Gillian Gloyer studied ancient languages at Wadham College, Oxford. Her first contact with Albania was in the 1980s, when she gazed from the deck of a ferry at the pristine beaches of the almost-closed country. From 1998 to 2002, she lived in Tirana, directing a long-term training programme with political parties. Her training schedule took her all over the country and gave her the chance to discover Albania's astonishingly rich history and culture, then almost unknown outside the country. She learned the language while she was working there and speaks it well. Although now based in Edinburgh, Gillian visits Albania several times a year for both work and pleasure. She has participated in international election observation missions there and leads tour groups around the country's cultural and historical sites for several UK-based tour operators. She is a keen hillwalker and enjoys hiking in Albania's wildernesses.