What is it like to be a teenage world traveller, whose every possession is in a backpack, who has no home in the conventional sense, and who writes fiction and blogs about her experiences? Réka Kaponay left her home in Melbourne with her family when she was 11, she has visited 34 countries, and she is not planning to go home yet, travelo.hu writes.
“Our journeys started in Australia, and we travelled around the country with my parents and my twin brother,” says Réka. They visited the sacred sites of the Aboriginals, and their Dreamtime mythology made a great impression on the then 10-year-old girl. She named her blog Dreamtimetraveler, which she started in 2012, to chronicle her adventures around the world.
“In 2012, we sold everything: our house, our car, our furniture, bought suitcases and backpacks, and on June 7, we got on a plane to California,” Réka recalls the beginning of their journey.
They explored the US in a trailer. Originally, they only planned to stay for six months, but then decided not to go home at all. They spent the next six months backpacking in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Then back to the US, and on to Europe. First, they travelled around the UK, then, on their way to Morocco, they arrived in Spain, where she began working on her novel, Dawn of the Guardian, which has since been published.
Taking up travelling was a family decision. “Our parents asked me and my brother whether we wanted to go home and go to a traditional school, etc., or if we rather kept on travelling. We said that we wanted to explore the world,” says Réka. They had been homeschooled before, as well, so the transition was not difficult.
“We travel with very few things, everyone has their own backpack, plus one or two suitcases. On the summer of 2015, we walked El Camino. When you are walking 20-30 km a day, for 38 days, you really start to pay attention to what you’re carrying on your back. You realise that you don’t actually need many things.
We take care of what we have, we travel light, and we feel light.”
Belongings aren’t the only thing Réka and her family had to give up for travelling. “When we are travelling, we leave our friends behind, and then find more friends elsewhere. My brother and I have many friends all over the world, from the US to India, from England to France. These relationships are much more lasting than the ones we had back at home.”
During their travels in Europe, they also made their way back to the family’s roots. “My mother is from Csíkszereda, Transylvania. We’ve been there three times already, and it was very interesting to see where my mother grew up and where those stories came from that we heard many times growing up.”
The family spent a year in Budapest as well, which was a very inspiring period in Réka’s life. Besides the most famous sights, she recalled the Operetta Theatre, the Aquaworld, the Alexandra bookstore on Andrássy Avenue, and hiking in the Buda Hills as her most memorable experiences. She even praised the often criticised public transport system.
“Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe or even the world. One of my fondest family memories is boating on the Danube,” she says.
When asked about how she imagines her future, she replies, “I don’t think so far ahead. At the moment, we’re not planning to stop, or to go back to Australia. My book was published in April 2016, and now I’m promoting it in schools and libraries,” she says. “I’m also working on the sequel, it’s going to be a trilogy. Of course, travelling is not just about the book, the whole family wants to keep going. It’s a gift that we don’t want to give up.”
Copy editor: bm