Tell us a bit about yourself! Why do you love travel? How do you think travel unites us or teaches us more about the world?
We’re Agness and Cez, a travel duo tramping across the world. We are best friends, partners in crime, and have a common love of watching the world pass by out the window as we move to the next adventure. Having lived in many different countries around the world, including Poland, Cambodia, Thailand, UK, Netherlands, and China, we are eager to keep adding new places to our list of favorites. Of course, a life on the road isn’t free, but we have found ways to make our travels as budget-friendly as possible, to the point where we travel for under $25 per day! More than that, we continue sharing our adventures and budget advice with our travel-hungry followers who wish to do the same.
We believe that travel unites people of different backgrounds by allowing them to meet in beautiful places far from home. Where they can rely on each other, talk, discover themselves and admire the Mother Nature. Traveling teaches us how to be humble in foreign cultures and that locals sometimes give you beautiful smiles and memories.
Can you tell us something about the culture in your country and why did you decide to stay there?
Our home country is Poland where we were both born and raised. Polish culture is very diverse and unique, mainly influenced by germanic and Latinate worlds. Religion plays a great role in our lives, thus we all love to celebrate hugely Christmas, Easter and All Saints’ Day. As Catholicism is the leading religion in Poland, we tend to care a lot about our families and friends, go to church every Sunday as well as pray regularly. What is more, food is also extremely important in our culture. We drink and eat as much as we can as we believe that food unites people. If you ever make it to Poland, don’t miss out on Polish vodka, delicious pierogi (traditional Polish dumplings) or traditional rosol (Polish soup served with homemade noodles). We always miss Polish food when traveling to different countries.
What surprising aspect of culture do you love about your country (or your specific town/city) that travelers may not be aware of?
We absolutely love the way Polish people celebrate weddings. Believe us or not, but Polish weddings absolutely rock! There is a lot of dancing, eating and drinking involved. Not for one… but for two of three days, so get your liver and legs ready for the marathon of food, drinks and constant movement with friends and the family. What is more, there are plenty of traditions, customs and superstitions regarding Polish weddings. Did you know, for instance, that the groom can’t see the bride in her wedding dress until the wedding ceremony?
Which dish do you feel best represents where you’re specifically from? Share a picture and tell us why you love it!
Definitely pierogi! These are homemade dumplings with various fillings such as beef meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms and, our favorite, cottage cheese and boiled potatoes. Pierogi are usually served with fried onion and some sour cream. Yum!
Growing up in your country, what’s something that you believe makes it unlike anywhere else in the world?
The importance of family. Family, including close friends, is definitely what we value the most as a nation. We love to meet up together during Christmas, Easter and national holidays to cook, bake, talk, eat and play together. We help each other a lot and try to do our best to care about each other, even when we live far away. Christmas is the time when we all gather together, no matter what, and catch up! It’s a beautiful season!
Talk about the role of family in your life. What does family mean to you? Which family values are valuable to you?
Although we both grew up in rather poor (often problematic) families, we respect our parents and try our best to keep close relationships with our brothers and sisters. It’s not very easy if you visit home once a year, but we are trying our best! For us, family plays an important role in our lives. These are people who we trust, can rely on and share our travel stories with before anyone else can read about them on eTramping.com.
For Agness, her mom is the biggest inspiration to travel, a real role model she wants to follow and they talk daily no matter what! Agness has travelled with her mom on several occasions and they both enjoyed budget voyages across Portugal, Spain or Germany!
How important is spirituality and religion in your daily life? What do you do to celebrate the two?
Agness has been raised in a strongly Catholic family where religion played a very significant role. She is Catholic herself and prays daily. Doing good things to people and making them happy is her life role! Cez is more open to ideas from different religions and meditates daily as a way of communication with the higher power (which he doesn’t call by any name).
Share something about a custom/tradition you observed. What makes it special?
One of the best Polish customs to observe is burning and drowning a straw effigy called Marzanna. We associate Marzanna with death and winter so each year on the first day of spring in Poland all families with kids participate in a ritual of making an effigy, setting it on fire and then drowning it in a river. Foreigners can’t really understand it but in this way we say goodbye to cold days and welcome warm and cozy weather!
