My number one travel tip is this: CHECK THE WEATHER OF YOUR DESTINATION ONE LAST TIME...BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME! I failed to do that on my vacation to Europe and unseasonably cold weather re-routed my entire itinerary (I packed the lightest jacket for rainy, 40 F weather). I headed south to the Balkan Peninsula after about a week in Amsterdam, Innsbruck, Venice, and Ljubljana. And if I can be completely honest with you, I was not only cold and disappointed, but I was lonely too. It is a beautiful experience to connect with others while traveling, but I think my bad mood hindered meaningful interactions. So when I arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia, I consciously decided to greet every black persons I laid eyes on in the city.
Why every black person? Good question. Since I assumed there would be less black people here than I could count on one hand, this seemed like a feasible method to find someone, anyone, to connect with.
As I walked through the old city, I was surprised to see multiple people of color during May; which is traditionally considered the low season. I eventually met three foreigners on my first day but encountered over seven! That's about seven more than I expected if you're wondering. Ultimately, my interactions resulted in a cafe conversation with a newlywed couple and dinner with another solo female traveler.
Interesting Fact: The picture above is of the island Lokrum; about a 20 minute boat ride from Dubrovnik. For roughly 15 Euros, you can visit this breathtaking natural window, learn some cool history, and feed some "wild" rabbits and peacocks. Supposedly, there is a nude beach here too.
My first day in Dubrovnik lifted my spirits so much that I began meeting people effortlessly. For example at Copacabana Dubrovnik, pictured above, a stumbled upon a swimwear photo shoot featuring social media influencers. I pulled out my tripod and proceeded to do my own thing. Moments after I took this glorified selfie, the photographer from the shoot approached me. He asked if he could take my photo and guess what? We're still friends to this day. I even met up with him in Amsterdam for an official photography session.
Overall, Dubrovnik taught me so many lessons. Here a few discoveries I made while here:
My attitude determines my experience, but my experience does not have to determine my attitude.
Be open to unexpected conversations with beautiful souls. Your journey is about the people you meet not just the destinations you visit.
CHECK THE WEATHER ON THE DAY OF TRAVEL!!
Meet Abena -- a girl desperate to find beauty in the world wherever life takes her. This is her journal of discoveries organized by location and featuring tripod iphonography.