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  • The Curious Traveler

A Conversation with Domen Bancic, Boundless Journeys’ Slovenia and Croatia Guide

Guests of Boundless Journeys trips often rave about how our guides really set our trips apart from our competitors. This interview is part of a series designed to showcase the amazing people that make traveling with Boundless Journeys on our Europe tours so special. 

Photo: Domen Bancic (left) poses with fellow guide Luka Furjan (right)

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, and how you found your way into the world of guiding?

I am Domen—a traveler, an adventurer, a curiosity-driven person who loves to discover the beauties of the world and learn about its cultures through experiencing it first hand. My educational background is in ethnology and cultural anthropology, which by default implies working with people and trying to understand the world in its diversity and complexity. Guiding therefore came somewhat naturally into my life—at first as a side job during my studies, and eventually became an integral part of who I am as a person. And I feel quite privileged and grateful that it did, as learning, exploring and sharing knowledge truly is what I am passionate about.

How has growing up exploring the natural beauty of Slovenia (and Croatia) affected the life you are living?

In Slovenia, nature is a part of who we are, part of our collective identity. Most people grow up in some form of contact with nature—climbing mountains, wandering through forests, growing a garden etc. For me personally nature is first and foremost a place of inspiration—a destination where I go to search for adventure, or to find peace. For me, spending time in nature is an integral part of quality of life, and I believe this wisdom is learned intuitively by most of us who are lucky enough to live or grow up in this beautiful part of the world.

Our Slovenia & Croatia tours are meant to take a deep dive into the stunning  landscape, history, culture and cuisine of those two countries. Can you share a few highlights of these adventure tours?

My personal favorite are the rugged mountain landscapes of our Slovenia hiking tours—the bright-white limestone peaks contrasting with the colorful greens and blues of the surrounding lakes, rivers, forests and skies. But what truly makes this tour unique is its diversity—diversity of landscapes, climates, cultures, histories, gastronomy, and perhaps most importantly, the people. On tour we have the privilege to meet and share experiences with hardworking people from the mountains of central Europe to the people of the western Balkan Mediterranean, and everyone in between.

Is there a unique or memorable experience you can recall from a recent tour?

Towards the end of the Croatia tour, on the Island of Hvar, the winds were quite strong in the morning so we decided to postpone our kayaking expedition and wait for the sea to calm down a bit. To fill in the gap, we drove to a viewpoint above the Hvar town, where a stunning view opened up—craggy slopes of the Hvar island hills overgrown with scrubby lavender, rosemary and an occasional olive grove, the flat and green Pakleni islands, the tall and gray Biokovo mountains on the mainland, and several other islands, wrapped in the morning mist. Spectacular!

How does the Boundless Journeys’ experience compare with those who choose to see the country without a native guide?

Besides the fact that we make the whole hiking tour carefree, Boundless Journeys guides make sure that all of the elements of the tour are brought together and contextualized. That way we do not only experience the landscapes and cultures, but also understand and therefore appreciate them better. In other words, we can tell you firsthand how it feels to live on the crossroad of Mediterranean, central-European, Pannonian, and Balkan cultures, what it is like to grow up in some of the youngest countries in the world, we share stories of our parents’ and grandparents’ living in ex-Yugoslavia, tell you how the many aspects of regional histories continue to influences our lives today, and of course—we also speak the local language (Slovenian and Croatian). 

Finally, where is next on your travel bucket list?

My girlfriend has been wanting us to go to Columbia for a while, and it seems it’s happening in the beginning of 2023. We were also invited to join a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands, so we are likely to do a bit of a detour to the Caribbean.


Explore our Alps to Istria hike & Dalmatian Coast hiking tour itineraries. 

Recent Slovenia and Croatia Tour Testimonials

“I think the entire group felt that what made our trip so special and memorable was our guides. They were outstanding! I never felt like this was “just a job” to them but they were our new friends, showing us places that they love. Domen and Luka were extremely knowledgeable, kind, enthusiastic, competent and they took care of every detail so that we had a perfect trip. The saddest part about the trip being over was leaving Domen and Luka! Everyone on our trip remarked about how much they loved and appreciated our guides.”

-S. Dalhquist

 

Trip exceeded expectations in all respects. Can’t possibly offer too much praise for Luka and Domen: they made it great.

-R. Jobrack

 

This trip was a wonderful opportunity to experience both Slovenia (hiking in Alps) and Croatia (coastal waters, history & fresh fish/seafood). Boundless Journeys has combined what would be great individual trips into a fantastic combination that has you waking up with excitement of what is to come. Our guides (Domen & Luka) were professional and passionate about their homeland which added to the experience.

-V. & J. Botts

 

Shout out to the guides. Both were great people: patient, helpful, knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge, funny and very competent.

-M. Dolan

 


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