Interview with Thiago Ferreira from Serbia4Yourh

Thiago is a Brazilian, from Rio de Janeiro. But he lives in Belgrade, Serbia, a country he’s passionate about. He promotes Serbia to young people from Serbia and other parts of the world.

Thiago is an exemplary entrepreneur. Although he’s only 22, he went to Serbia, learnt to speak Serbian, is studying tourism and, together with some friends, is managing one of the most well known travel agencies in Serbia, called Serbia4Youth.

He’s featured often in Serbian TV shows, which made him very well known and appreciated over there. Not only because of his great work, but also due to his undeniable charisma.

We had the privilege to meet Thiago, who was kind enough to let us record this interview with him. You’ll understand what took him to Serbia and why he loves this country. He’ll tell you what Serbia has to offer to its visitors and how Serbians are surprisingly similar to Brazilians.

Learn more about Thiago:

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Ohrid

This beautiful picture was taken by Pati in Ohrid, where we arrived today. It’s a beautiful town, by the lake, in an European country that has a very controversial name. It calls itself Republic of Macedonia. But, in international organizations, like the UN, the country is known as FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks, their neighbors, don’t agree with the use of the name Macedonia for several reasons.

As a Brazilian, no matter how much I try to understand the controversy around the name, I believe I can’t and shouldn’t take sides. As in all kinds of complex controversies, each side has a long list of arguments to defend their views. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer to be completely out of this discussion.

But, when I talk about this country, I have to choose a name, so that I can communicate about it. I choose to write Macedonia, just because it’s simpler, not because I support one side or the other.

I have Greek friends that I like a lot and I know they don’t approve this use, as much as I have friends in Macedonia that don’t approve the other use. I want all of you to know that I’ll use Macedonia because whichever name I choose, people will be upset with me. Please just know that I still love you guys. I just want to simplify my writing. Remember, I’m not taking sides.

The Balkans

Having said that, let me tell you what has happened in the last weeks. While most people were parting in Brazil, during Carnival, we were very far from the party, in a country that most Brazilians don’t know much about, called Serbia.

We didn’t have any expectations about it. But it turned out to be one of the most amazing surprises we’ve ever had in ours trips. The reason for that is simple: people.

The people of Serbia treated us like we’ve never been treated before outside of Brazil. To the point that I believe Serbians are the closest that you could possibly get from Brazilians in so many ways. The only noticeable difference is that they smoke way more than Brazilians, which is sad. Apart from that, we’re incredibly similar. Both peoples are absolutely warm and friendly.

From the moment we stepped in Serbia to the moment we left it, we’ve been busy meeting people. The days we spent in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital city, were so intense and joyful that we had a hard time to leave the city. So much so, that we extended our stay twice. And we would stay much longer, but our curiosity to visit the other countries in the Balkans forced us to move on.

Our stay in Serbia will be remembered forever as one of the best parts of our trips, along with places like Turkey and a few others. Eventually we managed to come to Macedonia (greek friends, pretend you read FYROM and don’t be upset, please).

We took a bus from Belgrade to Niš, spent a night in Niš, then took another bus to Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, where we planed to stay for two nights.

The “hangover”

Unfortunately, the intense days in Belgrade left some consequences. And Pati was the one who felt them.

She arrived in Skopje feeling quite bad. Coughing, tired and with fever. The weather wasn’t good, which only made things worse. Eventually we had to see a doctor.

Visiting a doctor is always undesirable when we’re traveling, but once again we got lucky. We asked our Airbnb hosts to recommend us a doctor, or a hospital. What they did instead was amazing and, at the same time, an example of how awesome people can be in this part of the world. They sent me a message saying: one of us is coming to pick you up in a few minutes and take you to the hospital. And that’s exactly what happened.

Our host came by car and took us to an excellent private hospital. He talked in Macedonian with the receptionist and an English-speaking doctor saw Pati about half an hour later.

Given the symptoms, we thought she could be suffering of pneumonia, but fortunately, the doctor confirmed that this wasn’t the case. She had bronchitis, probably caused and aggravated by several days with not enough sleep and exposure to a lot of smoke, since in Serbia, people smoke a lot, even in closed places. This is the only complain we have about Serbia, by the way.

Pati got a prescription and we headed back to the receptionist. Time to make the payment and find out how much it costed to see the doctor. The price was 800 Macedonian Denars, which is equivalent to US$ 18.

I was in shock, since I expected it to be much higher. I mean, this is Europe, after all. True, it’s not Western Europe. Still, US$ 18 is quite cheap to see a doctor.

We have insurance and I could claim a reimbursement, but seriously, I won’t even care to do that. The time and effort it will take me, just don’t pay off.

We extended our stay in Skopje, so that Pati could recover and she was enough better today, that we could finally come to Ohrid, which happens to be one the most beautiful places in Macedonia. Specially today, when we had this incredibly beautiful weather.

Low cost around the Balkans

Speaking of low costs, my jaw dropped when I realized that I could rent an excellent apartment, with good reviews and all kinds of things that we generally need, in an excellent location, close to the lake, for only 17 Euros per/night (for the whole apartment).

Yes, I know it’s low season, but still, 17 Euros for an apartment like this, is quite unbelievable. The host is great (even picked us up in the bus station) and the apartment turns out to be even better than expected.

Once again, we’ll have to extend our stay. This place is just perfect to work, enjoy, take great pictures and spend some time.

