Time to return to Albania. Well, almost time. Elena and I are about to embark on our third round of Albania workshops. Her first trip to Albania was around the 1991 timeframe while mine was not until 2019. I feel fortunate to have gone at that time because the country is changing rapidly. Albania is now on the map. The best beaches in Southern Europe, incredible food, wonderful people and a great mix of city, rural and pure alpine bliss.
Albania has reached the stage where online subscription hunters and social media darlings are attempting to portray the country as a dangerous backwater that only they can survive. Whether it be moto-based dudes riding across the country, or solo travelers acting like there is danger around every corner. This is total bullshit and does not accurately reflect reality of life in Albania. Always amazes me that these people never seem to understand that doing this is a disservice to everyone in Albania. If you are a danger seeker then head to Oakland or Albuquerque or Detroit or Miami Beach for spring break. Believe me, you want your ass handed to you, no need to fly halfway around the world.
I’ve posted plenty of my “real” work here on the site, but I wanted to just share a few images from the mobile. I never make much of an effort with the phone because I don’t post as I go, unless I’m blogging, and for that I use actual camera images. These images brought back a lot of good memories and are what set the stage for me planning my next take on Albania. This year, I’m going with aiming for ONE image per day. One decent image I should say, combined with ONE paragraph of good copy. That’s it. If I’m there for ten days and walk out with ten solid images I would feel like that is a wild success. Remember, I’m teaching so the main plan is to make sure OTHER people are making images and designing books.
I am a fan of returning to the same country again and again as opposed to constantly visiting new countries. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see what I haven’t seen but only after I feel like I’ve gotten to know some distant place. My regrets around travel revolve around NOT returning to places I’ve been only once. Morocco, Cambodia, China, Uruguay, Panama. This being my third trip to Albania I feel like I’m returning to a place I am just now beginning to understand. And as I mentioned before, it’s changing so fast. I can taste the food, the raki and I begin to long for the peaks and streets. Plus, getting out with a camera on my shoulder is what makes me want to keep living this glamorous life of an evangelist. (And notebook and audio recorder.)