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2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Breathtaking sunset Tivat Montenegro

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

So that was 2021? I don’t know about you, but for us it went by in a flash. Indeed it seems like only yesterday I wrote my first ever end of year review, 2020: The Highs and Lows of a Nomadic Travel Blogger.

I really enjoyed writing that piece. Moreover, it performed pretty well on WordPress. So here I am putting finger to keypad on another year’s end. You know, thinking I might as well make a tradition out of this.

2021 end of year review A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

This time though, the format is a bit different. This is because I already put out a half year review: Magic, Marriage and Mayhem. For those who haven’t read that piece or have forgotten, the highlights go something like this:

1: Got my yearlong temporary residence visa for Serbia. Yay! Sladja and I were now able to stay together until the world (cough cough) fixes itself.

2: Got fully vaccinated! Or at least what was considered fully vaccinated back in June.

3: Sladja and I got married in Belgrade!

4: Lost my online teaching job due to the Chinese government’s ruthless attack on the private education industry.

5: In between all of the above we managed to finish exploring Belgrade. And make tracks around Serbia with trips to Novi Sad, Subotica, Veliko Gradiste, Golubac and Donji Milanovac. All of which I need to blog up one of these years…

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Petrovaradin Fortress Serbia.

Sladja and I celebrating our engagement at Petrovaradin Fortress. Novi Sad, Serbia.

Hence I find myself left to summarise the remaining five months of 2021. Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, proved every bit as eventful. By the end of August Sladja and I had done everything we’d set out to achieve in Belgrade.

Freedom 2021 A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Furthermore, things had finally calmed down with the pandemic. Indeed we were able to leave the Serbian capital and resume our lives as nomadic teachers/bloggers. Nevertheless, Sladja and I decided it would be wise not to overcomplicate matters. Thus we agreed to keep our explorations local within The Balkans. That way we wouldn’t have to travel far and there’d be no messing around with quarantine, self isolation or even PCR tests.

 2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

Tivat, Montenegro. 2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

On the 30th of August we flew from Belgrade to the Montenegrin city of Tivat. Like the flick of a switch, what had been a patchy summer transformed into a joyous period of sunny, deep-blue-sky days. Basing ourselves in a spacious apartment in the hills, we spent a month discovering Tivat and its numerous little beaches and coves.

Ponta Beach Tivat Montenegro.

Ponta Beach, Tivat. 2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

We hung out at The Balkans’ most exclusive marina and sought out the local parks, churches and museums. We fell in love with the nearby mountain village of Gornja Lastva and made day trips to the handsome city of Kotor and the idyllic town of Perast.

Sveti Djordje (Island of St George), Perast.

Sveti Dorde Island of St George Perast Montenegro

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

All the while, I built up my online school, Umbrella English. Two students soon became three… then four… and oh yes, five! I had to develop lessons, promote myself and… crucially… work out how to secure payments from Chinese customers.

It was a lot of work. But following the seemingly relentless troubles of life in Belgrade (surely the topic of a short story collection one day), it felt good to be living life on our own terms again. Unfortunately, it all ended badly with our Airbnb hosts in Tivat. But… well… that’s yet another tale for a future post.

2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

We loved living in Montenegro. In fact, we were so comfortable Sladja and I stayed for a second month, relocating to the nearby town of Budva. We got to see the tourist season wrapping up, with the closing of various beach restaurants and cafes. The skies became increasingly moody, tourists fled en masse and we were able to explore the gorgeous old town and citadel in peace.

Budva Citadel in Montenegro.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Budva was a sleepy town with limited sights, but the perfect base for some of my favourite Montenegrin adventures. We spent a day at the absolutely stunning King’s and Queen’s beaches. We also made the trip to the town of Cetinje, an architectural gem. And enjoyed an unforgettable day taking in the ruined UNESCO fortress of Old Bar. I don’t know when I’ll get round to blogging about it all, but I feel certain it’ll be worth the wait.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Visit Old Bar in Montenegro.

Old Bar, Montenegro.

