Leaving the island Korcula
I never thought after such a short amount time in one little town, on an island, in Eastern Europe, that I would find my soul place.
A quick peek around Dalmatia…
So, I got stuck on a Croatia island, Korcula, for a week. After that, I decided I needed to venture off someplace else and see more of Dalmatia- not one wholeheartedly, I might add, as I was quite content where I was!- but I headed off to the next island Hvar, anyway.
Don’t worry though! I was clever: I made sure to leave some of my personal belongings with Tina, so that I would have to go back, hehe.
On the ferry to Hvar, I met a guy who’d recognized me at Caenazzo and was also on his way for a night in Hvar. His name was Lindsay and he was from Australia. He was also a solo traveler. For those of you who’ve traveled, either in small company or alone, know: when you meet someone along the way, you just kind of decide within a few seconds if you like that person or not and, if you do, just carry on together. I immediately liked Lindsay’s kind disposition and felt like we’d always been friends.
Naturally, we made arrangements to pal around Hvar that day together. We had breakfast, coffee, explored the old city, hiked up to the fortress, and went out with my hostel group that night.
During that day, we discussed our travel plans and I told him I wanted to head to the city of Split next. He said that’s where he was going the next morning! Since we had established such a great friendship (yes, within 24 hours! Fellow travelers, I know you understand), he was kind enough to offer me the extra room in the Airbnb he had reserved for Split the next night. Since I was following a strict “feels in the momes” mentality, where I just flew by the seat of my pants, I gratefully accepted.
Short stop in Split
Unfortunately, I ended up being sick with some kind of cold when I was in Split, so I just stayed and slept in the apartment all day. Thankfully, Lindsay had another travel buddy in the city so he met up with him while I rested.
The following day, Lindsay had a flight to catch early and I decided it was time for me to return to Korcula- you know, to get my personal belongings and what not.
Couldn’t leave that t-shirt and cargo pants I got from a thrift store behind, right?! Might never found another pair again.
Korcula- my final days
I returned back to Korcula and Zach actually picked me up from the ferry. This time, however, I wasn’t staying in Caenazzo but an apartment in the old town. I wanted to get a more local vibe and Zach knew a good friend who owned and managed apartments for Airbnb. It was a gorgeous apartment in the most perfect location. If you are traveling to Korcula, email me! I still have their information, maybe we can check out and see if they have availability!
After I got settled in the apartment, I went to see Tina. When I saw her, it was like best friends from childhood that hadn’t seen each other in years.
Between the time I returned and the morning we left
I will tell you though, as this is critical to my story, that Tina had invited me back to Zagreb with her to meet her mom and see Zagreb. Since I hadn’t booked a return flight home(something I extremely recommend to solo travelers as you don’t restrict yourself to being in a certain city on a certain day), she said I could fly home from Zagreb.
Well, why the hell not?! Tina already felt like a sister to me. She helped me to see the country from a local’s eyes rather than as a tourist. I was happy and comfortable, so we planned to journey up to Zagreb together.
One important thing: during this time, Tina said to me, “I love you, anytime you wanna move here, I’ll help you find a job, you can stay with me- you just have to decide”.
As for Zach, we continued to spend time together. We’d meet up in a cafe bar, or Tina, Nevena, and I would go and he’d join us later. We’d play darts, talk, laugh, just enjoy. Sometimes I’d go visit him at his work, and since it’s relaxed southern Croatia, he’d slip away with me for a coffee while on shift.
There’s definitely many more pieces to the story but those I will save for myself– sorry folks– they are just special, precious, and private.
The final night
Tina arranged with the head chef of Konoba Komin to do a going-away dinner. That was such a beautiful night. We purchased meat, which the chef cooked the traditional Peka, drank Grk, Posip, gemist, and just enjoyed (if you’re coming in late, check out where I talk about what Konoba Komin, Peka, and gemist are here!)
Tina made a white chocolate cheesecake with a berry topping.
It was freaking amazing.
Although the night was beautiful, there was a strange kind of feeling in the air for me. I was ready to leave but I also felt a heaviness in my heart. I recognized that biggest problem wasn’t leaving- it was not knowing if I’d ever come back.
It was also not knowing if I’d never see Zach again.
I couldn’t understand how I could meet such a special person, who I’d felt a connection with, in such a small amount of time all to never see them again.
We took the 6 am ferry the next morning. We had all ended up staying up so late that Tina and I only got an hour of sleep! Keep in mind, before this trip, I’d never been one to “pull an all-nighter” or sacrifice sleep for an experience. Nope. I used to just always want to be rested in the morning.
But the trip changed me. I’m not sure how or what it was.
Maybe it was the magic of the sea. The sunlight. The white wine.
Maybe it was the special people and energy.
Maybe it was just my first solo trip.
I don’t really know.
But I do know it was one thing for sure:
It was definitely Croatia.
I’d never felt more alive
It was also a couple other things.
It was the feeling of uncertainty and the awareness of mortality.
All I could think about was something I’d heard in the movie Troy:
“Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
Every moment that I’d had in Croatia I wanted to capture forever. I wanted to savor it on my tongue and squeeze it tight to my chest. I felt on fire from the magic. Because of everything that had happened before I went abroad, I was in a completely open and vulnerable place that allows you to feel magic. I’m sure you know what I mean. Maybe it’s when you break up with someone or have a fight with a friend. What does it all mean? I was in a place in my life struggling to find meaning.
Croatia put the whole world on pause for me. I was able to step back and reassess. Actually, not just that- I was able to stand still, without stepping in any particular direction, and just breathe deep. Like I said, I’d never felt more alive.
It also ignited a familiar feeling like I’d been there before. Maybe it sounds exaggerated to you. Or maybe you relate because you’ve had similar experiences. Take it however you want. Either way, I told myself Korcula hadn’t seen the last of me.
I think all those feelings rolled into one giant ball and hit my heart. Tina and I stared at the shrinking skyline of the old town of Korcula while our ferry pulled steadily away. I also tried to wrap my mind around God- the universe, fate, whateverrr- and kept asking myself one thing:
Asking why will drive you outta your mind
Why did I meet Zach? What’s the purpose?
It’s so funny to look back today because I think I now know the answers to those questions. But, you’ll have to stay tuned for more later! And in later writings, I’ll give my thoughts about Zach and everything else.
For now, we’ll leave the story off with Tina and I venturing off to Zagreb- not knowing yet again, that my life would change even more.
Have you ever felt so strongly about a place or person in a short amount of time? How did you face leaving? Did you see them again?