Guest blog post by Nataša Djukanović
Last weekend we visited Theth for the second time. A fascinating environment! This time we were accompanied by my two daughters. I never thought that Theth would have such an impact on Nataša and I am proud to publish her impressions!
It’s been five days since I am back from Theth, a 250 inhabitants village in North Albania and the most important thing I can say right now is: the saying “get out of your comfort zone” has a whole new level for me. Both my sister and I knew where we were going, as we visited Albania back in 1995, just ten years after their Stalin-like president died and just when people who didn’t fled away from the country started to live a normal life, which was still shockingly bad for us. We were ready for an adrenaline tour as my mom promised an adventurous visit to a beautiful Albanian nature, which she supported with some photos and a blog post named Albania: Blue eye, a place of legend and beauty. But it was…well, different 🙂 (more to say extraterrestrial).
So we started a 40 km (more than two hours) gravel road drive along the narrow road atop of the thousand-meter abyss, continued with a guest-house-stay, where electricity is used for light bulbs only, in a village with no cars (when you see a jeep down there in the valley you say: “Hey, there is a jeep!”), no asphalt, all surrounded by water springs. As soon as we arrived we did some hiking, we met horses close to a waterfall, we saw a Kulla where people were hiding from blood revenge back in the days, and of course took tons of photos. We went to sleep around 9 p.m. Don’t laugh, it was rather dark, too quiet, and we were tired and also there was no TV – remember electricity? (even if I say I never watch TV I actually do, I just don’t notice that). A dog started barking on who-knows-what in the middle of the night, a rooster woke us up at 5 a.m. cock-a-fu**ing-doodle-doo-ing for 500 times in a row and we could hear a distant sound of water springs all the time… The lady of the house picks vegetable in front of her house for our dinner, and milks the cow right before our breakfast. We just realized at once that we couldn’t even complain because they are trying so hard around us. And everything was so surreal.
I am not sure when it stroke me but I knew I was cut off, what-if and how-would-it be thoughts were all around, all the time, I felt Maslow 2.0 circulating around Facebook these days (I saw it last week) is so full of disdain. I was only thinking: how do you measure your life if you live like this; are you happy because you have a good connection (a phone number) with some hotel website which sells your 3 rooms/15 beds 4 times in a year; how did they promote this….and of course, why don’t our people (in Montenegro) who have similar houses, the same great untouched nature, similar and probably better living conditions – at least owning a car, living in similar villages but with higher/wider electricity purpose, do the same and earn their 500 euro for being where they are? It’s not that they are lazy. Are they just being afraid of having a stranger who speaks no understandable language (from ex-Yugoslavia), of having to serve them and them being demanding (but we are very hospitable people!), or is it something else? Is it men loosing their birthright to be the only one who brings the money, or loosing their title of head of the family because people are here because of the beautiful nature and good domestic bread his wife makes? Or is it something else? How do we help people in Montenegro earn some money while living their way? Or are they just good as they are?
Or maybe a better question would be: How do we measure our lives? What is our conversion rate? This doesn’t mean I am changing the goals of our Google campaign, though it might be a good idea :), but how about we all start thinking about our goals, other people’s goals and how to help them achieve their goals (not by changing them)? So I guess this was all of my entrepreneurial spirit brought altogether at one place, just because I felt cut-off, or the rooster woke me up too early…
Is “getting out of your comfort zone” literally, being somewhere where everything is different, in this case some other planet, traveling backwards in time, speaking to some other people (or at least just watching them as we didn’t know the language) with different values, different measurement systems, people who have their conversion rate right in place?
After so many questions and answer-attempts I am not asking myself one thing for sure – who are the crazy people who visit these god’s-forgotten-places – these are the people who know the value of losing their comfort zone. So, where are we going next? 🙂