Day 34: My Travel Heart

On the tram.

This morning my travel heart is happy.*

* Insert cartoon character jumping for joy.

** Delete said cartoon for possible copyright infringement issues.

This morning I hop an 8-hour train to a different part of Poland. No, I don’t have a window seat, but I did get the last seat on the train, so there’s that.

Though I’ve been traveling for the past 34 days, it feels like this little apartment in the Old Town of Krakow, Poland is home, which is a gift.

Now I crave adventure.

I went into Atle’s office and told him the open road was calling. It was time for me to leave the Szafa Dobra Free Shop where I’ve been volunteering with Ukrainian refugees for over a month.

He nodded, as if he were expecting this conversation. He was expecting me to leave.

Many have questioned my resolve to follow an unplanned schedule this summer. They want to know. When? Where? Why are you still there?

My answer was always a simple, “I'll tell you when I know.” It's as if I were waiting for my travel plans to fax me an itinerary.

And I didn’t know when I would leave or where I would go, until I woke one day and knew it was time.

It’s sort of like having that bottle of vanilla vodka in my cabinet back home. I don’t know when friends will finish drinking it and I will need to make more. It’s the number one demand when I ask, “What should I bring?”

Vanilla vodka.

Ok. Sure. Anything else?

Key lime cheesecake.

Great. Anything else?

Chocolate mousse.

I have a habit of producing the same things over and over. At school where I teach kindergarten, I orient to routines that are the same every day: when I check my email, when I walk into the office, when I close my computer for the day. At home I always take out the trash on Monday evenings before I visit my mother.

When I travel, I wiggle out of routines like they’re an oversized dress. I’m in no rush to plan my next step. Yes, I pay more money for flights and for hotel rooms and for that last seat on the train where I had to book a first class seat because I dallied about my departure time and date.

Don’t worry. How much does an 8-hour, first class train ride cost here in Poland?

$25 dollars.

I know. Not much of a punishment for a woman who learned a few days ago that standing on the line at the train station to buy a ticket in person – which felt like a safer idea – would take hours out of my day, which led me to learn how to buy a train ticket online. and download the ticket onto my phone where I could find it again.

Yes, I just checked; it’s still on my phone.

I’m heading to the town of Sopot, Poland on the Baltic Sea. I’ve never been to this area. Never been to this sea. People warn me it will be windy. And colder than here. And that there will be many people.


Yeah, I get it. Here in Krakow I’m staying in the tourist bubble. Every time I walk out my door, I am surrounded by people. Some locals. Some Polish. Some foreigners—like me. I’m constantly entertained by the chaos of people wandering on the street below me.

Do I need to wear a sweater today? Look to the street. People are wearing t-shirts.

Is it going to rain? Look to the street. Nobody is carrying an umbrella.

I’m writing this at 3 o’clock in the morning, not because it is time to wake up and catch my train, it’s not. I tried writing 4 different columns last night so I would have a post today; nothing worked; flow escaped me, so I gave up and went to bed.

Writing is like walking my puppy; sometimes it sits in the middle of the road and refuses to budge. If only I could feed it a dog bone to get my way.

Not a chance.

I finally saw one of the wonders of this country, as mentioned by my friend, Angelique. The Polish sky doesn’t darken at night. I’ve been so tired, my eyes missed this delight.

This write was vine ripened and bursting with excitement. So I got out of bed and turned on the computer, figuring the idea would hold back once the curser blinked on an empty page.

But this time the idea stuck: write about my travel heart.

Ideas came to me slowly, one word at a time, I followed them, begging them to wait for me as my fingers typed as fast as I could before the thoughts withered into the "Has been" part of my brain.

Most of my friends plan their travel six months in advance. Not me.

I know where I’ll be for the next two nights, then my plan goes blank; I’m unsure where I want to go next, other than back to bed to sleep for a few more hours.

So I’ll spend two nights at the beach. I’ll be present, walk on the beach, rest, go a bit wild and then choose my next stop, knowing full well there’s a slow train with an empty seat waiting to take me wherever I choose to go next.


Fundraising update below.

Angelique and I shopped and spent the rest of the donation money. Read below for a breakdown of how we spent the money.

We bought 4 bags filled with underwear, socks and bras.

Giovani said we needed more shoes. ON IT!

The tags from the bras. To see the price, go to PLN for Poland. Then type into Google: 10 zloty in USD to find out how much we paid in dollars.

Angelique sorting underwear.

Let’s Buy Shoes, Socks, Underwear and Bras for Ukrainian Refugees:

Fundraising Recap:

Total $ Donated: $2,346.31

On Saturday we bought 100 pairs of shoes and spent $1,578.33

Leaving: $767.98

Today Angelique and I bought: 80 pairs of underwear, 30 pairs of socks, 100 bras and spent: $417.10 (Prices here have been rising fast: but for some reason under-things are still a bargain. The bras were from 10 – 25 zloty. $2.15 - $5.38 each.)

Leaving: 350.88

Then Giovanni said WE NEED MORE SHOES. Size 39.

We went back to Decathlon and bought another 20 pairs of shoes and I added 10 small backpacks (something the children YEARN for and they are only $2.15 each) for $390.

Holly’s Extra Donation: $39.12 ($21.50 for the backpacks and $17.62 towards a more expensive shoe we had to buy to get enough size 39.)

Good news: When the Free Shop opens on Thursday, the shoe department WILL BE OPEN with every size stocked. That’s a good day for all of us.

More Good News: Iryna also got donations for underwear. When the shop opens on Thursday, the underwear is stocked in all sizes for all people. That’s beyond exciting.

Oh. By the way. Sigh. When I wrote and sent out the postcards for people who donated $100 or more, for some unknown reason, I placed the date as the “Summer of 2020.”

I know. I know.

I didn’t catch this mistake until I was typing out the last two postcards. I hope this is proof positive that a human wrote out these cards and not some kind of machine robot.

Feel free to add this notation to your postcard: #hollydidit

I love the way we partnered to bring supplies to people who truly needed it. Thank you.

We can’t fix every problem out there, but we filled hundreds of needs with our donations.

I love us!!!

XXOO Love Holly





Thanks for reading.



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Living the Life of Holly