Hipmunk CityLove: Discovering the History in Sarajevo

Bullet holes and resin┬ároses stand out against the vibrant life in Sarajevo — a juxtaposition which leaves many visitors speechless. Here, the tragic recent history of this Bosnian capital lies entangled with the city’s colorful present, creating a place not only to explore the riches it now offers today, but also it’s past.

Although the Bosnian War today is only in history books, visitors can still learn about it first-hand, thanks to the city’s preservation of the bombed and bullet-laden buildings, the memorials and the museums which remind people of its sad ties, but also inspire hope and a living note that these atrocities cannot happen again.

Simply wandering through the heart of the city, which presents travelers with a walking history lesson in and of itself (think Austro-Hungarian architecture followed by Turkish and beyond), there is more to be found under the surface.

Featured

Daily Wanderlust: Bullets and Bosnia

From memorials like the one in Berlin to museums in Rwanda to simply a pock-marked building telling the tales of those who were silenced … images like these haunt my mind.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the remnants of war can be found in many places. Even in the heart of Sarajevo, there are stories to be told from the war … a shuttered national library … roses marking where people were killed … and bullet-riddled buildings.

This photo was snapped just outside of the Sarajevo airport near the Tunnel Museum which, during the war, served as a place for those fighting for the city to go underground and move supplies.

Bullet riddled building in Sarajoev

Destinations

Daily Wanderlust: Sarajevo’s Olympic Stairs

What was once a glorious staircase, lined with tea shops and vendors, today sits in ruins on a Sarajevo hillside.

An entire lifetime of pain, suffering and redemption plays out on these crumbling stairs which were a part of the 1984 Olympics. They’ve witnessed the town being surrounded, the horrors of genocide, the beauty of growth.

The City of Roses, despite its tragic history, has overcome so much.

I love these stairs as much as I love Sarajevo.

Destinations

Daily Wanderlust: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

I spent about two weeks in Bosnia and Hercegovina and loved every moment.

When I wasn’t hanging out in Sarajevo, or exploring the remnants of war and a sniper’s point of view from an old bank, I was touring the gorgeous outlying region of Mostar, including a gorgeous visit to waterfalls.

After my para-falling incident, I opted not to do any jumps from cliffs or rocks or anything, but loved watching everyone else take running leaps into the refreshing water below.

Destinations

Daily Wanderlust: Sarajevo by night

I spent about a week in Sarajevo, the City of Roses. During my time in the city, I fell in love with it. I chased Angelina Jolie for a story, I took numerous walking tours and learned about the dark past and vibrant present of the city, and I explored the juxtaposition of the battle scars from the war in the 90s to today’s positive and upbeat lifestyle.

While I was there, it was Ramadan, and each night a single firework would explode to mark the end of the observance for the day.

Destinations

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue’s Ass

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

There was a time a little more than a year ago, when I hated traveling.

After doing it for more than five months, being sick for what seemed like the millionth time, being cramped into a dorm room in blistering heat with no air-conditioning, fearing for my life in Turkey and nearly falling to my death, I was pretty over it as I sat in an outdoor cafe in Varna, Bulgaria.

At that moment, I wanted to be done.

It hurt me deeply to admit that to myself. This trip was supposed to be amazing. An experience of a lifetime. And, instead of planning my next steps, I found my mind wandering to the comforts of my bed in Maryland.  To not having my backpacking weighing me down. To a home-c0oked meal. To breathing in private.

To make things worse, I hated myself for hating traveling.

I was so mad. So disappointed in myself for even letting that awful thought cross my mind. I was embarassed. This funk had embraced me, sucked me deep into the recesses of my mind I didn’t want to touch, and left me feeling cold, alone and sad.

Oh, Travel Fatigue.

When I was going through it, it was the worst thing in the world. I felt like no one knew what it was like. I felt like no one could be of any assistance in pulling me out of it.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

A sign of Travel Fatigue: feeling depressed.

I was wrong. Entirely.

After being home and having relationships with other people who are/were on the road, I know this Travel Fatigue awfulness wasn’t exclusive to me. It happens to the best of us. And, fortunately, only lasts for a brief period of time.

It took a few things in my life to help snap me out of this funk.

Are you experiencing Travel Fatigue? Here are some steps to help kick it’s ugly ass and get back in the game.

1. Communicate your misery

No, don’t have a huge pity party (no one likes those), but talk to someone you trust about it. Someone you know can make you feel all better. For me, I was messaging with my lovely Anthony, who wrote words that were oh-so true: You’ve got to have the funk to have the fun. That was the start of my recovery.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

Sometimes you just need to change your perspective.

