Walking on Water
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but adding text to the picture makes it even more telling than it is on its own. Having this in mind, I would like to give my dear fellow travelers and avid VT users a bit of a background to the many photos posted on my VT pages.
I was born and grew up in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. My first 25 years I spent in the relative peace of stable "middle class" family in a sheltered country where practically everybody was a "middle class". There was a thin layer of an upper class or as "they" called it upper echelon, but these folks were trying to avoid airing this discrepancy too much. It was People's Republic after all.
My first travel lead me to the discovery of a new world which I imagined would be totally different from what I was living in (trees hanging upside down and so on). Well, my first impressions of foreign lands were from neighboring Yugoslavia at the time. Belgrade was like another planet compared to Sofia with its funny communism that had more to do with my expectation of what capitalism should look like. This bewildering wakening was softened a bit by my next destination, Budapest, where I felt closer to where I came from but still astonished by the beauty and scale of this "shadow of a former glory" metropolis. Further on, I was intrigued by Prague, dazzled by Dresden, and disappointed by Berlin.
After this initial dip into the unknown I retreated in my Bulgarian life for many years to a certain degree because of lack of opportunity to go and due to lack of interest in this field. Maybe my first trip was too tiring physically and emotionally for a teenager.
Several years later I received a chance to try out something more "exotic" - Libya. It was different but what really shook me was my next trip - Japan; following year - Moscow. This sequence combined with the new stage in life I was in, triggered my curiosity towards the world that has never left me since.
In a time when permanent relocation was en vogue, I followed suit and ended up in Canada. Now, this was a culture shock to be reckoned with because I stayed there not for a month but for three years. This was time of truth literally, since it was not just an experience of the local customs but it was about what people from this part of the world knew of your part of the world. I do not mention Bulgaria because 99% of the populace did not and does not know where Bulgaria is.
Suddenly, I was back in Europe, this time tucked away in Warsaw. Not that I knew much about the country, but still, I was overwhelmed by contradictions that I thought were never possible. Vague images of Polish lust for freedom and other patriotic chatter magnified by geniuses like Sienkevicz, Chopin and Mickievicz, were in a head on collision with bigotry and spiritual deprivation of farcical proportions. Later on, I managed to put the pieces together and give myself plausible explanation of this phenomenon.
After four years which I thought gave me quality and understanding of life never to be surpassed, favorable winds brought me up to the shores of St. Petersburg, Russia. Here I was mesmerized by a city in a league of its own. I realized where the true quality of life is and what it takes to achieve it. Maybe my impressions were amplified a thousand times by the negative propaganda I had been exposed to vis-a-vis Russia and the tangible downhill I have been on since I left it.
Nowadays I am based in Ottawa, Canada where a tool like VT is not just a marvel of technology but a lifeline to "stuff" inaccessible around here.
They say that studies make you a better person and sure enough my travels gave me lots and lots of lessons so by now I am not just a better person, I WALK ON WATER!