I love travelling but sometimes travelling can go horribly wrong, this is one of those stories. Don’t let it put you off though, because as you will read I had many silver linings during the shitstorm. I’ve wrote this blog post in order to show that although there are a hell of a lot of highs whilst travelling, sometimes things will just fuck up. The truth is though, its ok when things fuck up because there will always be someone around, be it a stranger or friend that will lend a hand or provide you with a reason to smile in the shitstorm.
Everything started out smoothly. We got our megabus on time to London, it had aircon which was awesome because it was a really hot day. So far, so good.
We got on the national express in London Victoria to go to the Stanstead airport, I checked my email then….. SHIT! Up pops a casual email from Ryanair telling us that our flight has been cancelled. Cue me going in to a frenzy of panic crying to my travel buddy “Ryan fix it, Ryan fix it!”. Luckily a guy on our bus had also had an email saying his flight was cancelled and got the bus driver to stop 5 minutes out of London Victoria station so he could get off. In a split second moment I jumped up and told Ryan we were getting off as well. As we were stood at the side of the road we decided to take Ryanairs offer to refund our flight given that there was no alternate flights they could offer us to Croatia. Then Ryan looked up alternative flights whilst I did what I normally do in a crisis, chain smoke and phone my mum to cry. Yes, I might have been turning 30 but I still need my mum and I still need a bad habit that I’m yet to knock on the head.
Now my mum and stepdad are terrible when it comes to emotional support(the last time I cried in front of them was super awkward) but they are legends when it comes to practical support. Ryan couldn’t find any flights in our price range(middle of the 6 weeks holidays and extremally last minute) but as soon as I got on the phone to my mum my stepdad was straight on the computer looking for flights to Croatia. Within 5 minutes of me crying on the phone my mum and stepdad had found a flight to Croatia from Bristol the following day which was in our price range and because Bristol is my parents home town we could stay with them overnight. Granted it was to Dubrovnik which was completely out the way of where we wanted to be but it was Croatia so we were saved! Thank you parents! With that my parents booked the flights, we booked our buses from Dubrovnik to Split then onwards to Sibenik to pick up our holiday where we were originally meant to be on the Monday, we booked our megabus to Bristol and at last we could breathe, for now.
We went to get some food whilst we waited for our bus and it dawned on me that not only would I be in the UK for part of my birthday, I would be with my parents. This is karma for all the times I’ve said “I don’t see why people go to work on their birthday, I’m never even in the UK on my birthday”. This realisation was made as the excitement in my mum’s voice of seeing me on my birthday grew with every phone call. Subtlety is not her strong point. Now I know where I get it from. With this realisation I planned a Toby Carvery breakfast and phoned round my Bristol friends to see if they could come. Some weren’t available but two of my friends agreed to come so I was happy about that. We got to my parents late on the eve of my birthday. My parents picked us up, fed us and made the cats give us cat cuddles. They are goodens sometimes. And to all my parent friends reading this scared about your babies growing up and not needing you anymore, this is proof that you will always be needed, probably more so when their adults.
The morning came and after the computer being really slow printing our new travel documents out we bundled in to the car to go to Toby Carvery before heading to the airport. On the way to Toby Carvery my stepdad said “oh by the way your flight is delayed by an hour”. We’d rather stupidly booked our coach from Dubrovnik bus station to Split an hour and half after the flight landed thinking we’d make it, foolish mistake. We went for breakfast and I wanted to be happy because I was surrounded by 5 lovely people who cared about me but I wasn’t. I was flustered and stressed so I apologised profusely and shoved Yorkshire puddings down my throat(yes I know, the epitome of a British person).
We got to the airport and found out that our flight was definitely delayed. We phoned the bus company in Croatia that we’d booked with. The person who answered couldn’t understand us and told us to email them so we did. I then preceded to ask Ryan every 2 minutes if we’d got an email back from them. We did get a reply an hour later, I quickly made the payment for the price difference and we were sorted.
Whilst on the phone to my mum at the airport she asked me to phone her to let her know we were there safe. This sounds like a normal request for most people from their parents but as soon as my mum realised at the age of 18 that I was destined for a life of travel she decided to only worry if I hadn’t posted anything on Facebook for 5 days. So I asked my mum rather confused as to why and she told me that because of everything that had gone wrong she felt weird and needed to know this time. Now I’m scared of flying(hard to believe I know given my obsession with travel) so this did not fill me with hope. With that I got on the plane and begged some poor man to swap seats with me so I could be next to Ryan on the flight. He reluctantly agreed after being guilt tripped by his wife and daughter who were sat in front of him and felt sorry for me. Ryan then put some relaxing music on his phone for me so I couldn’t hear the plane sounds, held my hand and I had a lovely flight. I didn’t even panic during the turbulence. I said to Ryan after we go off the plane that although I know he thinks my thing about reading peoples vibes and energies is a load of rubbish I believe that because he has calming vibes I feel like his energy got passed on to me as we were holding hands on the plane which is why I was so calm.
On our bus in to Dubrovnik I knew straight away that I had made the right choice in coming to Croatia. My god it was stunning! The greenery, the islands, the way the sun glistened on the water surrounding the islands, wow! We had a nice meal whilst waiting for the coach from Dubrovnik to Split. We went straight for Croatia’s speciality, seafood. It most definitely did not disappoint, both on that night and on the rest of the trip.
Following that we had a weird sleepless night of travelling, hanging out in Split bus station as drunken backpackers walked past and many hours on coaches. I also got a text whilst on the coach to Split saying my best friend’s dad had sadly lost his battle with cancer, cue a lot of hushed tears on the coach. Yes definitely the worst birthday ever!
When we arrived in Sibenik at 7am we headed straight for our hostel. The owner of the hostel wasn’t around yet so the cleaner told us to leave our bags there and we could come back at 8am when the owner would be there. During breakfast I started to crash. Now since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression those who know me well know I can’t function on little sleep. I get weepy, I get moany and I get even more sensitive than what I already am. We went back to the hostel but the owner still wasn’t around. The cleaner told us to relax on the communal sofa and seeing that I wasn’t functioning she bought me some cold water which was so sweet and much appreciated given how hot it was already. The owner came in at around 9am and she extended the already amazing Croatian hospitality that we’d already been shown by asking us what we wanted to do that day. After a bit of mumbling about a few places she then preceded to tell us what to see in Sibenik and how to get there. She explained how to get the boat to surrounding islands and where to eat. Given that we were both sleep deprived and brain dead at this point this is exactly what we needed. The cleaner then came down and said she’d already prepared our beds so we could check in early. If you ever find yourself in Sibenik you have to stay in Globo hostel. It is without doubt one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. It wasn’t just the hospitality that was amazing either. The hostel was spotless, relaxed and had an amazing atmosphere. It was clear that the owner took pride in it. It was inspiring to witness a kick ass business woman doing her thing, doing it well and doing it with so much class. With this overwhelming kindness given to us I got a second wind of energy and after a much needed shower we started our holiday.
I realise I’ve done a lot of moaning in this post but during the shitstorm there were moments of happiness and calm that was provided by lovely people both strangers and friends/family. I really hope I’ve put this across well as during this whole experience I really saw that there is some good in the world and it did restore my faith in humanity.