I love to travel. I enjoy traveling. For a person coming from Bosnia, one of the poorest, most corrupted and complicated country, and has a regular eight-hour job you could say that I travel a lot. People often think that I have a huge salary and an infinite number of vacation days. They constantly ask me how!?. Where do you find money, time, energy or courage!? Most people in Bosnia are not used to travel at all. Until few years ago, we could not travel almost anywhere without a visa. Fortunately, since 5 years ago, we are allowed to visit some 60, 70 countries without a visa.
In February 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 101 countries and territories, ranking the Bosnia and Herzegovina passport 52nd in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index. Bosnia and Herzegovina passport is one of the 5 passports with the most improved rating since 2006
I don’t have a huge salary. I have a minimum number of vacation days. That’s a small but cute number – 18. So how do I manage that!?
Pretty easy. The point is that I actually really want to travel. This is the first prerequisite. Of course, the fact that I work in a fantastic company where I can get the days off almost any time I want, very much helps the realization of that desire. But still, 18 = 18, Math is a ruthless bitch.
The second prerequisite is enormous curiosity that I possess. I want it all. And if it’s possible, right now.
Also, I am not looking for luxury, I am not a materialist. I just need some food and a shelter. My goal is to survive, preserve the physical integrity and to learn, grow, see, understand and enjoy all of that. Only that.
Additionally, I was always more interested in the East. Hence the name of the blog. Eastern countries are often countries with low standards, which also helps my very limited budget to survive. Who knows how would I managed to travel if I considered Germany or Switzerland very interesting countries. Fortunately, that is not the case. On the East, people are generally warmer, friendlier. When I traveled to Ukraine (2015), I actually saved the money. I spent less money traveling and spending 7-8 days in this wild country than I would have spent if I performed basic life functions in Banja Luka. Indeed.
I almost always travel around the May 1st. Every year there are few extra days off around that day. May is also an excellent month for anything, especially for travelling. The beginning of January is also great time to travel. So, 18 + fewMoreDays = 4-5 trips per year. Not bad, right!?
On the road
The fact that I travel by hitchhiking, and sometimes by bicycle makes travelling even more interesting and also less expensive. This way, relieving my budget, I manage to travel the way I want – more and more.
As for me, hitchhiking is certainly the most interesting way of traveling. You discover people and places along the way in a completely unexpected and spontaneous way. When I started to travel by hitchhiking, I realized that the essence and beauty of the travelling is not only to get to the destination, but to enjoy processes of arriving to it, as well.
However, people are afraid. Especially women. Fear is a natural thing, but it is also often the product of our own irrational beliefs and kills any kind of initiative and enthusiasm. Jelena travels by hitchhiking. Snežana, woman from Serbia many of you already know, travels the world by bicycle for few years now. Yeah, the world, the planet Earth. How cool is that!?
People were scared since the beginning of time and they always tried to persuade you to be scared as well. That’s their job. Your job is to live your own life.
Also, if you are open enough and you are able to, you can rent your place by various means of an online services like Airbnb and that way earn some money while you are on the road. Cool, right!?
It is useful to know that almost every bigger European city has free guided tours. It is an awesome system in which the guide has already been paid by the agency for which he works, getting additional money from your tips, which are totally optional. If you are happy and satisfied with the guide, you can give him a tip, but you do not have to. The amount is also not defined. So, that's a free tour, right!?
Since the tips are very important to him, the guide is trying hard to answer any question, to be fun and show you the most interesting parts of the city, with the most interesting stories. So, quality is guaranteed.
I absolutely recommend Lisbon ChillOutFreeTour.
I almost never pay for accommodation. Being member of couchsurfing community helps me with that. That community consists of people who in their cities provide free accommodation to passengers and passers-by, get reviews from their guests and based on that, can ask for a free accommodation, company or any kind of precious help from other members living in places where they travel.
The very idea of the forming a social network of these people on the Internet, is one of the best ideas on the Internet in general, if you ask me. Very fun thing.
Of course, the savings is huge. If you consider that for one night in a bad hostel in Paris, sharing a room with 15 people, you have to pay around 25-30 euros, the advantages of using this form of accommodation are becoming more and more obvious. If you have no luck with the community, or you just don't belong to it, there are always relatively cheap hostels available, where you can always meet the young, interesting people.
There is also a thing called housesitting. Some awesome people came to idea to form a network connecting people who want to have their home being watched over by a stranger while they are not there with the people who want to travel and save the money. You get a home for free. Only thing you need to do is to watch over it. Amazing.
There are also communities such as helpx. Helpx is the social network that connects volunteers, adventurers and nomads from all over the world with people who live in the places worth visiting, and enables them to combine pleasant with useful. In this way it is possible to find free accommodation at a particular place in exchange for helping your host in a certain way. In Madrid, I met a man who had free accommodation there. All he had to do was to speak English with the host an hour or two a day. That way you can stuck in New Zealand for instance, on one of the many farms there, helping people a few hours a day.
There are many companies (Wizzair, Ryanair …) that offer relatively or very cheap airline tickets. Wizzair already offers very cheap flights from Tuzla (16 destinatins) and Belgrade. I flew to Netherlands for 44 euros (return ticket). That's about the price of return bus ticket between Banja Luka – Belgrade. There are legends and sagas about the people who flew for even much less money.
It is necessary to periodically check availability and fares to your desired destination. Of course, these companies use various tricks to earn the money. For instance, they remember your search results and if you search for a flight to the same destination few times, they show the higher price only to you. Yes, life is a bitch.
There is a really cool article that my Jewish friend from USA published about flying totally for free.
There is also a thing called error ticket. You should check that as well.
So, with the combination of desire, curiosity, a little luck with the selection of the company you work for and choice of a lifestyle, effort and time, it is possible, even if you live in Bosnia and Herzegovina and do not have a lot of money and time to travel, to see fantastic places and meet people and culture all over the world.
And yes, I almost forgot. The most important thing is to have a willingness to leave the safe zone and sail away into the unknown. In life, in general. But, I'm sure no one has ever regretted achieving this willingness and sailing away. On the contrary, the fun is guaranteed ..