every great dream begins with a dreamer. always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.
— harriet tubman —
it’s true, every great dream begins with a dreamer. in fact, the world is full of dreamers, but the world is not full of doers. back on november 15, 2017 i took the first step deciding i was going to start chasing my dreams and become a doer. life is too short not to live a happy life and doing anything less than that would be a disservice to who i am as a person. so here i was, november 17, 2019 – almost a year to the day i first left – standing in croatia, my european country 51. finally fifty-one!!!!! it took me a year to get here, and a lot of time, money and patience as well, but boy was it worth it.
i landed in zagreb hungover to high hell after a night of drinking with some locals in bosnia, so my first moments in croatia were of me passed out sleeping on an uncomfortable metal bench at the airport while i waited for the snack shop to open before my flight to dubrovnik. ahhh the glamour. i raced into the shop the second i heard the metal door creak open and as i consumed two cans of paprika pringles and a coke zero like a savage animal, i was feeling half alive again and ready to enjoy my last few days in my very last country.
what can i say about croatia? it’s beautiful, the wine is amazing and if you’re a fan of game of thrones, dubrovnik is a definite must-see. because of my travel timing, i was visiting in november, very off season and very good for me. i felt like i had the entire city to myself. my hotel was a short walk from the city walls, which meant i was able to stop and take a few pictures along the scenic walk…..and to also enjoy a beer en route as well. if college taught me anything it’s that the only cure to a hangover is to start drinking again.
walking up to kings landing/the old town was nothing short of amazing. the red tile roofs, ancient stone fortifications and blue seas were magical. i could have spent a month wandering around each and every alleyway getting lost. i spent my afternoon shopping in the charming shops dotted along the small pathways, drank local beer outside in the perfect 65 degree weather, watched locals and tourists alike navigate through their day and after a few said beers tried to find jamie lannister. he’s cute ya’ll.
outside the walls, i wandered around the city beaches watching the waves crash into the shore and then the sky turn from day to night. i didn’t do much else during the time i had in country 51, but it was a perfect way to spend the end of my adventure. i was relaxed, refreshed, and slightly drunk. i could not ask for a better ending to a year of chasing my dreams.
it is a strange mix of feelings finishing up one of your personal goals. i felt happiness that i had accomplished something i set my mind on doing, and i also felt sadness that it was all over, but one thing was for certain, as a person, i had changed forever. the first night i was in stockholm on my very first trip on this quest, i cried in my hotel room. i remember feeling alone, scared and unsure of myself, wondering what the hell i was doing halfway around the world with no job, no plans, and no one but myself to answer to. as i spent my last night in croatia i celebrated with a bottle of wine, a wonderful dinner alone and a smile on my face. life is damn good, even if you are living it alone.
so now that i have conquered the continent of europe, what’s next? a new continent, right? well funny thing that….sometimes you connect with someone when you least expect it and you end up right where you’re supposed to be. two months later i found myself back in oslo on a new journey that is bound to be just as exciting and amazing as this one has been for me…… so stay tuned, the best is yet to come.