Naturally, there were great challenges along the way. In between invigorating hikes and breathtaking sunsets, I had a period of stagnation with student recruitment. And then Sladja got sick, a sudden and unforeseen development that required minor surgery. The word stressful doesn’t even begin to cover it. But we handled everything of course, as we always do.

Bosnia, baby! 2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

Milmedika Clinic in Budva. NOT on our original to-do list.

On October 25th, with Sladja still very much in a state of healing, we travelled through Montenegro by car before crossing the border into Bosnia and onto Sarajevo. The views from our windows were magnificent, particularly those that took us through Sutjeska National Park.

Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia.

Bosnia, baby! 2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

As for Sarajevo itself, we loved the place. Montenegro had been great due to its fine weather and picturesque landscapes. But the Bosnian capital, with its hilly terrain, mosques, churches, museums, cemeteries and lovely Trebevic Mountain, really stole our hearts.

Exploring Sarajevo.

Visit Sarajevo with Leighton Travels.

A November sunset over Sarajevo. 2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Some of the war sights, however, were tough to stomach. As regular readers of these pages know, I don’t shirk away from visiting horrific genocide sites. Regarding those in Sarajevo, I’d say you can’t and shouldn’t avoid them. Not if you want to truly understand the city and its people.

Over the course of our month there we dove deep into the horrors of The Bosnian War, including the harrowing Srebrenica Exhibition: Gallery 11.07.95. If you’re not familiar with the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, just a quick look online will give you a good idea of what a dark chapter of world history took place there.

The Srebrenica Exhibition Gallery 11.07.95 Sarajevo

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Bosnia was also a good time for my school and by the end of our stay I’d amassed a total of nine long term students. Not bad for the first few months of business. On the 22nd of December we returned to Serbia for a long term stay at Sladja’s parents’ house in the town of Obrenovac. What an intrepid three months it had been, but now it was time for a period of wintry stability. Some much needed weeks of rest in between all the teaching and blogging.

2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Obrenovac also gave us the chance to map out the next leg of our lives. After two years away from The UK it was high time to go home. I wanted to introduce Sladja to my family and friends for the first time. Show her around my favourite parts of London/Scotland and embark on trips to new corners of Britain.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Airport city in Belgrade.

Handing in our UK Visa application at Airport City in Belgrade.

We applied for a visitor’s visa that would allow Sladja to stay for up to six months. It was so much ****ing work, just the latest bureaucracy nightmare in a year that had been full of them. Then, with the application still under consideration, Omicron crashed the party and threw the entire trip into doubt. We could only watch and wait as a few cases in Britain became hundreds… thousands… then broke daily records for good measure.

2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

Next came the news that we’d now need to provide negative Covid tests before and after departure. Meanwhile, there came social restrictions within The UK and debates raged over a potential lockdown. Of course we were left wondering if there may even be a travel ban before we got to fly. And with scientists doing frantic research as to how severe Omicron actually was, I couldn’t help but ponder if we should go at all.

Omicron SARS - COV-2 variant.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

In the middle of it all Sladja got her visa! Much to our surprise, they’d given her an earlier entry date than we’d asked for. In The UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced no further restrictions until “after Christmas”. And reports surfaced that Omicron looked to be a much milder variant than its predecessors. We knew we now had a window to get in while we still could. So we went for it!

——

What followed was a frantic and highly stressful couple of weeks. We booked our flights to Heathrow, our coach into London and our train up to Stoke-on-Trent, where we’d be staying in a hotel for 4 nights before transferring onto long term accommodation in a nearby village.

Obrenovac, Serbia.

Snowy day in Obrenovac Serbia.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

We pre-booked our Day 2 PCR tests at Heathrow, did our pre-departure antigen test in Obrenovac and filled out our tedious Passenger Locator Forms. Knowing that the health system in Britain was under great pressure, we scrambled to take care of all our medical needs in Serbia. A crappy day of hospital tests and pharmacy visits in Belgrade.

Aqualab Health clinic Obrenovac Serbia

Aqualab in Obrenovac: Putting the fun into horrendous nasal swabs.

