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Most of us dream about not having usual work hours and not to be slaves to the habits of everyday life. We want to travel as much as possible, to go around the world surrounding us and to meet different people which make it beautiful. Kristijan Ilicic from Zagreb managed to do just that, he committed himself to travel, his life's passion.
He used to be like the most with usual work hours, as a director for digital development in one publishing company. He is a founder of the site "croportal.net" which became the most visited site in Croatia in short time. He beat some more famous media portals, and he soon sold 90% of the shares in it. He realized that his work is not inspiring him anymore and he wants to change his life from roots. He dedicated himself to what makes him happy, he has a new goal now, and that is to travel the entire globe.
Kristijan talks about his travels exclusively for Telegraf portal, interesting events on the road, he describes interesting destinations, he gives advice how to travel far cheaply and he speaks what he things about Serbia.
In the texts i had the opportunity to read about you, you are often described as a young man from Zagreb who left his work to dedicate himself to his greatest love, traveling. How did you decide on that step and from where your fascination for travel comes from?
I always had the impression that i was waiting for something to happen, i advanced a lot in my career and i had great results behind me, year after year, the income grew, and the visits on our portal reached its peak, simply each day became the same and somehow boring. Vacations i took weren't enough to explore the world. I realized that i would not go around the globe, not even when i am 50 years old. I want to visit every state in the world.
* What countries have you visited so far, and which one is still unfulfilled wish?
* Under which criterion do you choose destinations for travel and whether money is often crucial for a final decision?
There is no special factor, i have always loved unexplored countries and the ones tourists don't visit very often. Such countries were at the top of the list of priorities. When i finish visiting South America, the idea is to make a good plan for all other countries to reduce the cost, so the money is also crucial.
* What travel left the greatest impression on you and why?
From all the states, i would have to say Ethiopia because that journey was the greatest challenge yet. Scenes of poverty and sickness broke my heart, but at the other hand, Ethiopia is a magical country. Food, gorgeous people and landscape that really have something special. I was amazed the most when i saw that Ethiopians share all of their food with the foreigners because that is their customs, besides the poverty. They are smiling, positive and really unique with their cultural expressions. We used only local transport from point A to point B which could last for hours.
When i say local transport, i mean those buses we had over 100 years ago, and instead of 20 passengers, there are 45 in it, all stacked like Sardines. When you get over the differences and you stop fearing certain stuff, things become a lot easier. You become focused exclusively on the experience, emotions and feelings that occur at a particular moment.
You start talking with the people and you start understanding how different your life is compared to their. Now, when a world is all about economic calculations and grabbing resources from the poor countries by the rich, i would always advocate for the fact that people in Ethiopia and Africa should remain the way they are, unique in their cultural differences, laughing and unburdened with capitalism.
* Describe the most interesting person you had the chance to meet in these travels.
Huh, that's a tough question, i met a lot of interesting people who traveled in all kinds of ways, but definitely one of the most interesting was a team from South African Republic who went to work in England to make money for 8 month long trip. They went with bicycles from the most northern part of Europe and they went to the southernmost part of Africa. When i met them, they were in Ethiopia.
* Describe one of the most interesting events you had from one of your journeys.
In Ethiopia, in a city close to Somalian border, while brother and i were sleeping, there was a savage knocking on the door. We were frozen in fear and we didn't want to open. After loud shouts of many people, armed military force broke in to our room. They were actually looking for some smugglers, but considering that there were not tourists at Ethiopia at the time, it was suspicious for renting us rooms. After almost getting a heart attack, they just laughed and left.
Also, they offered me to blow up a cow in Cambodia with a bazooka for 100 dollars. Of course i didn't do it, but i don't know any other place in the world where they can offer you something like that. Another anecdote i can remember right now is last summer and trip to USA. My girlfriend and me arrived to the Grand Canyon to late during our road trip. We planned on sleeping on one of the log cabins but there was no room. After few refusals, we decided to sleep in the car. We packed on the parking and we fell asleep.
A real movie scene happened one hour after that. We were awaken by bright lights and we were surrounded with police cars. Two Sheriffs pointed guns at us. Namely, that kind of "camping" is strictly forbidden because the glass windows were completely tinted and the police didn't know what was going on. We had to step up with out hands up and to lean against the car. After few minutes of talking with the police we eased the tensions, but we had to leave the parking.
* Do you like traveling alone or with company and why?
I like traveling with my girlfriend the most and i think that travels are the real test for couples because you are in situations you would never be and you can see compromise and readiness and joint ability to make decisions.
Every day in new environment presents better knowing of each other, because you understand what the other person likes, what can make them smile, sad, if they are emotionally touched with something different. Also, we show our weaknesses and fears and our true self.
* What is your advice for our readers, how to travel with small amount of money?
If you have the time when you buy airplane tickets, always look at +- 4, 5 days because the prices of flights can be significantly cheaper. Also, look at different airports. Sometimes, flights for Bangkok cab be twice as cheaper from Belgrade than from Zagreb, or even Venice or Trieste. I flew to Tokyo from Ljubljana- a return ticket of 300 euros.
* Have you Been to Belgrade and Serbia? What are your impressions?
I often visited Belgrade because of work, but it never ended without a good party. I am amazed with night life, good atmosphere and food. I am more amazed by young people, they are all funny, positive, and leave some positive impression on us, Croats. I really have a lot of friends from Serbia.
* Since you had the opportunity to travel so many different places, where is the best food in your opinion and why?
The best food is definitely Ethiopia, that is something you really have to try. You get a large "pancake" called Iniera with few types of meat, vegetables, mixed with their spices. I can't describe how good that is. I travel all over the world and i look for some Ethiopian restaurant, so i ate in Ethiopian restaurant in New York and Tokyo.
* The old saying "go everywhere, but return home" and everybody is saying that there is no place like home. But we often hear that someone feels like home when they travel. Did you have that feeling and where?
I will honestly say that the situation is not like that with me. I simply like to travel. Travels really make me happy. I like waking up in the state where i don't know anybody, i like being left to myself only, that i can't call anyone for help. I love that feeling. Unpredictable situations on the road get the best out of you. You simply start practicing your natural intelligence and start adapting and react to different situations.
* We can often hear that its not safe to travel because of the frequent terrorist attacks. Are you perhaps afraid, and have you ever experienced anything unpleasant on the road?
I am not afraid, and the chance of something like that happening is really small, so i will risk it. So far i had no unpleasant situations.
* What are your plans for the future? Do you maybe plan on publishing a book where you will summarize everything you saw and the impressions from your travels?
Five states are in my plan till the end of the year, and after that, i am going 90 days to South America. Honestly, i am not a great fan of writing, so i don't believe there will be a book, but i love filming and editing videos which you can watch on my official Facebook page.