Kosovo » Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings
Dragash Kosovo Backcountry HDR Photo Trip

Recently I took a mixed group of diplomats, aid workers and tourists on a hiking trip to Kosovo‘s most remote region, Dragash. Not only is the area the focus of my upcoming first guidebook (The Mountains of Dragash, Kosovo: Hiking and Nature Tourism Guide) but is now the area where I’m working for the United Nations to develop a rural tourism strategy for the Municipality. How to Take Stunning Travel Photos With your Iphone The trip and guidebook are secondary to my true secret, how I use the Iphone to take amazing photos. OK, OK, I think they are amazing anyway. While I’m also guilty of lugging around a proper camera, many of my most beautiful shots come from my easy to pocket Iphone. I use a photographic technique (is it a technique if it is an app?) called High Dynamic Range (HDR) which takes photos at varying light levels Read full article…

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Camping and Hiking in Kosovo's Backcountry: Brod to Lake Shutman

Working for the United Nations and as a Travel Blogger/writer has its moments…sometimes they intersect in an amazing experience or opportunity that just leaves me wondering how I ever became so lucky. If anyone ever tells you a dream job does not exist, share this link with them and then get working on making it come true. In the run up to my new guide book release (The Mountains of Dragash, Kosovo: Hiking and Nature Tourism Guide) I led a group of 30 people into the Dragash back-country for a weekend of hiking, camping, and getting back to nature (ie getting very wet on the hike in and out). The trip was part of a larger effort to develop a nature tourism strategy for the isolated Municipality of Dragash, and to create a series of value chains to help locals benefit from increased tourism. The project is sponsored by the Read full article…

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How to Make Ajvar: Balkan staple of Fall and Winter

This post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and writer for K’s Kitchen!) Since the end of August, I started to see lots of sacks of paprika at vegetable shops in Kosovo….Yes, this is a sign that autumn is here and therefore the season for Ajvar has started….Indeed, leaves are turning yellow and it was zero degree at night in Prishtina few days ago (early October)!! Today, I’m FINALLY introducing you to one of the most popular Balkan dishes (sauce), Ajvar. I never knew about this very popular Balkan dish until I moved to Kosovo. Ajvar is basically a sauce made of red paprika and spices. According to the website and some recipes that I have seen, eggplants and onions are sometimes used, however, my Kosovar friends tell me that Ajvar is strictly with paprikas and the one mixed with other vegetables are actually called Pinxhur. Both of them are Read full article…

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Video instructions on how to hike from Brod to the old Macedonian Smuggling Pass. This is an extra resource for those looking to hike this path and would like to see what it is like and where the map will take them. For a written explanation on how to reach the mountain pass, including a map click this link. What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments on the video and the beautiful area of Brod, Dragash. Share

Hiking Dragash, Kosovo: Brod to the old Macedonian Smuggling Pass

Winter is approaching but there are still a few weeks left of crisp clear hiking air awaiting you in the mountains of Dragash. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo. To help spur sustainable eco-tourism to the region and highlight an untouched wonder in the Balkans I’m helping to write a hiking guide to the Dragash Region implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Finland government. What better way to experience this traditional area than by hiking to the old pass to Tetovo, Macedonia. Not Read full article…

Balkan Highlights: road trip from Kosovo to Croatia and back

I love a good road trip. There is nothing quite as satisfying as cruising through a country’s winding back roads to really get to know the local landscape, people and discover spots that you would have missed arriving by air. Of course if you have even more time then riding a bike or walking can be even better ways to become intimate with your destinations. But a car provides a level of freedom and flexibility (motorbikes as well!) that allows you to explore extensively but also smell the air and fresh bread baking in the morning. When we set off on our 9 day Western Balkan road trip we didn’t know what to expect. All we had was a map, a tent, a rough idea of where to go and few hotel bookings that kept us grounded but not constrained.  This was by choice as getting lost and having adventures Read full article…

Hiking Dragash, Kosovo: Restelica to Brod

Mountain shepherds, enormous Sharr Dogs, free roaming horses, pristine babbling streams and dramatic mountains are just a small taste of what awaits you in Dragash. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo. To help spur sustainable eco-tourism to the region and highlight an untouched wonder in the Balkans I’m helping to write a hiking guide to the Dragash Region funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The last hike was a steep climb from Brod to Mt. Cule. Easy Hike from Restelica to Brod (or the other way around) Read full article…

Use Travel to Make You Happy

I know, it seems rather intuitive and obvious. On the surface it may be. After all why would we do things that don’t make us happy. But I meet a surprising number of people who aren’t happy. Some people think that travel is the answer to their happiness. Other people think settling down, having a steady job and a house will make them happy. Others think making an extra $1,000 USD a month will allow them breathing room to feel happy. If you are already happy with your life this post may not be for you. Then again you will be happy enough to continue reading as well Last week a collective atomic bomb was dropped on the travel blogging and lifestyle design community. I consider myself a part of both, and yes there really is a Lifetyle Design sector (although I use Lifestyle Strategies). The bomb was released by Gadling Read full article…

Thunder and lightening…no problem. No path, whatever. Once you see how beautiful Dragash, Kosovo is nothing will keep you away from the dramatic mountains and the fresh air. Here is a short introduction to the Dragash Hiking Guide, a project I’m working on to be the first to map out hiking routes in this remote area of southern Kosovo. Not a bad way to spend the weekend! More detailed Dragash, Kosovo Hikes will be up soon. As will the magic letters What do you think? Would you visit Dragash, Kosovo? Share

Wild Side of Travel: animal photo tribute

Interesting characters are usually the center piece of my travels. They help make a place memorable either by their actions, personalities and generosity.  However, there is another group of actors that deserves attention, our fury and feathered friends in the animal world. They participate in festivals, live monastic lives in temples, sneak into our rooms at night, and play hide and seek while we tramp through their neighborhoods in 4-wheel drive vehicles. They have made many of my trips extraordinary and unforgettable. Here are a few faces and characters that have stayed with me long after my flight home touched down. Peacocks can’t fly well but they can at least get to the top of houses. In southern Sri Lanka this is a common sight…everyone likes a view after all. It can get really hot in Sri Lanka and everyone likes to cool down. Notice the chains around the neck. Read full article…

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