In between, we had lessons to teach, the blog to maintain and Sladja’s family’s Saints Day celebration on December the 19th. In fleeting free moments, we would go outside for short walks in the deep snow. At some point we lost water and heating for 24 hours due to an incident at a local plant. What fun to have on top of everything else in minus temperatures!

Snowy Obrenovac in Serbia 2021 A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Finally, on Monday December the 27th, it was time to travel. What a surreal day that was. First came our flight from Belgrade to Heathrow. Just 20 or so people on a 100-seater plane and Air Serbia packing us all into the first 6 rows. Then playing an insulting recorded message telling us “don’t mingle in the aisles” due to Covid. Idiots.

Next came the wonderfully straightforward breeze through customs followed by our Day 2 PCR tests at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. We used a company called Halo, which offers a spit test. Just fill up the tube to 4ml and leave it in a box, results back within 24 hours. £120 for the pair of us.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Halo Day 2 PCR spit test Heathrow Airport Terminal 5

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Next came the coach into London Victoria. It showed up over 40 minutes late “due to Covid” (staff shortages). Packed to the rafters, of course, with lots of non mask-wearing folk talking loudly on their phones without a care in the world. From there we had to jump onto the London Underground for the 4-stop blast to Euston and our train to Stoke. We could’ve walked it, but that would have been an hour in the rain.

At Euston we learned that our train had been cancelled “due to Covid”. Luckily, a helpful guy at the ticket office put us on an earlier train leaving immediately. With just minutes to spare, I managed to grab us some SIM cards, a bottle of water and dinner. An obnoxiously overpriced chicken and mushroom Cornish pasty. It did the job.

2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

The train journey was a piece of cake. Only a handful of people in our carriage, including a drunken, maskless Irishman shouting on his phone for about half an hour. A veritable public broadcast for the entire carriage. “Yeah, I wanted to travel there today but I can’t. They said I need something called a PCR test”. 

The Holiday Inn Express, Stoke-on-Trent.

Holiday Inn Express Stoke on Trent.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Having arrived in Stoke-on-Trent, we jumped into a taxi to The Holiday Inn Express on the outskirts of the city centre. As one of Stoke’s major budget hotels, the place was rammed with people. The breakfast buffet, for example, proved so chaotic we quickly gobbled up our food and scurried back to the room. Yikes.

2021: A Travel Blogger's Balkan Odyssey.

2021: A Travel Blogger’s Balkan Odyssey.

Luckily we got our negative results through quickly. Yes!!! It was pleasing to have stayed one step ahead of COVID. Especially at a time when the tally of confirmed daily cases hit over 180.000 people. As I wrap this piece up it is New Year’s Eve and we have just relocated to a picture perfect Staffordshire village. This charming house, converted from an old post office, will be our base for the next four months. A place from which I can continue to build the school and dive back into blogging after an extended break.

Happy New Year 2022! Leighton Travels

Happy New Year!

And of course we have travel plans aplenty. Across Staffordshire, down in London, up in Scotland and beyond. Thanks, as ever, to everyone who reads the blog and takes the time to contribute to the comment threads. We particularly appreciate the community here on WordPress, who’ve shown increased enthusiasm and loyalty over the past twelve months.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a better, bolder and brighter 2022!

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92 Comments

  • Marla

    Happy New Year, Leighton. So happy to hear that Sladja was approved for her Visa and you’ve made your way back to England. Wishing you both a wonderful 2022. 🎉😊

    January 1, 2022 - 8:59 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Marla! Thanks for your readership and good cheer and humour throughout the year.

      January 1, 2022 - 10:11 am Reply
  • pedmar10

    Nothing will be “NORMAL” again, expect more shots and adjust to the new world order. First delta now omicron and later Kappa it seems they like to use Greek words ! Best wishes in 2022!

    January 1, 2022 - 9:30 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year and best wishes for 2022!

      January 1, 2022 - 10:08 am Reply
  • bublelady

    Happy New year. The pair of you packed a lot in as usual. We cant wait to meet Sladana.

    January 1, 2022 - 10:17 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year! See you soon, hopefully.

