We never imagined that our trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina would be so pivotal.
We wrote several posts about our journey, and to our surprise and delight, on Monday we were Freshly Pressed for our post Indomitable: The Kids of Sarajevo.
Krista, the editor at WordPress said,
“What a beautiful testament to the human spirit!
I’m thrilled to share it with our wider audience.”
It was a serendipitous journey – a last-minute addition to our ever-growing list of destinations on our Round-the-World trip. After viewing the bullet-riddled buildings in Mostar we came to Sarajevo – proud home of the 1984 Winter Olympics; then less than a decade later, the sad site of the longest siege in the history of modern warfare.
Our research lead us to the poignant wartime photography of Christian Maréchal, and the “Childhood in War” project by Jasminko Halilovic. The U.N. Children’s Fund declared that the Bosnian War had “created a community of suicidal children who are convinced they have no future.”
The entire experience opened our eyes to the appalling plight of noncombatants living in a war zone – much like many areas of the world now. Today, what we see in the eyes of Sarajevo’s young adults is cautious hope.
Thank you Krista and WordPress for this honor – twice now! We are proud to be part of a platform that helps bloggers like us get the message out. And thank you Christian for your powerful photographs that brought our words to life. But most of all, a big THANK YOU to all of you who read and comment – you bring us joy and you’re the reason we write.
Peace and Tolerance,
Terri & James
Congratulations. Very much well deserved!
Thank you Alison and Don. As you know so well from your extensive travels, sometimes it’s the barely-planned, serendipitous journeys that lead to the most interesting discoveries. So glad to hear that you’re back to 100%. How are you enjoying your time in Vancouver? ~Terri
Loving the weather, loving catching up with friends and family, loving getting some health matters cleared up (like eliminating some extra baggage from the Amazon) – Vancouver’s a wonderful city. It’s really a very important time for us to reassess and regroup. Thanks Terri.
I’m surprised to discover that your article was written a year ago, and then updated 4 months ago, so the freshly pressed editors don’t just look at the latest posts coming in.
Vancouver sounds like the perfect place to be to regroup and reassess. It’s a lovely city.
And as for the age of the article, you could have knocked us over with a feather! The notification went to our spam folder, so we wondered if it was a hoax. But I’ve been noticing a trend lately that the editors are reaching further back to older posts for certain topics. Krista, the editor who selected us said, “Your post does a wonderful job educating readers on the aftermath of the war in Sarajevo, helping us all to bear witness to what happened and to learn so as never to repeat.” I can’t argue with that! So now we all know there’s hope for past posts. 🙂 ~Terri
Woohoo-wonderful, wonderful news for a worthy topic, and fantastic writers who see the world in deeper ways than many. Congrats!
Laura, thanks so much for your wonderful support and enthusiasm. Your kind words mean a great deal to us – much appreciated. And congrats to you on your post “Being Student Centered” being published around the universe. Everyone, check it out at the link below. When does school start back in your neck of the woods? ~Terri
Thanks Terri-right back at you! I appreciate the kind words. It started this week!!!
Huge congratulations and so very well deserved! I’m squealing unprofessionally with glee. 🙂
Thanks very much Sue. We were surprised and excited when we got the first award, and even more so on this one. The recognition is very welcome, but it’s readers like you who keep us motivated to look for a different perspective on things. Thanks again for following along. ~James
Congrats again and you can definitely expect me to be waiting to see what creative angles you come up with next James. Bravo to both of you!
Thank you Beth. We truly appreciate your support! ~Terri
Thanks much Naomi, and thanks for following along. ~James
Congratulations. This is indeed great news. Your blogs are always so informative and meaningful.
Thanks for your kind words Darlene. We were especially pleased to be Freshly Pressed for this post. Our trip to Sarajevo was a real eye-opener, and this award will help others see what we saw. ~James
That is awesome, you two! Congratulations on the Freshly Pressed honor. 🙂
Thanks a bunch Leslie! Talk about surprised – the notification had gone to our spam folder so we thought it was a hoax! 🙂 Are you and Steve in SMA? I’m in love with that sweet house of yours. ~Terri
Aww, well you guys deserve the Freshly Pressed. You put together a fantastic blog! 🙂 Yes, Steve and I are in SMA and we love it! We couldn’t be happier with our house and garden and new little puppy!
