We are super excited to be able to introduce this weeks Travel bug. It is non other than one of our favorite travel bloggers Christina Sunneklep, the sharp pen behind the fabulous travel and lifestyle blog CavaforLunch! Christina is the Norwegian expat that left the land of fjords three years ago to live it up in Italy. Currently, you’ll find her in Glasgow, Scotland which is where this adventurous chick nowadays hangs her hat. But what is it really like to leave your home to start a new life in a foreign country? How do you feel when everything around you is new and what do you do when homesickness strikes? Christina knows and here she is, in 5 long + 5 short about traveling, and living abroad!
I think it’s safe to say that my love for travels runs in the family. When I was a kid, my grandparents used to work on a ship, constantly sailing around the world. My grandmother used to send me postcards from all these unknown and exotic places, and at night I would always lie in bed and imagine how it would be like where she was. Also, I spent most of my childhood summers in Greece, and I always felt like such a brave adventurer when running around in ancient temples or playing around in the Greek alleys. I still feel that childish joy, that excited curiosity, when I get to experience a new place.
Curiosity. And perhaps also the need of a fresh start. As a 20 year old, I first moved to Rome, Italy to study Italian Cultural History. I was a bit nervous about the move, basically, I was really young and I felt like I had absolutely no direction in life. I think my biggest concern was that I didn’t know a single word in Italian. And secondly, I was really worried about not getting any friends. Thankfully, I ended up in a class with some really amazing people, and thanks to them Rome soon felt like a home away from home. It still does actually, but my Italian is still pretty horrible though.
Now I actually live in Glasgow, Scotland, where I’m finishing my Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature. It’s rather different from Rome, but it’s quite a hectic city so you never get the chance to be bored. And also, Scottish people are super friendly. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of the weather – you can’t really go anywhere without bringing your umbrella!
Isle of Skye, UK
It is amazing living abroad, but the hardest part of moving to a new country, to me, is definitely the feeling of solitude. You’re completely on your own. There’s no one there to check if you found your way from the airport to your flat. There’s no one there to make sure you get home safely at night. Basically, you have no choice but to rely on yourself all the time. And that’s pretty scary, even for those people who are used to being on their own. I’m 23 now, and pretty used to it – but it still bothers me from time to time.
Make friends! You’re never going to feel completely at home unless you get some really awesome friends to rely on. Luckily, I’m the kind of person who talks to absolutely everyone. So basically, my best tip is to become a Yes-person: whenever you get invited somewhere – GO! Talk a lot, laugh a lot, make friends. I really believe that having great friends is one of the most vital parts of moving abroad – it’s difficult to feel homesick if you’re having fun! When I first moved to Rome, I had a boyfriend back home in Norway, and for the first few weeks I did nothing but miss him. Then the weeks passed, and I discovered that it was way more fun living in Rome than having a boyfriend. I ended that relationship rather quickly, to be honest…
But no matter how much you enjoy yourself in your new country, you’ll probably feel a bit homesick from time to time. And that’s OK! As with me, I spend an unhealthy amount of time missing my dog. Thankfully, I got a mum who totally gets me – therefor I call home a couple of times a week to talk to… my dog. Yes, I actually do (talking to my mum is a mere bonus!). So don’t be afraid – all the people you love are just a phone call away.
I reckon the thing I love the most is the feeling of complete freedom. It’s just something magical about waking up in an unknown place, and just spend the day exploring, dreaming, learning. And, as a bonus, you learn a great deal about yourself and what you are capable of. A self-confident boost, if you’d like! Also, as a former history student, I love places with a lot of layers and history. This summer I visited Egypt, and I had the time of my life exploring all the temples, pyramides and places that I’d previously only read about in textbooks.
Hopefully more traveling and amazing experiences! Next year I’m finishing my MA, and I reckon I should celebrate that with an epic trip somewhere! Also, I don’t feel quite ready to move back to Norway just yet, so I might just wing it somewhere in Europe for a few years. We’ll see! Meanwhile, I just want to be somewhere – and do something – that makes me happy.
Bungy jumping or Hammock relaxation
Meat or Vegetarian
Big city life or Beach
Sightseeing or People Watching
Favorite place in the world?
At my favorite bar in Rome, overlooking a historical monument, drinking an ice cold Aperol Spritz and laughing with my friends.
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My favorite bar, Grazia & Graziella in Trastevere, Rome
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More Curious about Christina? Check out her blog CavaforLunch!
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Probably the most frightened adrenaline junkie you’ll ever meet. Have traveled the world, twice, and enjoys local cuisine almost as much as the local environments. Based in Malmö, but there’s always a new travel plan burrowing in her head. Loves a great story, especially when she gets to tell it herself.