Feelings while crossing borders

It’s easy to be in awe of the drastic change when crossing an invisible boarder into a different country. The language, the music, the landscapes all change. I definitely felt that entering Slovenia from Italy. 
A few days have passed since then and I wish I could remember what it actually looked like upon arrival without looking at pictures – but I remember one thing for sure. I fell in love with Ljubljana. I know I have said that about a few places since I’ve been traveling, but this place was so different. Walkable but not crawling with tourists. After coming from some of the biggest and most popular cities in Europe, I was accustomed to people begging in the streets, vendors aggressively approaching you while dining, trying to sell you selfie sticks and scarves. But not here. I didn’t feel like a tourist here, obligated to purchase things. Education in Slovenia is free, for everyone, so everyone was highly educated and spoke very good English and it was surprising and comforting. I knew nothing about this country or this city upon my arrival, all the information I discovered was by my tour manager, Aryan, who educates us on most of our locations over the two week tour. 
I just crossed the border to Albania from a lunch in Montenegro. As we are traveling with 50 people on a coach bus, border patrol can take a very long time when crossing borders. Our tour manager got off of the bus to talk to the border patrol and attempted to bribe them with 10euro, to which the Albanian border patrol responded by asking if they were receiving the same payment as well. The bus driver ran off with a 6 pack of beers and we were through almost immediately. Hilarious what a few beers and 20euro will do.
Now that I am in Albania, I feel… different. I feel something for this place that I didn’t really know anything about. Aryan explained to us that it wasn’t that long ago that this country was horribly controlled by communism. Rations were a real thing. And that wasn’t that long ago. I live such a privileged life and I almost don’t even know it. I always knew the realities that people in other countries faced but I wasn’t ever actually in it. I never saw the results. I never understood. I feel connected to this place. More than I ever could have imagined that I would. And I want to come back. I want to find an opportunity to do so. 
I’m writing this as we are driving to Tirana. I am surrounded by farm land and mountains and a lot of half finished, if not abandoned buildings, along with seemingly a lot of corruption. But I think that’s what adds to my interest in this place. How different it is. And how I don’t even understand the differences. As I travel I realize how little I know and how much I want to know. How much I want to learn about so many places. And I keep making mental notes of how many places I want to come back to, or sped through too quickly. I know I’ll be back to some of these places… I know that for sure. 
Traveling and seeing so much only makes me more excited for my future. I want to do so much and I have so much time to play with once I finish my degree. This trip might be more about eating and enjoying myself but I’m just setting myself up to come back and do something serious for myself. I know I’m going to be restless. 


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This blog is a way I can talk about my upcoming travel adventures and will be the blog I use once I am finally abroad in a few months. I have a lot to get done and even more to look forward to.

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