2016 was exciting. I am usually not the one that stops and reflects but I am starting to recognize the importance of looking back. These 366 days weren’t a continuous year for me, it was rather a period of time cut into separate parts – especially as 2016 meant time split between school, work and then time spent only on the road. I kept in mind that I would like to dedicate my free time only to things that matter to me and I thought even more before I said “yes” to a cooperation, decided to apply to any project or made a travel plan.
The first flight of the year took me to Porto, thanks to a changed flight schedule it was via Katowice and Frankfurt Hahn. I finally escaped the winter and for a few days joined my friend Natasa in her Erasmus life in an old, mysterious house. We spent those days walking along the promenade, visiting tiny shops or simply doing whatever we decided to do at that moment. Porto was magic and I am excited to return there.
In February I attended Solidarity Academy 2016, an event that brought together young journalists from the V4 countries. As I love Gdansk I took some extra days, stayed in a charming Airbnb of a German medicine student, Camilla, picked random places on the map and tried to find the way to reach them. I travelled to Hel, I travelled to all the shores I could reach and I haven’t been to before. An intense week full of lectures, meetings and Polish cuisine followed.
I stopped in London and then continued working on my diploma thesis, studied for my exams and frequently travelled between Slovakia and Germany. Our indecisive talks about the summer trip resulted in choosing Spitsbergen. When we found the flight tickets we didn’t know anything about this isolated place but we virtually fell in love with it. It required a lot of planning to get ready for an arctic summer with polar bears, wilderness and a rifle, but it was worth it all. I passed my final exams, graduated from university, and it was June when we landed in Longyearbyen after a day spent in Oslo. The time we spent in the Arctic was a very unique experience that influenced me in many ways. One of the things I learned was that one doesn’t need many things, it’s just about finding the right ones.
In august I revisited Odessa and worked on a photography series during the edition of Shift.Shape.Mobilize.The stay was inspiring and seeing Odessa’s seaside in summer was a very different experience. In October I attended a project in Izmir, Turkey, making the summer last longer while discovering the Turqouise coast.
The end of November marked our return to Georgia to continue my exploration and long term project documenting the country. We rent a car and drove to Mestia to experience the first snow, and once again enjoyed Georgian food and hospitality. It was also a new, unknown face of the country and we were really challenged by the weather – especially by the unstoppable rain in Batumi and the surroundings.
I welcomed 2017 in Germany where the trees were frozen and countryside life was slow in the best possible meaning of the word. It’s already clear that the upcoming year will bring changes. And I am looking forward to them.