Hi friends, we’re Arijana & Matej, both born with a burning desire to travel the globe.
Right after we matched on a dating app in July 2018, we instantly started traveling around as much as our budget allowed.
Arijana was still finishing her Masters in Journalism in Zagreb, and Matej was working part-time as a developer, and part-time as a horticulturist, growing and selling plant seedlings.
Both coming from small villages in Croatia and Slovenia, as well as not-so-well-off backgrounds, our budget was TIGHT, so we used what we could.
That meant sleeping in the back of Matej’s old VW Golf Caravan in random spots in Croatia’s Istria. For a few trips, we also threw an air mattress in the back of his old VW Transporter (T4) that Matej used to transport his seedlings for selling on markets.
In the summer of 2019, when Arijana was just about to finish her studies, we bought a 29-year-old Citroen C25 van from local firefighters where Matej helped as a volunteer.
For that van, we poured some money and love into the DIY build and added a solar panel on the roof, as well as built a bed and compartment for storage out of wood. And we bought a collapsible table and chairs, so we could work inside the van.
We were roughing it, but it worked and gave us a chance to go somewhere and on the cheap. That’s how we visited Motovun, Groznjan, and Hum in Croatia, went hiking in Krn Lake, and visited Logar Valley and Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, as well as explored Fusine Lakes in Italy.
In between our trips that were honestly not so frequent, Arijana also worked on some amazing projects with her brother, like filming a documentary in Kenya and Seychelles for an award-winning American journalist.
We loved the trips we were doing, but deep down, we wanted something bigger. So in December 2019, only a few months after buying the beautiful red Citroen van, we sold it, bought tickets to South East Asia, and flew out in January 2020.
Previously, Arijana was in Bali and Sri Lanka for about two weeks each at the start of 2018, and Matej backpacked Indonesia through Java, Bali, and Lombok for a month in 2016. So we knew that we would definitely love a longer trip there!
We were supposed to cross 6 or 7 countries in about 6 months, but since the pandemic hit just as we entered Vietnam after a month spent in Bali, that was not going to happen.
Instead, we stayed in Vietnam for 1 year and a half, and only flew back to Europe in July 2021.
Although it sounds a bit controversial, that was the best time of our lives. As Vietnam was not experiencing the pandemic as badly as other countries, we had the chance to explore the country quite a bit. And managed to fall in love with the food, the people, and the life there.
After coming back from Vietnam, we then went to Turkey for 2 months, Madeira for 1 month, Egypt for 1 month, before returning the next year in July 2022 for another year in South East Asia.
This time, we spent half a year in Thailand (another country we fell in love with), a month in Cambodia, quite a few months in Malaysia, 10 days in Singapore, and again two more months in Vietnam (couldn’t help ourselves!).
Since returning from the second big South East Asia trip, we have finally visited the famous Dalmatian coast in Croatia.
We visited places like Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Brač, Vis, Omiš, Makarska, and Dubrovnik. As a cherry on top of the 2-month trip, we explored Montenegro’s Kotor Bay and Durmitor National Park for about a week and even dropped into the cute town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Our list of places we want to visit is ever-growing, and we’re looking to explore other continents soon!
We always say that we thrive most while slow-traveling, as it allows us to experience the most in a destination, not only attractions and activities but also meet locals and get an insight into their culture. Funnily enough, we’re both kind of introverted, but traveling always opens us up!
Now, everything we capture on our journey ends here, on ShippedAway.com, as a guide, story, review, or maybe just a tip or inspiration. 🤗
We invite you to read our detailed, information-filled travel guides, full of first-hand tips and recommendations if you’re looking to travel to some of the places we have traveled to.