My dear travellers, how are you today? Welcome to the new post from the special section “My Side of the World” which successfully managed to win your hearts in a very short time on the Mr.M blog. I hope that we will continue to travel the world together with our famous adventurers and discover some new and unexplored parts of the world.
This post is a continuation of the interview with my dear guest Sonja Lapatanov. If you want to read the first part of the interview and remind yourself of some unusual destinations or just to enjoy the beauties of the world throught the lens of one of our most famous ballet artists, choreographers and adventurers, visit the link.
11. Did you go to the same destinations again and did you happen to be disappointed with something that had previously delighted you or that you were delighted with something that seemed ordinary to you for the first time? Should you turn around the second time when something thrills you at first sight or should the experience not be spoiled by a replay?
Sonja Lapatanov: Unfortunately, I am not able to “repeat the class”, although I would gladly do so. I’m looking for new destinations, because time is not waiting for no one. The situation on our planet is worrying. There are more and more forest fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, epidemics, general dissatisfaction, accidents, wars, riots… The years of dangerous living have arrived! That is why I will repeat the old destinations maybe in the next life.
12. People usually think that so-called exotic travel takes a lot of money. How have you organized all these trips over the decades? Have you ever traveled to the end of the world with just 100$ in your pocket?
Sonja Lapatanov: I gave up every luxury and through travel, I invested in myself. It is a great treasure, which no one can steal from me. Today, travel is expensive, but young people are doing well, because they can organize everything themselves via the Internet.
– They just need to know what they want and where they want to travel. I’m an adventurer, but I’m not a backpacker and I wouldn’t spend the night in a hostel and I would hardly go to the end of the world with 100$ in my pocket. Today, that amount could not cover travel expenses, accommodation, or the costs of a two-day stay in a tourist place in our country!
13. What is the most exotic type of transportation you used during your trip?
Sonja Lapatanov: I flew by helicopter in Laos, piston planes in Nepal, a balloon over the Tanzanian and Kenyan savannas and a para-glider from Brajić to Slovenska plaža in Montenegro!
I sailed the seas, lakes and mighty rivers throughout Asia and Africa, rode tuk-tuks and rickshaws, in India, South and Central America half-decomposed buses, along with chickens and goats, sat on the roof of the Andean railway, on the backs of various animals.
But the real adventurous adventure was canoeing and extreme riding on zip-line cables, through the treetops of giant trees in the jungles of Malaysia and Guatemala.
14. I know from my experience that travel is actually learning about the culture and history of a nation. Whose culture impressed you the most?
Sonja Lapatanov: Ancient civilizations left an invaluable cultural and historical heritage to the human race, so it would be unfair to mention only one, so I single out the fascinating Mayan and Khmer culture, the culture of Myanmar, Egypt, Libya, Algeria…
15. Did some of the trips disappointed you in the sense that you expected much more from that country, but then you collided with reality and realized that sometimes good advertising is responsible for the overestimation of a certain destination?
Sonja Lapatanov: There is no trip that has disappointed me. I choose them carefully. I do not follow the tourist fashion, but my adventurous spirit. My curiosity and adrenaline addiction knows no bounds, while the desire to adventure and discover the still not so commercialized parts of the blue planet is immeasurable. However, in a way, my expectations were not met by China. It is a modern country and that fact seems to have fallen hard on me.
– I thought I would enter the world that Pearl Bak wrote about, or the world of Mao Zedong, with columns of cyclists and uniformed people, who practice Kung Fu and Tai Chi in the early morning hours. The expected images of idyllic landscapes with bamboos and pandas, green rice fields, fairy-tale cone-shaped hills of Gilina painted on silk, are remnants of some ancient times, which have passed.
– The reality is different. Somewhere far from the metropolis, there are villages and rice fields, the Great Wall of China, and in Beijing, the Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, a hutong district in traditional Chinese construction with an inner courtyard and a Peking duck. I was late to visit China before the big changes.
16. Is there a country where the pictures you remember are more beautiful than the ones from the postcards?
Sonja Lapatanov: Indisputably; French Polynesia-Tahiti, Bora Bora, Morea, Huahin…
17. Which distant country would you say is most similar to Serbia and why? Is there still our mentality somewhere or are we still unique?
Sonja Lapatanov: Serbs are unique, but when it comes to temperament and joy of life, there are similarities with Mexicans and Irish people.
18. When did you feel the need to convert travel into travelogues? Has any country particularly encouraged you to do that?
Sonja Lapatanov: In the late nineties, I started writing reports for newspapers and magazines, and then a few years later, my friends encouraged me to turn my travelogues into books. They stay, and newspapers and magazines are thrown away, they told me. Since then, I have written seven books of travel prose, and an eighth is in preparation.
19. Do you remember the feelings when you wrote the first book? The moment you typed the last word on a keyboard and realized you had written your first book. Can that excitement be compared to any destination?
Sonja Lapatanov: Admiration, when you hit a dot on the keyboard after the last word, is an indescribably beautiful feeling.
20. If you had to choose only one determinant, what would you say to the question of who Sonja Lapatanov is. A ballerina, a passionate traveler or a writer?
Sonja Lapatanov: Three in one! Everything happened at the right time and now it exists and lives in me.
My dear travellers, I hope you like this post in column on the blog “My side of the world” and that you enjoyed it with my guest today. We will continue our trip around the world in a few days with some new guest
I would recommend you to take a look at the other pictures that dear Sonja set aside in the gallery especially for us to see what kind of beauties our earth hides.
If you have a suggestion whose side of the world of famous world travelers you would like to discover, you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story!