Monday, 08 August 2022
Home is a feeling not a place, but in terms of locations, for me, it’s Croatia Gillie Sutherland

Home is a feeling not a place, but in terms of locations, for me, it’s Croatia

Written by  Gillie Sutherland Dec 12, 2021

It’s the time of year when, wherever I am, the same questions arise, including - 

“Aren’t you going home for Christmas, dear?”.

It’s funny isn’t it, how people assume that if you’re not in the country of your origin, that you’re not “home”.

For me, I grew up in the 80s and I can still recite the lyrics of nearly every single that made it into the Hit Parade back then.

“Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”.

Thanks to Paul Young for that one. I now have the perfect answer to the question I always dread.

It’s true though. I can feel at home wherever I am, but this year was particularly unusual, because when I was asked that question I replied saying I’d be back in Spring.

I was referring to Konavle, Dubrovnik, Molunat, Croatia not the U.K.

Wow. This country has become my home.

It’s seems timely to celebrate this fact, as it is exactly two years today that finally nailed my decision to leave the U.K.

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Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home - Photo Gillie Sutherland 

I had lived abroad before, in countries all over the world, but I had been quite settled in Devon in the South West.

When I announced that I was leaving to go and live in Croatia, people didn’t understand why. Was I crazy? Perhaps. But not in this decision.

“I just think it’s time to get out of the country”, I said. It was December 12th 2019, it was quite late at night, a few glasses of wine down, and many, many tears later. You can probably work out the rest from that.

Anyway it turns out that yes, it was a crazy idea, but also yes, it was the best decision I ever made in my life.

It was time to get out of the country. I found myself a safe harbour in Croatia, and I’ve stayed here since, not regretting it once.

Of course, no one could have predicted what has happened in the past two years, but I could have predicted how it was dealt with.

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"Angel" friend from Konavle in Zadar - Photo Gillie Sutherland 

I’m so grateful to all those people who helped me get my residence here, these people make me feel like I’m “home”.

I love the fact that I’ve met up with two friends from Konavle in the last two weeks, and I’ve got a group coming up to see me next month for my birthday. They make me feel at home, even whilst I’m here in Zadar.

When I’m out hiking with a group of 12 nationalities, it’s the best feeling in the world. We are different but we are all connected. That feels like “home”.

I realise that I can feel at home wherever I am when I tune into my environment and the people around me, and make choices about what and who makes me feel like home.

Home is a feeling not a place, but in terms of locations, for me, it’s Croatia.

Hvala Hrvatska!

Read more Gillie here...  


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Cavtat. A professional Wellness Consultant she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

To find out more about Gillie go to


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