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How “Best of 2019” Mario Iliev’s YouTube channel travel tips made us wonder

Did anyone ever give you travel tips that made you wonder? After watching Mario Iliev’s ‘Best Of 2019’ somehow my travel plans have started to sound a little boring and much like couch holidays. Lounge couch, lobby couch, beach… I was travelling from couch to couch. So, how did Mario Iliev’s ‘Best Of 2019’ travel tips make us wonder?

Finally, I pop the question, who is he? With a big smile, he said:” they were confused, but all looked so happy and I did not want to spoil the moment”.

Anyway, we had a good time and exchanged social media handles. I missed the launch of his YouTube channel but did come across his ‘Best Of 2019’ video. Here are a few moments that grabbed my attention and made me want to wander.

First, let me tell you how we met a few years back in Abu Dhabi. While soaking up the sun on the beach on a hot winter’s day, I notice a tall, built, tattooed man. Nearby, a bus drops off a large group of Asian tourists. One of the ladies from the group approaches the man and after a short conversation poses for a photo with him. A few moments later the rest of the group join them and pose for photos together. I observe the situation and begin to wonder who this person is. Obviously, someone famous, but is he an athlete, actor or musician? 

After the photo session had ended and the group of tourists had left, the man approached and put his things down nearby. I don’t like to have unanswered questions and the battle between my curiosity and my anxiety from speaking to strangers was won by my curiosity. We began chatting and it turns out that Mario is a very pleasant and funny person.


Going to Iceland in winter and instead of enjoying a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace, going for a swim in the freezing ocean. Seriously?!?


Sitting on the snow around a fire and eating marshmallows, 300km within the arctic circle under the Aurora Borealis. Although this detail was not in the video, I did learn this while engaging on social media.


Hiking in beautiful Botswana, not the most popular tourist destination, and sitting in the middle of nowhere, in a land full of all kinds of wild animals. Behind you….turn around.

For me, every place without the internet is the wild. I have only seen an ostrich in the zoo, and a place where animals are moving around freely is the Discovery Channel. To be able to enjoy what this beautiful planet has to offer the fullest, one has to have an open mind and a slight bit of encouragement, as I did.

Did I ever engage in any outdoor activities before? Of course. After I married, my husband took me to what was supposed to be a lovely spring mountain getaway. Nice weather, great company and a cable car to the peak. Spectacular views, stone spout, cold refreshing water, and pine trees aroma everywhere.

Heading down, my husband suggested that we take the footpath through the forest. I agreed as I saw families with babies, children and the elderly taking the same route.

The first few kilometres were fun. Then we started to get hungry and my husband offered that we take a shortcut. When I am in front of a wooden sign that says, “Restaurant – 4km”, my imaginations is that a shortcut would save us 2 – 2.5 km. Anyway, we took the shortcut. The footpath which we were supposed to follow was under the trees, with a relatively small slope, and among other “mountaineers”, lovely. Our “shortcut” was under the cable, in the open and through impassable terrain, horrible.

I was annoyed, exhausted and starving, and told my husband that I want a taxi. He looked at me and asked how a taxi is supposed to get to us halfway up the mountain. Ok, I can be reasonable:” I want a helicopter”. Needless to say, I did not get what I wanted and had to make the journey down on foot.

So, after watching ‘Best Of 2019’, I realized that there is something in between leisure travel and extreme travel, there is an endless possibility to wander the globe and to make unforgettable memories.

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