4 Weeks in The Balkans

Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island I’m not in a position to travel on a permanent basis at the moment but I did get the chance to take a one month trip this summer which reinforced my thoughts on long term travel.

I booked a one way flight to Dubrovnik, a few nights in an apartment, and no made no other plans. Dubrovnik was a dream come true and the entire Croatian coast was breathtaking. After spending a week or so exploring the islands around Dubrovnik (and a super quick detour to Bosnia), it was time to head north to Split for more island hopping. Not having any plans meant time to linger where I wanted and move on when the time felt right. My original thoughts were to continue north to visit the Plitvice Lakes and Zagreb but a last minute decision found me heading south to Montenegro and then Albania.

This wasn’t my first time in Albania but it was the first time I’d stayed in an apartment in Tirana for any length of time. Ten days in the capital gave me the time to start living like a local (and the time for day trips to nearby cities including Prizren in Kosovo). Food shopping in the morning markets, cafe hopping in the afternoons, the evenings in Blloku. I could get used to that lifestyle.

Then my time was up and I had to head back to Paris. The 4 weeks flew by and I know that even in 4 months I wouldn’t have seen everything I wanted. So I think this will be my first vagabonding destination. I will base myself in Tirana and then spend as long as it takes to explore the entire Balkan region.

Dream Road Trips

Dream Road Trips Lonely Planet just published an interesting article about the ultimate driving holidays. I love road trips and have taken one each year for the past 6 or 7 years. Trips I’ve taken have ranged from 10 days to 6 weeks and for me, the longer trips have been the most satisfying. The freedom you get from having a car is unbeatable and if you are travelling in a group, it can work out to be quite affordable.

My favourite road trip so far was earlier this year when I drove from Paris to Budapest in 2 days and then slowly made my way back to Paris over 6 weeks, spending time in Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Italy. I’d wouldn’t normally visit so many places in such a short time but it was fun to travel like that for a change.

I’ve also done the east coast Australia trip mentioned in the LP article. Brisbane down to Melbourne in 10 days, stopping off at just about every beach along the way.

The 2 LP road trips I would most like to do are the Amsterdam to Istanbul trip and the Cape Town to Cairo trip. Both would be amazing with an incredible range of things to see on each route. Looks like my travel to do list is going to get longer and longer.

Rolf Potts No Baggage Challenge

Rolf Potts No Baggage Challenge I first heard of Rolf Potts when I saw a video of him discussing the vagabond lifestyle. I found it truly inspiring and it really got me thinking about long term travel and how I can make it part of my life. Rolf’s current vagabond experience is a 6 week journey around the globe without any luggage – the No Baggage Challenge. No backpack, no ‘man bag’, no plastic bag, nothing. It’s a fascinating idea and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he is going manage.

I know when I travel, I take things I don’t really need and it’s a complete waste of space and energy to carry them. I’m not sure I could survive without any luggage at all but it would definitely make for an interesting experience and enable you to focus on the travel experience and nothing else.

Rolf is being sponsored by BootsnAll, a hugely popular indie travel site and forum worth checking out if you are interested in independent travel.