Episode 17

Following Her Intuition: Nadja Gydat's 'Move to Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Published on: 20th August, 2023

Welcome to "An Englishman in the Balkans," the podcast that aims to encourage people to explore Bosnia and Herzegovina. We talk to fascinating individuals not only from Bosnia and Herzegovina but also those who have come to this country or, like me, live here.

Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Nadja Gydat, an extraordinary woman who hails from Switzerland but has now made Visoko, just outside Sarajevo, her home. Nadja is on the verge of launching a wool-based eco-product, and her journey to this point is as intriguing as her upcoming venture.

Nadja describes herself as a real woman, a citizen of Europe, a mother to a few dogs, and someone born into a lineage of wise women who possess a unique gift passed down through generations. She is a believer in creating win-win situations in every aspect of life and sees herself as being on a journey to continuously expand her knowledge, spirituality, and understanding of people and mentalities.

Her early life was anything but conventional, with parents who were ahead of their time and raised her with open-mindedness and an appreciation for diverse cultures. Growing up in Italy and Africa,

Nadja was exposed to art, music, and different languages from an early age, shaping her curious and adventurous spirit.

Despite finding success in the luxury PR industry, Nadja realized the glitzy lifestyle wasn't fulfilling her. It lacked authenticity and became too stressful due to external factors beyond her control.

Feeling disconnected, she embarked on a quest to discover her true path.

Nadja's journey led her to Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she felt a strong connection with the energetic power of the pyramids and the abundance of negative ions in the tunnels. Prompted by a dream, she decided to make a life-changing move to Bosnia.

Initially, Nadja planned to open a health resort but found herself drawn to the untapped potential of Bosnian wool. She fell in love with the material and decided to create a product series based on wool, promoting its ecological and sustainable qualities.

She believes this venture will not only showcase Bosnian craftsmanship but also shine a light on the beauty and richness of Bosnia beyond its war-torn history.

Nadja's bold move to Bosnia has been met with admiration and curiosity from her friends and associates in Switzerland. She hopes to inspire others to explore the country's opportunities and beauty and intends to become a commercial and touristic ambassador for Bosnia in the future.

As we look forward to the launch of Nadja's eco-product line, she emphasizes the need to support young Bosnian entrepreneurs and give back to the community. She plans to become a business angel, supporting promising talents and projects.

For those intrigued by Nadja's story and interested in her wool-based products, you can connect with her on Instagram. Nadja encourages fellow Bosnians from the diaspora to return to their homeland and contribute to its growth and development, highlighting the untapped potential within this beautiful country.

Join us in celebrating Nadja's inspiring journey and be sure to check out her eco-product line as she showcases the beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, both through her products and her passion for this remarkable nation. Let's all embark on this adventure together and discover the hidden gems that lie within Bosnia and Herzegovina.



It's an Englishman in the Balkans, the podcast that talks about getting people encouraged to find out more about Bosnia and Herzegovina. I try to talk to very interesting people that are not only from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but come to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a few people actually like me that actually live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, I bumped into this lady randomly.


online some time ago. And she's going to tell us where she's come from. But at the moment, she lives in Visoko. And Visoko is a town, if you don't know, just outside of Sarajevo. You'll find it on the map. I'll put a link to it in the show notes below. And I'm talking today to Nadja Gydat. Now, I have this really unusual first question I ask everybody because I think it is the best one to ask.


Who is Nadja Gydat? Oh, I'm a woman. Real one. I'm a citizen of Europe. I'm the mother of a few dogs. I'm a daughter. I'm born into a lineage of wise women. We have a special gift, which has been passed down from mother to daughter through many generations.


I'm somebody who likes creating win situations in all situations. I am somebody who believes I am on the planet to meet challenges, to expand my knowledge, my spiritual being, my skill sets, knowledge about people, mentalities, general.


We're here to always and always expand our horizon. So that's me. I did some research online, Nadja. Yeah, I spent a cool afternoon researching you. I have to say, your start in life was quite amazing from having a mother who was a model to a father that left what was then East Berlin. Maybe you could run us through.


those first years from Nadia being born to Nadia being a teenager? I grew up with parents who were a little bit unusual for their time. I would say they were way ahead in their understanding of things. Not very much. They didn't, they never had many prejudices. So my mother always said, if you love, it doesn't matter what colour.


