Dobro jutro! While kneeled down in front of my guest bed rummaging through my bag I suddenly feel two small arms around my shoulders and a small body pressed against my back. The eight-year-old girl whose room I’m sharing this week, has come to hug me good morning and disappears as suddenly as she came in.

When I’m left alone in the room after the hug, I feel my heart pounding, my stomach fluttering and my eyes water. Soon tears stream down my cheeks. A liquid smile through every fibre of my body. And at the same time pain, a subdued haze that I could call sadness. It is something that is hard to explain, but for me maybe the most valuable feeling there is. Experiencing extremes, let it wash over you, influence each other and reinforce. Connecting.

I’m staying at a young couple’s house in Sarajevo. For a few of days I am a part of their lives and they are a part of mine. At first their daughter looked at me with suspicion when she saw my bags next to her bed. A stranger speaking a different language and sleeping in her bed, she didn’t seem to know what to make of that.

Continue Reading "Princess of the Mountains"

While cycling up a tough mountain in Una National Park last summer, I came across a group of touring Bosnians. Just like any other passers-by, they wondered why on earth I was travelling on my own, by bike. It struck me that they didn’t ask why I chose to spend my holiday in Bosnia or the Balkans, but why I didn’t just take a car. Explaining my passion for cycling and solo travelling remains difficult, and perhaps it’s a cultural difference.

Continue Reading "Sarajevo; a Concrete Gem Amidst Mighty Mountains"

After a night on an airplane, a transfer and another flight I arrived at Sarajevo airport mid morning. As forecasted it was a rainy day with low clouds so I did not see any mountains. Somewhat disappointed and tired from travelling I tried to figure out my next move, but before I could worry about where to go next I saw a girl with a sign reading: “ Eva Smeele Via Dinarica.” Smiling I went over and introduced myself.

Continue Reading "Between Two Worlds"
Blidinje NP, BiH

To this day the Balkans and especially Bosnia Herzegovina is unknown territory for many outdoor people. It remains a blind spot within Europe and the outdoor community. It is still associated with war and poverty instead of the beautiful, wild and untamed nature and mountains. I cannot deny the scars of the past are still well visible in some areas. You will surely see houses in ruins, abandoned villages and warning signs for landmines, but the Balkans nowadays are anything but a bleak and unsafe place to be. I have always experienced exactly the opposite.

Continue Reading "Via Dinarica, an inspired trail through the Dinaric Alps"

Good morning!

I just received an email from Alastair Humphreys, currently one of my great heroes. He is an extraordinary adventurer, author of nine books and motivational speaker, but besides that, I see him as a passionate man who is sending a message straight from and to the heart. That’s why he is a huge inspiration for me.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for his newsletter and today he finally wrote one.

Continue Reading "Thoughts on Adventures"

It’s not just a trail and it’s not just a project. The Via Dinarica inspired me to move, to make a change, to keep on going. It’s not about the finishline, it’s the journey that counts. My ‘Dinarica’ journey started on the 8th of november when I opened my diary and started writing again. “Brainstorm. Walking the trail. Alone. Summer 2016. Blog. Share & Inspire. Connecting Naturally. What’s my mission? What do I want? And why? How am I going to do this? Promote – Vision – Via Dinarica – Passion – the Balkans. Authenticity. Who am I?” I don’t know the destination and I can hardly see the path. But I’m getting there, I’ll find the courage to explore and to enjoy. Want to follow along?

Continue Reading "Mission Vision Passion"
Trainen op de dijk | Van marathon naar burn-out

After having fiddled around on bare feet and borrowed FiveFingers, I thought it was time to participate in a ‘small run’. With the 100 days programme of Sportrusten, Ruth Langemeijer has helped me to arrange a training schedule for the half marathon. I have learned not only to run in a new way, but also to breathe in a new way. An ideal combination, as it turned out, to train and monitor my body. I was making progress, I was doing great! Former running injuries kept quiet, and I finished easily. Finally I understood what runners meant when they say ‘I can still run for hours‘.

Continue Reading "From marathon to burn-out"
What_do_you_believe_in?

A couple of years ago, a nice guy asked me at our date what I dream of. Whether I had dreams and what those were. I took it too literally, so I told him that I had a lot of dreams. “I dream pretty much always,” I said. He asked me to give an example, so I did. “One of the dreams I am having since I was a little girl, is that I am being followed by a dinosaur. By now, I can run a lot faster, but even more importantly, I can call myself to order. I can remind myself that dinosaurs have been extinct for a while already, and the chance is very low that I will find such a hungry, prehistorical creature chasing me to eat me. In my sleep I realize that it’s just a dream. But the annoying thing is, that my dream doesn’t bother. On the moment that I decide to stand still, the dinosaur keeps running and bites me in my arm. And then I wake up.”

Continue Reading "What do you believe in?"
My_project

My plan is to walk the VIA DINARICA white trail this summer. It is a challenge and a new adventure, but I mostly look at it as a journey. A hike through the Dinaric Alps from Albania to Slovenia which I want to complete wearing minimal FiveFinger shoes. It’s my goal to support the Via Dinarica initiative.

With this long distance hiking trail they form a natural and cultural corridor, they connect the countries of former Yugoslavia and give the economy a new boost.

Continue Reading "My project"