Is This Home For a Long Term Traveller? The City of Nis, Serbia?
Yesterday I arrived in the historic city of Niš , Serbia. After being on the road for almost eight months, I have found it only takes me about 3 to 5 minutes before I feel completely settled in a new, and always temporary, “home”. An apartment, a hotel, a bed, a couch. It really does feel like a home within just a few minutes. If you would like to travel long term, this is a mind trick worth mastering.
Home is wherever I am for the night. To me, this is an essential concept in an extended journey. My latest home has a separate lounge, a great cable TV, free WiFi, a nice bathroom, excellent location, and costs about $30 US per night. But, it’s only home for two nights.
click to see an interactive map showing the location of this article
Today was day number 219 on the continuous journey. In a strange way, each day seems to repeat itself over and over. The cities change, the countries change, the food changes, but the underlying daily structure is similar. If you’ve ever wondered about long term travel – I’ll tell you exactly what it’s like.
From one city, and one country, to the next, I move from one home to another. Every supermarket, restaurant, bar, barber, bus, tram and bank is new, unknown, and different. The language is always changing, often the alphabet changes as well. Almost everything I do each day is a calculated gamble. It’s rare I see the same thing twice.
Long term travel is as much about intuition as planning. There’s subtle differences between a vacation and a lifestyle of travel. The stress of packing for a short term journey doesn’t exist. Packing just means putting everything I have inside my backpack, check the home to see that nothing has been left behind, then go. Time is abundant. There’s no pressure to fit everything in to a weekend, or a week, when I arrive at a new destination. The time-frame is for as long as I stay healthy, have money in my pocket, and the motivation to stay in a new destination.
To me, home is just a state of mind.
Tomorrow I will be heading to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.
Another new home awaits.
PS, all of the photos were taken in the last 24 hours, here in Niš , Serbia.
PPS, the local spelling of Niš is Ниш. I had to copy and paste that. Niš is pronounced “Nish”.
33 thoughts on “Is This Home For a Long Term Traveller? The City of Nis, Serbia?”
Some lovely, personal and intimate pictures this time Nate, plus some interesting reflections on the philosophy (if that’s the right word!) of travelling. I’m really enjoying how your blog is developing!
Cheers Don. The blog is developing organically – I don’t plan anything, it’s just whatever takes my fancy at the time. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, but let me know if I ever slip up!
Sounds like a good place and I would agree that you have to have a mentality of home is where I currently am to travel long term. As I was reading this, it struck me that some of these Eastern European locales I could have been calling home right now. Macedonia was a possibility, as was Ukraine, Romania, and a few others as I had applied to the Peace Corps and had been nominated for service in Eastern Europe. If it had worked out, I would have probably been about half-way through my service by now. Oh well, c’est la vie. I digress, can’t wait to see more, as always. Safe travels. :)
Isn’t it funny how life works out Noelle? We just don’t know where we will be in the future. Ya never know, we might bump into each other at the Mall of America one day…
LOL Well you better give me a heads up that you’ll be at the Mall of America since, as I’ve said, I avoid that place like the plague. But I’d be willing to brave it to meet up.
haha I would have to check out the Mall of America – it would be unpatriotic not to!
LOL But you’re not American?? ;) It would be interesting to see the “street” photography you’d get there.
haha I know… how do you think the locals would react to an Australian taking their photos?
Hmm, I’d think they’d be curious and wonder why you would want to take their pictures. There’s a thing called ‘Minnesota Nice” that Minnesotans are known for. It would just be amusing to see their reaction to it. Another place that I generally don’t go, but offers a uniquely Minnesota/American experience is out state fair that happens at the end of August. Lots of good people watching, food, farm animals, and chaos.
I was told that one should visit Split,Croatia,i do not know if you have time, but folks come back saying it changes their view of this area.
Would love to see street images from there.
Hey Laurence – I have heard the same things about Split. If I’m still in the Balkans as it gets warmer, I will head back to Croatia for some Adriatic sunshine, and Split is high on the list.
A quick question. What are you backing up your images to? Raw or jpeg?