We are happy if you fall in love and you find love. And that was basically the base of everything that I was introduced from an early age to traveling in large. My parents loved music and the arts. So I think there is not one big art exhibition or concert I have missed in my childhood. I was raised in Italy and in Africa. I am German born. I hardly lived there.


So by the time I was six, I was speaking three languages pretty well. And I grew up in the Italy of the seventies and beginning of eighties, which was a beautiful place to be. And as a due to the situation, me being German in Italy at that time, my, and not having been of a religious, not having had a religious education.


In my school time, I never went to history classes for two years. I never joined religion classes. And there was something else, which I don't remember. So basically I had an education, which was a little bit with holes, but I had a great time as a child. I traveled a lot and expanded my knowledge. You end up being in a certain industry, if I could put it that way, that most young people.


would give their right arm for. You got into public relations, you were mixing with the jet set, things that people would just absolutely dream for. How did you bump into that? Was it just something that happened or was it a conscious decision for you to want to jet set it? It all started that I'm a rebel at mind. So instead of doing an A-level studying as my parents would have loved me to do.


I left school at the age of 16 thinking, I don't buy into all of this. I need to use my own brain and don't repeat what other people are trying to put into my head. I started working as a translator. When you're young, you always need money, so you do translation jobs. And then I found out that I am pretty good at organising things. And due to having been a...


outgoing, social, friendly person. And due to the shaman in me, I do have a certain energy field, which magnetised people to me. So when I started giving parties, people were coming that started in Africa, went over to London. And out of that, because so many same as people attended these parties and I started meeting them and they became friends, I suddenly had


a base of very influential names, not influential on a political or economical side because we were all young, but great names, titles and known families, and they would attend my parties. And then big companies came up and asked me whether I would be interested of doing events for them or as well develop.


an advertising campaign. And that's how I got into PR and due to my guest list and the way I tick and I understand things, it became the luxury industry in which I was, I would say quite successful and I can fully say very unhappy. And. Now that's going to surprise a lot of people who think that what you've just described is heaven on earth. And yet you turn around and say,


It wasn't for me. It didn't make me happy. It didn't make me fulfill. What was it that actually turned you off the jet set lifestyle? Something that, as I say, most people crave, I think. The glitzy superficiality and shallowness of all of it. It is like a beautiful apple which is shiny, and when you bite into it, it's rotten. And when you see behind the beautiful exterior and...


that everything is just the mise en scene, it's an insinuation, mise en scene. I don't know how to say that in English. It's put into scene. It wasn't real. I would work for months on journey vent. And then if for whatever reason, because it's raining, there was a storm, prominent people wouldn't come at that time. We wouldn't, we didn't need to have to pay them. They came because they were friends with me.


or because what I did was interesting or they wanted to meet other friends, whatever reasons. But if some of this big names wouldn't turn up, I wouldn't be with my event in the name of the client in the press. And then whatever I had done didn't have the value. The goal was always getting a turn to the press, obviously for free, and to have a good critics.


Those things were out of my influence. I could just set up and organise everything. But then that thing is more, it's luck. And that I didn't like, it was too stressful for me as well. The payment moral, the bigger and the fancier the company, the less honourable their paying attitude. We're speaking now from nearly 30 years ago. Maybe it has changed. You've


done all these wonderful things, you found not the happiness that you may have wanted by doing it. And now, some years later, you've arrived in one of the most dysfunctional countries in Europe, definitely in southern Europe, with a corruption level that is sky high. Beautiful scenery, lovely people, which I think is a wonderful counterbalance to that. How come that Nadia arrives in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Question one. Question two.


Why physical? Maybe you know that from your own life. Sometimes you're living in a place and yes, it's okay being here, but it's time to move on. But you don't know where, you don't know when, but you just know you're done where you are. And something happened and that evening I prayed very intensely and I said, okay God, I'm really ready to follow your plan for me, not what I think.


I should do, but there must be a higher plan and I will follow it. And that night I dreamt now that I've been to the tunnels and the valley of the pyramid, actually, and Visoko, I know that was what I had seen in my dream. So I started researching. I was aware of the Bosnian pyramids. I booked a flight within a week. I came, I went into the tunnels and I felt so impressed.


