I’m sure we all share the frustration and grief about what is happening this year. As time passes, there are ever more questions with no answers. Absurdities that cannot be explained, doubts that it’s not really what is being presented to us. But the outcome is that we have all lost our freedom of movement, and some of us have completely lost the right to normal life and conducting our businesses. And to an overlander, to be free to move around and explore, to stay wherever you desire, is surely the ultimate life value.
So where are we actually, and what can we do in the last three months of 2020? The EU list of countries and regions with a “travel warning” is not shrinking, but the opposite – many areas where warnings have been lifted are on the warning list again. The Balkan countries which aren’t EU members have more or less continuously been on the warning list this season, regardless of the epidemiologic situation. Which is obviously a political decision and a means to isolate them in an unreasonable way.
I cannot blame the people for not travelling. A threat of being put into quarantine for 10-14 days upon return to home country is serious enough that most employed people thinking how to use their hard earned vacation days can’t take the risk. And I can also understand the psychological impact, where all this uncertainty and confusion has spontaneously pushed the desire to travel quite much down on the priorities list. When life is tumbling upside down, travel is really not the first thing you think about.
I, Aleksandar Veljković, the overland tour manager of Rustika Travel, have a Serbian passport. Which has proven to be some kind of a prison sentence in 2020. For most of the year the only countries where I could freely travel (apart from Serbia) were Albania and Bosnia, and, during some shorter periods, Bulgaria. Taking into account that our tours take place in ALL of the Balkan countries, that means that I’m denied the possibility to work.
Should we dismiss the rest of 2020?
So, is there actually a chance to travel in October, November or December, anywhere in the Balkans?
You can consider coming to Serbia, since transit through Hungary is possible. Of course, we should wait for a few more days to see what the masters of our lives among EU health authorities decide on September 30th concerning the latest updates of the warning lists, and repercussions that you have to prepare for if you decide to travel to Serbia. From the standpoint of health security, Serbia has been one of the safer European countries throughout 2020, and at the moment of writing this the second wave of covid-19 in Serbia is practically over. Unlike the rest of the Balkans and most of Europe. You can find precise statistics about the situation in Serbia on the official site here. Which, of course, doesn’t mean that it will actually be taken off the warning list. But you can at least judge for yourself. From personal experience, I can assure you that, in the rural mountainous areas where we conduct our tours, there was no real health risk at any time this year.
Technically, everything is ready to resume our tours the moment the borders open for normal travel again. So it’s not up to us. Ask your government when that will be. And, in case you have the courage to travel, although the governments obviously don’t want you to, you’re welcome (at least) in Serbia at any time. Except for our regularly scheduled tours, for groups of 3 or more vehicles we’re ready to plan custom tours, in the timeframe that suits you.
For more info and booking our tours, visit https://www.rustikatravel.com/calendar/