On this episode, I chat with a world traveler about his trip to the Balkans. 

English Level: B1 🇩🇪🇨🇦

Show Notes:

  1. Introduction (0:21)
  2. Can you tell us a little bit about the places you’ve traveled to? (1:00)
  3. What attracted you to Vanlife? (05:30)
  4. What are some of the challenges of traveling this way? (08:11)
  5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to try out the vanlife? (11:07)
  6. We want to talk about your trip to the Balkans. Which countries did you visit and which one did you like the most? (14:23)
  7. What did you think of the local food? (22:00)
  8. What were the people like? Was it easy to communicate with them in English/German? (Albania, 19:00)
  9. Did you notice any differences between the people there and Germans? (24:55)
  10. Can you give us some recommendations of places to see and visit in the Balkans? (28:43)
  11. Can you tell us about your work and the services you provide? (28:40)

Vocabulary Words:

  1. freelancer (noun) – someone who is not employed by any one organization but does particular pieces of work for different organizations.
  2. unique (adj.) – being the only existing one of its type or, more generally, unusual, or special in some way.
  3. trash (noun) – waste material or things that are no longer wanted or needed.
  4. toll road (noun) – a road that you pay to use.
  5. bonfire (noun) – a large fire that is made outside to burn unwanted things, or for pleasure.
  6. dead end – (noun) – a road that is closed at one end, and does not lead anywhere.
  7. off-season (noun) – a period of the year when there is less activity in business.
  8. obvious (adj.) – easy to see, recognize, or understand.
  9. passport – an official document containing personal information and usually a photograph that allows a person to travel to foreign countries and to prove who they are.

Phrases to Remember:

  1. To give a shout out: When you give a shout-out to someone, it’s usually to express appreciation or thanks—or just to recognize their presence.
  2. To get into something: to start enjoying something, or to become enthusiastic about it.
  3. To take it slowly: to not rush things, to do things at a slow speed.
  4. To be on a budget: if you are on a budget, you do not have much money to spend
  5. To take something for granted: fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity.

Mistake to Avoid:

Farther NOT more far (14:48); my bad preparation NOT preparing (14:57)

Comprehension Questions:

  1. In which month of the year did Philip begin to build his van?
  2. Why did he eventually install a solar panel on the roof of his van?
  3. What is the main challenge when you travel with a van?
  4. What are you not allowed to do in Germany when you park somewhere overnight?
  5. Why do locals get annoyed at the increasing trend of van tourism?
  6. How long did Philip travel though New Zealand?
  7. What does Philip prefer? To go to the coast and the beach or to go to lakes and forests?
  8. Which moments did Philip love the most on his tour to the Balkan?
  9. Why is it better to travel with your van during off-season?
  10. Why would the local police come to Philip when he would park his van somewhere in Albania?
  11. What did Philip like about Croatia?
  12. Why should someone go and visit Albania?
  13. Why can Philip work remotely? What is his profession?


Audience Question:

What can I, as a busy mom do to improve my English?

One basic rule: slow and steady wins the race – the key is consistency. Practice for 5-10 min using apps like duolingo, Drops or Quizlet. Make it a routine – developing skills is all about habits.

Question to consider:

What do you connect with the Balkan countries?


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