Thanks in advance
Hey Laurence – I keep all of my SD cards, put a copy off them on my laptop, and also have a portable HD. I’m using JPEGS, never RAW. I know that RAW is better in many circumstances, but I have an almost 4 year old laptop with no software that can read Fuji RAW files! I have a feeling I’ll get a new laptop soon, and with updated software I’ll start using RAW instead.
I think “ethos” is the word Don was looking for to describe your reflections on travel. I also appreciate the intimacy in this set of photos and find warmth and a vibrancy of colors that are missing from some earlier posts. Does this reflect Niš being more approachable than other cities, a change in your mood, or really nothing at all?
Thanks John, kind words. I think it may be the slow emergence from a European winter that has done the trick! Being an Australian, I’m really not used to living in such a dark place for so long… but I will work on keeping things vibrant around here from now on.
Quite a shock to to see you in front of the camera. It’s a really nice pic. Phillipa (I’m assuming) took a great shot.
Yes P, taken by Phillipa. I don’t see that many nice shots of myself, so was more than happy to use this one. She did alright!
I visited Niš, on my way to Belgrade. We spent some time walking around the Niš Fortress but then got lost trying to find our way out of the city.
Hi Ellis – for me it was the other way around, leaving Belgrade I visited Nis (on the way to Skopje). Seems like the city that people pass through…
In the beginning I really felt a high from the unfamiliar but after a while it started draining me and I craved staying somewhere longer, meeting people more than once, knowing how to get around.
Do you think you’ll eventually feel that way and need to stay somewhere longer. I don’t know if it is a gender thing but I find men seem to be able to do it better than women. It’s just a survey of traveling friends but the female long term travelers seem to understand why I needed a base in Toronto whereas the male travelers see no need for it.
Hi Ayngelina… it depends on what you mean by “longer”. I just stayed put four weeks in Belgrade, so that was a bit of a rest. I also stayed in the Netherlands for a while over xmas/New Year. I don’t have any time limits – if I want to stay somewhere longer, I will. As for wanting to have a “base”, I completely understand that, and I feel it all the time. But, travelling is more intersting to me. I crave travel more than I crave staying put (at the moment). However, I do want to find a new base – of course, I have a base in Australia, but I need another one somewhere else in the world. It’s my goal this year to find some other place I can call home for more than a few nights.
I don’t think it’s a gender thing, but I’m not really sure. Keep in mind I am travelling with a female as well! Also, keep in mind this isn’t the first time I’ve travelled long term – we did a stint in 2010, and at the end of that journey we looked at each other and agreed we would be happy travelling for much, much, longer.
Each and every day is amazing. But who knows what the future will hold?
Serbia is one country that has always fascinated me, not only because of its obscurity (at least to us Americans…what ever happened to Yugoslavia??) but also because of its diverse and yes, often tumultuous history.
Unfortunately it is also one of the countries that is still on my ‘to visit’ list. Given everything I’ve read on your blog — and seen (e.g. Belgrade architecture) — you’ve only further piqued my curiosity. Now I don’t know whether to thank you or say “damn you!” ;)
Hey Derek – this whole part of the world (the Balkans) is incredible. Serbia/Croatia/Macedonia, etc. Hope you make it here one day. You can damn me later.
Wonderful post Nate. I feel the same. I consider the road my home but that is because of the state of mind it puts me in.
Thanks Stephen. I know what you mean about the road. There’s something to be said for this nomadic life.
I came across your blog while googling for information for my trip to Nis next month. Great pictures!
I am wondering if you happened to notice if the bus station had luggage lockers?
Hi Jennifer…. I am not 100% sure about the lockers at the bus station. Maybe consider staying a night in Nis – it’s a short walk from the center of the city to the bus station. No more than ten – fifteen minute walk from most of the center of the city to the bus station. Any other questions, feel free to ask.
thanks nate. my bus arrives at 3:30 am. i was hoping to be able to drop my bags off before watching the sun rise at the fortress!
Ah that’s a good idea – the fortress is right next door. I wish I could be more specific with the lockers, but I just can’t remember…. good luck!
Love this post…as always a wonderfully written piece.
I love how you say “home is just a state of mind” that is so true.
Your Nis Bus Station picture inspired me for this post:
I really enjoy reading your posts and watching your fantastic pictures!!!!!!
Great! I love your website, I have checked it out many times!