My month in Croatia was significantly different than all previous months. It was the first month I took a longer trip away from my Remote Year group on my own, travelling to Paris, Macon (near Lyon) and Milan. It was also the first time I had the chance to meet other individuals from the Remote Year network outside of those I travel with. Although Remote Year is filled with constant change, the people are static, so eliminating the only stable factor in the experience provided opportunity for greater growth, welcoming the chance to interact with new faces.
As a few people have asked for thoughts on each city, for your reading pleasure, below is my perspective on my adventure in Split.
A little bit on Split: Our group quickly realized that Split, in contrast to Marrakech, appeals to everyone. There is a beautiful old town full of delicious restaurants (think LOTS of amazing seafood) and curving roads to get lost in, beaches with incredible water everywhere and countless islands a quick boat ride away. Almost everyone speaks at least some English, so getting around is incredibly easy and people are generally quite friendly. Split does however lose a lot of its young professionals to bigger cities like Zagreb where there is more opportunity to join the corporate world. A lot of jobs in split are centered around tourism and many Uber drivers double as tour guides. Although we had 5 weeks in Split, which for us is considered long, the time flew by.
The Islands: There are over 1000 Islands in Croatia, out of which around 50 are inhabited. While in Split, I had the opportunity to visit Hvar, which has a beautiful old town, where you can walk around and a fort you can climb up to and see the view from the top of the Island. I also went to Vis for a weekend, an island a little further away that was calm and had incredible food. As well, we did a day-long speed boat trip, where we visited some islands and the famous blue cave, where the sunlight refracts off of silver sand and brings through the colour of the sky, creating a striking blue light effect.
Food: As mentioned, lots of seafood was had. Being on the coast meant an overabundance of fish, especially seabass. We visited a fish farm where we had the opportunity to learn about their fishing practices and jump in the nets with the fish. The owners also cooked the fish, fresh from the water.
Work: Our co-working space this month was almost out of a movie, with the view of the beach and the chance to walk over to the water whenever we needed a break. We had multiple call booths, a spacious meeting room and a great kitchen area with tons of tables to eat and work at. The space was so great that a few people in my group started making lunch for the rest of us on a bi-weekly basis. My apartment was also located directly above the workspace, which made it quite easy for meeting up with friends.
Lakes: After seeing so much incredible ocean, I was hesitant to visit the Plitvice lakes, but having heard so much about them, I figured it was worth making the trip. Getting there is a little bit of a trek, with two four-hour bus rides. That said, I would go through 8 hours of buses for 4.5 hours at the lakes any day. The best way to describe it is a maze of whimsical surprise, where every turn you take offers views of yet another lake. The water sparkles, there are hidden waterfalls and although filled with tourists, you are able to enjoy your own moments of magic.
Side trips: Although the islands and the lakes were technically side trips, my big adventure this month was an 8-day trip to Paris, Macon and Milan. Paris consisted of meeting up with a long-time friend of mine, where we had the chance to catch up over good wine and crepes. The Macon trip was for a mini-conference hosted by Remote Year, where a few of us were selected to lead a weekend of #unplugged sessions, where we discussed the use of technology in our lives, it’s importance while working remotely and how we can make moments where we don’t need it. Milan was split into a day-trip to lake Como and exploring the city. I was joined by a friend from Winnipeg, who also came back to Split with me for a few days. It was interesting doing side trips outside of the country I lived in.
Adieu for now!
For those that are reading this, whether you are family, friends, colleagues or someone that stumbled upon this post, I hope my blogging is interesting to you. There is more to come, so if there is anything you want to know more (or less) about, please feel free to comment below!