Updated: Apr 18
Photos from private archive
“If I could I would love to stay here for years and move my IT company down here. However, even with a Norwegian Passport, the process of getting a longer visa is tough and long”.
This is the desire of 29-year-old IT/CRM freelancer Mustafa Ahmed, who is of Somali descent, raised in Norway. Currently living in Macedonia, he is also known as “Travelsofmozzy”, who quickly got famous along many Macedonians while doing TikTok and Instagram videos.
For Skopje.IN, Ahmed explains that he came to Macedonia thinking that he would stay only for a month or two, but then met a girl from Ohrid. He fell in love and decided to stay longer.
“During that time, my second reason for returning to Macedonia was due to how amazed I was by the people, the culture, and the food. I felt at home very quickly and gained a few friends. I knew Macedonia wasn't as popular as Serbia and Croatia, so I wanted to start promoting the country and showcasing its beauty”, Ahmed tells Skopje.IN.
Neither he knew something about Macedonia, and neither he did any research beforehand, he answers, asked about his assumptions and surprises. But, he expected to have as much fun in Skopje, as he did in Belgrade.
Ahmed’s first impression was that it wasn’t much and he wanted to leave. All of this happening in the winter and the coronavirus pandemic.
“But due to love and seeing that Macedonia is more than Skopje, I immediately wanted to explore. Summer came and my perspective of the country changed”, he points out.
At first, he was just figuring things out by himself, with the help of the maps applications, and just walking around, but when his, now ex-girlfriend “came into the picture”, she helped him show around.
“But I truly started to learn more about the country when my popularity started to grow on TikTok, and people came with suggestions and places to visit”, Ahmed explains.
While staying in the capital city of Macedonia, Ahmed says that he learned the norms and values of the people, as well as to cook some of the traditional food such as “Turlitava” and “Tavche Gravche”. Even if he points out that in terms of working here, regarding pay and work conditions he doesn’t know much, he says "it's perfect" for freelancing and moving in Macedonia.
”You would have a cheaper lifestyle, the country is in the middle of the Balkans, so you could travel to a few other countries, and more importantly, you would be making amazing friends”, he is decisive.
Most people would probably think about whether it is safe, when wondering if they should visit Skopje and Macedonia, Ahmed considers. “I feel safest here”, he adds, basing that on his visit to the other Balkan countries.
“Do your research in terms of accommodation, Transportation, and what to see (or you could simply check out Skopje.in or send me a DM on Travelsofmozzy). As a foreigner, accommodation and transportation might overcharge us, be careful with that. Besides that, there isn't much more to be afraid of”, he adds.
Ahmed claims that in some areas such as transportation, accommodation and healthcare, people might be charged extra due to being foreigners, adding that “there are of course some that are honest”.
“But, it's good to showcase that you understand them and that you know what the going rate is. So do research beforehand or reach out to a local person”, Ahmed says.
“I haven't experienced any racism, if you are of different nationality they might stare at you and maybe point fingers, but that's because they are fascinated by you and also most time happy to have you in their country”, he adds.
Although he is spending a nice time in Skopje and Macedonia, Ahmed, however, explains that he doesn’t want to leave Macedonia, but he can only stay here for three months, announcing that his next destination in January will be Bosnia and Herzegovina.