Vera is such a sweetie! I can’t believe you found such a cute pup. How is she settling in to her new home? ~T
Many thanks Robert and Melinda. As you know from all your travels, you never know how a country is going to impact you. For us, Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of those eye-opener destinations. And speaking of great destinations, how did you enjoy Iceland? Your photos are beautiful! 🙂 ~Terri
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Twice is awesome!
Many, many thanks Kan. With all of your travels I’m sure you’ve encountered war-torn nations. I found myself standing in the graveyard that used to be a park, with tears rolling down my cheeks because almost all the graves around me were kids. Have you ever had this kind of experience? ~Terri
Much deserved recognition, congratulations!
Thanks very much Laura for continuing to follow along with us. The Gallivance blog has far exceeded our expectations, and it’s readers like you that keep us going. Thanks for hanging in there. ~James
Congratulations Terri and James. So well deserved! This post was indeed pivotal, your writing and photos touch so many.
Thanks very much Martha. The award was totally unexpected, and we’re happy that this was the post that was recognized. Since you were recently Freshly Pressed, I’m sure you can relate. Thanks for following along. BTW, how’s the shop remodel going? ~James
Thanks James. Photos of the new shop space to follow soon. It is going faster than I can order stock to fill it! What fun, I’m such a lucky girl…
Hello Terri and James,
I owe you endless thanks for choosing to share your experiences with the world.
Your post does a wonderful job educating readers on the aftermath of the war in Sarajevo, helping us all to bear witness to what happened and to learn so as never to repeat.
Thanks for your wonderful words and selecting our post to be Freshly Pressed.
For some reason, Bosnia really took us by surprise and hit us hard – and we’re pretty resilient given all the places we’ve lived and traveled. But standing in a cemetery that used to be a park really brought it all home. Nearly all the new graves were kids and young adults.
Since then we try to never be blasé about the conflicts in the world. We have vowed to pay attention, and this post was just one way to bring it to a wider audience thanks to you. Many, many thanks. ~Terri & James
Congratulations Terri and James, really well deserved!! 😀
Thanks very much Allane. Bosnia wasn’t the easiest place to visit, but travel is about learning about cultures, and the war will forever be a huge part Bosnia’s history and national psyche. BTW, we’re off to Munich soon and I will be checking out all your posts for tips. ~James
Congratulations! I guess i didn’t know you then but have just read your post. Breaks my heart.
Thanks Tess. The war was horrific and revealed the worst of humankind. The good news is that Bosnia is on the mend. If you’d like another glimpse of the recovery, check out our post on Mostar.
Thanks very much for continuing to follow along. ~James
I’m still curious and not too old to learn. ❤
Congratulations James & Terri!
Thanks very much Anita, and just so you know, you’re our new good luck charm. In your comment on the Bill Murray post you graciously mentioned that it should be Freshly Pressed, and the next day we received the email from WordPress that our Sarajevo post had been Freshly Pressed. We didn’t expect to be FP once, let alone twice. Needless to say, we’re pretty chuffed. ~James
I, too, was moved by Sarajevo. I took a tour led by a man who had spent winters on the one mountain the city held, helping to defend it. And I visited the narrow tunnel that brought some supplies into the city. I was amazed by the resilience of the citizens, living under medieval siege conditions.
But Sarajevo has done a good job of moving on – better than Mostar – and is a great destination aside from war history (the bridge where WWI started is there too).
Thanks much Kathy. I agree about Mostar. When we visited the tourist and main shopping area had pretty much recovered, but the main street through town still had lots of bombed-out buildings. I had never seen this sort of thing before, and it was sad and very startling. The city park graveyard was also incredibly sobering. ~James
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed again. I really liked that post.
