Today I’m looking back on my trip to Croatia and feeling inspired. The people, the architecture, and the language are unique and beautiful, but the one thing that stuck with me was their simpler lifestyle. I took the photo above in a small town called Metkovic, which is about 2 hours north of the city of Dubrovnik. This straightforward and almost boring photo reminds me of the easygoing days I had while visiting this small town with a population of about 15,000.
As I go through my daily checklist here in California – ordering groceries online so I don’t even have to go in the store and pick them out, buying everything from toothpaste to t-shirts on Amazon Prime and having them at my doorstep the next day, meal prepping so all I have to do is stick my food in the microwave all week and eat in front of my computer while I work, driving through Starbucks to get my drink to go and to accompany me as I run my next errand, I realize that those systems set in place in the American culture are meant to make our lives easier but at the same time, they make cooperation, community, and patience a thing of our past.
While abroad I watched people get excited to head out to a market and gather fresh ingredients to bring home and spend hours cooking for family. I witnessed people taking lengthy work breaks to meet up with friends for coffee (and not the drive through kind!). I learned to live without most electronics and pass my time playing cards or on the beach with a good book. Lastly, I noticed people happily spending time hanging laundry out to dry with seemingly zero distractions.
While I’m not necessarily surprised by this difference in culture when traveling, and while many of these differences aren’t even cultural but rather generational, this served as a reminder to me to enjoy the little things and cherish the time with the people in my life.