For what we could see so far, the Balkans turn out to be one of the most amazing and underrated destinations we’ve ever been to. Really glad that we’re here and quite curious to visit the next destinations in the region.

By the way, we recorded lots of videos in the places that we’ve visited before, like Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Bucharest, Sinaia, Brasov, Sibiu, Timişoara, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Skopje. As you can imagine, it’s a lot of work to edit and publish all of them. It’s specially challenging because I have to balance this with my regular work. Still, I’m doing my best and hopefully you’ll have a chance to see some cool videos very soon.

For now, please enjoy some of the incredibly beautiful pictures that Pati took around here.

Would you travel for 14 years? Earl did it.

We took the wrong car in the Metro. But that’s how we met Earl, by chance. It happened here, in Bucharest, a few days ago.

Who is Earl, by the way? He’s the guy who taught me how to come from Bulgaria to Romania by land. Or, most importantly, he’s the person who’s been traveling for over 14 years.

We were in Bulgaria a few days ago trying to figure out how to come to Bucharest, in Romania, from Velinko Ternovo, in Bulgaria. I searched on Google and I found Earl’s blog, called Wandering Earl. He made the trip the other way around. Still, the information he shared was very useful to us.

That would be more than enough to make my day. But his blog turns out to be very good and useful. I couldn’t stop reading it and I learned a ton about other countries in the Balkans, which we’ll be visiting soon.

I knew he was in Romania, but I thought he’d probably be too busy. I didn’t plan to contact him or anything like that.

Imagine my astonishment when I saw him in front of me in the Metro car! It was him, Earl. It was the most bizarre experience I’ve had in a long time. What are the odds of this happening? And I even took the subway in the wrong direction by mistake, which rarely happens to me.

I spent so much time reading his articles in the last few days and all of the sudden he was standing in front of me, in the subway of a big city. You don’t bump into a celebrity in the Metro everyday, right? Nor do I. And, being an introvert, I thought to myself: what do I do? Should I talk to him?

I told Pati about it and she said: you must talk to him now. If you don’t, I’ll do it. A small discussion between us followed. Somehow I found the courage to say: hi, are you Earl?

Fortunately, Earl is a nice guy, as I was about to find out. He was also amazed by the coincidence when I told him what was happening.

I contacted him later, we had dinner together and it was such a pleasure to talk to him. Then I figured out that my friends should also have a chance to hear what he has to say about permanent traveling.

I invited him for this interview and he was once again very generous with his time. He has a wonderful perspective on several topics. And I think it’s pretty hard to dismiss your desire to travel after watching what he has to say in this video.

Would you have his courage and travel permanently for most of your adult life?

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Visit to Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Get to know Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city. Join us in a tour around the streets of this picturesque Bulgarian city.

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Trip from Turkey to Bulgaria by bus

We traveled from Istanbul, in Turkey, to Plovdiv, in Bulgaria. See what happens in the border and learn some curiosities about Bulgaria.

These are the music used in this video in order of appearance:

They are released as Creative Commons.

The apartment you see in the video was rented on Airbnb. If you plan to visit Plovdiv, this is the apartment you see in the video.

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Visas

Many people ask us how we deal with visas as we travel the world. Here is the answer.

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Would you like a tour in Istanbul?

“Wow, I’d never come to this place if you haven’t brought me here. What a fantastic place!” That’s what we said many times in the past, when a friend guided us around a city he or she was living in.

The experience of visiting a new place is so much better when we have a chance to see it through the eyes of a person who lives there. Besides the touristic spots, we have the opportunity to visit hidden parts of the city that locals go to quite often, but the tourists don’t even imagine that exist. And you know what? Those are typically the best parts.

Here, in Istanbul, we’ve met Michele, a Brazilian lady who’s been living here for almost a decade. After showing the city to so many friends in the past, she realized she could go beyond that. She created a concierge service and began to show Istanbul to people from all over the world, exactly in the same way she was doing before with her friends.

The concierge service eventually became an agency called Turistambul. The best part of it is the personalized experience that Michele delivers, which mix the classic tourism with local and authentic aspects of the city, known only by those living here. This mix and her kindness have been attracting many tourists from all over the world.

We’ve spent several days with Michele recently, since Pati was shooting pictures for a promotional campaign featuring Turistambul. At the end, Michele managed to set aside some time and we interviewed her.

Pati and I don’t do a lot of tourism ourselves. But Istanbul is such an amazing city. Many people would love to come here for a few days and do some tourism. That’s why we thought it was worth to ask Michele a bit more about what one can expect when visiting Istanbul.

Learn more about Turistambul at: http://www.turistambul.com/.

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Time for a haircut in Turkey

Having a haircut abroad is always a bit intimidating. We don’t even know if we’ll be understood. This time I had my haircut in Turkey and decided to record this experience to show what is special about it.

Will you wait until it’s too late?

Based on the picture by Ranjith kumar, released as Creative Commons.

Sometimes people ask me: what do you fear the most?

I answer: to be caught in some kind of irreversible life-changing event and realize that I had everything and I didn’t use my time wisely, until it’s too late. Watch the video to understand.

Celebrating three years of Casal Partiu

We’re celebrating our third anniversary on the road on December 30th 2013. We made this video to share our story: how it all began, where we’ve been to, what we’ve learned, what kind of difficulties we faced and what we think about living like nomads.