Out of my comfort zone. Destination : Mongolia

The last 4 months have been a beautiful chaos and despite reaching some low points and learning some crucial lessons, I was working towards something that today I am very proud of. 2 days from now I will be sat in a red combo van named Pat with Josh, Rob and Hamish, an Englishman and 2 Kiwis that are to become my little family for the next 6 -7 weeks. Together we form The Next Big Adventure ( so LOTR, I know) and we will take part in the Mongolia Charity Rally, a pan continental road trip from England to Mongolia that combines the exciting challenges of such a big trip with raising money for UK registered charity Go Help and donating our pretty Pat at our destination, to be converted into an emergency car. Negative reactions to this? I’ve heard them all and though it disheartened me at the time, I’ve had amazing support from people that encouraged me, believed in me and respected my choices.
Why? Because when Josh came up with the idea, I knew it’s the perfect opportunity to get out there in the world, overcome my fears and live a little more. The perfect chance to finally get a closer look into charity work and take small, but steady steps towards my future projects.¬† An amazing way to break any negative stereotypes on some of the countries we’re going through (20 of them in total) and, hopefully, a beautiful story I will tell my grandchildren again and again and again.
Am I scared? A little bit, but there’s much more excitement and butterflies and all types of happy feelings. I don’t know what to expect and I get slightly anxious at times with people telling me I’m crazy or that they’d never do it, however I do believe in kindness, bighearted people and making the world a better place one step at a time and that’s something no negative remarks will take away from me.
Prepared? 80%. The clothes and all personal items (missing a couple of things) are nicely organized on Larisa’s sofa, ready to be packed into my duffle bag (Larisa has kindly let me crash at hers for almost 2 weeks so I can save up on rent – You know you’re awesome! Thank you!) There’s a 2 page long check list, the van is having its last health check, mum is sending me daily messages with the countdown, a couple of Russian phrases learned and there’s a fundraising party we’re having at a local club, Orange Rooms, tomorrow night, hours before we leave Southampton to join the other teams in Brussels for the official launch of the event.

I’m annoyingly excited and I can’t apologize for it. I hope this trip, with its good and bad, will be a beautiful journey and will give me the common sense and the experience to grow as a person, as clich√© as that might sound.

I will try to update my blog once in a while with stories from the road, but you could also check our official website http://www.thenextbigadventure.info and our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/thenextbigadventure2015 if you’d like to follow my charity expedition.

To the next big adventure!

Love,

Malina.

p.s. Crossing the Transfagarasan highway first (one of the best roads in the world according to Top Gear), I’m taking the boys to my village in Romania, Epureni, and I cannot be happier. Looking forward to seeing my family and friends and introducing the boys to Romanian traditions (Get ready for the cherry vodka, boys!)

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#swissdream

Or how I decided to go for what makes me happy. The last 2 months have been a beautiful chaos. There’s too much to say and little words to explain how pleased I am with how things turned out. My mum has finally visited me in England and witnessed receiving my Modern Languages degree, Larisa and I moved out and the biggest change of all is that I’m writing this post on my phone from a beautiful, small village in Switzerland where I decided to move to to be an au pair for a year. Without a doubt, it’s the most sudden, yet second best decision I have ever made. My feet have always screamed to step on new places and my heart is in a continuous party at the thought of it. I was going through a weird, comfortable phase in which I didn’t quite know where I’m heading to. The phase didn’t last long though and after getting tired of looking back in the past, waiting for people to make that extra effort and hoping that good things will just fall from sky, I decided to leave England. The process was (far too) quick, painless and exciting, to say the least. One evening after work, I decided I want to become an au pair for a while. The same evening I made a profile on one of the recruiting websites and the next morning I was reading applications from families in Norway, Austria, Sweden, France and Switzerland. I went for Switzerland (the French side) as I wanted to learn yet another Latin language and I was and still am very hyped at the idea of skiing, hiking, camping and (!!!!!!!!) doing via ferrata in the Alps. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And the family I’m living with are making this experience 10 times better. After reading horrifying au pair stories online, I cannot stop but think again “What a lucky girl I am!”. I know it’s early to say this,  but have you ever met some people and you thought to yourself “Yes, I like these ones. They can definitely stay in my life.”?
   Today is the National day of Switzerland and last night the council organised this big overnight party for the whole community with plenty of food, drinks, music, a massive fire, balloons and fireworks, to top it all off. I was stood there in awe and I was enjoying every single minute of it with a silly happy grin on my face.
    It’s the 4th country I live in, after Romania, England and Portugal and I’m sure that, as with the rest, Switzerland will give me great memories, will help me grow up and will give me the life experience i’m looking for. The real expectation from my Swiss story is to learn, through good and bad, as many skills as possible, be it feeding a 5 month old baby while making sure his toddler sister doesn’t play with the plugs, speaking French, cooking better (have I mentioned the parents own a restaurant?) or doing via ferrata and ski.
    Looking back now, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. (Well, maybe that 3 hour delay on my London-Geneva flight)

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