When my friend Jelena asked me to give a presentation at the Faculty of Tourism and Sports in her hometown Novi Sad in Serbia, I said yes straight away. Not only do I love talking about travel but also l really like to inspire other people to travel more. So another adventure began, not my normal kind of adventure this time, which I was about to explain to the students.
The theme of my presentation was “Adventure is for Everyone”. Because basically, that’s what it is. Adventure doesn’t have any borders or limits. For one person, climbing a mountain is an adventure. For another person, taking a 5 km hike is something completely out of their comfort zone and would be their biggest adventure ever. Even though I didn’t spend much time outside and didn’t see more of Novi Sad than the ride/walk to the faculty and the fortress, there still was an adventure in it for me every day.
Serbia day 1 – Friday (the flying day)
Stepping on a plane always makes me a bit anxious (you can read more about that in my blog called my irrational fear of flying). I’m flying with Air Serbia but it turns out to be a plane from Aviolet. It looks a bit rustic but hey, it should be just fine. Just after takeoff, the people in the front of the cabin start to look worried. They point at something at the roof of the plane. I decide not to pay attention, all should be just fine. The crew steps over and has a look too, and tell people to relax. By then, more people point and stare. Just my luck, I keep on reminding myself planes don’t just fall out of the sky like that. Then the captains announces himself: “ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We noticed there was a strange sound in the front of the cabin during takeoff. This is perfectly normal for this type of plane…Please, there is no reason to panic”. Just great. Life is an adventure.
Ofcourse, we make it to Belgrade safe and sound. Here I’m being picked up and taken to Novi Sad, about a one hour drive away. Upon arrival I’m dropped off at Jelena’s place. It’s been just 3 months since we last met but we have a lot to catch up on.
By the end of the day, we make our way over to the faculty for the opening ceremony of the congress. Test the microphone (geez, I have such a loud voice…) and meeting the other speakers. Do we want to go out? Sure, why not… I’m dead tired but hey, life’s an adventure, so let’s go and discover the Serbian night life. Well, they know how to party. We head out to Paradiso, the most popular club in Novi Sad. I dance along to Serbian folk music (which doesn’t sound as bad as Dutch folk music, trust me on that) and get a pizza, just before rolling into bed at about 4.00 am.
Serbia day 2 – Saturday (the BIG day)
I wake up and feel surprisingly good after just 4 hours of sleep. A shower and breakfast do the trick. We make our way over to the faculty. My presentation is one of the last so I hang around listening to some of the other presentations and I’m meeting my friend Kamila from Poland. As it turns out, she is on the way from Skopje back home and passing by Novi Sad that day. It’s been 4 years since we last met so we have a lot to catch up on. We decide to get some fresh air and take a walk to the fortress, along the Danube. She’s a fellow travel blogger so needless to say there’s so much to talk about.
But, so little time, unfortunately. Time to head back to the faculty and prepare for my 20 minutes of fame. I’ve actually not been nervous for, uhm years, but talking in front of a big group of people IN ENGLISH does make me a little nauseous. But hey, all goes well. I tell the students about the interpretation of adventure and how you can promote adventure through blogging.
So what it all comes down to, is that adventure is for everyone. Standing up there, in front of a group of students, is definitely one big adventure for me. Outcome unknown. Will they like what I have to tell them? Or will they just fall asleep while I’m talking?
They don’t! In the end, I get a round of applause (I should have become a rock star, so much better for my ego than sitting behind a computer all day) and I ask them to gather for a selfie because after all, there would have been no adventure without them. So here is, as promised, the selfie I took!
Serbia day 3 – Sunday (the lazy day)
We sleep in, until like 10.00 or something. Then it’s time for some blog analysis. We go through Jelena’s website Bookiraj and I tell her a bit about how the complicated world called social media works. Then we decide to head out for lunch with Nick, one of the fellow speakers at the congress. He’s been all around the world and constantly on the way, he’s even been to Antarctica, so we compare passports but his is way better filled up than mine…
Then it’s time to head back to the airport and leave Serbia behind. Together with Nick and Nevena we go back to Belgrade. As we have wifi on board, it makes up for some taxi selfies and sunset pictures to kill time. This time, the plane is a modern, brand new Airbus from Air Serbia and before I know it, we’ve touched down in Amsterdam again. Time to say goodbye to Nick who was on the same flight and make my way home again.
Although this may not have been my normal kind of adventure, I had a blast. Not only meeting people from Serbia and all other former Yugoslavian countries, but also speaking about adventure blogging. There is still a lot to be told about this and I’m sure I will get to talk about it more in the future (yes, you can hire me!). And as you are reading this, remember people …
Adventure is for everyone!
Author: Antonette Spaan
PhD student in Tourism. Teaching Assistat at the Faculty of Sport and Tourism. Author of a number of travel articles. Traveller. Explorer.