My name is Erin and it has been TWELVE MONTHS and three days since my last trip to Europe, but I am thankfully returning THIS WEEK. And yes, I’m super late with my Croatia content because I went right from that trip to finding a job to finding an apartment to settling in to a busy spring and summer. But some of what’s in Zadar hasn’t changed for centuries, so I’m pretty sure everything I loved about this picturesque town on the Adriatic Sea is still the way that it was a year ago–even if nothing about my own life is the same as then.
If you follow this blog or know me in real-life, you may be thinking this is where I finally reveal that I shouldn’t have traveled with someone to Croatia who I had just met in August in Ireland a few months earlier. After all, I have yet to even mention my Croatian adventure beyond my recaps (October, 2017, Where to Travel in 2018). But the truth is, that wasn’t a mistake. In fact, since my traveling companion and I didn’t know each other that well, it was easier to go with the flow than if we’d been traveling with people we knew for longer. And we’ve stayed friends, even meeting up in NYC just a few weeks ago.
Many people get excited about the end of the year because of the holidays, the time off, the food, and seeing family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, all of that is awesome (duh), but another tradition I get excited about around this time is seeing the next year’s “where to travel” lists, the pinnacle, of course, being the NY Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2018.” Yes, I was one of the 9,000 people to apply for the job of visiting and writing about each of the 52 places over the upcoming year. I didn’t get it.
How do you measure, measure a year? 2017 was the year I spent time in 13 different countries and 11 different states. I traveled to Europe three times. I set foot on my fifth continent. I revisited London, Indianapolis, Ireland, and Portugal. I reunited with friends from college in Prague and Dublin and old coworkers in London, Chicago, and Dubrovnik. I traveled for 10 days in Cape Town with someone I met in Mandalay and for 12 days in Croatia with someone I met in Dublin. A twelfth of my year was spent dog-sitting, both in Chicago and Jersey City. I added Shenandoah National Park to my list of U.S. National Parks.
When I returned from Ireland and Portugal in August, I have to admit I was in a mood. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the decisions I’ve made that have allowed me to travel so much this year and last, but I was sad that it was coming to an end. I couldn’t stop thinking about traveling and couldn’t stop messaging with people I’d met during my travels and so, I took off again. A friend I’d met in Dublin was heading to Croatia, which has been on my list for ages, at a time when I had nothing else planned. So I found a cheap flight and flew back to Europe, feeling normal again on the way there.