Since no one in the world are able to travel at the moment, I have decided to take you down the memory lane. More specifically, Croatia 2014. It’s not going to be just a post about how amazing this trip was, because let’s be honest, almost all holidays are. It’s also going to be a reminder on how our bodies and self-love can change with time, how discovery of something new can influence our thoughts and how self-criticism and shame can change the way we view ourselves.
Let me start with telling you a little bit about Croatia itself. It’s a very scenic and beautiful coastal country in Southeast Europe. With capital Zagreb and now a very famous town, Dubrovnik (it gained its fame because of TV series Game of Thrones). Shout out to all the GOT fans! When me and my now husband (Richard) visited Croatia back in 2014, we didn’t have enough time to see the beautiful castles and old town of Dubrovnik. This of course is one of the reasons why I want to go back. Aside from beautiful architecture and a lush greenery, Croatia is also known for one of the best beaches out there – The Golden Horn Beach on the island of Brac.
Our journey to Croatia started by flying into Split airport and then taking a bus to the old town. We jumped on a ferry that took us to the island of Brac. The town we stayed at was cold Bol and because it’s super small, most of the hotels are situated on the coast. The one that we stayed in was near a small marina, which was super beautiful at night, when all the lights came on and the music from restaurants kept the energy up.
Me and Richard have a habit of checking into a hotel, quickly changing and going for a brief stroll around town. This habit has always given us an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the surroundings, decide were to go for our first meal and just get a general feel of the area. Bol wasn’t an exception, however, due it’s small size, we managed to do that in about one to two ours and were ready to go on an adventure and then chill.
Before I tell you about our beautiful day out, I want to mention that in 2014 I was thirty years old, felt super confident in my body and mind, my health was better than ever and I just felt really good about myself. This was the first and probably the last time I wore a quite revealing and very bright bikini. My gym routine at that time was two to three times per week, I was mature enough to not be ashamed of my body and I felt confident to wear something like that.
Now, back to the adventure at hand. On our first morning we rented a tiny boat and set sail (there was no actual sail though) along the coast of Brac. We left quite early and were going for a good two hours until we realized that we might actually go into open waters. I started to panic that we are going to run out of fuel, get stranded and die (I guess my panic self already was showing signs)! As we turned around and were going back, we were joined by a pod of dolphins. This was the first time both myself and Richard saw them in the wild and it was the most surreal feeling ever!
After a while, we saw a little private beach that had a beautiful sandy shore, big trees and crystal clear water. We decided to stop and spend some time there before returning the boat and going back about our business. At the beach, Richard being the avid photographer that he is, decided to give me a small private photo shoot. In the boat, in the water, on the beach, you name it. We even found a weird cave that we managed to get in and briefly explore. I was confident, happy and did not shy away from the camera. As the sun started to set, we went back to Bol and enjoyed a marvelous dinner at a local seafood restaurant.
A day to Remember
In total, we probably spent three or four days in Bol before moving on back to Split. On our last evening in Bol, we decided to treat ourselves and went to one of the more expensive restaurants on the island. It was situated on the top of a hill, at the very end of the marina. The view was amazing.
The lights of the marina, the calm sea, the beautiful trees and happy people, took our breath away. Whilst we were waiting for our dinner to arrive, I saw Richard frantically waving his hands and saying something about a weird flying insect. As I looked closer, I started laughing and could not stop for a good few minutes (insert many laughs here). It was not an insect but rather a very friendly humming bird. Although neither one of us have seen one before, I immediately knew what it was. The bird was so tiny, that I could really see why it could be mistaken for an insect. It was a great laugh, even better dinner and a memory to cherish forever. When I think about it now, it was probably one of the most rewarding few days. We managed to see dolphins, humming bird, falling star (yes, we saw that on our last evening walk at the beach) and collect some of the most beautiful moments together.
Good Old Times
As we returned back to Split, we still had few days before going back home. One of our goals was to visit the UNESCO protected Plitvice lakes, a view not to be forgotten. We rented a car and took off quite early in the morning, as it was almost a three-hour drive to the location. As we were getting closer, it started to rain. I am not talking just about a light summers rain, but rather a heavy, thunder like rain that floods everything. When we parked our car, we managed to get a hold of a couple of rain coats that made our wonder around the lakes much more enjoyable and drier. To be totally honest, at first, I was a bit annoyed but soon after realized that you can’t choose when it comes to nature and decided to make the best of the situation. In fact, I got so comfortable in the rain, that I did not care that my white trainers were all soaked, my face was dripping with rain water and there were places where I had to cross a puddle as deep as my ankles.
After spending a good few hours at the lakes, it was time to go back to Split. This time, I was the driver. I must stress one thing though. The main highways in the area we drove, were absolutely amazing. It was a pleasure to drive on a good road with a scenic view. Once back at Split, we spent a couple more days enjoying the old town, good food and rocky beach.
The Take Away
To this day Croatia is one of my favorite places I have ever visited. It’s not only a memory of a great holiday but also a memory of a different me. A time when I was truly in love with myself, when I wasn’t shaming myself because I have a slight belly, when I didn’t care about the size of my calves and most importantly, I was true to my inner self.
Today my health is very different, my brain is on fire, my body is out of balance and my mind is playing a game called anxiety. If someone would ask me, what happened, I wouldn’t know a definite answer. I would probably say that it’s a combination of life events that were out of my control and choices that I made. When 2020 started I did not make any resolutions, because they never work (at least for me). Instead, I promised myself one thing – be more me.
As I finish this blog post, I can’t stop but think about time. How it changes us, how it affects our lives and the lives of those around us. I am learning to be grateful for the time I had and for the days I am living now. No-one knows what awaits us in the future, so the only thing we can do is create memories, never lose hope and accept ourselves as we are.