Our story

Our story

How we turned our passion into business

 

Metulje

The colourful meadows behind our house

Back in January 2004, we heard about an old house which was for sale on the Bloke Plateau in Slovenia. On a sunny winter day, when temperatures were well below zero and snow cover was almost a meter thick, we arrived in the small village Metulje. The house was just what we were searching for, and a few months later it became our new home. Only when the spring finally reached the plateau, several months later, we fully realised how fantastic this place is. In late spring and summer, the meadows behind our house turn in a colourful carpet of flowers. These meadows inspired us to name our ecotourism brand Nature in colour.

 

A decade later we still admire the same meadows every summer, but we have also seen similar meadows disappear in surroundings. Seeing rapidly declining nature elsewhere, made us realise that biodiversity can not be taken for granted. To preserve nature, we need more than formal protection on paper. We need people who are passionate about nature. Our nature excursions and wildlife holidays are about sharing our passion for nature with you.

We grew up on different ends of Europe but are we still amazed to notice how similar our experiences are. Both of us like to walk through wet meadows, one is looking a bit more up and the other a bit more down, so together we see more. Or that’s what we tell each other.

Paul

Paul following animal tracks with our son

Paul is from the Netherlands, which is the most densely populated country in Europe. The Netherlands are man-made. This does not only apply to the land, which is for a large part reclaimed from the sea, but also for what Dutch call »nature«. All Dutch forests are planted, and even some nowadays common birds like geese are reintroduced on purpose. Because of growing up there, Paul can still look at a straight ditch between the meadows as if it is a very attractive part of nature. But when he first came to Slovenia in 1998, he immediately fell for the real nature.

Jana grew up in Slovenia and sometimes still takes flowers in a meadow for granted. Her occasional visits to the Netherlands taught her that this does not have to be forever. She always loved Slovenian nature, and having seen its vulnerability, she now appreciates it even more. She was, is and forever will be in love with the mountains and the hills, where something new awaits around every corner.

Jana

Jana with our younger son looking at wild orchids

We could say that our common interest in living world brought us together. We are both biologists, and we had a pretty good idea what we wanted to do all along. Back in 2003, we established an NGO, Institute Symbiosis, to work on various nature conservation and education projects. Through years, we realised that disconnection of people from nature is one of the biggest threats to nature. Modern life, often bound to cities, is offering little opportunities to enjoy the beauty of nature. In 2015, we set ourselves on a new mission – to reconnect people with nature. To share our passion for the living world and to explain in simple terms why we need nature and why nature needs us.

Developing ecotourism tours and excursions was a logical step, but it was not an easy one. It took us several months to arrange a licence so that our institute can operate as a tourist agency. Institute Symbiosis has, since April 2016, also a status of a social enterprise. This status underpins our commitment to work for broad environmental and social goals. The next step is obvious. We have to tell the world that Slovenia is one of the best places to visit when you want to be out in nature!