      January 1, 2022 - 11:07 am Reply
  • wanderlustig

    Happy New Year and all the best for you and Sladja. Looking forward to your posts!

    January 1, 2022 - 10:59 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for visiting. Happy New Year!

      January 1, 2022 - 11:08 am Reply
  • Jesper, The Biveros Effect

    Sounds like an eventful year, even with the pandemic. We hope to be able to return and explore more of the Balkans soon. Gott Nytt År, greetings from Sweden 🙂

    January 1, 2022 - 11:10 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading. We also feel we have unfinished business in The Balkans. Hope you manage to get back, Happy New Year!

      January 1, 2022 - 11:12 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Wishing you both a Happy New Year! I’m delighted to read that you are now settled into your accommodation which looks really cosy and I wish you every happiness at the beginning of this new adventure introducing Sladja to your homeland. Marion

    January 1, 2022 - 12:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Marion! I hope you enjoyed the festivities and that 2022 is a better year in all areas of life. Take care.

      January 1, 2022 - 12:02 pm Reply
  • Lingo in Transit

    Happy New Year to you both Leighton! What a year it was- happy to read that you’ve been able to settle yourselves and your school getting off the ground. Wishing you a fruitful 2022!

    January 1, 2022 - 12:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading! Happy New Year to you too and hope you can make the very best of 2022.

      January 1, 2022 - 12:20 pm Reply
  • Toonsarah

    Glad to hear you made it over here and got those hoped-for negative test results 🙂 We’re in a bit of a mess right now with Omicron as you discovered, but hopefully things will settle down and you’ll soon be able to do all the things you’ve come here for. Welcome back to England, and Happy New Year 🥂🎉

    January 1, 2022 - 3:10 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Sarah. Happy New Year to you too and I hope 2022 also delivers for you. One day soon, surely, this will be behind us.

      January 1, 2022 - 3:35 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    What a year Leighton – your exploration of the Balkans looks absolutely amazing, and of course getting married is incredible. Despite the lows of losing your teaching role, the fact your business is doing so well and you’re in England safe and sound is great news. I hope 2022 is kind to you, and that you enjoy exploring more of Staffordshire and its surrounds. I can highly recommend some walks in Cannock Chase, Shugborough Estate, Tamworth Castle, Lichfield Cathedral…and of course a short hop north to the Peak District for places like Castleton to hike Mam Tor, or Chatsworth. Heading East to my parents home of Market Bosworth is also nice if you’re interested in history to visit the Richard III battlefield centre and see the lovely town, or even a quick jaunt south to Stratford/Warwick. Anyway….whatever you choose to do, I hope 2022 brings you healthy, happiness and adventure 🙂

    January 1, 2022 - 3:12 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Wow Hannah, that’s quite the list there. So much to consider, I wish we had more time. And a bottomless bank account ha ha. Thanks for reading and I truly hope 2022 is an infinitely better year for you. Happy New Year!

      January 1, 2022 - 3:39 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    Happy New Year Leighton! You have had an interesting and eventful year. I look forward to following your blog.

    January 1, 2022 - 3:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers! Sorry for the late reply, your comment came through to junk again but I caught it in the end. Hoping for an equally intrepid and safe 2022 for you too. Thanks for supporting the blog!

      January 2, 2022 - 12:58 pm Reply
      • Travels Through My Lens

        No worries! It’s odd about my comments. Another blogger told me the same thing. I’ll look into it. Thanks for letting me know!

        January 2, 2022 - 5:27 pm
  • kagould17

    That is one hell of a 2021 summary Leighton. If you can do all that during a pandemic, think what you will do, when it is all over. Glad your travel plans worked out as well as they did. Enjoy your 4 months in the UK and a very Happy New Year to you and Sladja. Allan 🎉🎉

    January 1, 2022 - 3:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Allan. We certainly made the best of our time and, as you say, with a bit of luck this year should be even better on the travel front. Wishing you a fantastic 2022.

