Sometimes you arrive in a new place without any idea of what to do or where to go. You check into your hostel and decide to start talking to people there, maybe to make a friend or get a little info of the area. So far, this is all a fairly normal situation, however when I did this in Riga, the first person I started talking to ended up making my trip in the country exponentially more enjoyable. So, without further ado, let me introduce the newest edition to the Awesome Person page: Hana/Hanka (also known artistically as Pohana).
It all began with a simple idea, “Let’s go wander the city together!” We had no destination in mind or activity planned, but we didn’t need one. The focus was the adventure, not any end point, and from the very beginning, it became apparent that having Hana there made whatever we were doing much more fun. When we got into conversation, we’d bounce around topics ranging from Russian literature to travel to pagan-inspired tattoos (aka the most awesome things in the world!) While people or animal watching, she’d drop in funny little insights, and even when things were silent, there was never an awkward moment or sense of unease. Hana was there, appreciating the present moment and the surroundings, helping make everything more euphoric.
On top of that, she had such a unique approach to life as well as travel. Throughout our trip in Latvia, she never gave off any sense of unease or urgency. It never seemed like she needed to get to the next place, nor did she focus on the previous. Schedules were irrelevant (except on my part when I had a Skype student. Poor planning by me), and every place we went was enjoyed until we wandered to the next location. When there was water nearby, she’d go for a swim. In the forest, she used her creativity to make crowns of leaves and plants (which came in handy for the Riga solstice festival), and when we were in the park, she was all for buying bread to feed the local birds. I couldn’t help but get pulled into the joy of the present with whatever we were doing.
However, the one thing that really made her stand out was how giving she was. For the whole trip, she never put herself ahead of anyone and always helped raise the mood of anyone and anything (such as the park sparrows) she interacted with. This went from everything to a well-placed smile to one of the most awesome handmade gifts I’ve ever seen. Plus, she makes specialty coffee for a living. What could possibly bring more joy than that?
Be like Hanka: Appreciate nature, see the world differently from others, and bring joy to everyone you meet.