One of the things that has surprised us the most over the past couple of years of running the hostel has been people’s interest in our personal story. When people walk into our front door, their first question isn’t “What’s the wifi password?” but rather “Where are you from?” “How did you meet?” and “How did you end up here?!”
So I thought it was about time we fill people in on the details.
Where are you from?
Bartek is from Krakow, Poland and I (Lauren) am from Texas in the U.S.
How did you meet?
We met in (wait for it!) a hostel in Kiev, Ukraine. That’s the great thing about hostels–you never know who’s gonna walk through that door!
So are you guys…like…together?
After a long engagement, we made it official with a Polish wedding in November 2016.
How did you end up in Trebinje?
It’s a long story, but here’s the short version: After living in Krakow for a few years, I became pretty miserable with the monotony and wintery weather. We had each traveled separately to the Balkans before we met, and spent most of our vacation time together in Ex-Yugoslavia, too. While brainstorming some possible career changes, Bartek suggested we open a hostel (which I thought was crazy, of course). First we considered doing this in Krakow, but the warmth and energy of the Balkan region kept pulling at us. A friend in Sarajevo suggested that Trebinje may be the perfect spot for a hostel, and we just decided to risk it and see.
Was it hard to open up a company as foreigners in Bosnia & Herzegovina?
It was difficult, but not impossible. There was a lot of paperwork, a ton of stamps, much confusion, and some luck involved, and we continue to work with the red tape on a daily basis.
Do you speak the local language?
Bartek speaks quite fluently (knowledge of Polish helps), and I’m…working on it…
Do a lot of tourists come to Trebinje?
Not as many as hotspots like Mostar and Sarajevo, but plenty for a town of this size, especially in the summer months.
Click here for a round-up of interviews we’ve done and websites we’ve been featured on (mostly in Polish and the local language).