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@lebackpacker

Johan Lolos

lebackpacker

Peaks of Europe: 5-month summer road trip across 17 countries Currently: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ johan@johanlolos.com Behind the scenes video stories ๐Ÿ”ป

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Why do I love camping so much? Give me a private beach, a rooftop tent, a solar shower warmed by the burning sun and mountains in the background and I'm a happy man. Of all the nights since the beginning of this trip, the ones spent sleeping in the middle of nowhere with no one else around but the two of us to enjoy the sound of the waves were hands down my favorite. And I won't lie, being properly equipped with an auxiliary battery for electricity, a complete cooking kit, a real fridge and all those little extra, it definitely makes life easier and camping in the wild even more enjoyable. Just make sure to not leave any trace if you do camp in the wild and take all your rubbish with you. A massive thanks to @asadventure that helped making this trip even more comfortable, and obviously @arb4x4 & @toyota.europe for the epic vehicle and gear! #peaksofeurope . By the way, if you want to know more about me, my job and my current project Peaks of Europe, check out the 3 videos Toyota published on its blog. I'm talking about a few different stuff. Link in bio.
Croatia's Dalmatian coast was the most perfect place we could have dreamt of to relax and enjoy some slower time after 3 weeks spent traveling all around Greece. We had to wait around Dubrovnik for 4 days for a new car insurance's green card so @delphinepolson and I made the best out of it by doing nothing else than cliff jumping in the Adriatic Sea and sunbathing on beautiful pebble beaches. #peaksofeurope
Views from the roads in Montenegro aren't too bad are they? #peaksofeurope
I don't know who built up a cabin up there but he sure has some good taste. #peaksofeurope
Turquoise fjord-like lakes of the Balkans stole my heart. If only their edges were not littered with tons of rubbish. But hey, "that's how it is in the Balkans", right? No it's not right. When I focused on the pollution in those countries in my stories, that's the answer many local people gave me. Yeah so what? Does it mean that's because this is how it is and has been for decades that there's no way to change the way it is now? It starts with little things first obviously. When Delphine and I went shopping in a small grocery store in Budva, Montenegro, we told the cashier we didn't need any plastic bags and we were going to put everything in our backpack. Every single person around us, including the cashier, starred at us like if we were coming from another planet. This is just an example out of many others. The Balkans are incredibly polluted (Skopje, FYROM recently won the award for Europe's most air polluted city ; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania and Ukraine have the highest European mortality rates attributed to home and air pollution). But from what I've seen the only time I was in Asia, this isn't a unique problem and many other places in the world suffer from lack of ecological education and awareness. I know it usually goes with pair with the financial situation of the country but this is everyone's responsability to raise awareness when traveling. #peaksofeurope
The best travel partner I could ever have dreamt of, following me in all of my crazy adventures and waking up at 5am for cold and crisp sunrises with a smile. Here's to more of these with you @delphinepolson ๐Ÿ˜˜ #peaksofeurope
Montenegro was the best foretaste for what's to come: 2 months in the Alps. Anyone around ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช keen to join me for some proper adventure in the mountains? #peaksofeurope
The mountains of Durmitor National Park, Montenegro got me speechless. The texture, the perfect mix of grass and rocks, the hidden valleys and the pristine blue lakes. It was fun hiking through them! #peaksofeurope
Being born in a mountain-less country, I'm always amazed when I discover giant dramatic peaks wherever I go. Before becoming a travel photographer I had no idea that so many countries have mountains but it seems that it's actually some kind of standard. Having grown up without any peak surrounding me is probably the reason I'm obsessed with this kind of landscape and keep being amazed every time I see mountain ranges. I will never take those views for granted because I know how much valuable they are. Probably only 20% of the countries in the world don't have mountains, Belgium is one of them and I'd say this is one of the reasons I'm so addicted to those giants! How many mountain-less countries can you list? #peaksofeurope
From the valley of Theth to the valley of Valbonë in Albania it's about 10km as the crow flies. However, to reach them both by car would take at least one full day. For that you just have two options: drive all around the mountains for a long 260km / 8-hour journey (yes, 8 hours for 260km ; that says a lot about the conditions of Albanian roads), or shorten that by taking a 2-hr ferry trip on Komani Lake after 5 hrs of driving. We chose the second option, but these locals had a third one. Crossing the Valbonë pass on a 17km mule track that should take just half a day. Easy. #peaksofeurope
