I am Blerina and I come from the city of Berat, Albania. At the age of 14, I had my first rafting experience on the Osum River. The adrenaline rush and magical scenery in the spectacular Osum Canyons had a serious impact on me throughout my personal and professional journey.
Back then, I showed one of the first printed photos taken inside the magnificent Osum canyons to one dear Italian friend of mine and he said, “Nooo, it is not real, it’s photoshop.” But when he came to do rafting and saw everything with his own eyes, he was stunned and all he could muster was …. “Mamma mia …. mamma mia”.
Of course not many people shared this opinion. Some thought I was unconscious, that I did not know what to fantasise about, that it was just a ridiculous idea and that I was an immature teenager. But I have turned even the biggest sceptic into a believer of the natural beauty to be seen here!
After continuous and unstoppable efforts promoting Albania, accompanying friends, journalists, artists, and athletes we managed to attract an infrastructure investment of the Albanian government. This allowed us to save visitors about a 2 hours ride to the canyon. From year to year we created an active and sustainable team with a wide network of local communities, connecting several areas of Albania through different outdoor activities in nature. These include canyon exploration, hiking, kayaking, mule caravan, visits to local wineries, and so much more.
While all this is happening, I graduated with a Law degree and thanks to various international exchange programs, I was able to pursue an in-depth education in tourism and entrepreneurship too! All of my hard work and energy is worth it when I see the joy in the eyes of tourists, especially those Albanians, who are now able to feel the pride as I did and still do!