I work with many people from Serbia and I had a long conversation the other night with a young lady from Belgrade. She works two jobs – one as a Starbucks barista and the other at a Subway. She said she’s had customers yell at her when they see on her name tag that she is from Serbia. She wasn’t alive then but still deals with the aftermath in an indirect way.
What went on in Sarajevo was no doubt horrible and it is a shame that we are having atrocities in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine right now. Human being have an unbelievable capacity for both good and evil.
Thanks Jeff. Given the atrocities of the Bosnian War, I’m sure that it will take generations to heal. Memories live on in parents and grandparents who pass them down to their children. Nelson Mandela said it well: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~James
That is a great quote by Mandela – I’d never heard that before. It is so true that we learn to hate and yes, it will take generations for it to improve, but it can.
Thoroughly deserved. You continue to be our inspiration.
Thanks very much Tom. The blogging gods smiled on us, and we’re surprised and pleased. How are things on the Left Coast, and how’s the book campaign going? ~James
Well deserved! It was a very touching post that made you pause and think.
Thanks Pam. Both Sarajevo and Mostar were in-your-face reminders of the realities of war. Neither of us had seen bullet-scarred, bombed out buildings on this scale, and it was sobering. Bosnia wasn’t the easiest place to visit, but we’ll always be glad we did. ~James
Complimenti a tutti e due !! There’s nothing quite like getting a Freshly Pressed, regardless of topic.
Thanks Margaret. Despite all our efforts to be humble, damn!, it feels good. ~James
Why bother ? – I didn’t.
But then, that’s me. [grin]
Well deserved you two. Your words with Christian’s evocative images pair well together. So fortunate that you connected with him and got the back story.
Thanks much Lynne. Christian’s photos and story really made the post. I can’t imagine going about my daily life with the constant worry of a sniper’s crosshairs on me. That and all the other hardships must have been horrible. ~James
Totally cool to see both your faces in a little box in the middle of Freshly Pressed! Congratulations! Fantastic writing and well deserved.
Thanks very much Kelly. This FP, like the first, was a real surprise. I’m not sure how WordPress is able to wade through the hundreds of thousands of posts each day, but we’re pretty chuffed that ours post was chosen. ~James
I am pleased for you that your story got additional recognition. I remember our guide in Sarajevo who took us to Srebrenica, site of the commemorative cemetery – she told us Americans are the ones who take this tour the hardest. It did hit us how terrible things were, but nowhere near as hard as it hit the Muslim school children who were visiting Srebrenica for the first time.
It is a tribute to the spirit of the Bosnian people that they have persevered in the wake of the war with Serbia. Your story serves them much credit, which is their due. I also recall that it was your writing that helped motivate us to make the trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina beyond visiting Medjugorje. What was most memorable was how kind the people were to us. – Mike
Thanks Mike. Terri and I had never seen the aftermath of war, and it was a grim reminder of the misery that everyone must have gone through. But the younger generation is getting on with life, and that’s great to see. We had lots of little bright spots in our visit. I stopped in a McDonalds for a coffee, and was chatting with the barista (who took her job very seriously and made a tasty cappo). I complimented her on her English, and asked if she learned it in school. To my amazement, she said she had learned by watching English-language movies on cable. I was very impressed and took it as a good sign for improvements in their quality of life. ~James
Terri & James – your post on the children of Sarajevo was so touching. Your travels in a country that was torn apart by such a brutal war brought home sights and stories that we wouldn’t have otherwise known.
This FP is so very deserving. Congratulations!! I’m absolutely thrilled for you!!
Thanks much Joanne. It’s always nice to have our work recognized, and we’re happy that this particular post was the award winner. Bosnia wasn’t the easiest or most pleasant country to visit, but we’ll always be glad that we did. For us, travel is about learning, and sometimes the things that we learn aren’t always gratifying. ~James
I second that. Our recent trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau definitely falls in the category.
Congrats – well deserved!
Thanks very much. We were incredibly surprised and excited when we got the first FP, and equally so this time. I’d love to know more about the process that the WordPress editors use in their selection, but wouldn’t want them to think that I was looking at the proverbial gift horse. ~James
Well, quality obviously 😉 !