Fun times exploring the valley of Theth in Albania @toyota.europe #peaksofeurope
Since the beginning of this 5-month road trip, the best surprise so far has been the mountains of Northern Albania, and the whole experience to get there. For some reason no one ever told me about the beauty of the mountains in that part of the world. Being so close to Greece I've always imagined Albania sharing similar vistas but I was so wrong. At least for the north, I found myself in some deep remote places of Europe, places that you can only access after several hours of driving on gravel and bumpy roads. A strange mix between Canada, Central Asia and Alaska, even though I've never been to any of the last two. Oh man, Albania is beautiful! . For those who follow my daily stories, you'd have noticed that I haven't posted anything here about Croatia and Montenegro yet. Since it wasn't originally planned that we made it there first before Albania (green card issue), I'll just stick to the geographical logic, sharing images of my trip from south to north. A good way also to get up to date with the posting and the location where I'm really at ๐Ÿ™ƒ #peaksofeurope
I've never been to China but it's been a dream of mine for long. Somehow when I visited the Meteora in Greece I couldn't help but think I was somewhere deep inland in that intriguing country, with many centuries old monasteries perched on top of giant monoliths, home to Shaolin monks and white-bearded masters. Pastel colors at sunset giving the lush green mountains a mystical look. This is exactly how I imagine China. #peaksofeurope #killbill
The Meteora in Greece, one of the most incredible places I've ever been to and definitely the most crazy rock formation I've ever seen. Not only are those immense pillars a true gem but they are also home to old monasteries from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It's just a place you need to see with your own eyes. #peaksofeurope
Greece's most photographed beach for a reason. #peaksofeurope
Every time I see a gravel road, I can't help but drive it to see what it's in the end. And sometimes I get rewarded with the perfect spot where to set up camp for the night. Just imagine waking up with the first light gently heating your head, with the sound of the sea for alarm and the silhouette of the mountains for background. #peaksofeurope @toyota.europe @asadventure
Perfect lighting and didn't have to wait in a queue to take that shot. I will never repeat it enough, the only way to truly enjoy Oia in Santorini - if you also want to experience the old narrow streets and not only stay in your 5-star hotel - is to wake up early and be out for sunrise. But don't tell anyone, it's a well kept secret for now that very few tourists know about. #peaksofeurope
On the other side of this picture perfect scene, a crowd of several thousands tourists all gathered at the same spot in order to witness the sun setting behind the village of Oia. If you watched my stories 2 weeks ago, here and on @johanlolos, you know what I mean and how it really looked like, the true face of Santorini that no photographer ever features. It really disgusted me of that place, but the good thing though is how you can get to the same place, with the same view, and some would say with a better light, when you wake up at 5am and enjoy the sunrise in one of Greece's most famous place. #peaksofeurope
After an amazing week in Crete, my mum's island, it was time to move forward and head off to other regions of Greece. I can't remember the last time I visited this island. Maybe 9 years ago, maybe 10, I don't know. What I know though, is that Crete never left my heart. The amazing people always willing to help you, the nice family time with grand uncles welcoming you back with open arms, the best food in the world, the hidden bays, and so on... It was also the first time I discovered Crete's south and west coasts, places my parents never brought me to when I was younger. Next time, I will focus on the east coast which seems to have so many hidden gems. Crete I swear, I'll be back. Thanks for having me.  @toyota.europe @arb4x4 #peaksofeurope
Blue lagoons of Crete. Can you spot the tiny boat, not-so-tiny in real? #peaksofeurope
I don't know how many times I saw that view in my life. When I was a kid and used to come to Crete with my parents for the summer holiday, that overlook of the perched village of Sises meant we were just 15min away from our favorite local beach: Bali. Coming from a village in the mountains, the sea couldn't be seen when we stayed at my grandparents house. It's only once we reached the pass on our way to the beach that we could see Sises and the sea in the background, and it couldn't get me more excited as a kid. 20 years later, I was feeling the same as I knew I was going to be back to my old favorite beach! #peaksofeurope

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