I’m overwhelmed by everything I will never understand about Stan’s story – what it means to lose a parent so soon in your life, what it means to hear enemy tanks encircling your city at night – and by the simple yet poignant wisdom he now shares with me.
And so it was that I decided to return to Iž, to circle back to who I was the last time I was here. I wanted to sketch the island again – and to honor the crazy journeys that life delights in sending us on. As I sketched, all I could think was: thank you.
I decided that when Sanel does in fact realize his dream of drinking in an Irish pub, he won’t be disappointed. It was warm, it was human, it was the feeling of many people in a small room. And when you thought about it, you could almost smell the coast.
It was – for what felt like the thousandth time – an unexpected connection, one I hadn’t known to look for. I had come to Mostar to see a bridge – not knowing that the ones I would discover are bridges we can’t see at all.
You have to do this every now and then, don’t you? Give your wonder a chance to breathe and marvel at where life has brought you: to Bosnia, to a family’s back garden, to a table beneath a pomegranate tree.
I could not be more grateful to have stumbled into this corner of the world. Mostar has reminded me that when we travel – and, more importantly, live – with open hearts and minds, connections happen.
Travel is always doing this to you, isn’t it? Sending you off in search of one thing – the máta, for instance – only to give you something altogether different to discover. And for this, you will leave Hortobágy grateful.
While “From Prague to Petra” will unfortunately not meet its fitting end in the Wadi Rum desert, I hope you’ll understand the redirections and keep following along this journey. Thank you as always for reading!
Seeking the holy in the everyday is what has kept me in Vienna longer than I expected to be: lingering in café after café, feeding my new addiction to Wiener melanges, and reveling in routines made reverent.