Oakywood is a company born out of an openness to people, curiosity about the world, and fascination for nature. It is no wonder then that our entire team, made up of so many different personalities and talents, is united by one particular passion. Traveling is an inseparable part of our life. It allows us to de-stress after a hard time at work, look at everyday problems from a different perspective, and, above all, learn something new about ourselves - by discovering the world.
Last year was not the best time for travel lovers, but we all look forward to the months ahead. Together with a part of our Oakywood team, we had a little chat about our traveling style, favorite secret places on the world map, unforgettable memories, and travel bucket list. Let's get to know us better - see how we travel and what it tells about us!
What is your traveling style? What does traveling mean to you?
Karolina: My favorite memories are from when I traveled really slow, going on student exchanges. Thanks to the Erasmus+ program, I spent two semesters studying abroad. After finishing my Bachelor's degree, I also spent my holidays doing an internship in Italy.
While living in different places for a few months, I had the opportunity to meet many people, listen to their stories, and discover their cultures. And of course - I appreciate historical monuments and beautiful spots created by nature, but when I think of my past trips, the first thing that comes to my mind is the people I have met on my way.
Mateusz: I used to couch-surf and hitchhike, but the dearest to my heart is the philosophy of slow travel. I love meeting local people and discovering regional cuisine. While traveling, I always look for guestrooms, local food options, and festivals.
As a company owner, I have to be available for my team. That’s why most of my travels are actually workation. I try to squeeze in my holiday schedule some work in the morning and the evening.
Ghani: My motto is "We learn more about ourselves while opening to others, and we learn more about our nation while abroad". Couchsurfing, hitchhiking, slow travels, student exchange - I tried many traveling methods and each of them was equally educational, and character-building.
Julia: My ways of traveling have changed over the years, but certainly, I can indicate a common feature of all my trips: literature. I think that I owe this particular perspective to my grandfather, who used to take me on journeys following the footsteps of more and less famous artists. Sometimes we visited museums and cemeteries - and sometimes we wandered in the mountains for several hours, looking for the landscape described in my grandpa's favorite poem. During our trips, I met many brilliant authors and academics - although as a little girl, I often did not realize the importance of these meetings. But now I think that these local family trips had an invaluable impact on my life.
Share your favorite secret spot!
Julia: Hel on the Hel Peninsula, Poland - but definitely in May or September. I have been visiting Hel for years, and my favorite spots are a large, secret beach near the so-called Swedish Mountain (named after the Swedes who ran aground here in the 17th century) and Captain Morgan Pub, where you can hear live sea shanties, talk to sailors and pull the genuine ship's bell (but only if you want to buy a drink for everyone in the bar).
Mateusz: Railay Beach, Krabi - Thailand. The beach is situated on the mainland, but you can go there only with a long-tail boat! Railay Beach is surrounded by mountains, so you can swim and sunbathe around the monumental cliffs.
The other spectacular secret spot is Ella in Sri Lanka. This beautiful little town lies in the heart of Sri Lanka mountains and is surrounded by tea plantations. You have to go there with (literally!) the slowest train on the Earth, which is meandering through tea plantations.
Karolina: It is not an obvious choice for a vacation in Italy, but I really like the beaches on the Riviera del Conero in the Marche region. My favorite one is Mezzavalle Beach. You have to hike down quite a steep path to get there, but it’s totally worth it. There is a beautiful panorama on the way, and it's a perfect place to chill away from the crowds and rows of sunbeds.
What is your favorite travel experience?
Karolina: When I lived in Portugal, I was lucky to celebrate Saint's Patron Day. At the end of June, people of Porto celebrate Festa de São João. On this day, the city is decorated with colorful bunting, the air is filled with the smell of local delicacies, and thousands of people come out on the streets. One of the traditions that afternoon is... hitting the heads of the passers-by with toy hammers. When it gets dark, fireworks shoot over the Douro River, and dozens of lanterns soar into the sky. It is a very lively event, attended by everyone, regardless of age, and a cool local experience, so when planning a trip to Porto, save the date - June 23rd.
Mateusz: On my hitchhiking trip to Morocco, I met Ghani - and now he is a member of our team! He was our cochsurfing host at his home in Rabat. Together we experienced the city like a true local, with such experiences as climbing abandoned buildings and running around Rabat’s rooftops.
Ghani: One of my favorite travel moments is when I was climbing the mountain for around 13 hours, and despite the unbelievable tiredness, I persevered to the top of the hill. When I finally reached the top, I felt like I was invincible - even though I was experiencing physical pain. I remember that the friends I met then (and with whom I keep in touch even today) felt the same - which made the feeling of reaching this mountain peak together even more special for me.
Julia: I used to travel a lot with my parents - and one of my favorite memories is a spontaneous tour of Provence with my dad. We visited the famous Carcassonne, Montsegur, Marseilles, and many smaller and larger towns on our route. We traveled by car, stopping wherever we wanted and only doing what we wanted. Those memories even today smell like lavender and taste like bouillabaisse and wine!
What is on your travel bucket list?
Karolina: Any place I haven't visited yet! There are many places on my bucket list, but if I had to choose one travel dream it would be a trip through South America (starting in Argentina or Brazil).
Mateusz: There's plenty of places I'd love to visit, but at the top of my bucket list are the US and Australia.
Ghani: I would love to visit Cuba, New Zealand, Iceland and Norway.
Julia: No. 1 on my bucket list is a trip to Australia, but also I dream of a lazy rest in a beautiful place. I would love to go back to the town of Lindos in Rhodes, Venice or the Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia.