With arrival day complete, it was time to jump right in. We kicked off Monday with a city welcome, introducing us to our Split City Team, workspace and the place we would call home for the next four weeks. They provided important information on themes like the political climate, minority acceptance, and how to tip. Our city team could not have been more amazing in making us feel welcome and at home. Within no time, our experience manager Helena made it clear that this was truly the right decision.
After logging a few hours of work (that is what we’re here for…), it was time to play lunch roulette. For those who don’t know, because I certainly didn’t, we all pull a card and whoever has a matching card goes to lunch with you! So we hopped in an Uber to test out Dvor as we got to know a few of our fellow Remotes. The food and the view weren’t too shabby for my first lunch in Split!
After a bit more work, it was time to head back to Old Town and Diocletian Palace for an introductory tour from our fabulous experience manager. While providing a full run down of the city’s history as we walked the cobbled streets, Helena kept the laughter and good times rolling.
The history of Split, and Croatia overall, is incredibly interesting with Roman origins, the recent break from communist Yugoslavia and conflicts with Serbia. With the Croatian War of Independence ending as recently as 1995, I was amazed to realize how little I know about happenings around the world. I urge you all to learn more about Eastern Europe because while it has a long rich history, a lot has happened within our lifetimes that we should be aware of.
The next day brought a language lesson with Helena. While many of us would attempt to speak Croatian over the course of the next four weeks, few phrases would ever be pronounced correctly! Then it was time for a daily dip and float in the Adriatic before heading back to work.
I’ve discovered that when working remotely, it’s important to get into a rhythm. As I was transitioning away from my full-time role, I decided to split my day with a half day of work in the morning and then break for a long lunch and swim before working the first half of the East Coast’s day. This allowed me to take advantage of evening events and opportunities, but also allowed flexibility to work later in the evening when there were morning commitments or late meetings.
This setup provided the perfect opportunity to participate in dinner party roulette! Similar to our lunch roulette, we were split into groups and provided with a host location. Each of us brought a dish potluck style and spent the night getting to know more of our group. I ended the evening with a walk along the beach, listening to the waves crash on the shore while I appreciated the calmness the water always brings me.
A large part of Remote Year is the focus on making a positive impact in each of the countries we visit. As many, if not all, of the locations are repeated with different groups, many locations have a specific organization they partner with. It was time to learn about the organizations we would be partnering with over the next four months. Split would see us painting at a home for people with disabilities and working with an animal shelter. With my new projects identified, it was time for lunch, a quick swim and a long night of work.
Friday saw the kick-off to my birthday celebrations! After my first (and only…oops) run along the beach, lunch inside the palace walls, and a little sun-bathing, it was onto another full day of work. We broke from our workdays to gather for drinks on the beach with stories about why we selected our phone background photos. If you’re looking for something to do in a group, it’s worth the time and can be highly entertaining!
Then we were back at WiP for “Pecha Kucha”, an entertaining introduction to our fellow remotes that gave us each 30 seconds and one slide to tell our stories. We found ourselves belly laughing at the creativity and humor of our group! I’m sure there is no surprise to my slide being a process flow…
With the sun down and new insight into our travel family, the group opted to head to Old Town to celebrate my birthday eve with drinks. Our fearless leader navigated the side streets to get us to the one and only shot bar in Split, where I spun the wheel to win…free shots for everyone! Unfortunately, our group was a big one and the bartender wasn’t in agreement with free drinks for all, but I did end up with my free birthday shot and a serenade of happy birthday from everyone in the bar.
Then it was onto Sanctuary, where the drinks flowed freely, laughter never ended and tips from locals were well received. I lost count of how many rounds of “Happy Birthday” continued throughout the night, but boy, what a start to the weekend!