I looked up at the stairs that seemed to rise to the sky. Panting. We had made it up the first few sets of stairs, me trying to balance the very unsteady bag I had on my back. I had specifically taken this piece of luggage for my trip because it had wheels (!) and straps to turn into one massive backpack. But, it really wasn’t made to be balanced on a back. I could barely stand up straight, and when I was upright, it felt like the weight of the bag would have me topple over, down the stairs and back to Square One.
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It’s not “goodbye,” it’s “see you soon”
I didn’t want to continue to Dubrovnik. In the short time I had been with these people, they had become like a family. I know I’ve said it before, but you really do make friends fast and furious when you travel, and these girls were no exception to that rule. And, as it goes with traveling, you move on, keep in touch with those that matter, and meet new and wonderful people at your next destination.
Still, it was really hard to say goodbye. Chopper put it best — when you travel, most of the time when you say goodbye, its . The likelihood of ever seeing these people again is slim. And, knowing that made my heart hurt a little bit.
Booze, boobs and a beach bar
At the dock, about 15 woman, most of them older, stood crowded around the boat ramp, awaiting the boat’s passengers to disembark so they could descend on them. They all clutched laminated one-sheets boasting color photos of their sobes. As soon as people would begin to walk off the boat, they would commence hounding to rent their rooms.
“You need a room?” “I’ll give you a good deal.” “I’m in the city.” “My home is beautiful.” And so it continues until you either tell them you are not interested, have other lodging, or are able to escape unscathed, beyond the fortress of sobe owners.
As a traveler, it is overwhelming to depart a boat, or a bus or a train and be surrounded by people trying to hawk their rooms at you. I get it, but sometimes you just want to get off whatever mode of transportation you are on and not have to dodge, weave or otherwise avoid being chased after.
I planted myself just outside the group of women to avoid the chaos and to survey the passengers for Mel and Sean.
Rocky, rocky, pebble-y, pebble-y
I left my bag at the chair — it felt perfectly safe to do so and my passport and important documents and valuables were locked safely away back at Green Lizard — and got into the water.
It was chilly. Not as chilly as the night before when Shaun and I had gone in, but it was still pretty cool until you got used to it, which took a few mintes.
I swam for about 10 minutes and then got out, choosing to lay down and have some quiet, alone time with myself.
I closed my eyes, letting the sun’s warmth soak up my body, and just thought. And, then, something happened.
For the first time in my life, when I was laying there, I was able to chase away the negative thoughts, the thoughts that rained on my Croatian parade.
Birthday suits and Split
I had made it my goal to go outside of my comfort zone, and this certainly did just that.
So, I did what any slightly intoxicated traveler in a foreign land would do — hastily removed all of my clothes, threw them on the sidewalk next to the water, and, along with Shaun, plunged into the inky black sea.
The first thing I felt was bliss.
The second thing I felt was the cold water seeping into my pores.
The third thing I felt was pain.
Goal: Nudie beach
The night I lay in bed in Zadar, I scanned the pages of my Lonely Planet book and read about a few beaches that welcomed the naked traveler. I starred, circled, wrote down those names and made a silent vow to take my clothes off and dive into the Adriatic before my trip was complete.
Instantaneous enlightenment on the Adriatic
“I recon you and I are one of the lucky ones. There is only a small percentage of people in this world, D, that have the wealth. And you and I? We are the lucky people. We are people who have this wealth. And, as people who have this wealth, we have to do something,” he had commented. “When I am an old man, I am not going to sit there and count how much money I had, or look at a wall of all of my achievements. Those things don’t make me happy. When I am an old man,” he said, “I want to be able to look back at my life and know that I did something to make a difference. I helped someone. I was as happy as I could ever possibly be. And I didn’t need wealth, or a nice home, or a white fence, to get me to that point. I want to know that I did everything in my power to live.”
This could be heaven …
At one point, I walked by a wall which had windows that provided stunning views of the sea. Someone had scrolled on the marble wall next to the view “This could be heaven …”, a spot-on description and one I use now to describe Croatia’s second largest city.
A BRIEF Intermission — Fall Foliage Photo Essay 10.24.09
Following the heart-warming travel misadventures, here’s a pretty little break for your eyes — photos from a drive through NE Georgia/Appalachians to check out the turning of the leaves at their peak. While the photos don’t do the warm orange, golds and red justice, you get the point. For those that have never had theContinue reading “A BRIEF Intermission — Fall Foliage Photo Essay 10.24.09”
I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers
We headed out of Zadar, the sun pushing through the curtains on the right side of the bus as we made our way down the coast. After about 20 minutes, the sun shifted and was no longer being shuttered by the curtains, but was instead behind us. I looked out the window and saw mountains and farms and roosters and stone huts pass us by.
OK, I thought. Clearly, I am on the bus to Split that meanders through small towns and eventually gets me to the city. I knew there were two buses that took people to Split, one that took three hours and one that took longer because of its stops through towns. I assumed I was on the longer bus ride.
When only a few people remained on the bus, I started to grow concerned. I got up and walked to the bus driver, asking him if he spoke English. He did not, so instead, I simply asked “Split?”
He looked at me, confused, and said “No.”
“Zadar?” I asked, my heart starting to race.
There were only a few people left on the bus. Where were we going?