This is Not a Year-Long Vacation
It’s my second week of my second month on Remote Year. We’re in Belgrade, Serbia.
Many people in my group were sad to leave Prague. The other day, I asked one of those people how he felt about Belgrade. “It’s no Prague,” he said.
I’m grateful. It’s not that I didn’t like Prague, but its maybe its opulence was a bit much for me. If it’s possible to be assaulted by beauty at every turn, I was. And while Prague may have felt slightly undiscovered when I was traveling around Europe during college, now its path is well-worn, and there are tour guides rolling around on Segways and mobs of video camera-holding visitors in the square to catch the “show” at the astronomical tower.
It was also my first month of traveling as part of Remote Year and it seemed like there were fifty different activities happening at all times. Castles. Beer gardens. Museums. Walking tours. Food tours. Wine tastings. Boat rides. Dance clubs. Sunrises at the Charles Bridge. The views from Sunset Hill. What if I miss something? What if I miss everything?
The fact is, I missed most of it, and that’s alright. Even though I was in Prague for an entire month, I barely scratched the surface of what’s there and I suspect that will be true of most of the places I go while I’m traveling this way.
Why? First, this is not a year-long vacation. It’s me, living my life and working as a freelance writer in different locations. Also, I am really picky about how I spend my time, which means I’ll only say “yes” to what truly interests me. Some of my favorite memories from the first month:
- Hiking in Bohemian Switzerland
- Climbing to the top of Petřín Tower
- Sharing delicious meals with my fellow Remotes
- Starting a new tradition called Fancy Lunch Friday
- Visiting a “blind café” with my new friend, Tara, where we had drinks inside a pitch black space
- Sticking it out through a torrential downpour on Sunset Hill and then being rewarded with the most glorious sky over Prague
Now that we’re in Belgrade, the atmosphere is decidedly different. We are among a small number of tourists, which I really appreciate. The other day, my friend Susan and I walked up to the main fortress above the city. The fortress is a beautiful complex of stone walls, green spaces, castle-esque turrets and historical exhibitions. It’s really the tourist attraction here. Even so, we only saw one other small group of people who appeared to be visiting from out of the country. (I know I can’t tell where everyone is from just by observing, but I think you know what I mean.)
Being in Belgrade makes me feel like I’m in on a secret, and I have Remote Year to thank for whispering it in my ear. I probably wouldn’t have ventured here on my own. It feels good to wake up, make coffee, do a bit of grocery shopping, settle in for some writing, and just be here.