2. Change your scenery

Nothing can quite snap you out of a rut like waking up somewhere new. There’s just a feeling of possibility that wasn’t there before. It can revitalize you. Abby and I had been seaside of nearly two weeks, so the mountains was a nice change of pace. And totally different and beautiful scenery.

3. Get comfortable

I was tired. I was hot. I wanted to not drip sweat every night after I had showered. Abby and I found an adorable hostel in the hillside town of Veliko Tarnovo. It had gorgeous air-con and a remote so we could make it as cool as we liked. That first night, we both slept with thick blankets on us. In the dead of summer. It was awesome. Naturally, the next day, the remote disappeared from our room. I can still remember the cool air kissing my face that blissful night.

4. Stay put

Even after Abby left VK, I stayed. And stayed. And stayed.

5. Relax

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

How can you not relax with a view like this?

When I was back in the solo realm of travel and feeling better, I treated myself to doing absolutely nothing. I would wake up in the morning, pad  upstairs to the kitchen and enjoy the complimentary breakfast, then head outside to the little balcony overlooking the ravine of green trees across the street. I would chat with the hostel owner, the other guests, and just ease into my morning. Then, when I got hot, I would go to the room, open my computer and write. Not because I felt I had to, but because it felt good. And, I would read. Then, a little nap in the cool room. At night, I would go with the other travelers to dinner, then back to my room for some more reading and then sleep. I did this for three days.

6. Don’t plan until you have to

On the third day of doing nearly nothing, I decided I was almost ready to head out and continue with my trip. Almost. I pondered my next steps. I spent a good deal of time looking at the giant colorful map of Eastern Europe on the wall in the common room. I consulted my guide book. I did research.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

Take off your shoes, kick your feet in the H20 and BREATHE. Deeply.

7. Go somewhere you really want to go

Not somewhere along the way. I was planning on going to Budva, Montenegro. The long route would take me through a few cities of interest along the way. So, I had to make some decisions. Head to Sophia, Bulgaria? Stop in Belgrade, Serbia for a few nights? Finally, I let my heart win this one instead of my mind, which was saying “heya, Buddy, go to all three cities because you can!” I was craving the sun and the Adriatic. I knew deep down that the sea would help me feel better. So, instead of doing the stops for a few nights in these cities, I plowed through them, getting me to my ultimate goal — Budva.

8. Get out of your shell

When I arrived to Montenegro, I was exhausted. But, there was the Adriatic. The sea I had spoken of for almost a year to anyone who would listen. Just knowing it was there made me smile. And, put me in a better mood. The first day of being in Budva, I sat outside, under grape vines, and was social. I met a group of other solo travelers and we instantly formed a bond.

9. Remember what it is like to Adventure

When I was with these new friends, we planned a day trip together to the gorgeous little sea town of Sveti Stefan. Well, one guy planned it. The rest of us nodded our heads in agreement and walked down to the bus stop with him. It was so warming to be with other people again, to go somewhere. Then, the next day, myself and one of the guys from the group took our adventuring even further and got on another bus and headed to the stunning town of Kotor. It was not planned. It was fun. It brought a smile to my face. It had been a long time since I had done day trips instead of moving, moving, moving.

10. Find some new, non-Travel Fatigue-y friends

After Montenegro, I decided to go to Sarajevo. Another game-time decision. But, it ended up changing the entire rest of my trip … and my life today. When I was in Sarajevo, I met Katie. We spent a few days together in Sarajevo, and then met up with each other a few days later in Mostar. We planned a trip to Croatia together. When I was in Mostar, I met Dave. Together, the three of us embarked on a week-plus adventure, spending time in Brela, Split and our island paradise of Solta together. The two of them were blissfully happy in their adventures. They woke up every day and embraced their trip, and in turn, made me embrace mine. [Katie came to visit me in Las Vegas in June, and I am visiting her in September in Thailand … see … meet friends!!]

Have you experienced Travel Fatigue? Where were you? How did you overcome its grasp?

Bosnia/Hercegovina Bulgaria Croatia Europe Montenegro Travel Travel Tips Turkey

Escape of the Week: Juxtaposition in Sarajevo

It’s been one year since I was in Sarajevo, a city I fell in love with. The charm of the city. It’s heart-breaking past and triumph of recovery left me overcome with emotion. For a week, I wandered the city streets, crossing over the river, walking past the destroyed National Library, meandering between the European and Turkish buildings, sipping the strong coffee …

While I was there, I visited the airport where an underground tunnel funneled supplies to the Sarajevo troops fighting to maintain a hold on their city. Like the rest of the city, this part of the town was riddled with pockmarks, untold struggles from the war.

This photo is one of my favorites from Sarajevo. To me, it shows that, even with a dark past, beauty and life can flourish.

Bosnia/Hercegovina Destinations Europe