After almost two and half weeks here in Bosnia, I am finally starting to fall into my place with my internship. I am working with an eco-tourism agency that goes by the name of Green Visions. They work to promote the outdoors surrounding Sarajevo and the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina while also working sustainably and helping the struggling rural villages that are scattered throughout the mountains.
The Green Visions office is quite small and is located in part of the old olympic village where many of the athletes were housed during the 1984 Winter Olympics that were held here in Sarajevo. They have recently moved to that office as they realized that they had too much space at the old place. There are usually only three or four of us in the office, barring the days before big trips are departing where all the guides come in to pick up gear for the next day. It’s an artsy, modern workplace environment that does well in reflecting the attitude of Green Visions. I encourage you to stop by and have a coffee with the staff if you’re ever in the area.
Thierry Joubert started the company fourteen years ago after he moved to Bosnia from Holland in order to assist refugees from the war in 1992. Before he started Green Visions, he worked with children refugees and then in computer programming, finally realizing that working in the outdoors was his true calling. Since 2000, Green Visions has continued to grow and gain more of a reputation in the tourism industry around the area, though it is hard to compete with the huge companies that give tours in the heart of Sarajevo. Thierry is still running the business and is acting as my supervisor and mentor.
Focusing mostly on hiking, the agency also offers biking, snow shoeing and rafting trips. So far, I have only participated in two of the hiking trips but I am expand my horizons and take part in the other types of trips that the agency offers.
At the agency, my work consists mainly of working on a new website that they are creating in search of a new simpler design that works better on mobile devices, as that is often a well used method by traveling adventure seekers. They also want me to go on the hikes that they have scheduled with tourists so I can gain an understanding of how the agency functions in the field, as well as act as a pseudo photographer for the agency, taking pictures to post on social media and the new website. As I learn the inner workings of the agency, I have slowly began helping on the guided trips as well as replying to some of the simpler questions that come in via email.
All in all, the two weeks I have spent with Green Visions has been a good learning experience, and I am excited to pick up more responsibility as my knowledge of the program increases. The people I work with are wonderful exciting people who have similar interests to me, as we all enjoy escaping into the woods every once in a while.
Below are some pictures from the hike I tagged along on last week. We were accompanied by a shepherd’s dog that has become accustomed to accompanying the hiking tours that begin in the small mountain village of Umoljani. Tomorrow I head out on a backpacking trip where, if weather permits, we will summit the highest peak in Bosnia.