Contentment in the South Slavs

Do you think it is bad to be content? Is there always something better? Is there always a better country to see, a better job, a better spouse, better stuff, or a better life? Traveling has made me realize that, where I come from, I have nothing to complain about. Really, there is always something worse. What is wrong with commitment? What is wrong with being dedicated to something forever? What is wrong with just being you? What is wrong with being content? Is it that complicated? I think some of my generation is struggling with the decision to go through the “steps of life” → school → job → marriage → make a family → career → retire versus trying to seek all of the opportunities we all are fortunate to have. This really is a huge privilege. Why can’t we do both? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  I suppose I quit my job because I thought I could do something “better.” Maybe I was just bored, “needed a change” or was over privileged. Maybe I just needed a break. Maybe I was just curious to see what other parts of the world are like. It was probably a mix of all of that and more. Either way, it was the best thing I ever did because I got to spend some time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia and those places gave me a new perspective…

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo was mind blowing to me. The history is so recent. The city was the the victim of the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare during the Bosnian War from 1992 – 1996. I went on a walking tour and the tour guide was twelve years old during the beginning of the siege. Can you imagine growing up through that? He was the most happy and genuine person I have ever met.

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Montenegro

The tour guide from the picture below said: “Every time I visit and return from here I feel like I have taken a seven day vacation.” I replied: “So, you take a seven day vacation almost every week? I love that attitude!”

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Serbia

Belgrade is definitely not the most glamorous city that I have visited but I still felt happy there. In my experience, people were more curious there. For example: they looked me in the eye and even woman spoke to me! Seriously though, in Belgrade and throughout the entire region, I received amazing hospitality. People seemed to treat me how they wanted to be treated.

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Slovenia

By the time I made it to Slovenia I was in a huge eating rut. Meat, bread, yogurt and beer started to put my body into shock. Slovenia was a nice step up to some healthy eating options and some amazing hiking. Exercise! I even found a bunch of places that made vegetable smoothies, WITH real vegetables! This was a great reminder that being healthy is a major priority and proper food can be the best medicine!

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For me, all of this adds up to: treat people how you want to be treated, be healthy, explore, work and give. Oh, and put yourself in a situation where you feel like you take a seven day vacation every week. I’m content. What’s next??!?!

  10 Replies to “Contentment in the South Slavs”

  1. Rick Woods
    July 6, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Hi Anthony,

    Interesting observations by you on the fundamental questions of life. I often say about Cape Cod what your guide said – I like living here because it always feels like I am on vacation (OK, last winter I said other expletives, but mostly…). When do you come home?

    • July 7, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks Rick, it sounds like you are in the right place! I am coming home in August for a little break but then have some other things planned later this year. We’ll see what happens!

  2. Gabi
    July 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    So happy for you Anthony!! it is so nice to read about your experiences in each place. I would have never thought to visit Slovenia! Now, I want to go! The pictures are great too. Continue on my friend.

    • July 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks for the comment Gabi! Yes, you would love the hiking in this area, it is unbelievable!

  3. Diane
    July 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    When we follow The “Golden Rule” and “love they neighbor as thyself”, all the other “stuff” works out pretty good!. ……….sounds like you have discovered, first hand, what was written 2000 yrs ago is applicable today!!! Pretty cool experiences, no matter what country u r n, u have seen it play out. Awesome blog, thanks for sharing.

    • July 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Agreed Diane! Thanks for reading!

  4. kdmuni
    July 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Love it! My cousin shared this article with me that is somewhat along the lines of what you are talking about….at least for the american mentality of being content and/or how that can seem average. http://markmanson.net/being-average#.pwa0rf:rds8

    When I read it, I wasn’t sure how to feel because I’m definitely one of those people who is constantly trying to create and be better and do more. Anyway, what it boiled down to for me was just being present and gratitude comes with that. Once you can be present and appreciate the moment, you open yourself up to a world of gratitude and appreciation which then has the domino effect of treating people like you want to be treated, being happy where you are and the list goes on…

    Unfortunately, we all get caught up on the superficial side of it as well with money, and look what I’ve done….and right now the act of being happy / content / present whatever it means to you, is almost like exercising. You develop it like a habitat…as with bad habits. And I wonder, if it ever gets to a point where you don’t even think twice and you just embody it. That’s the goal.

    I think your being content is that you are being present! Take that with you for the rest of your life!

    (i might not make sense, but that’s okay…right?)

    Love you Tone.

    • July 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Great article, he elaborated a bit more than me 🙂 You make perfect sense, well said and thanks for sharing. I’ll keep “exercising” the good habits. Love you too, I hope all is well!

  5. Imas Sakin
    July 15, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
    T. S. Eliot

    • July 21, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Amen Imas. Wait, is this some sort of Intrado recruiting technique? 😉

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