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Experiences of a Lifetime: Croatia

Posted by Meabh Scally on

Photo by: Yacht-Rent   

Author Meabh Scally / Category Travel Stories / Published: May 4th, 2019

"They treated us like one of their own."

Summer of 2018 was filled with new experiences for me. I travelled abroad for the first time without my family.

I decided to do a five week study abroad program in Croatia with other students from my school. We spent the first two weeks on an island off the coast of Croatia, Vis, in the town Komiza. There are only 1,600 people on the island, split up between two towns.

I dreaded the inevitable moment of being judged as those stereotypical American tourists. Little did I know I would fall in love with this island and the people on it.

One of the first nights there my friends and I went to a bar on the water. We realized we had not gotten enough of their currency out from the ATM and the bartender just told us,

“that’s okay, just come back tomorrow!”

My friends and I were so shocked that he was so trusting with people he just met. We went back the next day, gave him the money we owed, and ended up talking for hours.

He introduced us to his other friends on the island, which was majority of the island since there were so few people. They treated us like one of their own and were extremely inclusive.

One of the many beautiful beaches in Viz - Copyright Meabh Scally  

I learned so much about the island and the people on it. If you ever visit this island, being open to new experiences and meeting new people is a must! A perfect way to do this is by grabbing some drinks with a great view!

I was told during the winter it gets so cold on Vis that everyone leaves and lives in Split, a popular tourist spot in Croatia, and then returns in the Spring. If you ever plan on visiting Vis, you have to go in the summer. It is perfect weather for swimming at their picture-perfect beaches.

A Blessing in Disguise

The Blue Caves - Copyright Meabh Scally  

Most of the people on the island either work at a restaurant/bar or on a boat usually as a fisherman. One of our new friends took us on his fishing boat and gave us our own tour of the islands surrounding Vis.

We saw the Blue Caves, which are extremely popular for tourists. These caves are pitch black but allow one sliver of sunlight in underneath so the water is practically glowing. We went swimming in one pitch black cave that had a beach inside of it. Each of us had to wear a flashlight on our heads. When we jumped in the water another girl on our boat ended up cutting her leg badly and looked like it needed stitches.

After swimming into the cave he dropped my friends and I off at this empty beach on the opposite side of the island from the Blue Caves. We stayed there for about four hours while he took the girl to get stitches.

We were stranded, but I could not have asked for a better place to be stranded at!

All that was there was one restaurant and one bar on the beach. The water was completely clear.

Not to worry though, eventually he did come back for us and we made it home safely. Sometimes experiences like this are worth the risk!

I learned so much about the island and the people on it. If you ever visit this island, being open to new experiences and meeting new people is a must! A perfect way to do this is by grabbing some drinks with a great view!

I was told during the winter it gets so cold on Vis that everyone leaves and lives in Split, a popular tourist spot in Croatia, and then returns in the Spring. If you ever plan on visiting Vis, you have to go in the summer. It is perfect weather for swimming at their picture-perfect beaches.

Forever Viz

I have never met such amazing, hard working people in my life. They were all so intrigued by the fact that we lived in Los Angeles, which was ironic because we thought they had an amazing life living on a postcard worthy island.

Instead of rejecting us the typical annoying or disrespectful American tourists, they embraced us and actually wanted to learn from us, the same way we wanted to learn from them.

Something people do frequently in Croatia is throw private parties in their homes with live music and lots of food and wine. So on one of our last nights they threw my three girlfriends and I, a party in one of their homes to say goodbye. While it seems like a small gesture, I was very moved. Out of all the places I’ve travelled in my life, for the first time I felt like I had actually immersed myself in the culture.

I made friends with the people I was surrounded by on this island. We still keep in touch and a few of them like to practice their English with me so we write to them every now and then.

Croatia was beautiful, but leaving Vis was one of the hardest parts. I had fallen in love with this tiny island in the Adriatic Sea and it will always hold a special place in my heart. My goal is to hopefully return within the next couple years and reunite with the friends I left behind.

If you ever visit Vis, make sure to stay in Komiza. Then head on down to Caffe Bar Skor, order a glass of wine, enjoy the view, spark up a conversation and keep your mind open. You never know what you'll find out there.


Meabh is a marketing intern at Blue Flamingo. She is currently a college student at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Sociology. She is passionate about travel, marketing, and natural based skincare

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