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active 3 days ago

Thierry Joubert

I am a "flying dutchman" by birth and by experience, and have travelled and lived abroad for as long as I can remember. As a child I felt at home wherever I lived, picking up languages and customs as a way of feeling part of the place and community I lived in.

Forty years later, and I'm sure my travels have made me the person who I am. Respect, curiosity, sharing , understanding and connecting to the people and their communities are the main driving forces in my day to day activities and life. I follow my heart and it has taken me deep into the Western Balkans. This is now my home.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialize in developing and running responsible walking and cycling trips along the Via Dinarica, a 2,000km trail and cultural corridor connecting eight countries in the Western Balkans. Slovenia. Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Montenegro. Serbia. Kosovo. Albania and Macedonia."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I came to the Balkans during the fall of Yugoslavia, and decided to stay. Help those fleeing the war, and later assist in rebuilding that which years of conflict had destroyed. Immediately from the start, it became clear to me that the Balkans were a special place, both in terms of it's people, cultural and natural heritage. I started to explore, and connect with the people here in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. I hiked to isolated villages, camped in deep canyons, explored the mountain on skis, and drank copious amounts of coffee and rakija with many in the region. And every time I resurfaced, I told stories of my trips to friends and colleagues in Sarajevo. It was then that I realised that there was a wonderful and positive story of the Balkans to be told, and that travel could be a vehicle to telling that story. I made my first plans in 1998, after an arduous two day tour skiing trip on the Olympic mountains of Bjelasnica and to Bosnia's highest village Lukomir. It was cold and I had arrived unannounced. What I experienced then I now compare to the colorful handwoven woolen blankets found here in Bosnia.... at first they seem rough next to your skin but soon their presence warms any traveller's soul. It was finally time to start telling the story and protect these lands and it's people."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Oh my, so many thoughts and experiences come to my mind, but the one that perhaps stands out the most was a weekend in the autumn in 2010 when I was part of a small team of enthusiasts marking the trails in Sutjeska National Park and the one's to the top of Maglic, Bosnia's highest peak. Maglic had for one reason or another evaded me, and after over 15 years walking in the region I had still not climbed this to me illusive peak. Now here was an opportunity to not only to achieve my goal, but it was also the first time anyone managed to connect Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. This was in 2010 and until that time no cross border trail officially existed in the region. My climb to Maglic ended that and kicked off what would become the Via Dinarica, a wonderful long distance trail reconnecting naturally eight countries in the Western Balkans. "

Featured trips & expertise

The ancient caravan route from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo
Crossing the Dinaric Alps by Bike - 8 Days

Pedal your way through the Dinaric Alps - the natural border between the cute coastal towns of the Adriatic and the highland trading cities along the Ottoman caravan routes to Istanbul. Expect challenging rides, off-the-beaten-track gems, and plenty of gorgeous photo ops along the way.

Hike the Via Dinarica from Bosnia to Montenegro - 8 Days

Perfect for hikers looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure in Europe, this eight-day tour will wind you through the limestone peaks, glacial lakes, and plunging canyons of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Raft through the UNESCO-recognized Tara Canyon, visit Bosnia and Herzegovina's highest mountain, and wind your way through two national parks.