Press & Contact


Aside from The Blonde Gypsy, Larissa Olenicoff has contributed to a variety of publications and was an editor on the 3rd edition of Bradt’s Kosovo Travel Guide. She has been featured in multiple places online as a top Instagrammer to follow and has appeared on TV shows and podcasts speaking on the topic of the Balkans and more unconventional travels.

 Published Travel Articles

Lonely Planet Promising Pristina: what not to miss in Europe’s youngest capital

Lonely Planet | Five reasons to visit Prizren, Kosovo’s cultural capital

Lonely Planet | Skopje behind the statues: a beginner’s guide to Macedonia’s capital

Lonely Planet | Albanian road trip: history behind the bunkers

Matador Network | Istanbul Through an iPhone Lens

Matador Network | A First-Timer’s Guide to Transnistria in Photos

New York Times | Readers’ Choice: 52 Places to Go in 2014 – Kruševo, Macedonia


Featured In

Daily MailInstagram Accounts That Will Inspire You to Travel the World

Harper’s Bazaar | Jet Set Go: 17 Travel Accounts to Follow on Instagram

Brit + Co | Warning: These 20 Instagram Accounts Will Inspire Major Wanderlust

The Culture TripFrom Kazakhstan to Albania: Discover Envy-Inducing Travels of The Blonde Gypsy

Condé Nast Traveler SpainLos ‘influencers’ que más ganan por viajar haciéndose fotos

Elle Serbia | Koncept Putovanja



Johnny Jet | Travel Style: Larissa Olenicoff

Everything Everywhere | Kosovo and the Balkans

Walking the Earth | Podcast #58: The Blonde Gypsy & the Balkans

Under 30 Experiences | Forget Average: Be Your Sexy Self With The Blonde Gypsy

Klan Kosova | Ora e Mbrëmjes 21.7.2015 (at 23:05 minutes)

Jutarnji Vijesti | Hrvatske Avanture Stranih Turista Amerikanka Larissa





  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I just spent 3 weeks in Albania, it’s my third visit. I live in Slovenia now, if your in the area come visit.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Great amount of time to give the place, slow travel is the best type of travel through Albania. Lucky you, I love Slovenia. Enjoy! :)

  • Reply
    August 20, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Hello The Blonde Gypsy,

    When travelling to poorer countries in Western Europe or Asia or Central/ South America – countries that are not necessarily up to date with technology – computers/ internet-mobile phones and the likes… What would you recommend as a form of banking? What is a good travelers banking card or traveler’s cheque or western union system of retrieving your funds to trade with hotels, restaurants, long term rentals and purchases in poorer countries? Also I do not want to be travelling around with a mobile phone or a lap top – I don’t want to be able to have anything for pickpockets to have – so I am not interested in whether a place has wi fi or not.
    Are you able to recommend the best means of banking whilst traveling around in poorer countries under these circumstances?
    Your advise is most appreciated. Thank you.

    • Reply
      March 31, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Rosi and sorry for the delay, but again – please use the contact form if you have any additional detailed questions. Unfortunately I am not an expert in finance(s) but I can say when I travel, I usually bring some cash to exchange and my ATM card because every place I’ve visited thus far has ATMs in nearly every airport once I land or at least not too far off. Doesn’t matter if the country is rich or “poor”, that’s all I do. Then again I haven’t been to a place like Papua New Guinea or Djibouti so can’t speak for more obscure destinations. I can’t think of a place I or other hardcore travelers have been to though where bringing a mobile phone (and even laptop) is off limits or a liability.

  • Reply
    Dave Hayes
    September 18, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Just arrived in Ulcinj and had a fantastic meal. Met a number of locals who we have had great conversations with. Looking forward to checking out the beaches tomorrow. Thank you for your blog, it inspired myself and traveling friends to come here from Seattle!

    • Reply
      March 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

      I’m just seeing this now and it makes me so happy. Glad to hear you made it there, it’s such a unique place in Montenegro that gets bypassed way too much. Cheers to you and your crew!

  • Reply
    Bronwyn Matthews
    January 19, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Hello the blonde gypsey. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs and posts. I am about to return to Eastern Europe for a second time in just a couple of months. I want to experience Some of the places I didn’t get to last time. My number one concern holding me back is road conditions particularly in the mountains and bus driver/vehical safety. I have a real fear/phobia of tumbling off a cliff into a ravine because of narrow, mountainous roads, hairpin bends and roads without guard rails. I have googled so extensively but I desperately want to hear from someone that has experience these same routes – or know a better alternative.
    Tirana to Ohrid
    Ohrid to Skopje
    Skopje to Prizren
    Skopje to Dubrovnik
    I think all the other places I want to visit are connected by rail – which I feel more comfortable with.
    Thank you in advance,

    • Reply
      March 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Hi Bronwyn and sorry for the delay, but it would be better if you use my contact form next time for such specific questions. On all the routes you mentioned, never once have I felt unsafe. Road conditions have greatly improved and if in any case you start feeling nervous, just close your eyes.