      January 1, 2022 - 3:56 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Happy New Year! What an unexpected present to open on a fresh year’s first morn. Can’t think of anything that would have put a bigger smile on my face. And what an incredible tease for all the blogs that someday will flesh out those adventures you condense down to an incredible summary. Your recent journeys have covered a lot of territory. Can’t wait to read about them in depth. Enjoy your time in your new home base. I know I will.

    January 1, 2022 - 5:03 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Memo! Give my love to Mary, wishing you both all the best for 2022.

      January 1, 2022 - 5:09 pm Reply
  • NattyTravels

    Great read! Best wishes to you both for 2022! 🎊🎊

    January 1, 2022 - 9:08 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Natty! Happy New Year!

      January 1, 2022 - 9:12 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    What a wild year it has been for you! Despite the pandemic still raging, you managed to remain nomadic throughout the Balkans! Such a lovely corner of the world, and I’m glad that you managed to see so much while staying safe. Hope you and Sladja are safe and well back in the UK. Have a wonderful New Year and great 2022 ahead!

    January 1, 2022 - 9:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Rebecca! Thanks for your readership, here’s to a much better 2022

      January 1, 2022 - 9:34 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    My oh my, your last week sounds more hectic than the last 5 months! But I’m glad you’re in the UK and ready to show Sladja some of the beautiful places there. And I see we can look forward to many stories of your recent travels 😁. May this be a great year – good luck with the teaching and happy travels!

    January 1, 2022 - 9:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Corna! Thanks for your readership. Hoping to bring you better articles over the next year and looking forward to following more of your own adventures.

      January 1, 2022 - 9:58 pm Reply
      • wetanddustyroads

        Not necessarily better, but more … 😄

        January 2, 2022 - 7:23 am
  • ourcrossings

    Wow, what a year you had, Leighton! I loved your photos from Montenegro – it’s one of the places I would love to explore myself as it possesses some of the most incredible natural attributes of any state in Europe. I am glad to hear you eventually made it to the UK. I hope the New Year starts off bright and continues to shine throughout the year. Wishes for you of peace and contentment that do not cease. Happy New Year To You! Aiva 🙂

    January 1, 2022 - 10:21 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Aiva for you warm message. I hope you also have a great 2022, one with more travel opportunities and less restrictions/anxiety. Lord knows we all need that after the past few years. Appreciate your continued readership.

      January 1, 2022 - 11:07 pm Reply
  • BACK ROADS AND OTHER STORIES

    Happy New Year!

    January 1, 2022 - 10:47 pm Reply
  • thehungrytravellers.blog

    Happy new year Leighton, glad you’ve made it “home” ( if such a thing still exists for you!). Enjoy your time there, it’ll be interesting to read what you get up to. But I’m sad to say, don’t expect the once-efficient, organised UK that you left behind. Something’s gone badly wrong these days, but I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. In fact it’ll be interesting to see if you find it a different place.

    January 2, 2022 - 12:18 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year! Wishing you guys safe and happy adventures in Costa Rica and beyond, wherever your travels take you throughout 2022.

      January 2, 2022 - 11:07 am Reply
  • Lookoom

    It is a good example of resilience to all the difficulties we all face in one way or another. A constant optimism too, much needed to move forward. I hope you will find time to write about your trips to the Balkans, a region that is booming with tourists and that has the advantage for Europeans of not being on the other side of the world, although it does look a bit like it. Thank you very much Leighton for the wishes, Happy Travel Year!

    January 2, 2022 - 3:04 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers! I hope 2022 gives you the chance to stretch your legs further than in previous years.

      January 2, 2022 - 11:11 am Reply
  • Christie

    What a journey! I also have the same feeling, that 2021 flew by way too quickly. Have a wonderful new year Leighton, and hope it will bring many more safe and happy travels🙂
    Christie.

    January 2, 2022 - 3:34 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Christie! All the best to you throughout 2022 and beyond.

      January 2, 2022 - 11:12 am Reply
      • Christie

        thank you!

