Q: Miloš, you grew up in two countries – first the ‘socialist’ Yugoslavia and then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which included Serbia and Montenegro. How do you feel your character and world-view has been shaped by growing up there during what was a very difficult time?
A: The more I travel, the more I realize how unique Yugoslavia was, the only free socialist country. It was an affluent society that believed in sharing as a means to itself and valued education highly. On the other hand, going through its collapse shaped my point of view considerably. I could describe it as ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, while at the same time making me realize that I cannot stand conformism. I mean, how can you agree with what is happening when cruel events are going on in your close proximity?
Q: You now live and work in Barcelona. How does life there compare to life in Serbia?
A: In Serbia people are more united, while in Barcelona they tend to be more individualistic. Since Serbia is not particularly well organized, people have to help each other in order to achieve things. In Spain things are more or less predictable, and people tend to follow rules to solve an issue. What I love about Serbia is the generosity of its inhabitants. In case of Spain that would be their open-mindedness.
Q: What do you feel about Serbia’s tourist potential?
A: Serbia is a beautiful unspoilt country. Unlike most of Europe where architectural heritage dominates the tourist offer, Serbia is all about nature. Impressive landscapes are practically everywhere, and many areas are still mostly empty. Another quality that I believe is worth mentioning is the hospitability of people. The cultural life and its superior cuisine are other reasons why I think Serbia can become a top destination. Finally, Belgrade is a great destination on its own, there is nowhere in the world where Socialist, neoclassical and Balkan architecture meet, surrounded by forests and two rivers.
Q: You are an avid traveller, and have been to the Far East quite extensively. What particularly attracts you to this region? Of the countries you visited in the region, which one made a special impression and why?
A: I have always dreamt of visiting the rice fields and the fascinating mountains and beaches of that region. Ancient temples were on the list too. But I was surprised by the gentle mentality of the locals. I have never been in such a hospitable place before. My favorite would be Myanmar, for its outstanding architecture and beautiful people.
Q: What further places are on your ‘bucket list’ for trips in the future?
A: To be honest I would like to visit the whole planet. There is no single place I am not interested in. Perhaps the top position on the list would be Central East Africa, South America and China.
Q: You have a personal blog called ‘Happy Frog’. How did the name come about and what do you hope to achieve with this blog?
A: As funny as it sounds it is referred to my old nickname. As a child I used to watch a cartoon called ‘Michigan frog’ where a nasty frog constantly sang and danced. I constantly imitated it so my friends started calling me a frog. The happy adjective reflects my attitude, I simply enjoy life!
I want my blog to be useful in two ways. Firstly, I want to provide great information that independent travelers can use when organizing their trips. Secondly, I trust clients will recognize the quality of my travels and allow me to organize their trips.
Q: Milos, tell us an experience from one of your trips that has left a lasting mark in your memory.
A: There have been several interesting ones, but I definitely have to point to my very special trip to the Middle East in 2004. I witnessed all kinds of smuggling, from white powder and unmarked boxes to coats filled with live pigeons. Daily car accidents, socializing with the locals, and getting to know world travelers for the first time were other memorable experiences. I have written part of it in my text about Syria. More stories will follow in the Lebanese section.
Q: You are now the Area Developer for Serbia for thebesttravelled.com. What do you think you can contribute in this position?
A: I think Serbia is a great destination, but it needs a lot of advertising. I plan to do that by sharing unique cool places to visit around the country. Fortunately, most of them not that popular but very interesting destinations.
Q: So, what are your travel plans for 2015?
A: Hmm, most likely I´ll be home until spring, I so haven’t decided yet. One destination though comes often to my mind: China.
The photos in this article are from the private collection of Miloš. You can read more on his website.