From: Jona Kuka
An Albanian Traveler

The desire to travel never ceases, what is the next country you are travelling to?

Right now I am not planning on visiting any country, mainly because I just formed a music duo with the talented singer Joni Aliraj and we are working hard for our upcoming live shows. Looking at the map though, there are a lot of countries that I still haven’t been and I want to visit, like the three Baltic countries: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. I am maybe in a pause right now, but the curiosity to explore all of them never fades off.

The most random job you ever had?

Once, I was in Poland and they wrote me from Greece for a six-month project at a local radio. They wanted me to be there in a week, and following a series of strikes, bad weather, last minute replacement for a training elsewhere and some luck, I took seven planes in one week and I only paid for the first one.

What app would you like to create for use in your smart phone?

I think there are a lot of great apps already. But I would like one that has free maps which you download and use offline when you travel. Another one would be an app with basic phrases in most of the languages. And a Couchsurfing app which would come in handy in difficult times and I’d make one where people can see my trip and they can invite me for a tea, marking their home on the map.

What role would you play in a movie or sit com?

I would like to play in a series where an Albanian visits every country on earth and because the movie has to be shot, me and the movie crew would actually have to travel to all the countries.

What is your favorite routine during the day?

For days I am traveling: Wake up at noon; hitchhike and get a ride after thirty seconds; arrive at the next destination and explore the place; meet awesome people and learn new things.

For non-traveling days: wake up at noon; play guitar; eat a lot; get to the sun; go for a walk and meet a friend; drink some tea and play live music during the night. Also hot chocolate by the window while raining seems better than any fictional romantic movie.

Do you remember a toy or game that you played during childhood?

Playing in the street, it is not something I miss doing but it is something I miss seeing. There are no more children on the streets. It looks they all got a smartphone for their birthday and locked themselves inside their houses, close to the charger. An entire generation doesn’t play anymore the way that we used to, they have no scratches on their legs and they don’t get dirty and dusty anymore. And the ones that still like to play football, they do it in the football academies.

If you had to meet a famous person in the city, who would it be?

Aleksandër Gjoka. There is a chord in one of his songs which I cannot guess and I haven’t found it till now. If I meet him that will be the first thing I will ask him about.

What is your favorite place in the city during summer?

For summertime, Borsh is the place to be. This big village in the south of Albania has a long beach, a big field, the mountains, a river and it is the place where I grew up. I may travel a lot during the year, but in summer Borsh is the place to be, with my family, couchsurfers, campfire, swimming and singing and every other thing that contributes to the happiness of a human soul.

Do you collect anything in your travels?

I have a collection of more than three hundred postcards at home, all sent by people around the world. There are some countries missing, of course, probably half of them, but I am on my way. I also collect passport stamps; of course they look cool in my passport.

Tell me of positive things in Albania and things that you would like to see changed?

Well, Albania is a wonderful mix of eastern and western culture. I wouldn’t change the cuisine. All this delicious food is amazing and healthy. We don’t need pizza in the same shop with byrek. They also don’t have byrek in the Italian pizzerias. I like the people, especially in the villages, where they are kind and always ready to help. They are not exposed to the whole nonsense information that the world provides and they have no stress about the possibility of North Korea having a nuclear bomb or Rihanna mismatching her skirt and her shoes. All they care about is a happy life, all together.

I would change the roads. It is amazing to travel and to think that they were built back in the 1960s, but when there are dangerous roads with curves on the mountains, it is not the best thing to show to travelers. Because whoever visits the country, they may not try the typical food, they many not speak to the locals, swim in the sea, but they will definitely cross the roads. Also the fact that the young people don’t travel because they think they have to be rich to travel. I would like to inspire them and to let them know that sometime it is cheaper to travel than to stay at home.