Welcome to Mljet population approximately seven hundred and decreasing. It seems like islanders are turning their seaside homes into summer retreats and moving to more urban mainland cities. As a vacation destination Mljet is a magical place to visit in the Mediterranean. This Adriatic island’s geography makes it breathtaking with its beaches, saltwater lakes, aquatic life, forests, caves, lookout spots, beautiful sunsets and rich cultural history. You can hike, bike, swim, scuba or just lounge around and bask in its natural beauty. There are thousands of web pages on the internet including Mljet’s own tourism page passionately and accurately describing the island as a must see place to visit. Like a siren song even though Mljet is beautiful at the same time it can be hazardous to your health. Natural and technical hazards such as heat waves, heavy rains, rock slides, narrow roads, earthquakes and high winds can pose a risk to anyone visiting Mljet.
Scooby-Doo, where are you!? Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it but if my sister’s bike had a name I would call it Scooby-Doo. The bike disappears from the storage room and where it goes depends on its rider. My sister goes biking with her BFF for about an hour and a half once or twice a week. How much of that time is spent riding verses drinking coffee or tea somewhere I have yet to figure out and is the subject of continuous discussion between her husband and I. Ultimately it’s up to the rider to determine the bike’s purpose. For my sister, it’s a social ride. For me, this bike is a self-powered toy that I like to play with … until I got banned from riding it.
Within thirty days I managed to leave my job, pack my belongings, leave my apartment, see and say goodbye to as many friends, relatives and colleagues as possible, eat at all my favourite local food joints and then travel over six thousand kilometres to Croatia. Before I left I went to Yuk Yuks, Second City, saw the air show one last time from my balcony, traveled to Ottawa for the weekend, saw an old black and white movie outdoors in downtown Toronto and biked in Critical Mass.
Cleaning up my old word documents I found the speech I gave to Griffin Centre at their Annual General Meeting in November 2010. This speech was about my cross Canada bike trip that I had completed that summer.
The speech has been modified for this blog post.
First things first, I want to thank each and every one of you here. The journey would not haven been as successful without your involvement. Together we raised $4000 … Even though it was a solo ride across the country I was never alone. I knew that many of you were thinking of me and wishing me a safe trip. You were on the website reading my blog entries, posting comments, sending me text messages and emails and tracking me via GPS. There were days where I looked up at the sky and was wondering who’s following me now.
Every now and then I have a need to push my limits …. I took a leap of faith in myself. It’s not confidence, it’s trust. Trust your own skills and experience in order to take that first step, then the second one and so on into the unknown.