THROUGH THE TRAVEL LENS
Julia Nowinska on Traveling the World, Being a Mom, and a Local Californian
Julia Nowinska – a journalist, reporter, doting mother and an avid traveler, has been to more than half of the world and never satiates her thirst for travel. She has worked for the National Geographic magazine in Poland and written to several media outlets. She has published two books and has also pitched a tent over a thousand times! Now, Julia explores the beauty of hidden Californian gems with her husband and three kids. We had this wonderful opportunity of getting a peek into Julia’s travel lens and here’s what she had to say…
How many countries have you traveled to?
I was never trying to checkmark the number of countries. I have revisited several countries multiple times to discover new places and experiences. I don’t remember the number but yes, it was a lot.
Since you always travel a lot, what has been the toughest part about sheltering in place?
I miss being unable to travel outside the United States. This is definitely a big change for me as it was normal for me to be in 10+ countries every year. What I miss the most is the excitement that came with my trips – new tastes, new flavors, and new smells. However, I do love traveling in California and discovering local experiences.
What has been the best part about sheltering in place?
We actually decided to move to the seaside, and it was very unique because we would probably never move there otherwise. I could run, jog with the rhythm of the ocean and enjoyed every moment of it. What really struck me was when I was running along Monterey Bay, the ocean seemed different every single day – that was amazing. I also learnt a lot about Monterey Bay and discovered that it is an underwater Serengeti!
What’s the first thing you do when you visit your home country, Poland?
I go to all the cute boutique style coffee places and love meeting my friends there. Warsaw is very funky and hip, and also very big on vegan food (surprising for many people). I definitely take advantage of all the amazing vegan delicacies.
If we were in Poland together, what would we be doing?
Of course, if there was no COVID and if we were in Warsaw, we would go to the cultural center along the river. It is definitely a place to be at. We would definitely go on this totally vintage, cute, old-fashioned boat that crosses the river. We would then go to the south-east Poland and experience the green mountains and its vast culture – a good place to relax and get a perspective on what’s important in life.
What’s your favorite destination so far?
I really don’t care about destinations – experiences are what makes it special for me. I actually love India, visited it multiple times and spent a great amount of time in the Himalayas, Ladakh and the North in general. I always had this love-hate relation with India – feeling overwhelmed and then going with the flow and feeling the rhythm. I also loved the cultural feel in Kerala. Wherever nature is prevalent, that is my favorite place to visit.
The most difficult part about planning a trip for you is…
I cannot get enough. I always want to do more than possible. There are so many things to do!
One thing that you cannot travel without…
My kids, for sure.
Who is/are your best travel companion(s)?
Depending on who reads this – probably my husband ;) I do like meeting people on the way and finding out about their travel stories.
What inspirations have you found so far while traveling?
Climbing and summiting mountains is definitely something that lets me overcome my weaknesses. It is a sense of achievement that I really love.
Who is the living woman you admire the most?
Jane Goodall is definitely one of my role models, I second her with the fight to solve climate change. And I was lucky enough to be able to interview her!
What is the single best thing about traveling with your kids?
Just seeing very different things (not just touristy but also local like going to parks that we otherwise wouldn’t do) and also it is much easier to talk to other people. It is interesting to see how kids react to different cultures.
Why is travel so important to you?
It has been an integral part of my life since I was 10 years old. It gives me a sense of freedom and allows me to broaden my horizon. I am hungry for other people’s travel stories. This is definitely a lifestyle choice for me.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area on a weekend in this new quarantine era?
I love the hikes – Russian Ridge, Windy Hill. My happy place in the Bay Area is Muir Valley.
Any secrets for our avid travelers on how to make their trip memorable?
Talk to people. Be curious. It adds a lot to the trip.
Where do you call home?
Home is where me and my family are.