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Discovering the world beyond Europe
Travelling is my main passion but also from the other point of view kind of addiction. I am 24 years old, I am still a student without permanent employment, I have visited 36 countries, I flew over 100 times during last 4 years and I have lived in 6 different countries. Generally I try to travel almost every week. How is it possible? With will you can do everything and money do not play an important role in this case. There are many ways leading to lowering the cost of the trip. Nevertheless, in Balkans my favourite one is hitchhiking!
Hitchhiking is not just a free of charge transportation mode - it is an exciting adventure that enables meeting local people, getting to know better the culture of the region and improving the language skills. I was hitchhiking accompanied by one or two persons, rarely alone, and even with 2 boys when it was already dark we managed to reach our final destination. Sometimes I had to change my plans but it always ended up well. I cannot count how many times the drivers helped me out with invitation for warm burek or another typical dish, how many ice-creams and beers I got from them and how many extra kilometres they did for me taking a roundabout way. It is unbelievable how many nice, interesting and helpful persons you can meet. There are some drivers that I will never forget. Once 5 French man gave me a short ride from the Lovćen peak to the crossroad leading to Njeguši. Seems nothing special but the amazing part came next day – they invited me for rafting on Tara River and I spent with them one of the best days in my life. Owing to someone else I managed to see the inside of the biggest pršut factory in Montenegro. Another rewarding hitchhiking for me was a ride on the back of a pick-up on Corfu Island – it was fulfilling of my dreams. It happened to me also that I was hosted with my friend by a Croat driver in Molunac close to the sea. One Albanian man invited me and my colleague twice for a delicious dinner (lamb, chicken, fresh vegetables…) and offered us spending the night in his friend’s hotel. Lately in Bosnia while hitchhiking from Višegrad to Vlasenica, I learnt a lot through an interesting conversation with my driver who was shot three times during the Yugoslavian war. I could name plenty of other situations like this. Therefore I find hitchhiking adventurous and extraordinarily enriching experience for me.
Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that hitchhiking can be dangerous, especially if you are a woman. According to me everything brings some risk and I accept this one. You can just apply some simple rules that will make you feel safer as do not hitchhike alone or during the night. However, I broke these rules already more than once. I got my lesson so probably I won’t repeat them but my attitude towards hitchhiking is still extremely positive.
After exploring almost whole Balkans by hitchhiking my next target is to take part in hitchhiking race. During this annual competition teams of two people hitchhike from one place to certain city (each year the destinations are different) choosing freely their route. The fastest couple wins. Wish me luck!
Written by Kamila Chrzastowska