I had this amazing feeling of peace and knowing here you're at the right place. And when I came out of those tunnels and I looked at Visoko, it's energetic wise, an amazing place, people and everything. But if you lived in Switzerland or grew up in Italy, there is a certain beauty about the architecture, about the buildings, the way they keep everything. So that is not...


to that standard, the case in Bosnia. But I returned to Switzerland. I kept, I couldn't stop thinking about Bosnia. I bought for, I bought a ticket for every month, for four or five months to fly for a weekend. And at the second weekend, I decided, okay, I need to buy a plane here. And then things happened very fast. Then COVID turned up and meanwhile COVID was going on.


We in Switzerland, where I presume a little bit more privilege than most of the countries, much more free. And I just traveled between Bosnia and Switzerland while this whole COVID thing was going on. I acquired land. And then I had the land and I decided, actually I should move there. And that's what I did. And I have not regretted it. And it's been one of the best decisions of my life, just following my intuition.


bureaucracy. I know here, the bureaucracy is, I don't know, from a Swiss or a Northern European perspective, and even Germans who I've met have said there's bureaucracy and there's Bosnian bureaucracy, which is like spaghetti. There's no straight line to achieve anything. How did you find the process? One, of finding somewhere to live, and more importantly, getting around...


either purchasing or renting or establishing yourself for a long-term stay in the country? I have been very blessed and very lucky. I met from, I didn't know anybody in Bosnia. The only lady I knew was the Airbnb or booking.com, I don't know what I took, where I was staying as a host. And she was a lovely lady speaking very well German.


And she introduced me to many things. So I benefited from her introduction. And then I saw about the papers. Now it was pretty a contrast program because in Switzerland, you can do 95% of anything in on the internet and it goes extremely fast. So basically whatever you have to do in Switzerland, it's done within 10 days. This is very much the opposite.


in Bosnia, but saying that, I got myself this whole whatever somebody wanted a paper, I straight away photocopied and had it with the pay check with some stamp 10 times. And I started having this thing of any kind of paper. So whenever I would go somewhere and somebody wanted again papers, I had this whole like a shop. Okay, please choose. Here are all the documents. So that went rather well.


I had to do a company, a DOO, in order for that company to employ me and then getting the residency. Even so, I had land, I didn't have a house on the land. It is frustrating in a way, but then again, the people I met, the individual person working on certain parts, were very nice and very helpful. All went well. It just takes much more time and sometimes I'm considering it very unnecessary.


But that is my opinion. But then again, I understand the government always gets stamped money. So there's a lot of stamps to be done. So I think somebody has an interest. We're going to talk about your relationship with the tunnels in a minute. But before we get there, from my research, you came with an idea to open some form of a health resort, but now you've pivoted to falling in love with Bosnian wool. And you've said that.


the not too distant future you're going to launch a new business. Can you expand a little bit about that without giving away too many business secrets? Yes, that's very kind of you. Thank you very much, David. I appreciate that. Bosnian is not an easy language. After realising that I will have to do with people on the construction side and all sorts of people where most of them didn't speak any...


of the languages I would speak, I realised communication is going to be difficult. I don't have a clue about construction. And just one part which we did stressed me so much that I decided, no, by the time the ceiling centre is finished, I'm going to be its first permanent client. Yeah, no way. So I left that because while I was going there, I would pass by and see that wool, freshly shorn, cut wool from the animals.


would be lying and nobody would look after it. And I started research and then I had an idea. The idea is felting. We are felting a product and that is done by some lovely woman from here. She is felting what I asked her to felt. And then I'm building up a whole product series made on wool done by Bosnians in hand.


work and all of this we are presenting on the background of the most beautiful sightseeing places of Bosnia so that we're starting a campaign in September, October promoting this wool, this product, and at the same time the beauty of Bosnia. And my aim is to, and I think I can do that due to the experience I have, is to introduce to the world


that there is a Bosnia beyond war, a Bosnia beyond politics. There is a Bosnia of beauty, of nature, of amazing health food, of amazing water quality. And of course my product, which is very ecological, it's sustainable, whatever I will speak about that in October or September. And that fills me with joy. I didn't have a clue about wool, now I'm...


I met the most extraordinary people. I speak better Bosnian. I'm learning about sheep. I'm learning about plastic dispatch banks. I have to do with things I've never had to do before. And all of this in the fifth most difficult language of the world, Bosnian, Yugoslavia. This product that you're going to launch, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it, and maybe talking more about it with you at that time.


