It’s sometimes hard to explain to people from EU what a visa is and that ‘outsiders’ do need to deal with it. That was my case, and tired of all these formalities and while waiting for the papers for Austria, unexpectedly for myself, I decided to start a trip around the Balkans (where I’m free to go). I had an obscure plan where to go and what to do, which eventually turned out to be pretty different. Things were constantly changing on the way, with plan for only one day ahead. This vacation was an intensive and sometimes exhausting program, but it was definitely worth it. On this trip I visited all ex-Yugoslavian countries, excluding Kosovo but including Albania. Agenda was to go with the flow and learn as much as possible about the local culture, while talking to the locals and fellow travelers, looking around, reading and getting my personal experiences. I was happy to discover that I can communicate with my Croatian/ Serbian/ Bosnian/ etc. to make conversations about life. It was usually enough to speak English in Zagreb, but having no choice anymore, I eventually started using the language. My goal was to hear different opinions, see different perspectives, understand more the past and the present of the region (although it’s not easy at all when you are dealing with the complicated and mixed up Balkan situation). The countries, their people and cultures are so similar but different at the same time. It’s like a traditional pattern with many various repetitive elements put together in a magnificent mosaic. It’s a pity, I couldn’t spend more time and experience more of the local culture, going far away from touristy routes. The best part always is under the surface, not among the top sightseeing (although they are stunning as well). I must be more prepared for my next Balkan trip.

Two notes for myself:

  • Never travel to popular places in high season: everyone does the same.
  • Having local friends to travel or show around is the best.