Good Golly Zaton Mali
It occurs to me that when it comes to travel, there are two very distinct Merediths. First there is the Meredith who is struck by an idea (in this case- Croatia), does some research, books a trip, and then plans plans plans her little heart out. And then there is the other Meredith- the Follow Through Meredith who has to show up at the airport and proceed to execute on all the sh!t Planning Meredith came up with. I say that, because to this day I still struggle when it comes time to actually blasting off on a plan. Mostly due to my old friend anxiety. Planes are where we reunite. Initially I sit there in my little assigned seat with shallow breaths and shaky hands, trying to somehow convince myself that once again I can indeed do this. And I do. So far I've made it through all of the plans. I haven't turned back yet. I'll even go so far as to say that sometimes my flights wind up being downright pleasant. Take yesterday, for example, when I found myself on a 787 Dreamliner, complete with mood lighting and touchscreen everything- even the windows! Dig that.
And now here I sit, on one of Planning Merediths trips, on the balcony of my rental in Zaton Mali right outside of Dubrovnik, sipping a Shandy and watching the sun dip over the ocean. There is a curvy road between my place and the Bay, and tiny little sardine tin cars with funny license plates zip by, one after another. Below me is a utilitarian store, where locals tend to congregate for brief chats that trickle up through the open doors to my rental. Earlier today I walked down to the water's edge to soak up some rays, and then ordered takeout from a nearby restaurant- from a gentleman who spoke no English. I used the point and smile method to relay my order, while he employed nods and a careful eye to make sure he’d gotten things right. He had.
Yesterday I visited Old Town Dubrovnik, which seems to be completely made of stone, is on the Adriatic Sea, and is surrounded by fortress walls. On my way here I made a friend at the airport- an astrophysicist if you can believe that, a girl way younger than me, and way more accomplished, whose in town for a conference. We met up at the Gates to Old Town and together set out on a day of exploration. We walked atop the fortress walls, stopped for lunch, took pictures, hung out with a couple of Australian cliff divers, stopped again for a Shandy, walked more, took more pictures, you get the idea. Everywhere in Dubrovnik lies a sight more beautiful and charming than the last. And it’s only the beginning. I have a whole month to go…
There are, of course, always going to be logistical challenges when taking on this kind of trip- setting up the right VPN so I can still work my day job, making sure I have enough convertors, recovering from insane jet lag, making time to meet my writing deadlines, trying to figure out what the hell anyone is ever saying to me… but it’s all worth it. In the end the rewards chisel the challenges and anxieties down to almost nothing. So for now I’ll continue on, and allow Planning Meredith to guide the way, because my only other option is to shut her down, and I simply can’t do that. She’s the one who keeps me from living the shielded life I am completely and utterly not built for. Follow Through Meredith can now sit on this balcony, continue to let her gaze linger upon the bay of Zaton, and raise her Shandy in a toast to that.