Who is behind the RAWMANIA TRAVEL project?
Who is RAWMANIA TRAVEL? Who is this guy? you might be asking… Believe me, some days I ask myself exactly the same question. But my therapist keeps telling me that it’s ok. Damn he must be right. I’m paying him good money and most of the times he makes me feel good about myself.
“Hello friends! My name is Radu and I’m a proud Romanian from the countryside and I had a dream...“
I mean who the f*ck would say that? It seems I would. Actually quoted myself there, that’s my opening line for the introduction video of this project. Don’t belive me? Have a look here.
I tend to do that. Use “big words” when I’m nervous or emotional and boy, was I both when I filmed the first videos for RAWMANIA.TRAVEL project.
I could say a lot of things about myself, but I’m gonna start by saying this,
I’m a guy with a dream, like anyone of you out there.
Someone that made his dream his mission. A guy that has days when he is super confident and days when he would like to hide away under a rock from everyone. Someone that is trying to figure out life and often fails at it.
The story starts like this…
I was born in a small village in Transylvania. Where I spent a carefree childhood. Well a bit of child labor thrown in the mix, looking back at it now, but that’s how life is when you live on a farm. At least I got some strong arms and a good tan!
Since those times I had the habit of exploring the surroundings of the village. Most of the time without letting mom know. God she would give me a good spank!
Then for high school I moved to the nearest city, Oradea, and that’s where my teenage years got lost. Doing what I guess all teenagers do. Getting drunk, falling in love every other week, skipping classes and trying to pass all terms.
Of course I carried on with my habit of not attending the weekend chores at the farm. “Running” to other villages/cities where I had friends. For the fun of seeing “new places”, and of course mom and dad would be fuming. But who cared as long as they’d send me my weekly allowance [which by the way didn’t happen sometimes, guess I deserved it].
After high school I was pretty much on my own, as my folks had to support another devil through high school, my younger brother. Uni got me all “responsible”, cause I had to get a job. So for those years I waited at fast foods, bars and restaurants, anything that would pay my tuition.
Something life-changing happened during my uni years. There was this trend, a frenzy you could call it. A program where Romanian students could travel and work in USA for the summer.
The American Experience.
After two of my good friends tried it, I decided to give it a go. And so I did my first proper abroad travel, my first time flying, my first big adventure. You cannot imagine how excited I was. Couldn’t say the same about my parents, who were choking on tears and dead worried the day I left.
I spent four and a half months of absolute bliss. Working two jobs, partying like there’s no tomorrow, meeting people that would later become lifetime friends and putting myself through some serious sleep deprivation.
That “travel virus” got me. I figured that it was no way I was going back to my boring life when there was so much to explore in this world.
Done deal I said to myself. I’ll go back to Romania to get my bachelors degree, enroll in the American Experience program again and never come back. I was planning to overstay my visa and start a new life there, living “the American Dream”. It sounded like a plan.
So I enrolled in the program again. Only this time it didn’t happen, because I got my visa rejected, and my dream got broken. You can imagine the disappointment, but as they say, it all happens for a reason.
I spent another year, bartending, trying to figure out what to do next, struggling to make ends meet. Telling myself I can do more, I can do better and started applying for jobs. A lot of jobs. One day, it happened.
I got a job that was “too big” for my age and skills.
Don’t know if that makes sense to you. But I was 23 and had to manage a “small army” of employees, about 50 of them to be precise, most of them the same age a my parents.
I had to boss them around, hire/fire, deal with day long inventories, marketing and sales analysis. Those things you have to do when you have a manager position, talk about “sh*t getting real”. I liked it, for a while. It was challenging and pushed me, let’s say I was quite content.
But then one day my longlife friend and dear cousin gave me a call. Telling me about this awesome job his wife and him got with one of the airlines in the Middle East. To be fair it seemed to be good to be true, so I carried on with my thing in Romania for another year, till I got exhausted and fed up.
One night back in February 2014, after a few too many beers, I called my cousin. Telling him that I wanna apply for that job. He gave me all the details and the following week I submitted my online application. Got a reply and a scheduled date for an interview in April. Few days later got the big news. And in July I was packing my sh*t and moving to the Middle East.
Holly f*ck!!! How did this happen?
Believe me, when I applied I thought I have exactly zero chances, I just applied for the fun of it. But somehow the Universe or whoever is up there makes things work when you least expect it. I was far from being ready for such a change but that made it even more attractive.
And so this farm boy from Transylvania was facing his big life adventure without even realising it. What followed was a rollercoaster of emotions. Days when I would feel I’m on top of the world and days when I felt the loneliest in my entire life. No doubt this would change me in a way I never expected.
Flight attendant life is intense.
That’s one thing I can vouch for. The amount of people you meet, places you see, alcohol intake and sleepless nights is next level sh*t. At the beginning you feel like you hit the jackpot. This is f*cking paradise. You want to retire from this job. That’s how most people see it from the outside, and that’s how I saw it as well.
But then you feel that all the partying, all those connections that you make, all the money, days off and travel benefits lose their meaning.
You feel lost.
Most of us want to move back home and pick up their lives from where we left them, only to realize that it’s not possible anymore.
That people carried on and you got left behind. That something changed in you and you don’t belong there anymore. But you don’t belong here either. You feel rootless, drifting through life. And panic attacks, anxiety / depression are natural things that follow. But you push through, you try hard, make a plan and move forward.
RAWMANIA.TRAVEL is my plan.
I want to show you guys my Romania. In a way, I wanna bring the new me and my old self together. Will I make it? Time will answer that.
We all have to try and do something. It’s much more helpful than sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves. Not easier, definitely not, but for sure more helpful. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to act!
I’m still around, living in the Middle East, struggling with life and trying to figure it out. But keeping myself busy with this project and definitely in two years time I’ll be packing my sh*t once again. But this time a bit more prepared and knowing one or two things about what to expect from life.
That’s about it.
My 30 years journey through life.
As I said “I’m like you”. At times emotional, sometimes happy, other times lonely and sad, but I’ll be damned if I let life bring me down.
Thank you for taking time to get to know me a little. Now is time to find out all about the RAWMANIA TRAVEL project.