One thing on everybody's mind in Dubrovnik this week is the weather. We are experiencing below freezing temperatures and snow fall which is quite unusual. Still, listening to some of our people going on about the weather you might think there is an end-of-days ice age upon us. Realistically, it's not that bad, but then again, I might be biased seeing how most of my work in January takes place in the confines of a warm office. It’s fair to say, I am enjoying winter. There is one thing on my mind that's putting a dent in my mood, though. It's too cold to ride my motorcycle. I kept postponing a short motorcycle trip to test my new travel gear during December and now it's too cold to even try. The rush of 7-day work week and insane pressure to make money will be upon me in no time and I might end up not finding the time to do so much as a weekend ride across the border before the summer season starts.
Taking a few days off to ride around for my own piece of mind is impossible for much of the year because of work. My best bet for travelling is a period of late autumn and beginning of winter. Unfortunately, in 2016 life got in the way and I ended the year on a very sour note having done no trips outside of Dubrovnik. Maybe I come off sounding like a seasoned motorcycle veteran, but I'm far from it. By the time I was 30 I have never ridden a proper motorcycle (maxi scooters don't count). Then I finally got one and planned on doing some travelling with it just to see if it's as fun as it looks. After a few years and couple of shorter trips I finally ventured out on a 5-day ride through several countries in late 2015. It was raining most of the time, there were mechanical problems along the way, even some minor health issues, but by the time it was done, I knew I was hooked.
There is something about simply hitting the road and driving away from my everyday life that always gets my heart racing. Venturing into the unknown, preferably alone, is just about the best feeling you can experience. When you find yourself in a place foreign to you, it’s easy to put things in perspective and reflect on your life with a clear mind. It’s therapeutic.
There was a moment of epiphany during my 2015 ride that I will probably never forget. It was Day 2 of the trip and I was crossing from Macedonia into Greece during a very rainy day. I was navigating using a map (trying to be old-school) and managed to take a wrong turn which lead me to a small town of Florina, outside of the planned route. Within Florina the rain started pouring down like crazy and it made navigation even more difficult. Soon, I was simply picking out where to go on a hunch, hoping to get back out to the main road. Being of particularly calm disposition, it didn’t take long for me to start shouting at myself and calling myself an idiot. You can do that when you have a helmet on, people around you usually don’t realise you are shouting. Strangely, that didn’t help my navigation skills and I ended up on an unknown road, riding through a small settlement somewhere outside of town feeling lost and stupid.
I calmed down enough to start thinking about it more clearly and it dawned on me the main reason for my frustration was simply moving slower than originally planned. The fact I was lost had nothing to do with it. In fact, after a while, I didn’t even feel lost. I knew where I was: on a road in Greece passing by some old guy’s garage. It was then I realised that “being lost” is a very strange concept. In the majority of situations, it’s simply not being able to describe where you are using terms someone else wrote down on a map. That, in itself is not a good or a bad thing. If you simply follow the road it will lead you somewhere. It’s up to you to figure out if that’s where you want to be or continue travelling.
When you are discovering new places, broadening your horizons, you can’t really get lost. You can only discover things different from those you originally planned. There’s nothing to be afraid of, because every road leads somewhere.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page. www.insiderholidays.eu www.facebook.com/insiderholidays