Guest writer Norm Bour who runs travel blog Travel Younger shares his observations after spending 30 days in Romania.
I am an American who left the United States in February of this year and have no plans to return. At the age of (then) 64, I became a Traveling Nomad and decided to travel the world and live in different places for six weeks at a time. Those 45 days or so at one location allow us to get perspectives of the people, the culture, and the area, plus not have to worry about rushing to our next destination. As an American, I am limited to being in the European Union for only 90 days at a time so I must jump to non-Schengen countries to allow my clock to reset. Romania is one of those countries.
Though the original plan was to stay in Romania for about 10 days, we loved the country and the people so much we delayed other travel plans and stayed here. Along the way, we met many locals and Romanians that can trace their lineage back for centuries. So, it was with dismay that I read about how many Romanians that live outside their country that have no wish to return.
With that in mind, I am offering an outsiders’ perspective and thoughts about your country.
I have found the former Iron Bloc countries to be much different than Western Europe and the pains from the past continue to this day. There are those that miss the “good old days” and recall how easy things were under the old system. Yet the younger generation looks back and sees a system that afforded no freedom or choices. The problem is twofold since the “younger” generation, ie, those younger than 40 or especially Millennials, want choice and their choices are much different than their parent’s generation. This is true in America and elsewhere.
Many outsiders have no idea how wonderful your country is, and that may even be true of many natives.
We booked a room in Brasov and planned to stay just eight days. We enjoyed it so much we canceled our next leg and stayed another eight days. We became friendly with our AirBNB host and were invited to lunch at their house. In all my travels I have never seen such a willingness to befriend a stranger.
During that time, I had some observations:
* After spending time in several eastern European countries, I found Romanians to be amazingly hospitable and friendly- and sincere. There was no false appearance of cordiality, and from the first day we felt “welcome.”
* The country is magnificent and beautiful! I rented a motorcycle in Bucharest and rode the Transfăgărășan Road (opening photo) from one end to the other. In my 40 years of motorcycling, I have never seen such splendor! Romania on Two Wheels, indeed!
* There is a history here that is very unique to this country. On one of our trips to Sibiu, we arrived during a medieval festival. The cast and the people were so authentic, it was inspiring, especially because this was your personal history and not just a reference in a history text.
* The cost of living and traveling for an outsider is very affordable and as good as any of the countries we’ve stayed. This does not help the Romanian citizens but offers a perspective compared to western countries.
Our collective experience in Romania was exactly 30 days, so a bit shorter than our normal six-week plan. Even so, we came away with such a respect and love for the country that we will return for longer. If you have friends in America or other countries, please share this information. Maybe it will help overcome old stereotypes.
by Norm Bour, guest writer
Norm Bour is a travel writer and blogger who teaches others how to “travel younger.” A Baby Boomer who permanently left the US in February 2019, Norm stays at different locations six weeks at a time, with no intention of stopping. He never traveled outside the US until 2016, but watched how the Millennials traveled affordably and with a great sense of adventure and fun.
At age 64, he and his girlfriend decided to learn from those that were doing it right and is committed to inspiring Baby Boomers of any age to live their dream. Follow their journey at his Facebook blog under Travel Younger.
(Photo source: Travel Younger Facebook page)
British rally driver Mark Higgins set a world speed record on Romania’s spectacular mountain road Transfagarasan.