Inspiration Balkanlocals

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It has always fascinated me that people live, work, and love all over the world. The influence of your surroundings on you is more significant than you might think. Reflecting on this and being aware of it has everything to do with the fact that I was forced to leave my own country at the age of ten and started a new life in the Netherlands. At that moment, my search for identity and a sense of belonging began. Unconsciously at the age of ten, but as the years passed, becoming increasingly aware. This is also one of the reasons for the creation of Balkanlocals.

I wanted to engage in conversation with people who have taken the step of moving back to the place they once left. They often speak of ‘coming home’ and I recognise that feeling. But at the same time, it is also a new home, adjusting and starting all over again. Balkanlocals is somewhere also my personal search for answers and also the desire to show this area through the eyes of people who live there in all its diversity. Much has been written and said about this area, and just a little too often referring to the war.

I want to create and share stories that I would have liked to have read myself. Stories that show that there are plenty of people who take the step to start a new life there and that life can be quite good there. That there is a lot of potential for entrepreneurs, digital nomads and all those with good ideas and persistence. That there is also hope and connection and, of course, great places to visit. As one interviewee beautifully described it; “a hidden paradise, that’s what it is”.

It’s all in the name

Why the name Balkanlocals? Despite living in Rotterdam for a long time, I consider myself a local in certain places in the Balkans. I believe we shouldn’t ask each other where we are from, but rather where we feel at home šŸ›–? You don’t have to live there, and it can be several places where you feel connected, have friends, or simply like to come and know your way around. So my question to you is: Where do you feel like a local?

An inspiring Ted Talk on this topic is by writer Taiye Selasi, available to watch below:

Hopefully I will inspire you dear reader, whether you are from the region or not, to visit and experience this area yourself or give your dreams a chance. As Vincent van Gogh aptly described it:

“What would life be like if we didn’t have the courage to try something new?”

Let’s connect

Besides being the creator and founder of Balkanlocals, I work as a freelance (strategic) senior communications consultant based in Rotterdam specialising in content creation and as a content editor.I like to connect on LinkedIn or follow Balkanlocals on Instagram!