I plunge into a new country in a part of the world I’ve never been to. Anticipation fills my body. I’m a child awaiting Christmas, can’t withhold the smile from my lips, the excitement is about to burst my heart. I hadn’t been looking forward to this photo trip, but ever since I’ve decided to do whatever I want instead of trying to do something my teachers would like to see, it has taken a turnaround.

Đorđe, George, 27 and actor, arrives a bit late to our meeting. I’m not surprised, I’ve already expected a different feeling for time here. He’s tall, his smile radiant, his salutary hug warm. I half-expected him not to show up; I’m grateful he agreed to meet up with a random photographer girl who contacted him through Instagram.

We stop by a falafel shop before heading to the location of the play he invited me to watch. It’s an interesting experience, watching a play in a language I don’t understand. Before and afterwards he greets and hugs half the audience and cast. He knows so many people, everyone seems really happy about meeting him and I’m feeling kinda awkward being his appendix. But he introduces me to everyone in his easy-going way and I’m okay.

After the play, the actors and their friends meet up in a tiny room. It’s full of smoke and happy voices. People shout and talk lively and I wonder whether it’s a cultural thing or because they’re actors. Also, they are incredibly touchy with each other. Arms slung around shoulders, long kisses on the cheek, tight hugs that last for ages. It’s lovely to watch them and I get a bit envious. This uninhibited display of affection is beautiful.

The kindness and warmth I encounter is heartwarming. I’m just tagging along, sometimes more observing than participating, but people talk to me, try to integrate me, take care of me. I never feel abandoned or uncomfortable even when I’m just sitting unparticipating for a couple of minutes.

Then Djordje brings me to another bar/theatre where we meet other actor friends of his. I’m surrounded by actors from both film and theatre and wonder how the hell I got here. Some are about to become really well-known in Serbia and I’m just a shy, insecure little girl that likes to meet people and take photos that mean something to her and yet those photos are what brought me here, to them.

What probably makes me happiest– I show them the pictures I’ve been sharing on Instagram, photos that feel like me and that have hurt and moved me, and they react positively to it. This is me. Naked, broken and vulnerable, and they actually connect with it, want to work with me because of what they see. They don’t see a simple beautiful photo and want to have one too. No. This time I know they actually get it. Because I’m finally starting to be able to transmit what I’m feeling.

It’s 2:30 am when I reach the hostel. My introvert heart is overwhelmed but I’m so goddamn happy I’m here in Belgrade. Here and present with body, heart and mind. I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.

Model: Maia

    1. Oh, that’s so nice! I’m also from Belgrade and I’m glad that you love it here :) And yeah, we happen to be very “touchy”, that’s a cultural thing :D We kiss, hug and express emotions openly! Hope you are having good time with your friends!

      1. Ohh you must be my regular visitor from Serbia! :D thank you for your comment, it’s great to hear from you! Please let me know if you have time and wanna meet up this week :)) x

      1. hahah I hope I’ll be able to take some nice portraits.. I’d like to take some ‘street photos’ as well, but it’s so hard to push myself to do something new 😅 I hope you’re doing well <3

        1. Of course, but the Balkans are so interesting, I’m sure you’ll find a lot to catch your attention and experiment with! All the best to you too ❤

    1. Enjoy your time in Belgrade. Your post reminds me of the first time I went to Malaysia . It was my first time in Asia and I loved it. It sounds like you have the same feeling about Belgrade. Happy travels and can’t wait to read your posts on Belgrade.

      1. I know what you mean – I felt it before when I went to Manila to visit a fellow blogger for a weekend. I was completely overwhelmed by what I encountered there. It’s a wonderful feeling :) thank you for your comment and have a lovely week!

    1. Sounds like you had a lovely outing. You deserve everything that’s happening for you now and everything that will happen for you in the future. You are so talented! <3 It's so good to hear that you're doing well and are happy!

      1. Hunida, thank you for kindest & positive comment <3 You are such a lovely soul!!

    1. This makes my heart happy to read. I’m cocooned in my “safe place” here in the states and love to see how you, an introvert, can stretch your limits, taking risks, and truly living.

      Thank you for taking us along on your journey! :)

      1. Hey Darin, thank you for your kind comment! It made me reflect on what I’ve been doing and encouraged me a lot. Thank you for being here :)

    1. It all sounds very exciting! I’m happy for you :)
      Enjoy the adventure – I can’t wait to see photos from your trip.

      1. Thank you, dear Ines! I didn’t see too much of the city but I got to spend a lot of time with the people and took some portraits I can’t wait to share :))

    1. You have a great blog and I just subscribed. I admire your courage to share about your vulnerability, Otto Brown once wrote, “To be is to be vulnerable.” I’m always pleased to stumble into another person who knows how to “be.” And thanks for dropping by my blog.

      1. Thank you very much for your kind words and the compliment! It’s not easy, but it’s starting to feel more and more natural to be so open. I’m really lucky I get so much support here :)

      1. Yeah, I realised this is a critical topic for the locals there, also amongst the younger ones..

    1. Kudos for your expression. I hope your search for yourself ends somewhere, someday. Since the destination we look for is never there, it’s the journey that matters. In the here and now called life.

      1. Thank you very much! :) I do enjoy the journey called life a lot and don’t think I’d mind if I never truly ‘found myself’.. exploring is interesting enough. Have a lovely Sunday!

    1. Sometimes we just need a tight hug that lasts for ages. :)
      (Scientifically, a hug longer than about 20 seconds is really beneficial – short hugs not so much! I don’t think there’s an upper limit except for one’s own comfort with the hug and the person giving it!)
      “Also, they are incredibly touchy with each other. Arms slung around shoulders, long kisses on the cheek, tight hugs that last for ages. It’s lovely to watch them and I get a bit envious. This uninhibited display of affection is beautiful.”

      1. I agree, hugs are amazing! And there should be definitely be more longer hugs :)) I hope you’re doing well, Stephen!

        1. Doing well thanks, Monika. ☺ We’re off to Thailand on vacation on Saturday for two weeks! Look out for a post when we get back (after 7 January). Take care!

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