All good things must come to an end, he muttered, quite matter-of-factly, as we said goodbye early in the morning.
My sulk face was out in full force and I’d had a constant lump in my throat since the second I opened my eyes.
He got into a taxi and leaned towards the window pulling tongues at me aggressively with a finger up on each hand. Yes, this was the image he was leaving me with – so I think we can now safely say that romance isn’t dead, it’s in Dubrovnik. I stood on the pavement and waved him off, watching him drive away slowly down the steep slopes and into the morning madness.
In my tatty flipflops, I stomped down hundreds of steps to a café near to Port Gruz to indulge in a bit of self-pity…and a marmalade croissant … and a latte. Okay, two giant marmalade croissants and two large lattes with loads of sugar in each one. Leave me alone I was sad-eating.
My Croatian feast was almost over and I now had twenty-four hours by myself to digest it all.
Plans for a productive day were lost and I spent most of it moping with my bottom lip out. I felt a little bit overwhelmed and a little bit lost. Or maybe I was just missing him.
I dawdled slowly to the beach where the Labrador had accosted me two weeks earlier, and lay down to write but the words just wouldn’t come – I had writer’s block of the first degree. So, I gave myself the day off and just lay there in a state of hypnotised reflection, letting thought zephyrs collide in the empty skies of my mind.
Late afternoon hunger pangs kicked in.
I dragged my battered feet along the Setnica footpath back along the marina and spent my early evening at Peppers Eatery overlooking Port Gruz from the Babin Kuk Peninsula.
The food was incredible. I had fresh, homemade arancini to start with, served with rocket salad, grated parmesan and a tomato salsa – a posher version of the street food addiction I developed in Sicily last summer. For the main I ordered a superfood salad which was a delicious medley of leaves and fruits and nuts and grains.
It was all washed down with an obligatory glass of red. I went for Dingač which is famed for its grapes being exposed to ‘three suns’ before being harvested – direct sunlight, sunlight reflected from the ocean and sunlight reflected from the rocks of the Pelješac Peninsula. I felt solar powered.
Time to get slapped in the face with reality.
I didn’t come to Croatia on some sort of philosophical finding myself journey, I know who I am. I came here to take time out, process my thoughts and prioritise what I want next out of life.
I’d found my own little paradise in Kozarica, I meditated several times a day, ate nothing but fresh organic goodness, exercised to the point of needing a wheelchair. I read, I wrote, I made new some new friends and had the most incredible five day Holidate I couldn’t have even dreamed up.
In terms of Operation #SYLO, I’ve made as much progress as I want to for now…
1. I know I want to relocate…..Hong Kong, New York, Mumbai, Paris, Singapore, Oslo…anywhere
2. I don’t think I’m ready to hang up my career clogs just yet. I’ve worked ridiculously hard to get myself specialised in a pretty niche area of strategic sourcing and business transformation – these skills are high in demand, and I’d be stupid to walk away
3. There’s no rush. I’m a little bit enamoured with the idea of taking time out and having no idea what will happen next
I love that people who prefer a more conformist life path look at me like I am absolutely DERANGED. They definitely think it’s some sort of Quarter Life Crisis and can’t seem to harness the excitement that I feel for the unknown, for adventure… just in the same way that I can’t get my head around why you would want to play life safe.
For this is what we do.
Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love; the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing; the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.