Art and dance can tell a deeper story about local culture. Tell us the story of a specific artwork or dance that has a meaning for you. Share a photo, if you can. (It can be anything from street art to a festival to a painting to architecture to woven artwork, to woodworking, a family heirloom, etc.)
One of the most common traditional dances in Poland is Polonez that comes from 18th century. Although it is a very old dance, it is still danced nowadays as the opening procession at proms. Polonez is danced very slowly to ¾ tempo for about 15-20 minutes. Both dancers face each other, move firstly forward, then back and side while bowing and maintaining a very serious and stately pose. It’s quite easy to learn and so much fun to dance! See the video of Polish students dancing Polonez at the prom:
Languages not only give us the power to communicate, but also can unite us across cultures. What’s something you love about the multitude of languages spoken in your country? Share a favorite saying you have, or teach us something in your native language.
Polish is the official language in our country and we must admit it is one of the most difficult languages in the world. The grammar is a big struggle not only for foreigners but also for Poles. “Jesteś piękna” (English: “you’re beautiful”) is probably the most common phrase used by guys in Poland! Knowing this will definitely increase your chances of going on a date with a Polish beauty! 🙂
What local spot in your city/town do you love most? Why is it personally important to you?
Cez used to live at the seaside (Gdańsk city), so swimming was definitely his favorite sport. Agness for a change loved hiking and climbing beautiful mountains nearby her hometown Żagań.
Who is the most inspiring person in your life? In which ways does this person inspire you?
Agness: there are two inspiring people in my life – my mom and Cez, both different but extremely important to me, thus I can never pinpoint only one. My mom is truly inspiring for me as a strong and independent woman who goes for what she desires in her life. She simply makes things happen and she never quits. She is kind-hearted and understanding, thus I always listen to what she has to say about my travels, career and life plans. She also loves traveling and we often go on summer trips together. Believe me or not, but my mom knows what budget traveling is all about. She can stay in 5-star hotels if she wants, but at the same time she doesn’t mind having her lunch sitting on grass in the park!
When it comes to Cez, he is my role model of a faithful, fully committed and reliable friend, who is always there for you when you need him, 100% with no excuses. He teaches me that life is all about the balance and everything should be done in moderation – from travels, work to sport and pleasure. He is very efficient, precise and accurate at work and this is what I really value in him. Besides, he never quits and always develops new creative ideas which I find very inspiring!
Cez: I draw inspiration from many people in my life, as well as books. It’s difficult to point to just one person and say – I’d like to be just like him or her. I believe it’s better to aspire to learn certain characteristics from people who excel in them. Of course, there’s always Agness and my family, who are the people I can’t imagine my life without. They’re the reason I want to be better myself.
Have you ever met a stranger during your travels who made an impact on your life in a certain way, or maybe it was you who helped someone else? Share the story!
Agness: I met a very special person once during my travels in Europe. Although I want to keep details for myself, I can say that we’ve developed a special connection where very similar life values were shared. I really hope our paths will cross again in the future so we can laugh, cry and share some fun stories from the road!
Cez: Every person I met made an impact,big or small. Some people shaped an hour of my life, some shaped few years of my life, but all were important. It’s difficult to pinpoint one.
Unfortunately, stereotypes exist in the world. What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about your country? What is considered disrespectful in your culture that visitors should be aware of?
One of the most common misconceptions that we really find insulting is that Polish people are thieves. There are few famous sayings in Europe that if your car gets stolen then you should go to Poland to find it. Well, it could happen of course (like anywhere else in the world) but it is often forgotten that Poles are extremely hard-working people who work their a*ses off to buy, not steal things!
After hitting the road in 2011, Cez and Agness have become experts in the field of world travel. Their journeys have taken them across Asia, Europe, and beyond! Originally hailing from Poland, Agness and Cez, lived in many different parts of the world for various amounts of time. These experiences of constantly changing location while focusing on unique adventures resulted in the blog you’re reading now. Follow along and enjoy tips and guides for destinations you’d like to visit via http://etramping.com/