What should I do with my life?

by Andreea Vasile

Ugne Sasnauskaite, 22, is studying Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh and traveling around the world this summer. She was in Bucharest for five days.

It’s July 15th, the hottest day Bucharest have seen this year. 41 degrees Celsius in shadow. Not the best time to be out in the sun and yet Ugne Sasnauskaite is ready to go. She will be hitchhiking south, to Constanta, after five days spent in Bucharest. She’s a traveler and a couch surfer and this year she started her trip around the world at the end of May, right after her exams finished. She’ll be on road until September 10th when she has a flight back to Edinburgh. Meantime she is gathering stories from all over the place.

Ugne started to travel after she finished her first year of university. She hitchhiked to Spain, then went home, in Vilnius, Lithuania for a couple of weeks and after that she kept moving around Europe staying in one place for maximum one week. How did it come across her mind to do that? “The horrible weather of Scotland made me do it.” She says it with contempt as if she was a murderer trying to justify crime in front of a committee of judges.  Then she continues: “I wanted to get away from everything, just like we all feel sometimes. Then I feel in love with traveling, I think now it’s my biggest passion.” Up to the moment she got to Romania, she’s been to Spain, France, Germany, Austria and Lithuania. And there would be even more, but “I don’t count the countries I just pass by.”

She decided for Romania while she was in Larz, Germany at the Fusion Festival. It was a relaxed morning when she met the Australian-French Govinda and the Romanian Sandra. “We chatted for literally five minutes. When I heard Sandra is from Romania I was excited and I told her I was planning to go there. She was very nice and suggested to stay at their place so I grabbed the train from Viena as I had an interrail pass and got to Bucharest.” But she ended up living in the apartment I’m in on Calea Victoriei as it’s more space here.

Ugne goes to places randomly. It pretty much depends on the people she meets on her way and the suggestions they make. Sometimes she hears of really cool festivals she’d like to go to and she just does it. Like she did last year, in Portugal, when she went to the annual one moth long hippie gathering called Rainbow. “It’s people that are against technology and civilization. They walk around naked, they don’t shower, they don’t use soap or deo, they wash their stuff with sand or mud. They have food circles where they eat twice a day. They’re of course vegans. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, I didn’t feel part of them, it was more an observation process to me”, says Ugne which is considering going again to the gathering this year but this time in Slovakia as the country might be in her itinerary if she takes a small detour.

“Traveling showed me how confused I am.” The dark blonde girl says this on a serious voice. “I learned a lot about what I don’t like, but I have no clue about what I like, what I really want.” Being alone makes one asks many questions and always meeting new people gives perspective on one’s likes and dislikes. Ugne can’t yet say when she’s being herself or even if she can be herself around new people. ” I meet people like you, all so different, and I have to behave in the sort of way that would be OK with them, but be completely myself at the same time. It’s pretty difficult to do that, but I think we all go through these situations.”

Unlike other cities she’s been to and felt like a tourist, Ugne says in Bucharest she was a citizen. ” I was getting out of the house, I was going shopping, I didn’t feel for a second like I’m visiting. This feeling is very acute in places like Paris or Barcelona.” While here, “I drank beer and danced in nice bars.” Wherever she goes, she just takes everything as it flows, not expecting too much. “I make plans, but they never seem to work out. That’s why they’re called plans”, she laughs.

Is there any use out of this whole traveling experience besides personal? “When I finish my third year in university, I have to go to a place for two months, find a subject that it’s of interest for the community there and write about it. I didn’t want to just pick a place, go there and not enjoy it so this is part of the reason I’m traveling, to get the vibes, see what I like and eventually decide where I’d want to be.” So far, she enjoyed the Balkans the most and that was surprising for her because last year she was very focused on the African countries. “They became so popular now-a-days though that I simply don’t find them that interesting anymore.”

While traveling Europe last year, for a month, she only spent 100 euro. She hitchhiked and couch-surfed and the only money she payed was for food. Unless she was dumpster shopping, a common practice in Western countries where supermarkets throw away food just because it doesn’t look nice. “It’s good food, mostly fruits and veggies and if you know the right places and time to go, you can have a great meal.” If someone were to travel like she is now, for three and a half months, she suggests an amount of money in between 500 and 1000 euro, but it all depends on the style of the traveler. “Just like last year, I have no intention of spending on accommodation.”

After Constanta, Ugne will travel to Vama Veche for the Stufstock Festival. Bulgaria and Serbia will follow. The Euro trip will finish in Istanbul where she has a flight to Tanzania, Africa.

It’s hot in Africa, but the thought of summer and nice weather is what got Ugne through the long and boring days of rainy Scotland. This and the thought that everything is going to be alright!

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