Congrats! So well deserved. I remember being moved by this post – ‘liking’ it but not commenting bc it was one of those posts that you want to quietly reflect on. I’m glad more people will read it now!
Thanks Lynda. This post was about Sarajevo, but visiting Mostar was just as moving for us. There’s a city park in the middle of town that was converted to a graveyard so the families of dead could bury their loved ones at night, and the snipers couldn’t see them. We did a couple of posts if you’re interested. ~James
Sue was just talking about your recent freshly-pressed article. I was sure I’d seen it at the time but I don’t seem to have commented to say congratulations (sometimes I get interrupted and never get back to things). It was definitely well-deserved – I remember the original article well. I’m glad more people got to read it.
Thanks Bronwyn. Since you were recently FP, I’m sure you can relate to how excited and pleased we are. Given the number of posts that are written each day, it’s amazing that ours was picked, and we couldn’t be happier. ~James
It’s definitely an exciting thing! But yes – how do the editors pick them out of all the possible posts out there?
I’ve read the WP guidelines on how to get FP, and other than the obvious (no porn, etc) they say that they surf the tags and like snappy titles. I read that there are 500,000 WP posts per day!! So the editors must have some guidelines like: “This week we’ll focus on travel, current events, racism, and dog-training.” But who knows? If you ever find out, let me know. In the meantime, I’m just glad to be FP. ~James
Congratulations James and Terri and so well deserved. It is always interesting to read about the many wonderful places you two visit but the very best part is the backstories you share and the way you move into the essence of these cities.
LuAnn, what a lovely compliment. Thank you so much. We’ve always enjoyed backstories – I guess it’s just part of our curiosity. So when Christian opened up and told us what was going on while he was photographing the kids, we just knew it was to good to keep to ourselves. 🙂 Are you still in North Dakota? ~Terri
Yes I am. Terry had to rush off to Ohio to visit his father, whose health is deteriorating very quickly. It has been quite a saga, which I will probably address a bit in my next post. Some challenges have kept me away from the blog for a bit but I am working to put a post together soon.
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Terry’s father. I know from experience how difficult it must be for both of you. And it’s so hard being away from each other. I’ll be thinking about you. Hang in there. All the best, Terri
Our prayer is that Terry’s dad’s last days will be peaceful and I am thankful that Terry is there to spend some quality time with him. Thanks for the warm wishes.
Well done! We often forget that writing in the public eye, that we are teaching!
Thanks very much. One of the rewarding things about blogging is getting our message (whatever that may be) out to a wider audience. The war in Bosnia was just a bunch of news reports until our trip there. What we saw was so terribly sad, and we thought that it was a good idea if more people knew about the realities facing the noncombatants. ~James
The fact of the matter is, in all war, the civilian side of war should NOT exist … especially the children.
Not at all surprised. T’was a great post. Well done guys.
Thank you Steve, your kind words mean so much to us. How’s the book editing coming? Are you about ready to publish? ~Terri
Thanks Terri & James for sharing your gifts of hope,beauty & love in our world
Thanks very much Lin. We love traveling, learning and sharing our experiences with our readers. Thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James
Congratulations to your both!! That post was truly deserving. Great job.
Thanks so much Madhu! You’ll never know how much we appreciate your encouraging words. All the best, Terri & James
Very well deserved for a lovely post
Thanks very much Marie, and thanks also for continuing to follow along. ~James
My pleasure 🙂
Congratulations James and Terri. You truly deserve it for your great blogs and photos… and your sense of humor that shines through. –Curt
Thanks Curt. To use an old “Laugh In” line, this second FP sort of felt like the “fickle finger of fate”, but we’ll take it nonetheless. The recognition is very welcome, but as you know, our regular readers are the ones that keep us motivated. Thanks for following along. ~James
Well I remember the fickle finger of fate. LOL As for the second FP, it will only bring you more readers to enjoy and appreciate your blogs. –Curt
Congratulations Terri and James. A well deserved honor for you. Peace and tolerance. A fitting way to sign off.
