There are people who can never fulfill their desire to travel. Mobility is their only chance and the time they spend at home is just about planning the next travel. Alexandar Svetozarević is one of those guys. I met him 3-4 years back, thanks to Couchsurfing. Since then we could meet several times, and kept in touch, this time thanks to Facebook. When I asked for an interview, he accepted and answered my questions right away despite his exams! I introduce you Aleksandar Svetozarević, the man who travelled 34 countries at the age of 18.
Hey Alexandar, long time no see… What have you been up to? Would you like to begin by introducing yourself to our readers?
Hey Kutay, in deed, it’s been over 2 years… These days I’m dealing with my exams, kind of boring… If I were to introduce myself, my name is Aleksandar, from Serbia. I’m a student and I do my best to travel when I can. I can say that I started travelling quite young, I think I have seen more than half of Europe so far. Apart from that, I hitch-hiked to China over Kazakhstan and hitch-hiked my way back over Siberia. I also hitch-hiked some time from Van to Gallipoli (Turkey).
Really cool! How did you start travelling? Most people are not so enthusiastic when you say “abroad”… What was your motivation?
Hmm, actually, I have been a curious person since my childhood years. I had the habit of walking the surrounding streets as a kid. When I turned 15, I started travelling abroad. I had to wait for holidays since I was studying but still, I was able to see over 30 countries in 3 years.
Yeah, you look like the right type in deed… 🙂 How many countries have you seen so far? Would you mind counting? 🙂
Sure, so far I have been to :
Germany, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Croatia, Holland, Iraq, Italy, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Cyprus (both sides), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luksembourg, Hungary, Macedonia, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunusia, Turkey, Ukrain, Greece.
Alexandar’s Travel Map
One more “Really cool!” for you then. Is there any “favourite country” of yours?
It is really difficult to choose one and say “Hey, that’s my favourite” because every country has its own unique cultural and natural beauty. But if I were to choose, I would probably say Switzerland or Turkey. Because Turrkey is one of the easiest places to travel and Turkish people are very hospitable. Moreover, there are a lot of Turkish words in Serbian, which makes it even more interesting for me!
The same goes for Turkish people! Common words and similar cultures make it really easy to communicate… How many languages can you speak and which ones? Do you believe foreign language is important while travelling?
I am fluent in Serbian and English. I could get by in a few more, though. I think you don’t really have to speak a foreign language to travel. All you need is the will to express yourself, be it mimics and gestures, or drawing something on a piece of paper! But I have to mention, a few greetings in the language of the country would be quite nice.
Agreed, despite being small things, it is really nice to see how people smile at you when you use those expressions. Now, to the actual field of interest for EcoTripSos readers… Do you spend a lot of money while travelling? Say, you’re going to travel for a month. How much would you need?
I can’t spend a lot of money since I travel on a budget most of the time. I think it is a choice. A few days of travelling full of shopping and spending vigorously? Or consuming with caution while travelling for a whole month…
How much you would need depends on where you go. For instance, you can have a lunch in China for 1 Euro, on the other hand, only a sandwich costs 5 Euros in some countries. But still, I would say it’s possible to travel Europe on 300-400 Euros a month.
Aleksandar Helsinki’de (Finlandiya)
True, especially if you stick to couhsurfing and hitch-hiking, it’s only what you eat or drink. So, how do you finance your travels?
My family deals with my finances for I am a student. But I have to tell you that I save money throughout the year.
Do you plan your budget before travelling?
Actually I never plan my budget so that I don’t miss the opportunity of new experiences. I never have a plan like “X Euros per day”. I think budget management is something you acquire in time through travelling. After a while, your instincts tell you how much you would spend at a particular place.
There are always surprises when you plan, could be really annoying. Even the best plan must be flexible in my opinion. Let’s continue with the specifics then. How do you deal with budget transportation?
I generally hitch-hike between cities. Actually it is not only about budget transportation. Hitch-hiking is a faster means of transportation in comparison to others and it is definitely more fun! You get in a stranger’s car and leave it having a new friend.
Also, I sometimes benefit from low cost airlines for long distances. You can find flights for as little as 10-20 Euros in Europe if you book early enough.
You are right. I have personally seen that Poznan – London flight ticket was bought for 20 Euros, with early booking, of course. So, what do you think is the way to find accommodation on a budget?
I frequently stay at hostels, but couchsurfing is even better. This way you can share a lot of things, despite short periods. Learning the city from a local is just another advantage of couhsurfing.
When used actively, it is really a terrific project!!! I have to ask you, since you travel a lot, what’s your weirdest travelling memory?
I really don’t know which one is the weirdest or how I can talk about it, there are just too many… Is it travelling in the middle of the night on Ural Mountains in a really old truck? Being picked up by a drunk Russian driving 10 km/h? Being treated by the Chinese as a rock star just because I’m white? You pick, there are so many memories as I said.
I can imagine… There’s always something new while travelling. But this rock star thing is really cool. 🙂 We’re now coming to the end of our interview. Any last words on budget travelling?
Hmm, may be a couple of advices. Think before you spend, buy your food and water from non-touristic areas and live like a local where you go. This the most useful advice.
In deed, especially living like a local… Aleksandar, I would like to thank you for your time and answering my questions. It was great to talk to you again. When are you coming to Edirne again? 🙂
In a short while!! In summer tops!!! Thank you for the interview, I hope I could provide some useful insights for your readers.
You’ve done more than that!! Thanks again, take care! Чувај се! цао!
(In Turish) You are welcome, see you!
18 Yaşında 34 Ülke Gezen Adam / 34 Countries at the Age of 18
18 Yaşında 34 Ülke Gezen Adam: Aleksandar Svetozarević Röportajı / 34 Countries at the Age of 18: Aleksandar Svetozarević Interview