ExperiencePlus! Blog

Meet Your Tour Leaders: Silvija Vukusic

Silvija Vukusic and the ExperiencePlus! support van in Croatia. Photo by ExperiencePlus! traveler Guy Cunningham

Silvija was born in Split, Croatia and has been leading tours for ExperiencePlus! since 2008 mostly in her home country but in the past few years she’s also used her German skills to assist in Germany, and in 2013 she brought a little diversity to our typically all male tour leader team in Spain. There is no doubt that our travelers and tour leaders both enjoy doing tours with the “Atomic Ant.”

Silvija cilmbing a hill in Croatia.Photo by ExperiencePlus! traveler Guy CunninghamHow did you decide to become a tour leader?  It came rather unexpectedly, one day I was asked if I would like to lead a tour ( I guess I fit the stereotype, I was very fit, and spoke English well) afterwards I realized that it was a great opportunity and took advantage of it. I’ve now been leading tours for over 6 years which is funny because I never thought I would do it for long, but what can I say…. I really enjoy it!

What’s one item that you always bring with you on tour?  I never go on tour without my fanny pack. I have it with me at all times and you would be surprised how much stuff I manage to squeeze in to it. Everything a girl on tour needs and more.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t riding bicycles? My favorite off bike activity is cooking and getting together with friends over a good meal. I love my kitchen and creating new favorite dishes with all the great stuff I get from my mom’s garden.

Silvija with fellow ExperiencePlus! tour leaders Cristina Taioli, and Ante Vujanovi. Photo by ExperiencePlus! traveler Rob Wessel Do you have any nicknames?  My close friends have called me “Mala” which means “small” in Croatian. I was 16 or 17 when a six foot, seven inch tall rock climbing friend of mine decided that my real name was way too serious for me and, of course, compared to him I am tiny.

When I was leading kayak tours on the island of Hvar my colleagues called me Atomic Ant – a small but mighty creature 🙂

Do you have a favorite book or author?  I don’t have any favorites, but I am currently reading “The Pilgrimage” by Paulo Coelho and I enjoy his books very much.

The past few years you’ve had the opportunity to lead tours outside of Croatia – how did they compare?  I helped lead the Camino de Santiago and a section of the Euro Velo 6 ExpeditionPlus! trip along the Danube this year and they were both a fantastic experience for me. These countries are so different from Croatia that it’s impossible for me to compare them. My favorite things about going other places is the diversity in culture, food, and language. The difference is what makes it interesting and keeps me curious. One of my favorite moments was discovering the wines in the Rioja region of Spain, to bike through the vineyards and then having the privilege of tasting those wines in the small village of Laguardia in a real castle made me feel like a princess.