Trying to communicate: the best part of your story.

Frequently, people avoid travelling away from tourist focused locations because they’re worried about whether they will be understood, I’d suggest that means they miss out of the best part of the experience.

msadvn recently said on reddit:

The stories of trying to communicate (and hopefully succeeding) might be some of the best parts of your adventure.

Here’s my story:

Kosovo has a very divided population. Due to Stuff and Wars and Sad Things, there are people that speak Albanian and people that speak Serbian. They probably understand and speak the other language as well, but for political reasons they do not, and will not understand.

Anyway, 90% is Albanian speaking so I took an Albanian phrasebook and went travelling to a remote southern village (Brod), high in the mountains!

After walking round the village several times, sticking out like a sore sore thumb, I walk into one of the cafés and attempted an Albanian “Meridita” (“hello/good afternoon!”).

Instantly “nie Albanish. Serbish.” was growled back.

“Shit.” I thought.

“Well, no point using the phrasebook”.

I then tried English. No one spoke English. I tried French. No one spoke French. I tried the bits of Swedish know, unsurprisingly, no Swedish. I tried bits of Russian, and hum, had a lukewarm response – Serbian and Russian are somewhat mutually intelligible and share vocabulary.

Then the guy behind the counter whipped out his laptop, plugged it into this crumbling wall socket and connected to google translate.. and via google translate, we communicated, I explained where I was from, and I was able to organise somewhere to sleep that night, and a guide to take me walking the next day!

I had a great time, and that experience of walking into that café will stay with me for a long time! :)


Linguistics fact: Brod is inhabited by the Gorani people who actually speak the Gorani language/dialect every day.

Welcome to My World

As part of my plan to put together a video for every Wednesday in December, I decided to finish of a project I’ve been working on to tie all various bits of video from various trips I’ve been on into one montage.

Here you have “Welcome To My World“. If you can, I strongly recommend watching fullscreen in 1080p HD.

Credits:
Video: Tim Dobson
Music: “My World” by WE ARE FM
Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0

A photo from the mountains of Kosovo

I am obviously taking lots of photos of my time in Kosovo. I got out of Pristina for a few days to a small village called Brod and today I went hiking.

We stopped at a farmhouse high in the mountains and I took this photo:

Kosovar Mountain Sheepdog Puppies
Kosovar Mountain Sheepdog Puppies - Tim Dobson - CC-BY-SA 3.0

Of course, there will be more photos in due course.

Desination: Kosovo

I occurred tome that this time next week, I wouldn’t be here in Manchester, but I’d travelling far far away. Well, not *that* far, but still quite a long way away.

I’m going to Kosovo.

I have a few plans for my time there, but I’m eager not commit myself too deeply, but the thing that spurred me to go was FLOSS Kosovo – an annual free software conference that’s been held for a number of years running. This year Bruce Perens, the original author of the Free Software Definition (amongst others) will be presenting by video, which should be cool.