Thanks much Carol. We’re very excited about being FP, and are happy that this post, in particular, was picked. We’ve had quite a spike in views, so lots of folks are reading about the children of Sarajevo. ~James
Congratulations on a heartfelt and fabulous post! The FP honor was well-deserved! Anita
Thanks Anita. It was a real surprise, and we’re very excited to be FP for the second time. We didn’t expect the first one, and certainly not two. Thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James
Congratulations on being recognized by WordPress! I’m not surprised at all. You always bring us with you when you write about your travels.
Thanks very much Juliann. Our philosophy on blogging is that whatever we write about, we try to make the post as interesting, informative, and visually appealing as it can be. The FP recognition is great, but it’s readers like you that keep us motivated. Thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James
What a well deserved tribute to your work…so uplifting to believe that children can overcome this horror. There are children today too who we hope will survive and move on – Gaza comes to mind.
Many thanks for your kind words. Our first encounter with children of war was when we lived in Sudan. Ever since then we’ve been particularly tuned in to the survivors and how they evolve into adults. Your point about Gaza is excellent, especially since they have such a long history of war. Perhaps, one day, there will be an uplifting story there too. ~Terri
What a fantastic and well-deserved honour. Congratulations.
Thank you Peggy. Much appreciated. We sure have been enjoying your travels these past months. Talk about intrepid! So are you still in Kazakhstan, or have you moved on into Russia by now? ~Terri
Big, mega, huge congrats to you both, Terri and James!
What an amazing and well deserved honor for your always heartfelt and genuine writing!
~ Andrea ❤
Wow Andrea – thank you so much! Your encouraging words mean so much to us. And by the way, I just saw those alien lobsters you ate in Halong Bay. Truly unique! 🙂 ~Terri
Well done you two – richly deserved!
Thanks very much! In addition to the children of war, I’ve always been interested in the pets that survive in such difficult situations. Have you done any posts about that? All the best, Terri
Well deserved as this and all your posts are beautiful. Congrats!!!
Many thanks Nicole. We sure do appreciate your very kind words and wonderful support these past 3 years. Where is your next adventure taking you? ~Terri
Thanks Terri! Not sure yet where I’m off to next. I am doing a few social good trips here in NYC and DC in Sept. and October which should be fun but no big plans for anything out of the country as of yet. Time to get thinking!
Congratulations! Well deserved. Your blog has been a favorite of mine for awhile.
Wow Patti, what a nice thing to say. Many, many thanks! Your blog is a joy, and I’m especially enjoying going back to London with you. 🙂 ~Terri
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed yet again, Terri and James. I remember your “Dodging Bullets” story and amazing photos.
Sylvia, you are too kind! Thank you so much! 🙂 It looks like you’re heading back to Florida soon. Is this the permanent move? ~Terri
Congratulations on the great honor. Your blog is a blast to read. It is very informative. I’m not that well traveled, but I hope to in the future. Your posts inspire me to see more.
Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog Boyd. We were surprised and honored to be FP, and are particularly happy that this post was selected. ~James
Congratulations, Terri and James! I remembered your post right away.
Thanks a bunch Ruth. You were one of our very first commenters when the original post was published. We appreciate your support and encouragement so much! Are you traveling now? ~Terri
Yes, I’m in Stockholm! I went to the Vasa Museum yesterday and saw that you also visited there. Any other tips for things to see while I’m here? Today a huge counter-protest to a Neo-Nazi demonstration prevented us from walking to Gamla Stan…will try again tomorrow!
I love Stockholm, Ruth! Interesting about the counter-protest. If you can get there we really enjoyed Skansen, the open air museum. Stay safe and have fun! ~T
yes, those images were quite memorable. you captured their spirit!
congratulations; your posts are always exceptional and a delight to read!
Thank you so much Lisa! When we found Christian’s photos it was like icing on the cake … and just what we needed to tell the story. 🙂 ~Terri