Željka Kočić, Travel Blogger: Travelling Feeds Me With Positive Energy
Željka started travelling a lot after going through a tough time in her life. Initially, for her, travel was a means of escape from everyday life and problems, but eventually it turned into a treasure trove of new knowledge and people from around the world that she came to embrace as friends.
At the beginning of 2019, Željka Kočić from Banja Luka turned her love for travel and photography into a successful profile on Instagram called whitepearltravel. Even though she had no intention of becoming a travel blogger, people recognised her work, so the number of people following her is growing by the day.
When a couple who recognised them from their Instagram profile came up to greet her boyfriend and her on their last trip to Jordan, at the Treasury in Petra, she was in disbelief that people could actually recognise them at a place so far away from home, even though the young man and woman were from Serbia.
I Love Asia
The basic criteria for choosing a destination is that she has not seen it before and that entry procedures into the country are not complicated. But, Željka honestly admits, owing to her job, destinations usually choose her—she receives travel invitations.
“I love Asia a lot. Every country on this continent leaves a strong impression on me. For example, China is a country with a long tradition, interesting customs, and a culture that is distinctly different from that of Europe. I spent a month living there and absorbing their way of life,” says Željka, who has had a lot of adventures while travelling around the world.
“When I was in Paris, there was a terrorist attack a kilometre away from the hotel I was staying at. On the eve of my trip to Bali, a volcano erupted on the island. When I went to study in Italy, the corona virus pandemic broke out there, and there was a flood during my stay in Sarajevo.”
Travel During the Pandemic
After facing a lot of challenges trying to return home from Italy in March 2020, she continued to travel to countries tourists were allowed to enter with a negative Covid-19 test result. In addition to the countries in the region, she visited Turkey, Sweden, Egypt, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Jordan, Northern Macedonia…
During that period, she travelled the length and breadth of B&H, and that is when, she says, the audience acknowledged her work the most. People were amazed to see what kind of waterfalls, lakes and mountains we have got, or what kind of old bridges, monuments and fortresses we have got, and Željka is also keen to find out more about them while touring around them.
She also wrote about the most gorgeous waterfalls in her first e-Guide to the most Gorgeous Waterfalls in B&H, which included 10 waterfalls that she had visited by the time the guide was written. The goal was to leave a personal impression of each of them, accompanied by the author’s photographs. Visits to the waterfalls continue, so a sequel of the e-guide is to follow.
“Travel has inspired a massive life change for me. I started travelling a lot when I was less than 31 years old, after going through a tough time in my life. Initially, for me, travel was a means of escape from everyday life and problems. Even though everything is waiting for you when you get back home, I’d get some new energy and gain new insights after each trip. Travel fills and feeds me with positive energy. On my travels, I realised how flexible and adaptable I am to all kinds of situations and people, and how happy we are compared to some other people living in difficult conditions. Thanks to travelling around the world, I’ve come to know just how beautiful our country is. Not to mention the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made around the world. It’s, indeed, a real treasure.”
Meet Up at the Sutjeska National Park
In addition to the Whitepearltravel profile, Željka also runs the Instazeljka profile dedicated to Instagram tips for people to act on.
“What distinguishes very successful Instagram profiles from all others is authenticity. They need to be special in some way and give people a certain kind of value—educational, fun, motivational… Success on social networks, in addition to authenticity, hinges upon the work you do, the effort and time you invest, and the knowledge about the way social networks work. Given that the Instagram algorithm is constantly evolving and upgrading, I help people keep up to date and make the changes work in their favour,” explains Željka, who will be heading to Italy and Greece with her boyfriend this summer. They plan to release the new edition of their joint project Meet Up, which is about adventure trips to the national parks of B&H and the region. This time around, the project gathers together nature, socialising, and social networks enthusiasts at the Sutjeska National Park.