- Written by Andreia Hozhan
- Category: Who Is Doing What
My name is Andreia Hozhan, I am a Portuguese by nationality, Chinese by blood, Scottish by university, International by spirit!
A high school friend and I went on a Central and Eastern Europe Trip. After having a rough route planned, we got to Prague and realized that instead of Inter-railing (travelling by train from one city to another), it would be a lot more fun and a lot cheaper to hitch-hike. And that’s what we did... Yeah. With one bag pack each, there we went, starting in Prague and finishing in Zagreb, we travelled through 11 cities! We didn’t book any hostels in advance, and we stayed with friends’ and CouchSurfed! We loved meeting everyone who hosted us and who showed us around Europe! Would definitely do this again!
I love travelling! It’s one of the best ways of expanding my comfort zones, trying new things, opening my horizons and getting to know different cultures! It enhances my social skills and teaches me to be a better problem-solver! I often challenge myself by travelling cheaply, instead of to staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, like I usually do when I travel with my family. And I have fun discovering new ways of saving money, which I will not disclose in this article!
This is a new one! I have just recently tried it out. To travel from one place to another without spending any money, simply by asking people to give you a ride is actually fun! I grew up in a family environment where I was fortunate enough to be financially supported for anything I needed or wanted, including travelling. However, hitchhiking gave me a new perspective of how things work - there is more than just hopping on a train or a bus to travel around, because people are actually nice and they will help you if you ask! Also, people love exoticism!
I had been surfing on and off for a year or two. But what was better than going on a surf trip to have some fun with the Portuguese waves? My brother and I drove along the coastline to taste the Oceanic speciality for about 20 days. We visited beaches and towns that we hadn’t been to before, and being born and raised and Portugal, it helped us grow our geographic knowledge of our own country!
I fell a lot of times before I finally learned to cut the wave :p But hey, there’s not success without failure :p You have to go through failing and falling before standing up and riding! And you need to pedal a lot till you get far enough to catch a wave, but when you do catch a wave, it’s like you’re on top of the world!
Funny: when we drove to one of the beaches in the south part of the coast (praia do Castelejo), the roads were so narrow that I don’t remember driving THAT CAREFULLY! Also, there were hills before the beach, so it felt like we were fighting through a challenge before getting to the reward, which reminds me of the philosophy of surfing!
My brother and I travelled along the entire Portuguese coastline and collected refuse from 17 different beaches. With recyclable rubbish, we rendered the national symbol Galo de Barcelos (the roaster of Barcelos) in Praia da Crismina, near Lisbon, to highlight how important it is to preserve the environment in order to protect our culture. The reason why we decided to clean beaches all over the country is because we want the Art piece to represent the extent of the environmental problems of sea pollution and lack of recycling. The problems are not limited to our own country - they are global. Hence, beach-cleaning around Portugal and recycling all the rubbish at once is a symbolic action. In the trip, we have had the opportunity to encounter all kinds of landscapes and meet the most warm-hearted people that really do represent Portugal. It really helped us to mature and grow.
We’re so grateful that we did this project! While lots of people our age or older simply chilled at beaches or stayed home watching TV, we learned about the importance of taking care of the environment and the responsibility for waste production! It made us really thankful to those who work in the waste industry, from the street cleaners to the waste managers. They are very important people because they do a great job keeping our environment clean and our health safe!
We do a great thing in keeping the place clean and sustainable. You too can take action: recycle!
As a challenge to ourselves, my flatmate and I decided to cycle to a few of the most beautiful cities in Scotland. Sponsored by a University body GUSA (Glasgow University Sports Association), we cycled to the beautiful highlands and the islands: Loch Lomond, Fort William, Skye, Harris and Lewis, Ullapool, Durness, Tongue, Lairg and Inverness. We traversed about 1000km in 15 days, and it was one of the most physically challenging experiences but it was also strengthening!
Most of the nights, we camped in the wild, usually we shared a land with midges…but that worked out fine because a friendly guy we met in Mallaig gave us his mosquito spray. Some nights we would also couchsurf, meeting great people around Scotland!
Cycling allowed sight-seeing - it was faster than walking but slow enough to take pictures (or try!). However, if you cycle for long journeys, it is a good idea to wear padded shorts or get a good saddle, just to protect the most important part of your body!...
Door-to-door Sales in America
Many people would say this is crazy, but I sold books door-to-door for one summer in America (Colorado). Long-hours, tough challenge, but survived! I learned to be pleasant under all conditions, I learned to treat people nice, and I learned to be positive even under stressful situations. Because once you left the house in the morning, there was no way back – there were only houses in the place where I stayed, and the only thing to do was to knock on doors and talk to people. Some days were tough, some days were less tough, but still tough... But I learned to have fun on my own. During a typical 12-hour day, I would talk to many people I didn’t know, and I would walk from one door to the next by myself, so I had to come up with ways of entertaining myself, like singing songs in my head, dancing in the street, and telling jokes to people – sometimes they’d get them sometimes they wouldn’t, but I would laugh inside anyways.
It’s been two years since I joined the University Basketball Club. I love playing in games and being at trainings! I love the intensity, the focussed attention – I can just forget everything that happened that week (good and bad), put the university work in a standby box and simply focus on the game, focus on giving my best to the team. Of course the ultimate goal is to win, but playing in a game is fun enough! I love the freedom I get on court, I love the freedom I get with the ball, and I love the creativity I get with the players around me!