Do you ever think about the stress that comes from the feeling of having to do something? Or, better yet – living up to the expectations of others through this concept?
I do. A lot.
When I arrived to the lovely little island of Olib in the Zadar archipelago last summer, I felt like someone had put me into a freezer after having been through scorching hot hell. Harsh (and illogical) comparison perhaps, but that was literally how it felt. I had gone through a burnout – physically, mentally, and spiritually, and this was where I would start my long-awaited retreat. Finally, I had the time to zoom out of my self-inflicted problems to rethink what my life had become.
Imagine the scenery – clear blue sea, colorful facades, olive groves, plenty of sun. In many ways, a typical Dalmatian island. A classic holiday. Still, there were more reasons that this place made me feel even further away from my everyday life.
1. forget about cars
Cars. There are none on Olib. When you make it to this island after a 2-hour boat ride from Zadar, all you see is… golf carts. I found that partly amusing and partly upsetting. I would much rather prefer something more authentic, like old-school bikes, or a donkey!
Which brings me to the second difference of this island amongst many others – its population. The majority of the people now living on Olib left over half a century ago, making it to the United States, even South America. Today they’re back, enjoying retirement Croatian style. The people at Olib also helped me slow down (really slow down) and look at life from a different point of view.
fun fact: 100 years ago, Olib had over 2000 inhabitants, today it counts about 100!
Thanks to my don’t-do-much-research-prior-to-trip habit, my knowledge of this tiny Croatian gem’s geography was limited. After a quick research (Internet, our hosts), what I found out was that there’s basically only one (bigger) village on the island, and we were in it. I was literally sentenced to recollection for those few days, which I imagined would be totally enough to figure out how I’d got myself into so much stress in the first place. And here I am, a year later, rethinking the entire situation once again.
Getting away from having to do something made me open my eyes to the beautiful differences of this island amongst many others.
1. truly untouched beaches
Just a 15-minute ride away, discover an utmost picturesque, turquoise water and white sand beach at Slatina Bay. Similar to Saharun on Dugi Otok minus the beach bar, you practically have the whole place to yourself.
2. peaceful evenings
No clubs, no noisy public transportation, no crowds of students playing drinking games until all hours of the night. Just one bar fit for the needs of all generations, whether it be vanilla ice-cream or Jack and Coke.
Every few days the islanders take a trip to the mainland to visit the farmers market. The locals have a hard time stocking up on fresh fruit and veggies, but packing fish, mussels, shrimps, and meat into huge freezers does the trick. After that, all that’s left is the preparation. And there you go, a mouthwatering Dalmatian dish – škampi na buzaru.
Looking back, I think I can say that I did relax those few days. I remember receiving some emails and reading them as though I were decoding hieroglyphics. Surrounded by untouched Dalmatian nature with an unsteady wifi connection, everything digital became so relative, far, and unpleasing.
Do you ever get yourself sick over the feeling that you have to do something? Do you take time for your body and soul to reevaluate and rest?
I hope so, and I must admit – Dalmatia is the perfect place to do just that.