        January 5, 2022 - 3:14 am
  • salsaworldtraveler

    Well, I’m tail-end Charlie in the comments again.😆 I save your posts until I have time to read them leisurely. It’s great Sladja’s visa came through. Weight and balance issues might be the reason Air Serbia put all of the passengers up front. An aircraft’s center of gravity must be within certain limits or it is unstable in flight. That is the only reasonable rationale I can think of for what would otherwise be a completely boneheaded move. The reason should have been explained to passengers if there was one.

    The library in your accommodations in Staffordshire looks very comfortable and homey. This place should be a perfect base to work from and explore Great Britain. You’re off to a great start with your business. I hope the Chinese government doesn’t interfere. Happy New Year, and best wishes for everything in 2022!

    January 2, 2022 - 5:22 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year John! I had a feeling that if there was a valid reason for packing us all together on that flight, you’d probably know why. Appreciate your readership and the good wishes. Your Chinese government comment made me laugh and yet… I always have those “what could go wrong?” thoughts floating around in the back of my mind.

      January 2, 2022 - 11:19 am Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    What a crazy yet wonderful year it has been for you! So glad that you were able to make it to the UK for your trip after all the Covid uncertainties. I hope that Sladja is doing okay after her surgery and illness and that your new business continues to thrive. The pictures of the two of you look like pure joy with each other. I have absolutely loved following along on your adventures and I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for you 🙂

    January 2, 2022 - 2:58 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Meg for your continued support of the blog. We also enjoy keeping up with your adventures. Wishing you a much more stable and rewarding 2022!

      January 2, 2022 - 3:09 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    What a hectic last few weeks, but your optimism still shone through. Happy New Year, looking forward to hearing about your exploration in 2022! Maggie

    January 2, 2022 - 5:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Maggie! Wishing you all the best for the year ahead.

      January 2, 2022 - 6:41 pm Reply
  • Streets of Nuremberg

    Sounds like 2021 was quite a year for you! Happy New Year!

    January 3, 2022 - 12:09 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Definitely hoping for a less frantic year this time around. Happy New Year to you too!

      January 3, 2022 - 12:11 am Reply
  • Alison

    Oh my just read this and our journey cannot compare to yours. What a relief you are in the UK finally. I agree Heathrow was a breeze I was amazed.
    We also loved Montenegro and stayed in Perast and Rafilovica, I would love to go back but with so many other places to visit not sure when.
    You never know we may cross paths one day.
    Take care and stay safe 🙂

    January 3, 2022 - 9:12 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Alison, I appreciate the empathy! We both got back in the end I guess, that’s all that really matters. I remember some time ago that you had a blast in Montenegro. Happily, we loved Perast as much as you did. Happy New Year! “Leighton”.

      January 3, 2022 - 10:02 am Reply
      • Alison

        🙂

        January 3, 2022 - 2:28 pm
  • Travel with a Pen

    Happy New Year to you and Sladja. What a crazy & exciting year you both had! I got anxious just reading about the rush to get into the UK before another possible lockdown or flight ban. Glad you made it! Wishing you a wonderful 2022!

    January 3, 2022 - 4:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you! Hoping you also have a great year, I think we all need a break from the anxieties of the last two years. Appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

      January 3, 2022 - 6:45 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    What a year!!! Happy New Year!

    January 3, 2022 - 5:05 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Lyssy!

      January 3, 2022 - 5:49 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    Welcome home! I’m glad you were able to make it back to England and I know you will enjoy sharing your home and family with your lovely lady. Not having traveled in the Balkans, I so enjoyed your tour and photos. Your teaching page looks like so much fun — good luck with it! And here’s hoping for a happy and healthy new year for your both.

    January 3, 2022 - 6:35 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Ruth! I must say it’s lovely to be back so far, despite the relentless cold and rain. Wishing you the kind of year that blows away the last few. Take care.

      January 3, 2022 - 6:39 pm Reply
  • northeastallie

    It sounds like you guys have had a lot of adventures in 2021, that is good that traveling opened up enough for you both to make it back to your family! Happy New Year!!!

    January 3, 2022 - 6:47 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year Allie! We certainly were lucky with the Balkan travel bubble. To add two new countries in these troubled times isn’t too bad at all. Hope you have a great 2022, thanks for reading.

