Cities / Towns Visited: 53
Countries Visited: 16
Steps Taken Today: 7,833 (and a lot of paddling)
Steps Taken Around the World: 1,902,515
Given that tomorrow was to be my partner’s 40th birthday, we decided to make the celebrating a two day affair, and as such, I had organised two special day trips to mark the occasion. Unfortunately that meant rising early, but it would be worth it. After downing some quick breakfast, and heading downstairs to meet up with our tour pick up, we were soon on our way to meet with the other members of the tour.
After a decent amount of waiting for others to arrive, and driving to the location we eventually reached the Cetina river and bundled out of the van. Being handed less than fashionable neoprene bodysuits and shoes, along with a life vest and a helmet, we quickly slipped them on and headed down to the riverbank. You see, we were going to be trying something we had never done before; white water rafting. Thus after a crash course on how to steer, paddle, and generally not fall out of the boats, we boarded the rafts, three to a vessel. Luckily for us we had one of the three guides in ours as we were only a group of two, meaning we didn’t have to worry about steering, and could just paddle forward and enjoy the experience.
Setting off down the river, the cool air sweeping over the water and dampening the sear of the beating morning sun, the first section was smooth going, giving us a chance to get used to paddling and enjoy the sheer beauty of the crystal clear water, the lush green foliage, and the (and I’m not exaggerating) thousands of bright blue dragonflies. These vividly coloured beauties flitted all around, some even being brave enough to approach the boats and settle on our helmets and paddles, hitching a ride. Suddenly it was time to face our first rapid, and naturally it was one of the two larger drops in this medium level rafting expedition. All of a sudden we were sitting in the bottom of the raft for stability and heading straight for it. Going over the edge was a rush, and then we hit the water once more, to be met by a hearty splash of shockingly cold water to the face. It was invigorating and spectacular, and just like that we were hooked.
Onwards we paddled, weaving through rocks, and navigating our way through the smaller rapids. I will say at this point we were thoroughly happy that we had been paired with a guide, because a couple of the boats filled with just participants were struggling with steering through the changing currents of the churning water, at times meaning our guide had to jump ship and help free them from their perch on top of the rocks, or yell directions to them in order for them to free themselves from their entanglement in the overhanging trees and thick reeds at the shore.
The scenery was truly magical, it looked almost fake in its perfect serenity. And before long we were stopping at the break point along the way, and hopping back on to dry ground to rest our somewhat weary arms. The day was heating up, and much to our pleasure there was a concrete diving board perched out over a deeper area of the river. Desiring to feel young once more, it wasn’t long before my partner was leaping into the cool, clear water, and I wasn’t far behind. Much laughter was had, along with a couple more jumps.
Back in the rafts we hopped and made our way along the rest of the route, until we came to the end of our adventure, and were soon hopping out of the rafts and the bodysuits, and being bussed back to our accommodation. After a quick rest we headed into town, and wandered along the beach front. It’s so obscure as an Australian to see stone beaches, and even more so to see people enjoying them so wholeheartedly. Having grown up with the soft white sand of my homeland’s endless shores, it’s hard to transition to the precarious and rather painful ordeal of walking across the stones. Eventually we sauntered back, having just a few snacks to eat before collapsing for a lengthy nap in the cool of the air conditioning to escape the afternoon heat. A lazy night in, a couple of drinks, and a home cook meal made for the perfect end of an exciting day.
As I lay in bed reviewing our day, I was glad that, if even for a second, I could make my partner forget his physical age, and revel in the inner child we all have within us. I promised him early in our relationship that I would always lie to him about his age if it made him feel better, and thus as the clock ticked over to midnight I wished him a happy 30th. You are only as old as you feel, and I’m glad that I can make him feel young and hopeful for the future, instead of dwelling in some middle age existential crisis. If ever he, or anyone else for that matter, begins a sentence with ‘I’m too old to (enter activity they haven’t gotten around to doing yet, like going to university to study something they’re passionate about, or a visiting a place they’d love to visit, or trying a new hobby’, I answer with ‘If you’re not dead, you still have time!’. If you constantly tell yourself you’re too old for new experiences you’re going to age a hell of a lot quicker. Listen to your inner child, and don’t let the youngens intimidate you; you only have one life, so make it count, every year.