Alex Jaskolowska is a young blogger that is on a constant travel around the world. She has recently visited Dubrovnik and made a buzz on social networks, especially Instagram. On her blog Travel and keep fit she describes her two greatest passions: traveling and healthy lifestyle. For The Dubrovnik Times she shared her inspiration, experiences and gave us a tip how to stay fit in Dubrovnik.
How did you decide to start to travel around the world?
I guees it came naturally. Travelling has been always an important part of my life since early childhood. For all these years it has been taking different forms. There was a time for family trips, language camps, self-exploration, but also for studying and working in different countries. So far, I have been on 5 continents and in more than 60 countries. In many of them I have been living for a long time. I have always had this kind of impatience that didn’t let me sit in one place and pushed me forward. When I was a kid I had a small globe in my room and I used to spin it around, close my eyes, and pick some place. Then, I was dreaming about it. I guess I had this instinct from the beginning. I wanted to know more, observe more and understand more about my surrounding.
Is it hard to stay fit during the travels? How do you manage it?
It not super easy, but it's possible. The main things you need are motivation and good organization. If health and strong body is important to you then nothing can change that. Even travelling.
People often ask me how do I find time, place or opportunity to exercise. Also, how to eat healthy without skipping a local cuisine. First of all, I choose smart. I’ve been on the road for the last few years and not taking care about my body for so long wasn’t an option. I remember about several rules no matter where I am. I try to eat healthy, nutritious food. I look for fresh, local products, like fruits, vegetables or seafood. I always carry a healthy snack. And I have my routines. I exercise a few times a week and I try different forms of activities. Sometimes it’s a gym, sometimes the whole body workout without equipment. I run a lot in new places and it’s one of my favorite ways to sightsee. I also try new activities like surfing in Australia or Taekwondo in South Korea. Almost every place in the world offers some activity that is worth trying! Hence, I always have fun and I’m not bored.
How do you pick countries you will visit?
That's easy. I have a long list of countries that I would love to explore. I've visited some of them for the last years, but I still have so many. I try to visit them systematically.
For some time my travels were related to my studies and my scientific work. I took part in student exchange in South Korea (Konkuk University in Seoul) and Italy (Universita degli Studi di Firenze in Florence). From that time, I knew that studying and working abroad was a perfect opportunity to explore the world. So I decided to go for more. I received government scholarships for my research in Japan (Osaka University), United States (College William&Mary in Williamsburg) and Australia (Macquarie University in Sydney). In the meantime I took part in many scientific conferences and projects e.g. in South Africa, California and Europe. Beyond that I always took a chance to visit the places close to those where I lived or worked. For instance, when I have been studding in Seoul I made a trip to Philippines. When I have finished my fellowship in Australia, I just had to visit New Zealand. Every occasion is good enough to see more, right?:)
Do you learn something in every country?
Sure thing! I believe that traveling is the greatest way to get to know yourself and other people and to learn that there is more than one way of life. Travelling is literally everything to me. It gives you lessons. Teaches how to be open-minded, patient and more empathetic. Wherever you travel you can learn something new and observe how fascinated the world can be outside your box. Certainly, it’s a good opportunity to try new things and find courage for new adventures. Studying and working abroad gave me a chance to be a part of other cultures and I consider it as one of the most important things in my life. I have learned a lot about people and their behaviors in different parts of the world. In fact, I have learned much more about people during my travels than from the academic books. I’m psychologist and it was very fascinating to discover that I really knew nothing about life until I moved forward and discovered the world.
Travelling a lot didn’t change the fact that I’m crazy about sport and healthy lifestyle. That is why I always try to combine these two spheres. I like to try new activities in places where I’m staying, like practicing Muay Thai with locals in Thailand or horse riding in New Zealand. Anything that may be exciting and challenging. That’s a wonderful way to keep fit and explore the culture in the same time.
Why did you decide to visit Dubrovnik?
It wasn't my first time here. I used to spend holidays with my parents in Croatia when I was a child. When I had an occacion to re-visit Dubrovnik as an adult, I did it again. I really wanted to confront my memories with reality. And you know what? It's more beautiful than I remebered. Maybe because I see and understand more, so now I can fully appreciate the beauty of this city.
Did you like it? What was your favorite thing?
I love Croatia for its people, culture and architecture. Dubrovink is a special place. In the Old Town I felt like traveling a few centuries back in time. You can really feel a different reality and that's a treasure. I had a wonderful time here. The greatest moment, was an early morning jogging through the city. I was quite alone, since it was 5.30 am and I had a chance to admire the buildings while running. There was a sun, me and silence. Beautiful experience.
How to stay fit in Dubrovnik?
I'm sure there are a few ways to do it, but this time I've chosen morning jogging around the Old Town. I think the best time to do it, is an early morning before the tourists come in and the sun is very strong. I woke up at 5am, wore my sport shoes and just started to run. I lived close to the Old Town, so it was easy-breazzy. I need to admit that it was magical. The city is so beautiful and the are plenty places to run between small streets. To make it more comlpex, I made some push-ups, squats and crunches on my way. I used the stairs and bench I have found. Running is the easiest way to workout, because you only need a good pair of shoes and a bit of energy. A great idea is also to run on the City Walls. More challenging, but the view is worthy!
What is your next destination?
After my last, long trip across Asia, I stayed in Europe so my plans for the next few months are focused here. I'm going to France and Finland soon. At the beginng of the next year I'm going to have another big, few-months trip to South America. I'm so excited about it, but there are plenty of things to plan in advance so I am a busy girl now.