Culture shock: One man’s surprising encounter in Bosnia

I met Connor Trembley, a 20-year-old Vancouverite at a local meet up for travel enthusiasts. Of a British origin, Trembley talked about his love for travelling and about one of his more exceptional experiences while in Bosnia.

Kyanna Claybrook: Have you seen a lot of shocking things while travelling?

Connor Trembley: Surprisingly, not a ton. I guess there was one in Bosnia. I flew in to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and I was walking on my way to a tour up in part of the hills … we were just checking out some of the land mines and the tourist attractions, and on our way there this little kid, there was about three of them, they got in our way. One kid punched me in the stomach and another kid just tripped me out of nowhere and all of my stuff fell on the ground and they were like, “Give me some money! Give me some money!” … I told them politely to go away but it was sort of violence against me and I very was surprised. I would consider it surprising being assaulted by five-year-olds.

KC: Did they explain why they attacked you?

CT: Bosnia is coming out of a civil war so the last 20 years, I’m not sure of the Yugoslavia conflict, but WWII started there, so a lot of bad, bad events. So a lot of the families are in desperate need for whatever they can get, but the people are nice.

KC: Do you think they thought that by attacking you that you would give them money?

CT: I guess, it seemed like routine though. The kids, I’m not sure if they go to school. I’m not sure if they do it on a daily basis but it surprised me, I wasn’t expecting it. I’d like to think it was an out-of-the-ordinary circumstance but it might be a daily routine. I’m not sure. It’s hard to say. It’s happened to other people that were staying in the hostel in the area so yeah it’s sad to see.

KC: What did you do after they tripped you?

CT: I gave them like a toonie equivalent of the currency there just to be nice. I really felt bad for them. They make literally nothing a day, so it was just an act of kindness.

Kyanna Claybrook

I am a 21 year old aspiring journalist who enjoys culture, and travelling.


  • Avatar
    Reply November 10, 2014

    Mallory O'Neil

    This was really interesting. I found when I was travelling in Croatia, Bosnia’s neighbour, the young generation were very racist towards my cousin who is half Japanese. I was shocked to see how much more polite and educated the older people who actually lived through the war were compared to the kids. You used a question and answer format for your story which worked really well.

    • Kyanna Claybrook
      Reply November 30, 2014

      Kyanna Claybrook

      Thats awful! Your poor cousin! I wonder why the younger generation is regressing like that? And thank-you for the feed-back!

  • Avatar
    Reply December 3, 2014

    Pricilla Westlake

    What a beautiful picture you chose. I too enjoyed the question and answer format you used for your article, which I found to be very interesting and intriguing. Strange and shocking that children of all people would violently demand money from tourists, not a very nice welcome to a country, but nice of him to still give them money out of kindness. Nice angle to your story piece, short, concise and to the point. Good job.

  • Shannen Johnson-Barker
    Reply December 6, 2014

    Shannen Johnson-Barker

    This is a really interesting interview and you did a great job of getting lengthy answers from him. That must have been a very disturbing confrontation and while it may have just been kids it must have been startling. It is sad that children have to resort this kind of a violence in order to get money but it definitely makes traveling alone a lot more daunting. The length of the story was refreshing, you did a good job of keeping within the topic in a short and concise manner. Well done.

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