Going on vacation is like pressing the “reset” button on your current life. No matter how stressed, overworked or frustrated you are you can make it all go away. Especially, for me, in Central Europe. I went from being overworked and underappreciated in a foreign country, albeit England, to realizing the biggest perk of working in London is the ability to travel Europe for next to nothing.
Up until now I had only been to Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton outside of London. Okay…Cornwall too, but that’s a different story altogether. Now that I’ve taken a proper trip to continental Europe, I totally understand. Granted I never thought I’d see Croatia or Slovenia before France, Spain, Germany or The Netherlands, but that’s the beauty of it all. I’ll organize trips there soon enough. If not while I’m living in London then later in life. That’s completely reasonable. I’ve spent the past week or so in countries that declared their independence IN MY LIFETIME! That’s just wild to me. Both Croatia and Slovenia became their own states in the early 90s after being part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
I do remember as a kid seeing news reports of conflict in Bosnia and the surrounding areas. It didn’t occur to me, unfortunately, until driving through Bosnia on Tuesday of last week the true extent of importance this bears on the lives of citizens in the six countries formed from Yugoslavia (SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Slovenia and SR Serbia).
I’ve met some amazing people on this journey who were directly affected by that war, and have been able to get some, yet very little, insight into what it means to them. I can’t imagine how I would have coped with such uncertainty and bloodshed in my lifetime. It makes me wonder if places such as Iraq and Afghanistan will be tourist attractions in 20 years. You may scoff at that, but I’m serious. Everything in this world changes so quickly, so who can really know?
This trip has made me regret not traveling more often. Thankfully I’m only 25 and have plenty of my life ahead of me to do so. My buddy Vinnie and his wife Kara go abroad somewhere new every year. I think from this moment on I need to do the same. So many people, especially Americans, spend their lives in one place. I can’t do that anymore. My love for history and the world in general has never given me more of a kick in the ass as it is now. I’ve been to 7 countries and 2 countinents. Only about 200 and 5 to go…
Anyway – this is the introduction to my full account of my time spent here. Over the next 9 days or so you’ll either be amazed or bored (or something in between) by my my experiences. My hope is the former.
Make that distinction for yourself.