Cynthia's European Travel Fund

Hello! For those of you who don't already know me, my name is Cynthia Veronika Brodowska, age 27, resident of Asheville, North Carolina. 

I tried to keep the story short-not sure I succeeded! (sorry!) Here's everything you need to know about Cyn's European Fundraiser:

I am embarking on a one-way trip to Sweden on May 7, 2015.  I need your help to fund this adventure!

This funny video will enlighten you to exactly who I am NOT and thus why I must count on your generosity:

 I will temporarily be staying with my aunt and uncle in Mariestad, Sweden but plan on mostly adventuring solo in other parts of Europe as well. I particularly want to make it to Poland because that's where my family is from and I will actually be able to communicate (even if the Poles think my Americanized accent is funny!) I would love to volunteer doing language education; I think my tri-lingual status would be a great asset. 

I have looked into some excellent programs such as  that offer work-in-exchange-for-room-and-board experiences, making a tour through Europe a cheaper experience with some interesting opportunities for learning new languages, skills, and lifestyles.

How This Came To Be

So, let me tell you a little bit about my life. 
I am a first-generation born American. That means my parents moved from Poland to the U.S. and then had me (and one of my brothers too- the oldest one was born in Poland.) They had no family in the states; they just came and started a new life. 
While navigating an unknown land and raising 3 children, my mother learned english and within a year obstained the certification to be a nurse and midwife.
This is my mother: my hero and the love of my life. Her name is Stefania. Everyone who knew her adored her.

After I graduated college in 2010, my mother became ill and her condition deteriorated rapidly. Within a matter of months it was clear she was terminally ill with liver cancer. In May of 2011 my mother passed away.

The journey since her death has been a long but valuable struggle. Almost four years later I still grieve for her but I have become much stronger.

This is me at age 3 and my mother.The picture and card were unearthed after her death and will travel with me to Europe.

Before her death I was applying to graduate school. That obviously did not happen. I have been living in Asheville, supported by beloved friends with my brothers and nephews close by. But I have been working odd jobs and achieving very little in terms of my goals and dreams.
It is time for me to embark on a journey to change my life. If you've ever read Wild by Cheryl Strayed than you'll know what I mean when I say that Sweden is the equivalent of Cheryl's hike on the PCT. I need expand my knowledge, I need to find my calling. And really, I just need to get my wiggles out, as I like to say. 

Why Sweden?

My only remaining, non-estranged extended family is my aunt and uncle who live in Mariestad, Sweden. She is my mother's sister and I have only seen her a few times in my life when she'd visit the states. I have never met her daughter, my cousin. I want to take this opportunity not only to travel but to reconnect with famly that I have never truly gotten to know. I want tot be closer to my mother's last remaining relative while I still can.

This is a totally adorable picture of my mother (left) and my aunt and uncle- a relic from Poland in the 1970's.

I have the freedom to go and my supporters urge me to go get my "big adventure." I have no obligations here afterall- no job, no house, husband or children. I feel that since my mother's death my life has been on pause and I'm ready to come back to the world- dive right in.

Why Your Help is Essential and Profoundly Appreciated

Two months shy of my grand departure, I have lost my job. Although I am seeking employment for the remainder of my time here, my financial situation is scary. Even with a stable job I was going to go with what I earned, the paltry amount in my bank account. 
Remember, I don't have outside financial support. I don't even have a credit card. My father is a deadbeat that I no longer associate with. And I have no inheritence to speak of.  My savings, if withdrawn in cash (and folded up nice and tidy) could fit in a regular piggy bank

Although my aunt and uncle's house will be a safe home base, I do not plan on taking advantage of their hospitality for long. I am plotting my trip- which host locations I'd like to volunteer for and where I'd like to visit. These volunteer gigs provide room and board- I will still need money for travel, food, and traveler's insurance. I also know I will need to purchase a phone that will work in Europe. What I currently have will not last me for very long. 

Depending on how my trip goes I will eventually seek employment somewhere (who knows where I'll end up?) As of now I do not have a return flight purchased or planned. That's another reason I need your help raising money- in case I get I need to come home because of a family emergency (or if it's just time for me to come home), I'd like to have the money for that flight secured.

Please know that I will be grateful for even the tiniest donation- if I don't reach my goal I will still be happy with even a little extra money. Please know my gratitude is sincere and humble- I thank you with all my heart for any help you want to offer.

(Also, I'd love to have some extra funds to send you all postcards and fun worldy trinkets and souveniers!)

And in closing, a tribute:
When I travel, I imagineit as an ode to my mother, who craved freedom from the tremendous struggles in her life. This song by Maryla Rodowicz is called "Wsiąść do pociągu byle jakiego..."which embodies the lust for life and freedom- it's no wonder it was my favorite song.

It roughly translates to "To get on a Train, any Train"
"To board a train/ any train, no matter the destination
Not worrying about luggage/not worrying about a ticket
Squeezing in your hand a small green pebble
Watching out the window as you leave it all behind"

For those of you that know me, you know I have a fondness and collection of small green pebbles for exactly this reason.

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Cynthia V B 
Leicester, NC
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