Our Upcoming Trip To Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro
I often hear people say things like: “I am a country boy, I love the smell of horses, the wild outdoors, and I hate city lights,” or “I am a simple person, I have no big needs” or “I am a blue collar traveler, I only stay in budget places and avoid crowded cities,” etc.
These are just a few small examples of how we “box ourselves” into fixed categories.
Life is dynamic, and when people define themselves too narrowly, situations will unavoidably end up making them unhappy.
It is best to be flexible and dynamic, and not to lock ourselves into a rigid mindset of likes and dislikes.
We can be adaptable and enjoy a wide array of experiences.
Of course you can make choices based on your predominant preferences, and spend most of your time and money doing the things that you think you enjoy most, but it is also good to try new experiences.
Who knows, maybe you will discover new things about yourself…
You see, we are not two dimensional beings.
Nobody is a one-trick pony with preferences that never change.
We are multidimensional beings, with a complex array of needs and wants, things that make us happy, as well as a need to be challenged, excited and inspired.
We need to laugh, we need to care, to love, to give, to play, to create, to dream, to communicate, to rest, to dance, to be solitary and so much more….
We do have many needs, but we simply do not often cater to them.
Perhaps a person who earns minimum wage decides to take a music class, or tries to sing at a cafe’s open mic night, or tries selling home baked blueberry scones at a local farmers market….
What self-image can prevent a farmer who spends most of his days on the farm, from taking a city trip in Europe or swimming on the beaches of Thailand?
The only thing that stops us from doing new and exciting things, are our own images, ideas and self imposed limitations.
We are only limited by how we see ourselves and by what we can envision or imagine.
Take me, for example – after living in big cities for many years, I wanted to live in remote rural places where I can only hear birds and the wind in the trees.
Spending time with my eyes closed in meditation, is my favorite thing.
Later, after getting my fill of quiet and peace, I noticed that I missed dressing up in nice fashionable clothing and going to a good concert, learning new skills, eating in nice restaurants or sitting in city cafes watching people and admiring the river of life flowing by.
So, instead of traveling to only quiet rural places, we have started to add time in cities, and discovered that it rounded out many of our needs.
In other words, I realized that I needed to drop all ideas that I held about what I need, want and prefer, and allow myself to be fluid.
Our plans for the Autumn were to go on a long pilgrimage, when the heat of the summer had finally subsided.
I have been dreaming of walking the Camino or walking the Nakasando or another long pilgrimage in Japan.
I love being outdoors and I love the hardship and challenges of walking long distances.
I love the insights that I get while putting myself to the test, love the suffering and the joy, love establishing new limits of what I can do.
But as the summer in the Colorado mountains is gradually coming to an end, (we just had our first hail storm with large white frozen pellets of rain) I became aware that I am not so excited about walking a pilgrimage right now…..
Instead of walking by car dealerships, bus depots and stretches of strip malls in between forest hiking, I want to immerse myself in beauty and to be in picturesque old towns.
I want to feel the breeze on my face and in my hair, as we drive a rental car down the Dalmatian Coast….
In other words, something inside of me had overruled the hardship of a pilgrimage, and a whole new trip was brewing in the air…
And I am so excited!
At the end of the month, we are flying to Eastern Europe.
Our plan is to travel through whatever parts of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro we can see in the short six weeks we have allotted for this trip.
We allotted only a short time, because we want to return to New Zealand and attend to our property after the long winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
Our journey starts in Frankfurt.
From there we will take a short flight to Zagreb, Croatia.
We plan to stay in Zagreb for a few days, and then rent a car and drive to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia.
Ljubljana (pronounced Lubliana) is an ancient city that was established by the Romans in 34BC.
I am so looking forward to seeing this ancient town.
We have designed a loose itinerary of visiting the Slovenian Alps, lakes, caves, castles and beaches, before entering back into Croatia.
Croatia is dotted with world heritage sites and we plan to visit them all, along with some additional destinations as time will permit.
We will drive south from the Istria Peninsula down the Dalmatian Coast along the Adriatic Sea.
From southern Croatia we will enter Montenegro in the Balkans, and from there head back towards Zagreb, via Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I cannot tell you how excited I feel.
In my mind’s eye, I see old towns with cobbled stone streets, hip new cafes and old churches, beautiful beaches and seaside restaurants, national parks and ancient caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites, old castles and hopefully some contemporary art….
The hardest part was making the itinerary, trying to decide on a route that will combine mountain hiking, long days of walking, exciting rural sites and lively cities.
We consulted many travelers suggestions online and decided on a loose itinerary.
I will post our actual itinerary for those who might also be looking for ideas about how to explore this fascinating region on their own.
As for packing, I plan to pack light, but keeping in mind my multidimensional nature, I am aware that I will need a variety of items, from beachwear to hiking clothes, practical daywear to evening dresses, as well as a warm jacket for cool evenings in the Alps.
I will need walking shoes, sandals and a variety of toiletries, a camera, iPad, chargers, you get the point.
It will not be a small backpack, but I will try to make it as light and as small as I can.
Meantime, I am enjoying summer in the Rocky Mountains.
Upon our return from Japan, we planted flowers and herbs all around the front entrance to our house, in five large wine oak barrels.
They have attracted colorful butterflies and an array of hummingbirds.
We also get occasional visits from mountain birds and fishing birds, who dine on the fish that they catch in our Sweetwater Creek, which runs right down our land to join the mighty Colorado River.
We are finally getting into shape, loosing weight and toning our muscles and I am enjoying the farmers market’s fresh vegetable and fruits.
They taste like the open fields, spring sunshine and fresh summer rains…..
This week the New Zealand Herald wrote an article about the house we are selling.
To our greatest compliment, the feature appeared in the actual news section of the paper, before making it into the real estate section.
(I guess the whole nation needed to know that we are moving…)
We feel humbled and grateful to the journalist Corazon Miller for the attention our unique house got.
You can see it here: