Bye Bye Bikes, Hello Croatia

So...obviously the last week we have mostly been preoccupied with the election.While there’s a lot of thoughts/feelings/manifestos flying around right now regarding the future of the US with Trump as president, I am not going to go into our shock, fear, and sadness too deeply in this post because the wound is still too fresh to decide how it’s going to heal. Also, my brain needs a break, and maybe yours does too from thinking about it.

Yeah, I was totally crying in this pic

Yeah, I was totally crying in this pic

As we both recover from the election results, Joe and I have been spending our days processing, going on hikes, and trying to come up with our plan for when we get back to the states. Oh, and proposing to one another- which was amazing! We did it on top of a hill in Split, Croatia, and had it all planned beforehand. We decided to propose to each other because we are egalitarian like that, and we needed to keep up with our initial “hipster marriage” arc we are on starting with our domestic partnership we got back in August. Our proposal was the day after the election, and we weren’t sure we wanted to do it. However, I was feeling like I needed some hope for my future, and Joe agreed. We picked out rings while we were biking through Bohemia in the Czech Republic and stumbled upon a medieval town that had amazing Bohemian crystals, a bear moat around the castle, and awesome vegetarian food (there’s nothing like jewels, bears, and soy protein that gets you in the mood for commitment). The proposal ceremony was a much needed boost of reality, and helped me to realize that no matter what happens in the next decade, I know we will be by each other to dry our mutual tears, help each other process the madness, and get back in the ring of fighting for human rights. Also, the 3 Liter plastic bottle of wine, chocolate, and friends made the moment extra sweet.

We are still in Croatia, which I would highly recommend to anyone coming to Europe. The landscape is unlike anything I have experienced before- white rock cliffs dropping off into the crystal blue Mediterranean, pomegranate and citrus trees everywhere, with roadside stands that sell homemade olive oil and sweetened almonds. The only bummer is that we couldn’t bring our bikes to Croatia- when we tried to get train tickets here, they said bikes aren’t allowed on trains to Croatia during the winter season. I was pretty bummed about this, but luckily a friend of a friend offered to watch them for three weeks for us. Saying goodbye was hard, my Surly has been amazing to me this trip- not one flat tire or break down yet! However, I’m just imagining that she is getting a vacation too. We are visiting Croatia in the off-season- a lot of the coastal towns’ economy depends on tourism since the war dissolved Socialism in the 90s. Since it is the off-season, 95% of businesses are closed down, and resorts are ghost towns. This has been great because we can explore private beaches/coves without having to worry about security guards, and can afford to stay in beautiful condos by the sea because of off-season prices. The locals looked at us funny when we went swimming (for some reason the locals are bundled up like it’s the Rockies in January, but it’s been in the 50s and 60s the entire time we have been here), which was not nearly as cold as the Oregon Coast which I grew up swimming in.

However, every moment that we begin to get too comfortable in paradise, we remember the election and are slightly sickened. We are obviously privileged enough to be in Croatia on the beach as we process it- we recognize and appreciate this. Our less privileged peers are going to be even more negatively affected by this election, and might not even have the time or resources to demonstrate/process their feelings and fears. Of everything I’ve read online, this article has helped me best understand why/how this happened: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/ You have to read it with an open mind, and I don’t completely agree with their point of view, but it laid the foundation for me to begin understanding Trump supporters and why the voted him. I feel slightly isolated because I am so far away from all of my friends who are also grieving, but am also simultaneously comforted by how passionate/vocal my friends are about social justice. We have missed out on some important moment with our friends- two weddings of our closest friends (Congrats Natalie/Jackson and Matt/Katie!!!!!!!!!)- and now this, and we have realized that our community is one of the most important things to us. Part of our commitment ceremony was recognizing how we want our friends a part of of our lives for a long time too. Joe has something to say now....

*Joe jumping in!!!* So, I am also quite excited about the commitment we decided to embark upon in Croatia, It’s a commitment that we decided to partake in a while ago, but it feels amazing to put it into a moment that we will remember for the rest of our days and are grateful to be able to share with close friends. It was strange to wake up on the morning after the election. Being 9 hours ahead of the west coast left us a bit in the lurch as 3am croatian time rolled around, with the knowledge of trump winning Florida and three hours left till west coast polls closed, so when I awoke at 6am, the nausea overwhelmed me as I read and re-read Trump President Elect and tried to figure out if this was a horrific dream or not. I still find myself several days later writing this post wondering if this might be a terrifying joke my brain is playing on me. But through this possible dream state that I’m concocting, I’ve found comfort in those that I’m travelling with. It would more than likely be a slow torture wallowing alone in the questions of how did this happen and what will we do? Fortunately, I’ve had great companions to discuss, despair, and comfort. Though as I witness the torment and vitriol shared on Facebook, I find myself curious as to my feelings if I were in the states. Is it better to be apart and process these feelings of betrayal and fear of the unknown away from the masses or is it more revealing to look in from the outside. It’s hard to watch as liberal, progressive friends suddenly swap roles with the conservative bros that we have all talked shit about. I had fears that after the election enraged Trump voters would take to the streets screaming of an unfair election, crooked Hillary, and threatening succession, turns out that probably would have happened with either candidate winning. More later on this…

 

*Abbie again. Lots of love to y’all! We are headed to Sarajevo and Istanbul next. Bye!