We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and can you believe it's just a few days until a brand new year?!?
We will be spending it in...POLAND!!! Ok, before you even start thinking things like, "Why would you want to go there? Isn't it poor? Aren't/weren't they communist?" Well, you get the idea and believe us that we had some of the same misconceptions about Poland.
It's unfortunate that Poland has had a tragic history and but you must think back even farther than the world wars to realize that Poland used to be a great power in Europe. Communism in Poland ended in 1989 and is rising nation once again as well as tourist destination. It is very fitting that their national anthem is called "Poland Is Not Yet Lost" because it is inspiring how after going through so much as a nation and people that they were never truly lost.
There are certain stigmas that we can get about countries, nationalities, religions and one has to wonder where they come from, especially when they can be hardly true! Does it come from movies, media, or its history giving a bad name? We think it's so important to question those before taking them as truths and a good way to do that is by traveling! We couldn't agree more with these quotes from Mark Twain,
We realize that not everyone has the means to travel but it is so important to do it if you can; don't be afraid, step outside your bubble and explore this big wonderful world full of beauty and diversity! There is truly no better way that we know of to being a better citizen of this earth, to broaden your mind, and to learn how to love your fellow man than by traveling.
We are trying to take advantage of how easy it is to travel Europe from Sweden while we are still living here and we thought new year's eve would be a fun holiday to spend in another country. We decided to make it a quick and affordable trip and literally what we did was go on wizzair.com and tried to find the cheapest flights and the first one to peak our interest was Gdansk, Poland! We were blown away by the beauty of their old town and instantly captivated by its unique fairytale ambiance.
Only a few weeks before we did this we had been talking to a Swedish friend who is half Polish and he really opened our minds to how wonderful it is there and he helped us throw away those bad misconceptions we had about it. He explained how affordable hotels and food are there and you can eat amazing meals for such good prices (yes we are sure excited about that part!). We felt positively sheepish that in our minds we had pictured Poland in such an inaccurate way and it was never on our "to visit" list...until now!
We now want to take this lesson we've learned and try to apply it to all the stigmas we have about certain countries and nationalities. It's unfair to treat them as "guilty until proven innocent" or judge an entire country by either it's history or an idea that comes from media. Stereotypes often form because to be honest they usually can be somewhat true but would you want to be judged and put into a category according to an overall assumption? No, so we say DO YOUR RESEARCH and come to your OWN OPINION and most importantly, TRAVEL if you can! Stigmas and stereotypes can be apart of what makes up a country but it doesn't DEFINE them!
As you can tell we are really passionate about traveling and most importantly learning how to become better citizens of this earth. We were really inspired by the thought provoking ideas that Rick Steve's has to share in this video about the value of travel, we'd really recommend taking the time listen and to reevaluate the stigmas you may have that you might not even realize!
Here's hoping all the best for you in 2015 and we are looking forward to share about our trip when return!
-Tales of Sheaves