How have local people reacted to the fact that there's somebody from Switzerland that's come to Visoko and not only has she come to live here and enjoy things, but she's launching a business which a lot of Bosnian people, from my experience, are quite scared about in many respects, starting their own business because it does come with a lot of risks. So what has been the reception to, from your neighbours, if I can put it that way, to


this idea that you have? People loved it. I think they don't really understand somebody like me. There I am, leaving the country of gold, chocolate, and luxury to come to live in Bosnia. That's something beyond understanding of anybody, unless they have reached their time in life where quantity is more important than mundane things. Those people understand that. And then, for example,


an atelier where I colour. I couldn't find anything apart from butchery. So I didn't want to work in a butchery. So I bought a container. This container had to be flown into my garden. Mr. De Groot, I don't know how to say that in English. It has to be a revamp. So obviously everybody said, what is she doing with a container in her garden? So people are very interested and extremely helpful. Honestly, here everybody, it's just fabulous. Something like...


people help me without me asking. Somebody comes, I was thinking maybe you should contact them. People love it, especially because I only have Bosnians working with me. You said you're in your promotion, building your promotion for your product. You're going to show the product at some of the most beautiful places throughout the country without giving too much away. Has it been a tiring journey to go around Bosnia and Herzegovina to try and get the backdrops that you want?


show off your product to the very best. The problem has been to choose from all of those exquisite places. It was really hard to decide which one should we do because there are so many. That was the hardest. Now, I want to talk about the pyramids and the tunnels. You live very close to them. How much does it help you with... You said that you came from a line of ladies that have got


a special dynamic about them. Does being near the pyramids and the energy that the tunnels underneath those pyramids create, does that work really well to help with this energy that you have? Extraordinary though, very much. We are water, we are electric beings. Electricity, that obviously is charged plus and minus. If you're not well in your body, spirit, mind,


then you have too much plus charge. So in order to level that, you need minus charge. And that, minus charge ions, which are in abundance in those tunnels. Usually on a square centimetres in an office, you may have 100 to 200. In the woods, you may have four to 6,000 per square meter square centimetre.


In the tunnels, you have from 20,000 till over 100,000. So the impact when you're there and you're breathing in this, let's say superficially negatively charged ions, straight away, they neutralise the uneasy charge in your body. And you do feel straight away a difference. It aligns you more. It can create peace.


The pyramids themselves and what Samir is doing there, he's caused a lot of debate about it through his promotion and he's very good at it. There are people now flying from outside the country, similar to you to go and visit it, but there are some who are still very skeptical. Do you think those skeptics are, they have the mindset that they have because they're worried that all of a sudden somebody wants to upset the status quo?


of science, you feel the energy from it, and yet some scientists will say, maybe not. What's your personal view on it? Well, there's science in science. There is real true sports science and then there's commercial science. Is there in your opinion a way that the principle of the tunnels underneath those pyramids, that could be brought to the attention of more people because


Very few people, I think, actually, outside Bosnia and Herzegovina know about it. That's not the impression I have. There are lots of people, put it more as, again, there's always this new age scene and then there is the alternative archaeological people, then the alternative scientists. So all of those kind of people who have a sincere sense of curiosity.


and use their brain and their head to think independently of what is being told to them are intrigued and are coming. Before we had COVID, there were many foreigners. Now at the moment, we have practically mostly Balkanis, people from the Balkan, not so many foreigners. It depends how curious you are and how much you trust yourself and how much you're in tune with your body.


I ask people, how do you feel? Oh, I think I feel good. I think I feel good. Does it work? And so you do have people who are not in tune with their body. They may not feel. Somebody whose mind is open and who wants to truly be better, will find some harmonisation and uplifting, but it's not only going to the tunnels. It's eating the right stuff. It's having


Are you happy in your marriage, in your couple? Are you living the life you're wishing to live? If you're living with a horrible person in a horrible life, you might as well go to the tunnels as much as you wish. It will not change that much unless you get the strengths or the illumination in your head to say, okay, that's it. I quit that life. It's many factors. I don't meet those kinds of people.


