Homeless in Dalmatia

 My recommendation with this passage:

There is something great about listening to St. Germain under the shadow of old stone walls carved two thousand years ago, with a cup of coffee and watching a soup of folks stroll on by. Draped in color, both drab and dazzling, with smiles and scowls in their heads and the dust of desire in their hands.

There is something about sitting at a table, all to yourself and watching the waitress trapeze through the crowd like some lithe tightrope walker, the tray of drinks held precariously above her head, only her fingertips pressing the underside and gravity doing the rest. With practiced skill and centrifugal force, she glides through and with a few narrow misses comes to a graceful stop in front of a table lined with thirsty visitors from foreign lands, their speech both harsh and supple.

Something about traveling, observing the people that walk in and out of your life in mere moments and the striking memories you somehow retain despite the lack of contact or purpose. And those that you lose.

Writing has become a practiced therapy, one that allows me to unwind from the rigors of movement, traveling from place to place, never having a permanent place to rest my head. My interim homelessness has allowed me liberation, and the ability to see the world from a different angle.

An angle that often presents itself while moving, looking out of a bus window or walking down the street with a heavy pack on my shoulders and lost in thought, I have these chilling moments of absolute lucidity, where an idea surfaces from the choppy waters of my mind and becomes calm. If I am walking, I typically run down whoever lies in my path, except for light poles – they don’t move.

The last two nights landed us in Makarska, and under the stars we found respite. Luck, often absent, gave us two blown up air mattresses and a deserted beach, the rest we managed to sort out with a sleeping bag and some piled luggage. With a soft breeze off the Adriatic, we slept for two nights on the Makarskan beach. It was an unbelievable experience. The first night yielded perfect weather, a clear sky and warm early hours. The next, presented flashes of lightning, quaking thunder, and a thick blanket of rain from which we sought refuge in a cafe down the way.

At midnight, the wind began to pick up, enough for both of us to wake up from our deep slumber on the Adriatic. Groggy from the passage through REM, we shook awake at the first rumblings of thunder and the increasing wind. Protected by a great wall of basalt that stretches into the ocean, our spot on the rocky beach was assumed to be a bastion of safety. Though Nature had other plans.

Tiffany arose and was gone in moments to find us shelter with her headlamp aglow, while I sat there like a fool trying to wrangle the straps on my sandals while stuffing my sleeping bag into my 70L with little success.

“Tiffany!” Goddamn bag. “Tiffany! We gotta go! Now!” Screaming into the wind was like yelling into a pillow, no dice.

Our inter tubes, like parchment in the wind were threatening to blow down the beach. With some serious effort I managed to lay a couple small boulders on them as anchors and with one last heave, zipped up my bag and threw it on my shoulders. Cursing at the sandal that was only half on my foot and the heel digging into the only sharp stone on the beach, I turned around quickly to a panting Tiffany who effortlessly threw on her pack and pointed South to the caffe-bar down the way, its faux palm leaf room rustling dangerously with the rough gale.

Limping and furious, I resumed my taunting of whatever Storm God I could get out on my lips whilst the wind was nearing hurricane strength. Despite all this, the environment was spectacular. I realized with sudden clarity that even with the pain underfoot and the inconvenience, that this was a moment I would look back on with love.

And so it was, the moment we took shelter, the sky as if on cue opened up and poured. A deluge, harder than I have ever seen it rain. The storm was furious, but our haven warm and dry. At the base of a bar I slept like a baby, the sound of rain hitting the roof with hard strikes. The nice gentleman that was working the night shift graciously allowed us in and granted us shelter. We never got his name, his hospitality was enough.

In that moment, under the bar and during the night I felt entirely homeless. A man without a place to call home, a complete fool for thinking the clouds over the sea were not thunderheads, and so in love with this new and exciting life I found myself in. None of these thoughts were enough to stave off the exhaustion however, and I fell fast asleep.

The next six hours were not exactly the best I ever had but what the hell, that’s life, and this experience will remain one of the most colorful I have had yet in Croatia and in the world. I wanted adventure, so I get what I asked for.

I am leaving tomorrow for Sarajevo, there perhaps I will find some measure of fulfillment off the beaten track with home-cooked meals, good conversation, and sound company. I think for now, I have seen what I wished to see in Croatia. This place is far too stunning to be left alone for too long and I know for certain that I will be back, there is far more to explore and learn.  I think that the winter would be a better time, and I hear Plitvice Lakes are stunning while covered in snow and ice.

The most difficult moments are often the best memories. Something to keep in mind if you are looking to grow, open yourself up to new possibilities by experiencing the unknown and confronting your fears.

As for now, its an old Roman ruin I must explore and some octopus pizza calling my name.

All my best from the Dalmatian Coast,



3 thoughts on “Homeless in Dalmatia

  1. You’re right Sean. Some of the most trying times are the ones you remember and learn the most from. That experience in Makarska will be one of them…fondly remembered. Stay safe as you journey to Sarajevo and wherever you may go. With my love always, Mom. PS. Love the touch of “St Germain”.

  2. Sean,
    Loved the music put this piece. Really creative idea.

    These adventures! I couldn’t help but laugh at your expense seeing you in my head, limping away after the sandal incident.

    Brilliant imagery, by the way!

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