Submission for Travel writing scholarship 2018 in Argentina, with Worldnomads.com (http://bit.ly/2FoYUIE).
The floor made of sand creaked rhythmically under my feet. Ocean breeze flowed through the invisible walls, surrounded by the island’s lush jungle paths. Giggling, they were building secret spaces among the comfy cushions, ignoring my presence. I was marveling at the world that was unfolding before my eyes. I’ve been dreaming of this place for more than two years. Arriving felt like remembering everything I knew and somehow forgot.
„Miss, what are you looking for?“ „The treehouse,”
I replied to the voice behind the mangoes. “Oh, it’s just there”,
Mon said, pointing at the sign “Welcome home.” Home it became, with Mon’s delicious massaman curry, its remote location, misty mountains and travelers from all walks of life. The Earth was singing. Or was it my five-year-old heart?
Continue reading “Life in a Treehouse”
Give me endless plane rides
and bouncy overnight buses.
Give me days filled with stories
and starry nights.
Give me strangers and goodbyes.
Gently, let’s go somewhere new
to ignore the odds
and be destroyed in the most beautiful way.
In the deeper ways
Eating all of our unspoken words.
To make sense
of the chaos
Give me fireworks.
Give me places and people to feel
Give me the wander
and the lost feet,
and I promise
I will come for more.
Photo: Ivan Breslauer, Dingle, Ireland 2015.
It’s strange. One would think that it is hard to pack stuff in a backpack and sit on a plane only to wake up in the country where you will be a stranger. Without familiar faces. Surrounded with uncertainty in a completely different reality.
Leaving is easy
Someone would ask why on Earth people would do it? Why would anyone consciously threw himself into difficult situations? Who would ever willingly chose to be sweaty, hungry, nervous, in a constant search for a place to stay and in the eternal care where the wallet and passport are? Why?? Why?!!??
As a woman who finally allows her life to be shaped by the coincidences and sweet moments, I ask a counter question. How do you go from new friends and new places to not have a hard time? How do you go from living on the island in Thailand where time is not important to European punctuality and money obsession? How to move from fighting like a warrior against the tuk tuk drivers; sometimes spending the whole day without eating, and for hours in the sun to the: “Lunch is on the table”. “You need to eat more”. Or a small talk, gossiping and negativity.
Aaaaaa! No one is to blame but once when you saw what others did not, you can no longer pursue with small talks.
Continue reading “How to ever fully “return”? (On going back “home”)”
White powdery sand. Ocean breeze and palm leaf swaying in a tropical sun, whispering shhhhhhh! It was a place my eyes have never seen before. A paradise. Time didn’t matter, mornings were for sleeping and nights for wildness.
“Come, I will introduce to the island life” – said Edi, my American friend whom I met in Bangkok when we were both at the beginning of our journeys.
So I came.
An unexpected home base
In a place where I least expected a homely atmosphere began to grow in me. Not only that I got an island home beneath the starry sky, but I learned how to drive a scooter. I swam among the fishes in turquoise water. I ate dozen of mangoes, met real hippies and practiced yoga. After a week I could recognize smiling faces on the streets. I adopted an island cat and gave her Croatian name.
Situated in the Southern Gulf of Thailand, Koh Phangan is part of the group of islands that make up the Samui Archipelagos. Tourists have started to discover the island in the 1980’s. It is close to Koh Samui and Koh Tao. It’s a home to 20 temples and only one KFC.
Edi barely got me off his couch… Finally I left after one month, seduced by the lure of this magical tropical paradise.
But, let’s go from the beginning.
Continue reading “Life in a paradise (Koh Phangan)”
In the end, it’s all about the people we met. Wherever we end up we recall our crazy days, endless nights and journeys to new frontiers, literally and metaphorically. We might know each other for ages or we met by chance, but now we are friends for life.
And it has been going on for ages.
We pack our backpacks and in this constant motion we respond to, our wings spread. By leaving the well known world, magical gates with the sign „Wanderlust“ appear. Behind them is a parallel world where life is lived in a different, more rapid and more intense way. We can’t see it until we become part of it though the doors were always slightly open.
While at home we were slow and kind of passive, the Road dares us. It provokes us.
Continue reading “We are Travelers”
When the bus drivers left us in the middle of nowhere, in a muddy alley outside of Siem Reap, I knew we got scammed. Leaving us at the mercy of tuk tuk drivers who charge a lot for the last few kilometers, we became part of an organized tourist fraud.
I warned other travelers that this might happen. Some did not believe, and some were laughing. But when we got left around 10 PM, tired, sweaty and thirsty – we became united.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Continue reading “How we beat the tuk tuk mafia”
When people ask how many Southeast Asian countries have I seen in one month, they can’t believe when I say – one! And it’s Thailand. I travel slowly. Time is on my side and I’m not rushing anywhere.
I was two weeks in Bangkok. I should be in the Guinness Book of Record, right? But I lived there with the American-Thai married couple, who brought me into the “Thai” world. Living in a totally non tourist street, they showed me where to eat, what to eat (coconut pancakes, my love), I didn’t know what double pricing is and I learned how to navigate through city and manage the money in local currency. I was prepared for all possible scams. It was a perfect start.
Continue reading “After one month in Thailand”
I love airports.
People usually hate airports because of long layovers. All the waiting and boredom and walking up and down can drive you crazy. I actually very much enjoyed my 4 hour flight layover at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. Vodka everywhere, interesting people and lots of different gates exits where you can sit and watch people leave.
Though I was in the ‘transit area’ for tourists without visa, and it felt as a ghetto, I loved the feeling of being “just” a number. In airports everything is safe and scheduled until you step your foot into a plane. Then it’s showtime.
Continue reading “4 Hour Flight Layover in Moscow”
„Let’s be honest. You are just a girl from a Balkan country. Your CV is incredible for a young person but unfortunately you’re not from Spain or Ireland. You are from the Balkans, therefore you can forget about the job”.
I am from the Balkans? Where is that? I thought I was Croatian. Do I worth less?
Questions were running through my head as I was walking from this, obviously, unsuccessful job interview for a position within international company. Tears were filling my eyes though I didn’t know exactly why. It was the first time someone addressed me as a “Balkan girl”.
I didn’t know what that means though it made me feel bad by the way it was said. What hurts the most, these words came out from a Croatian guy.
Continue reading “People from Balkan countries”