How Dubrovnik became my home

During extensive travel throughout Croatia and Europe and a career in the travel industry which spans more than 30 years, I  have always searched out special gems that are perfect for the discriminating traveler who desires to see the Dalmatian Coast not only as it exists today but also as it once was.

Silvana Jakus, in The Thousand Islands of the Croatian Adriatic, beautifully describes my emotions forDubrovnik, which I hope to pass on to you.

 “The first journey to Croatia is always an adventure, a trip into the unknown. On subsequent explorations, familiarity refines the hidden depths of beauty; personal recognition enhances sights and sounds. Like good wine, true fulfillment comes only after anticipation, cultivation and dedication. You will know when you feel it. It is like an emotional longing, which has suddenly been satisfied.”

My love affair with Croatia, the country of my heritage, began with my first visit to Dubrovnik in 1971.  There was an intense feeling of homecoming, which grew profoundly through many repeated visits.  After a 2007 journey exploring the Dalmatian coast in a small sailing vessel, I decided to act on this feeling and made my dream come true by making Dubrovnik my home.  I relocated from California in January 2008 and once again walked down the Stradun to my beloved ancestral home and the adventure truly began.

Living a local lifestyle but raised in the United States offers an interesting perspective. While it is easy to miss certain items and foods, it provides a spectacular appreciation of the everyday things here that the natives take for granted. I do not define myself as an American ex-pat; I am striving to fit in and live as a Croatian.

Becoming a local resident has been a series of trial and error. My language skills in Croatian have improved but keeping my small English/Croatian dictionary available helps me through conversations that are more intellectual. I watch the local English language TV shows with Croatian subtitles, which give me insights that sometimes what I heard as one word is actually three!

The assimilation to the Croatian culture continues and it is with this insight, this “outsider trying to fit in” view, I can offer you a unique vantage point. Writing the “Essence of Dubrovnik”, I hope to share things that stand out to make this a very special place, both as a tourist and as a resident. Other travel writers from this area are either lifelong residents or people who have only been tourists. They write about the typical, the things everyone has on some list of things to do.

Come visit with me and we will share what is behind, underneath, and inside this marvelous town…

13 thoughts on “How Dubrovnik became my home

  1. I think we should talk one day in Dubrovnik, about Dubrovnik. Congratulations for your Essence of Dubrovnik! Simona

  2. I love your story! I think you do offer a wonderful and unique perspective–when I first found your blog, I thought you were a native Croatian who spoke very good English! 😉 Keep it up, Dubrovniklady!

  3. Most readers don’t know that I am an American with Croatian heritage. Last week I finally got my Croatian citizenship, so I am now officially dual.

  4. How privileged you are to return to the country of your ancestors, and how much joy will you find in doing so. I look forward to sharing with you.

    • I often wonder why it took my 37 years to make my dream of living here come to fruition.

  5. I am so glad I found your blog! I remember you visited mine once in very early days when I barely knew what I was doing with it to be honest. It is hard for me to express how delighted I am to see Dubrovnik and how sad I am to see it in the same time. I left Croatia for NZ 18 years ago. It is wonderful place and I am glad you enjoying it. I long for it …
    Take Care

  6. Your story is inspiring – thank you for sharing! I look forward to keeping up with your adventures.

    • Life is one very big adventure and I love being here at the finish line.

  7. Hi,
    I am honoured to nominate you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Please pick-up your award at Copy and Paste the Award to your blog and follow the rules of acceptance. I am very aware that some people do not wish to participate in Awards, and I completely respect that… no strings! But in any case, Congratulations, you have a Lovely Blog 🙂

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