  • Reply
    Gjoko Ginov
    February 12, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Larissa,

    Hope you are well. My name is Gjoko Ginov, who is currently working in a tour agency focused on Balkan travels. I have been working on cruise ships for the past 10+ years and now settled back in Macedonia, my own country 5 months ago.
    I came across to your blog and it is interesting what you. Something that I wanted to ask you if possible is how to you manage to travel so much? Do you do this while promoting destinations ?
    The reason that I am asking is that we are looking into partnering up with some bloggers to promote not so popular destinations and find the beauty and joy in the same.
    Fully understand that you will are busy woman , but would appreciate your message when you have the time.

    Thank you and looking forward hearing from you.


    • Reply
      June 19, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Hi Gjoko,

      Sorry for the delay but this message was lost as a comment. I have worked with the promotion of many destinations – feel free to email me at larissa[at] or send a message through the contact box if you have more specific questions or proposals.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm


    I am fascinated by all the cities you managed to visit in the Balkans. I am very curious also about your nickname because it directly concerns an oppressed ethnicity and community of living people that I am part of. I understand your use of the word ‘Gypsy’ in the ‘Blond Gypsy’ does not reference any of the lived experiences of this oppressed ethnicity or community.

    Roma people are stereotypical called Gypsies in a way that does not have a positive connotation. It is used by racists with privilege to exclude, marginalize and oppress living bodies. The reality is that ‘Gypsies’, or the Roma, are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe, migrated from India 1000 years ago – same as all Europeans, and as a result, Americans – however without the same mobility and access afforded to those who might be simply called ‘blondes’.

    We have our language, culture and values, much of which was constructed in resistance to a false and arbitrary exclusion.

    In the last few years, many Roma people were killed simply because they were Roma.

    They were killed by people who did not understand the migratory unity of all Europeans, and the arbitrary, racist and exclusionary oppression intentionally or unintentionally enforced by those with privilege, and could articulate the more complex aspects of the actual situation.

    Thus, I am fascinated by your particular recontextualization of the word ‘Gypsy’ in ‘The Blond Gypsy’ for visibility in both your personal and professional self-presentation. Without the explicitness of the full historical and social context, your use of the word ‘Gypsy’ may be seen as a contemptibly touristic use of anothers’ history of victimization for personal gain.

    To communicate this in a way that would be more understandable – you calling yourself ‘The Blond Gypsy’ in the Balkans is the same as you calling yourself ‘’The Blond Negro” in the USA.

    I would love to have a mutually open, transparent and public dialogue with you, via well articulated textual arguments, concerning the Balkans, gypsies, blondeness, America, Europe, travelling, media, images, stereotypes, adventure – things that it seems that we both have a love and appreciation for.

    As an artist, I would also appreciate anyone who is reading this, from any audience, anywhere, to post or comment on thoughts in regards to the complexity of these issues. Any thoughts and expressions that creates a peaceful towards an ethical and pragmatic and balanced way to address these issues, I will include in a future exhibition I am currently constructing.

    Best regards,

    • Reply
      November 11, 2018 at 6:29 am

      Thank you very much for reaching out and sorry for the delay. I had a look at your website and appreciate what you are trying to do with your art, would love to see this particular exhibition you speak of whenever it’s finished.

      The reality is, whether you are fascinated or angry at my use of the word “gypsy” in my personal and professional presentation, it had been recontextualized far before I started using it. It doesn’t take much research – starting with opening the dictionary – to find that that over time, “gypsy”, not to be confused with “Gypsy”, has taken on various other meanings and not all uses of the word are derogatory. This is especially true in my case where I have used it to describe my lifestyle of moving from place to place (I have lived in the U.S., England, Sweden, Ukraine and Kosovo over the past 10 years), as well as “inclined to a nomadic, unconventional lifestyle” which is quite apparent if you have followed me for any extended period of time.

      As for your comparison of it to “The Blonde Negro” in the USA, I highly disagree with that. In fact, I would love to connect you with the Romani owner of Gypsy Café in Shutka in order for you to further understand that not all Roma consider the word “gypsy” as a pejorative term or offensive.

      From the beginning, I made the decision that I wouldn’t call myself one definition of the word without making an effort to understand the others, and it’s through that I did develop an admiration and my own fascination of Romani culture. I have taken every opportunity presented to me thus far to connect with various Roma figures throughout Balkans from musicians to activists, and through them I have learned a lot about the history, as well as the struggles, racism and injustices currently faced. Quite unfair for anyone to assume I am completely ignorant on these topics because I am a “white, privileged blonde” (a quote from one of your troll acquaintances who emailed me after you publicly posted this comment on social media). If anything, I’d argue my blog name and personal interest in Roma culture hasn’t done anything to perpetuate negative stereotypes, but in fact help to break them.

      It’s quite possible I may be rebranding in the near future for reasons unrelated to this, but for now, nothing is changing with the name of this blog. If you want to have a dialogue about anything, it can be how I can do something positive with the platforms I have in regards to raising awareness and spreading more positive stories from Roma communities. Whether it’s promoting talented artists such as yourself or interviewing people doing great things, I am open to any and all suggestions.

      While I am not up for any debates on what is essentially a matter of semantics and personal interpretations, I am glad we are connected now and I would be happy to continue discussing all of this via email where we’ve been in touch already. This could be a great opportunity for something that started off as more negative to turn positive, so let’s see where it goes.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Well, Blonde Gypsy,

    I hope you had a great time at our festival. We hope that we will see you again.

    Until the next time!


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