For those who don’t want to read: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/melanated-stamps/id1450577060
For me, this place is, was, and always will be special. Not special like Colombia, but very spiritually significant. In my sojourn across and through 12 countries in Europe last year, I found this gem. I halfway knew this place existed, but not really. After a bad day at work teaching hard-to-love children, I went home and booked my ticket to Paris, France. A month later, on another bad day at work, I decided my trip would be 2 months instead of 2 weeks cuz I need more time to recover. On another bad day, I decided I’m just not gonna come back to America at all. On another bad day, I purchased a seat in a CELTA class to get certified in teaching English. And then I had all good days after that cuz I knew the bad days had an end date. June 1, 2019—the end of the school year. June 2, 2019 10:40am was my flight to Paris. Go ‘head young ones. Cuss me out and tell me about my edges. I’m gonna be taking selfies next to the Eiffel Tower and eating macarons of all flavors in T minus 12 days..T minus 11 days.. T minus 10 days…
Once I got serious about leaving and my epic, and now extended, European adventure, I started tracing possible paths around the continent during staff meetings, rush hour traffic, planning time, lunch, at stop lights, during family dinners, during Netflix and Chill with me and Bae Pillow-Blanket, during the twilight moments before my alarm would startle me to my reality, and when I zoned out on dates and monologues with potential suitors who told me I was wasting money by traveling and not working. I had been planning to do another route altogether, but that one bad day aforementioned (see above paragraph re: “not coming back” cuz 9-year-old homegirl cussed me out cuz I didn’t let her eat Cheetos during math class), I decided to reserve a seat in a CELTA course in Bulgaria. Bulgaria and CELTA will definitely be a podcast/blogpost later.
Adding Bulgaria meant that I had to reroute my whole vacation—and also life trajectory, but that’s yet another blog entry and podcast episode. I had everything booked up to about Italy. And then, I looked at Italy and CELTA date and Italy and CELTA date and back to Italy..Whew! I had a lot of ground to cover in a mere 5 days! I had to somehow get from Venice, Italy to Sofia, Bulgaria in 5 days! But I didn’t want to just fly directly cuz that’s dumb and I’m poor and flying is expensive and too easy. I chose to fly across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia and then work my way down the coast. Besides, the goal of my trip was to practice meandering and being journey-centric, not destination-centric—a life tendency that I’m trying to break. The whole “finish line is better than smelling the flowers along the way” has me definitely spending many-a-coin in therapy right now.
Next hard thing. I speak English and Spanish. Spanish at like 60% fluency overall but 93% fluency at a Mexican restaurant. These languages are very helpful in Europe because words at least kinda look familiar. Italian, French, Portuguese, German kinda are like step-sisters. I knew that when I crossed the Adriatic Sea, I could say goodbye to linguistic kinship and would have to survive buses and navigating in Slavic languages with weird scribbles and patterns and sounds.
Upon planning my trip, I thought that, in theory, if Croatia was as beautiful as I remembered, that I could take buses from city to city along the coast and get some sneak-peeks of the water. I hate buses. Car trips. Road trips. But I’m poor. Trans-country bus it is.
From Venice, I took a plane and landed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Second time here in Croatia. Gorgeous.
I was right. I would wake up from slumbering and halfway drooling on myself to unbelievable views of the water and cliffs and rocks and so much blue like this
In planning my trip those successive bad days at work, I did lots of Googling and if a place on Google Images looked pretty, it made it to my short list. I remember looking up Montenegro and thinking, “Bruh this don’t even look real! Let me gon’head and check it out myself and see.” It was. And is.
After having the opportunity to live and see beauty and serenity and calm for a couple days, I was ripe for a chapter end and chapter begin. I could feel my soul and heart becoming vulnerable and I made a deliberate decision to bare to myself my wounds and aches and pains and grief for the second time in my life. And that led me to my spiritual moment of release and re-setting.
I decided to write this extended blog post so that you could chronicle and place this volume in its correct home on my life memoir bookshelf. “Montenegro and the Sunset Reset” Volume goes somewhere after “Denver: I Quit” and “China: What Happens If I Just Start Over.”
Here are some other things I found in Ulcinj, Montenegro, this tiny beach town, on my way up and down from my sunset moment.
Ok. Now you can listen to the podcast episode. It’ll make more sense now that you have context.
Have you ever had a spiritual moment like mine where your vulnerability was honored by an opportunity to end a chapter of pain and complacency? Or where you learned a lesson about your self and the purpose of life whilst abroad? I’d love to hear your story! Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your story featured here!