life has been full of interesting experiences and important lessons but moving to Malaysia has really spiced things up as I have seen places I never thought I would. Every experience and every journey so far has been like a blessing and I find this mix of life blessings compelling enough to start a blog.
So, that’s what you will find here, guys – a mix of stories about places I’ve visited, people I’ve met, cultures I’ve explored, impressions I’ve created and observations I’ve made accompanied by photos and useful tips. Hence Travel Mishmash.
I was born in the Czech Republic to a Polish mum and a Czech father. While I only hold a Czech passport I’ve always felt it important to mention my dual nationality family. I spent wonderful times in Poland, visiting relatives in all corners of the country, and my mum is the most wonderful mum under the sun.
I work as an English teacher and I absolutely love my job. But it took some years of hard work to get where I am today.
While I enjoyed living in the Czech Republic before moving here, I’d always felt restless. My bilingualism from early childhood led me to learning languages and this as a result had always led to wanting to explore the world. Being confined to the borders of my native country seemed as the worst possible of all possibilities to me. I’d always felt it was too small for me and finding a slice of success was never easy. It never is, let’s face it. But to put it mildly, I simply always wanted to escape and be somewhere else. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere more inspiring. If you asked my family or friends they would pretty much say the same about me. It’s not that I couldn’t stay at one place for a long time, settle if you will. No, I could. It’s not stability I dreaded. It’s just that I had this bug of not really wanting to settle in the Czech Republic. And I’d had it for as long as I could remember. As much as I love and respect my country for it used to be my home for many years, I still have to say that moving to Malaysia was the best thing that has happened to me as it triggered a way of life I’d been always dreaming of. But of course many other great things preceded this step and are equally valuable in forming who I am and what drives me today.
In hindsight I must admit it was good to be restless. You know what they say, right? Change is only triggered by dissatisfaction. And so I was dissatisfied for many years. I created an idea of satisfaction, an idea of leaving, going ‘bigger’, which I pursued tirelessly. I always searched for work and study opportunities abroad. I’ve had a few short-term stints in France and Spain which could be worth writing about in a separate blog post (maybe I will include some memoirs’ section here after all), and one long-term in Greece. I spent incredible months in Greece as a student thanks to the educational exchange programme Socrates (Bless you, EU!) and incredible 3 summer seasons as a travel guide on 3 different Greek islands. That was an awesome period of my life and I have fond memories from this time. Perhaps I’ll write more about this one day too (how many sections will I have to make here really??). Thanks to my bilingual roots, studies (French and Social Sciences), work abroad and immense passion for learning languages I am fluent in English, French, Greek and Polish. My Spanish is not bad either and if things go wrong I can reasonably fake speaking fluent German too.
After returning from my last summer stint in Greece, I hit a rock bottom. I had nothing and I belonged nowhere. That’s how I felt. The idea of working in tourism industry for long-term fell apart and I was at the beginning of big nothingness. The realisation that I needed to build a real career and work on professional development was quite some awakening. I didn’t feel like it at all, but I had to do it. Having a degree in education, I went to something I thought I’d never want to do – I started teaching. First English, then I added French and to my surprise also Greek. I’d never assumed people would want to learn such a difficult language. Overall, things were moving well and I managed to build my reputation as a freelancer. Progress was slow at times, but we all know that success overnight is simply an alien concept. It doesn’t exist.
I further added translation and interpreting work to my portfolio and soon could start calling myself a versatile language specialist. After some years of hard work (chasing credentials and broadening my horizons) I started to feel trapped again. Trapped in a never-ending cycle of life that led nowhere but to constant work almost 7 days a week with no time for travel or fun. Because, let’s face it, many self-employed people have hardly any free time, that is if they want to make some money of course. I tried to fix my despair by yearly visits to my beloved Greece. With my mum we travelled to a different island every year and had a lot of fun. Those holidays were always the best moments of the whole year but clearly were not enough to satiate my hunger for faraway places.
Therefore, it was time to look for more stimulating opportunities again and of course abroad. Finding a suitable job wasn’t easy.
While sifting through job offers in China and Vietnam, having countless interviews and Skype demo lessons, I stumbled across an ad for a teaching job in Kuala Lumpur. I applied instantly. I knew the competition would be tough though, but I got the job and I moved to KL without batting an eyelid.
New life, new experiences, new environment, new everything. The excitement was incredible and I could barely stand the weight!
Life in KL was fabulous. Especially now, when I have a comparison with Hong Kong I appreciate more aspects of the laid back culture. I feel truly blessed for everything that I have and can share with you via writing.
While it took several jobs, countries, relationships, tough days and years to finally shape my passions into something tangible, I hope this travel blog will be inspiration to travel and pursue goals for you guys.
I would love to hear from you. If you have any comments, feel free to drop me a line or connect online! Stay tuned.