      January 3, 2022 - 6:51 pm Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    Sounds like 2021 was a rollercoaster of a year with lots of ups, downs, and everything in between. Wishing you and Sladja all the best in 2022 and looking forward to hearing more about your adventures while traveling and in life in general. Cheers. Linda

    January 3, 2022 - 10:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Happy New Year! Thank you Linda for the warm wishes, and for taking the time to read about our year. I have a positive feeling (forever the optimist I suppose) that 2022 will be an infinitely better year than its recent predecessors. Wishing you both all the best for the upcoming twelve months and beyond. Hope the park badge gods are far kinder to you in 2022!

      January 3, 2022 - 10:36 pm Reply
  • Jelchee

    Happy New year , and looking forward to your next post. Sretna nova godina, greetings from Balkan!

    January 5, 2022 - 10:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

      January 5, 2022 - 10:34 pm Reply
  • According to Chren

    Beautiful photos and happy new year~!

    January 7, 2022 - 3:10 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for stopping by, Happy New Year!

      January 7, 2022 - 4:54 pm Reply
  • Ihearthula

    Congratulations on starting your own school! Being your own boss rules 😎😎😎 Happy New Year!

    January 9, 2022 - 1:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It really does! Not sure I could ever return to long term traditional employment! Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

      January 9, 2022 - 1:59 pm Reply
  • Chalk and Cheese Travels

    The Balkans are certainly on the hit list. Glad to see you had some movement throughout yet another tough year in travel. Happy New year and we hope 2022 serves you both well

    January 9, 2022 - 11:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading guys. The same to you, hope you have some good stuff lined up for 2022 and that you’re able to see it through without any drama.

      January 10, 2022 - 12:27 am Reply
  • Bacardi Gold

    I enjoyed reading the post and pictures were awesome good. Happy New Year !

    January 11, 2022 - 10:54 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading! Happy New Year to you too. As John and Yoko once said, “let’s hope it’s a good one”.

      January 11, 2022 - 10:57 am Reply
      • Bacardi Gold

        It’s a pleasure !

        January 11, 2022 - 12:19 pm
  • greggreuben1

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for posting.

    January 12, 2022 - 11:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for following Leighton Travels!

      January 13, 2022 - 12:00 am Reply
  • nsnunag

    Happy New Year!

    January 18, 2022 - 8:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      You too, have a great 2022!

      January 18, 2022 - 8:55 pm Reply
  • Michael Keioglian

    Great Blog!

    January 21, 2022 - 7:03 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading!

      January 21, 2022 - 8:58 am Reply
  • agreekmatinee

    And Happy New Year to you both in this Year of the Tiger. Enjoyed reading of your odyssey. What a wonderful life. I hope to fly away soon but we’re still not allowed to travel overseas. A plane came in from some foreign place two weeks ago, rather exciting as I brought in mail and magazines from England so I bought my long-overdue dose of ancient history and archaeology stuff. All the best for your next turn. Oh, and congratulations on your marriage!

    February 2, 2022 - 1:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading, and for your kind message! Sorry to hear you are grounded, where are you based?

      February 2, 2022 - 2:14 pm Reply
  • Kelly MacKay

    What a great piece!

    February 17, 2022 - 8:19 am Reply
  • Leighton

    Thanks for reading!

    February 17, 2022 - 5:21 pm Reply
  • James

    I nearly went to montenegro two years ago. Is that part of the Balkins?? anyways, thanks for sharing this blog!

    March 9, 2022 - 7:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey James, thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Yup that’s right, The Balkans. We really enjoyed our three months there. I’d like to think we’ll go back one day and explore a little deeper.

      March 9, 2022 - 7:53 pm Reply
      • James

        would be great. i think the region is underrated. so many countries with great history. Would be well worth to go i think! 👍

        March 12, 2022 - 8:10 am
  • Sahana Kulur

    I thought Balkans are under rated and I am sure of it after reading the blog. Thanks for a lovely post.

    March 11, 2022 - 8:05 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! You’re right, the Balkans are underrated as a travel region.

      March 11, 2022 - 9:48 am Reply

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