"Josh's travels" AgentJX's Profile
Some of the best times of my life have been when I have been traveling. I love everything about it, tight plane connections (and even the smell of airports and the recycled air on airplanes), long train rides, and endless amounts of walking, getting lost, unexpected encounters, last minute changes, and heading out without a plan are all part of the great experience of traveling. I consider myself fortunate that I have been able to travel as much as I have, and while my travels have slowed in recent years I hope that I will always be able to find some time to get out and see new things, experience history from the places where it happened, witness art and nature at its finest, gain a better understanding of different cultures and forget at least for brief moments what is going on in my world. After all, there is nothing like seeing new places, discovering new facts, meeting new people, and of course eating the local cuisine.
I grew up living in Colorado and while I watched my fair share of movies and TV, I also spent a lot time outside. I would go as far as I could on one of the many bike paths of Denver, walk through the flood plain that was in the middle of my neighborhood getting soaked by creek water in the process and loved every trip to the mountains. Every season offered something different: skiing and snowy mountains in the winter, tree blossoms and the accompanying explosion of colors that comes with spring, summer thunderstorms followed by amazing sunsets and the golden yellow glow of aspen trees in the fall. I believe that these childhood memories greatly influence my love of nature today and whenever wanderlust strikes I usually find myself going to places away from the crowds into the solitude that only the natural world can provide.
In the spring of 2001 I got my first real taste of travel. I spent 6 months living in Milan, Italy, while it was my second trip to Europe it was the first time I was there on my own and could really get out and see what I wanted to see. Milan is a great hub for traveling around Italy and Europe with easy train connections to just about any spot you can possibly imagine. Milan itself is an often overlooked stop in itself. The city offers great food, museums, side-walk cafes, and a verity of other niceties that go unnoticed by the traveler who quickly darts from the train station to the duomo, La Scala and da Vinci’s Last Supper if they planned ahead. In the process they miss many of Milan’s other treasures in a city that perhaps feels less like it is catering to the masses of tourists than Rome or Florence. In those six months I truly came to regard it as a second home, and place that I always visit, if and when I make it back to Italy.
If Milan became a home away from home, Tartu and really all of Estonia has become my passion and even more of a home away from home than Milan. I spent probably the best year and half of my life living and studying in Tartu, Estonia. During my time there I was able to see a lot of what Estonia and the Baltic states have to offer, and they have quickly become a destination on which I will return to many times. Although it is starting to be discovered by more and more tourists, Tallinn in the summer feels like just about any other major European tourist destination, their long isolation from the minds of many make it somewhat of a unknown treasure. The islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, the wall of Tallinn’s old town, fresh berries in the summer, mushrooms at the start of autumn, and even the icy blast of a winter wind are all things that I will never forget. Tartu infused with the youthful enthusiasm of a college town stands a step above in my mind. Not only was it my home and place where I could wander the streets lost in my own thoughts, finding little secrets and hidden treasures or sit in a bar or kohvik and talk with people or listen to music to music, but it was also a gateway to the understated natural beauty of Estonia. While you won’t find spectacular mountains or deep gorges you will find nature in its simplest form. Which in my mind is what Estonia is all about.
Ma armastan Eesti ja varsti ma tulen tagasi.
Where I live used to be a lemon grove, in 10 minutes I can be at the beach or in canyons, both of which come as a big distraction to the work I need to be doing, but Goleta and the Santa Barbara area have quickly become a good home for the next several years. Over time I can hopefully build up a good mix of photos and tips for the area...assuming that those don't take away too much time from my studies as well.
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