Here I am back in the very village where I first had thoughts which eventually coalesced into what is now The Plan. I have extremely fond memories of this place; romantic, 40th birthday, happy, contented, a certain kind of home coming.
It was mere a stepping stone on the way to where I am now regarding The Plan, and even Orebić was a continuation of this journey. I've had a spectacular holiday, of course, but it was also another pause to see if I could live in a cottage, alone, in a foreign country, and not go crazy in the process. I'm aware that a fortnight is not a year, and I still have many concerns.
I've been listening to two American ladies honestly discussing ex-pat life, and their experiences have given me more insight into the pleasures and challenges than I ever thought possible. Their discussions around language, frustrations, isolation, making friends, cultural differences, jobs and employment, health etc etc have enabled me to re-assess my naive 'oh everything will be fine' attitude.
It's one thing to have a pipedream, an another to set the process going in order to make it happen. Crystallising the Dreams. Or alternatively in Croatian, sve je moguće. I think that pretty much sums up what I've been having mental fun with recently. How can you prepare for what is going to be a fullfilment of a dream? It makes the saving, language learning, and practical research simple in comparison.
Many people spending time in a different country may wonder why I'm agonising about this so much. 'Is it that a big a deal', they'd query. It's not like I've never travelled, or am from an unadventurous family. I mean, when my brother was fed up of family, he ran away to Barcelona, and had to be sent back by the authorities! We are fairly intrepid, so I think the podcast ladies have stirred up some deeply embedded insecurities.
I keep coming back to the question -what the hell am I going to do here for a year? I'm oscillating between putting Croatian art history on the map, writing a historical novel reconstructing the world of August I of Saxony, continuing my art podcasts...or even all of the above, but this feels rather narrow in scope. And above all 'static'.
I've realised this last few months that being stationary is very bad for me - actually I've always know this. I've climbed mountains, walked miles along the coast, swam extensively and regularly, and frankly I haven't felt better. Not since the last holiday anyway. So whatever I do here, can't see me sat at a computer for 7 hours a day. Maybe volunteer my gardening services? Or moonlight on a fishing boat?? Teach yoga (badly) to the squirrels???
Yes I know, I think far too much. I should let go of expectations and judgement, and simply enjoy the process of planning, whilst letting the future take care of itself. After all I am really adaptable, confident, and certain I can do anything. What can I say - I'm trying to lighten up. Which is an appropriate place to end this ramble; the sun is heading westwards towards the islands of Lopud and Šipan, turning the tiny village of Donje Celo into a golden setting for the polished coral-red rooftops. A perfect jewel to aid contemplation indeed.