I'm just in resonance with lots of people from here, from Visoko, lawyers, notary, businessmen, doctors, whatever, who in their free time are totally into meditating, going to find anomalies, anomalia, idemosa, anomalia. So that is quite a favourite thing to do. Then you've got some people who are photographing images in this style, which shouldn't be there.


There's a lot of Bosnian people here. Maybe they don't admit that to most of their friends, but we speak openly about it. And sadly, I don't understand most of it because my Bosnian is still not too good, but they really know stuff about lots of other secret tunnels between here and some other places. There is a whole world here, which Semir has disclosed to the public, just a tiny portion. There's so much more behind it.


and people here know it. What has been the reaction from the people that you left behind? I don't mean physically left behind, but the people that you left behind in Switzerland or in Northern Europe who knew Nadia as their close friend or close associate and now she's living in Bosnia. Do they have the desire to follow you? Do they find what you've done as exciting? Everybody finds it very courageous. I had...


Some people were saying, gosh, people don't know much about Bosnia. So some have still, there's some of their, they still have this war or the Muarjidin and I don't know what in their brain, but I was able to distract them from that pretty soon and many came to visit me and I've got now a friend who moved down here, I've got somebody else who's buying something and some other people who are independent business people are.


honestly considering moving here because they see how I'm blossoming. They think it's a good idea. I think what is blocking people mostly is the language. You're going to open your dream September, October time, but I'm sure somebody like you has a near goal, a medium goal, and a long goal because that's the sort of person that you come across to me as being somebody that obviously knows where she's going.


is building that road. What does Nadia think she's going to be doing in about five years from now? I will be one ambassador to Bosnia, commercial ambassador, touristic ambassador, promoting this country for sure, and promoting the products line which I have in mind and which will be manufactured here. And I hope it will attract many more people to Bosnia.


That's where I see myself and sharing with younger people becoming a business angel. Part of what I'm doing with the company will be that the big part of what the earnings are going to be put into dog and cat shelter and as well starting. I would love to have many of those, but first we start with one, sponsoring a young person who has got a good business idea in Bosnia.


and accompanying them till they start making profits and can live from it. And that is something I want to do. I want to be a business angel to people. For those that are watching or listening to this outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina and want to find out more about what you do, how can they best do that? Let's say somebody is in Toronto listening to this and says, I find this lady fascinating, I want to find out more. Do you have a website or do you have somewhere where they can go and find out more?


to get in touch with me, the best singer's Instagram. Yes. I'll put your link into the show notes that go with this. Nadja, it's absolutely fascinating in talking to you today. The next time I'm near Visoko, I would like to drop by and have a coffee. Equally, if you're coming north of the country around the Banja Luka area, it'd be really nice to sit in the garden here, as long as we don't have this awful weather that we seem to get on and off at the moment to have a coffee as well.


There's something I really like to say. If there are any Bosnians listening to this, if there's anybody from the diaspora, this country is so beautiful and a lot of young people are leaving it. And there are so many opportunities and whoever can and who is Bosnian who has something to share, come back to your beautiful country and share your knowledge with the people from here and build up something, it's worth it. That's...


Yeah, have a look at Bosnia through our eyes of foreigners who live here. It's so beautiful and so much potential there. My God, I've got 10 business ideas. Boom, like that. Just can't do them.

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode

Support The Podcast

A huge thank you to our supporters, it means a lot that you support our podcast.

If you like the podcast and want to support it, too, you can leave us a tip using the button below. We really appreciate it and it only takes a moment!
Support The Podcast
We haven’t had any Tips yet :( Maybe you could be the first!
Show artwork for An Englishman in the Balkans

About the Podcast

An Englishman in the Balkans
Find out more about Bosnia and Herzegovina
Encouraging people to find out more about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"Welcome to "An Englishman in the Balkans" podcast, hosted by David Pejčinović-Bailey.
In this podcast, you'll get a unique look at life in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the eyes of an immigrant. Each episode, David shares his experiences living in this often misunderstood country, and introduces you to some of the interesting people he's met along the way.
From exploring the rich culture and history, to discussing the challenges and joys of immigrating to a new country, this podcast offers a thoughtful and engaging look at life in the Balkans.
Support This Show

About your host

Profile picture for David Pejčinović-Bailey

David Pejčinović-Bailey

I am a podcaster, living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and sharing my experiences of living in this often misunderstood country.