Forty-eight days in Croatia? A road trip across the entire country? What?!
It’s real, and it’s coming soon. David and I couldn’t be more excited! But how did this insanely amazing idea (if I do say so myself) come to be?
Well, it was a convergence of things, really.
(1) For starters, David and I had plans to move abroad to Croatia later this year. These plans are temporarily on hold while both of us finish schooling (me, graduate school; David, undergrad) and dip our feet back into the professional world full-time.
We still have dreams of living and working in Croatia, and I feel confident that we will realize them at a later date, but for now a trip here and there (or a grand road trip adventure!) will need to suffice.
(2) Another inspiration behind our trip (at least for me) was our good friend Tara (who also happened to marry us in Croatia last year with our other good friend Tonči!). Tara is of Italian (more specifically, Triesten) heritage and is also hoping to move back to the motherland. While this move is still on the table, she opted for a two-week visit to Italy this year (and just returned–check out her amazing photos here!).
Tara’s zeal for returning to her roots and her “I’m-just-gonna-buy-a-ticket-and-go” attitude motivated me to see our tabled move abroad decision as a new opportunity–that we could still spend quality time in Croatia without fully living there just yet.
(3) A third motivating factor in our adventure was our relatively flexible schedule, being full-time students and all. While we are limited by what we can do during the year, we have the opportunity to use our summers however we please.
Originally, we planned on doing a 1-week trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for spring break and another 1-week trip to Nicaragua (still in the works, but for the future…) between the spring and summer semesters. Upon further reflection, I realized that we could combo-up our vacay weeks by forgoing a summer class for the first half of the semester and use that time to do a deeper travel trip to Croatia.
Thanks to my freelance writing and editing work, our saving habits, our American Airlines miles, and the hospitality of family and friends, our upcoming trip to Croatia will be relatively reasonable cost-wise, coming in just a bit above a regular 2-week stint elsewhere (where we wouldn’t have had access to helpful family and friends).
(4) In addition to the inspiration we gained from entertaining a move abroad, our dear friend Tara, and our flexible school schedule, we also couldn’t pass up a visit to Croatia now because the timing is almost too perfect! Why, you ask? Because we are currently working on a fun business idea with Tara and it is all about travel! Woo! Our business plan is still under wraps, but we hope to reveal all our hard work soon, so stay tuned!
(5) Yet another inspiration and motivation behind this trip (for me personally) is that I generally always yearn for Croatia. As the country of my heritage, it holds a special place in my heart. But more than that, Croatia is where I grew up over many summers.
I have many wonderful memories from time spent with family, friends, and animals there, and I cherish them deeply. It is also where I first began writing creatively, which has its own special significance for me as writing is such an integral part of my identity–it’s not just what I do; it’s part of who I am and how I experience the world around me.
Here’s a quick snap-shot of my childhood memories from Croatia:
- I remember fishing with my grandfather at our little pond out in our front yard–a pond he had built, his long-time dream. It makes me happy now to think that he realized this dream–and enjoyed it–not long before his death.
- I remember picking out my first two pets in Croatia during one summer between my elementary school years. From a cardboard box at the local agriculture market, I took out two fluffy, yellow baby ducks that I named Peep-Peep and Splash. I still remember–they loved eating clovers that I picked from our yawn; their favorite treat.
- And I also remember going to the local grocery store as a kid (maybe late elementary-school-age or middle school? It’s hard to remember now…) with one of my adult cousins and picking up a strange blue sculpture-looking thing, not larger than my pointer finger. It sat on the lower shelf by the register. I had absolutely no idea what it was–it looked like a toy to me, as it was on a shelf with random nick-knacks. I think an alarm clock was next to it, actually. Anyways, when we arrived home, my cousin couldn’t keep in her laughter any longer–apparently, I had picked up a condom. I was horrified. What? I said. And my face turned hot and red.
It’s memories like these that keep me coming back to Croatia. (Yes, even the condom one–lol; we’ve all got embarrassing, silly personal stories).
Memories + family and friends, the hospitality of all, the generous and delicious food and drink portions, the beautiful landscape, and the sense of calm and tranquility I’m able to tap into every time I go (which is often difficult to fully experience in the U.S) = the full-package draw.
And so, to Croatia we go for 48 days. While I’ve traveled extensively throughout the country, thanks to my parents, this trip will be different as we will add new stops neither David nor I have ever visited (like areas in Slavonia). What’s more, we will be spending at least a week in every region so that we get a good sense of our surroundings and the local culture. And finally, we will have tons of quality time with family and friends, my favorite part.
We can’t wait. And we can’t wait to share it all with you.
P.S. If you’re on Instagram–follow our journey through photos (and micro story captions)!
Featured photo location: Rovinj