Social Media Spotlight: Discovering the World With The Bosnian Aussie Ariana Kajic
Photos via Ariana Kajic
Through travel, Ariana Kajic discovered a little piece of family history. Thankfully, through her blog and social media posts, we travel observers can glean a great deal of wisdom from an intrepid adventurer.
We had the joy of touching base with the Bosnian native who has called Australia home for over two decades.
However, we were afforded a few more thoughts on traveling through Australia as well as what it’s like to travel to the previously undiscovered country of one’s ancestors.
But first, here are a couple of images of Kajic amid her journeys.
TravelPulse: You are native to Bosnia but have lived in Australia for 20 years. First, what makes Australia so special? What are some of the things that make it home to you?
Ariana Kajic: After the war broke out in Bosnia, my family and I fled to Denmark where we stayed at a Red Cross refugee camp for almost two years. I arrived to Australia at only five years of age with no English. But soon this became my home, my way of life. I started school a month later, learnt English pretty quickly and made friends.
Growing up in Australia gave us opportunities I may have had in Bosnia, but sadly due to the war couldn’t. I went to school, graduated and started tertiary school. Australia gave us the chance for a fresh start, a life where we could live without the fear of war, with good incomes, and a good education. I am thankful that this wonderful country gave us, and many other Bosnian refugees, that chance.
TP: As for Bosnia, how has it been returning every so often? What are some things travelers should know about that wonderful place?
AK: Home is where the heart is. Well until 2013 I didn’t know how much that sentence really meant to me. Growing up I dreamt of moving to NYC. I didn’t even think of Bosnia as a second home, after all it just went through a horrific war. In 2013, I along with my mum went back to Bosnia for the first time since we left 20 years earlier. I had this desire to explore my roots, to find out more of who I am, who my ancestors were. Well, since 2013 I had gone back four times (twice last year).
I quickly discovered that Bosnia & Herzegovina was more beautiful than the pictures I fell in love with. It was home. The country is full of picturesque places, nature & gorgeous landscapes and the most welcoming people despite having suffered and lost so much during the war. This is what a lot of people have come to find out, too. People will take you in like you are family. They lost so much yet give even more.
TP: What do you do for a living outside discovering the world, traveling and writing?
AK: When I am not traveling or writing, I am working just like everyone else. I live in Sydney. It is one of the world’s most expensive countries to live in. Everything from food, transport and rent costs a lot! As soon as I got back from my latest trip, I noticed the bank account going down in savings, which my fiancé and I worked hard for many years to save up. So I started applying for jobs even before I boarded the plane back home.
About two weeks in, I landed a great full-time position. It keeps me busy, I am out of the house 12 hours of the day, and it's only going to get busier as Christmas approaches, but bills must be paid, and savings must be made for future trips.
TP: What is something that surprised you about traveling?
AK: One thing that surprised me about traveling is how much you learn about the world around you and about yourself. This time I solo traveled, after working the summer in Bosnia. I was the one making the decisions, taking the chances, facing my fears alone, and accomplishing goals alone.
Travel, especially solo travel is (a) life-changing experience. You learn more than you would from a textbook. You can read all about it, but until you are out there in the big world alone, you don’t know how it is. And that’s the fun part. I can truly say I have changed for the better this solo trip, and I have learnt a lot, more than ever did in a classroom.
TP: Do you have a favorite place people might not necessarily have on their radar before traveling to either Australia, Bosnia or both?
AK: Many people that travel (to) Bosnia, go to either Sarajevo or Mostar. Not many people know that the smaller towns in between are just as beautiful, if not more and are the hidden gems of the country. Blagaj, a town just 12KM from Mostar for example is home to an old dervish house built into 200 meter cliff walls, surrounded by the River Buna, so pure its clean enough to drink out of.
TP: Your pictures are brilliant. What do you use to take them? Any favorite apps that you use outside Instagram? In-phone or desktop editing?
AK: Thank you! My earlier photos were taken either on my phone, or a small digital camera. For my last two trips back home, I was using the my Go Po hero 4 and Nikon Coolpix P520 . The DSLR is a bit heavier than your standard digital cam, but the picture quality is defiantly worth that extra weight. For the blog I edit the photos on Photoschop & Lightroom, and for Instagram I use snapseed to edit the pictures.
TP: Do you have any travel tips you have gleaned over the years?
AK: When packing, lay out all your items you think you need, then take out HALF. I always over pack, then realize I didn’t need all the extra weight after all. Learn to mix outfits, and use items for multiple things
TP: What places are you dying to visit, whether in Australia or abroad?
AK: As funny as it sounds I’m dying to see Australia. Twenty three years here and I have never been to the middle & western side of Australia. This is because it is cheaper for me to stay a month in Europe than a week in Perth. But I would love to see the true Australian outback.
TP: Lastly, what is something you would like to tell people about your two beloved countries that they might not consider?
AK: For Australia a lot of people don’t realize is how BIG the country is. They plan to see everything. But Australia is as big as Europe combined, in land space. It takes a while and costs a lot to travel around Oz. Be prepared to fork out some cash if you want to see a lot of the major touristy places. Sometimes a road trip is nice, can save you heaps but can cost a lot of time. Budget airlines such as Tiger Airways aren’t luxurious, but you can always find cheap flights.
Bosnia, despite having lost a lot during the war, has seen a lot of good change in recent years. They are still rebuilding its buildings that are covered with bullet holes, and people are still healing but their spirit and generosity is easy to feel, which I think will drive even more tourists to Bosnia in the future
For more Entertainment News
More by Gabe Zaldivar
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship