After my stellar day of hiking through the Plitvice Lakes National Park my goal was to survive an evening camping in the outdoors. Even though I travel with a 40-liter backpack (for reference a school backpack is ~20 liters), I still carry small camping hammock and a compact sleeping that I bought in Budapest. My family, friends, and even other travelers think it's absurd I waste so much precious space for these two items, but it makes for a good insurance policy. Since I don't pan ahead much, it's only inevitable that I get stranded outside at some point on this trip. The tent already paid off during my hitchhiking trip when I was stranded overnight at a truck stop, but I want to see if my gear works for its intended purpose. Now that my plans to visit Greece with Angela have fallen through, I am free to spend as much time as I want in Croatia. My plan is to go island hopping off the coast by hitchhiking and camping, but before I can start I first need to make sure everything is in working order.
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plitvice lakes national park
When the news of my trip across the world became public, I received a torrent of emails and messages with links to articles listing the most beautiful places on Earth that I had to visit. Funnily enough many of the links were to the exact same Buzzfeed article (very similar to this one) that I read countless times before whenever I felt depressed at work. To date, the only location I've marked off the list is Ponte de Piedade in Lagos, Portugal, but I vowed to visit as many of these unbelievable places as possible during my trip. Today I can happily say I've visited yet another one of these locations - Plitvice Lakes National Park!
Within hours of arriving into Zagreb, I noticed a significant difference in my mood as compared to when I was in Lviv. Although I had less than four hours of sleep back in Budapest and the weather in Zagreb was just a bright and sunny as I remember in Lviv, I was remarkably cheerful. It was a strange feeling that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but I couldn't stop smiling. I strolled through through Zrinjevac Park in the middle of downtown Zagreb for a half-hour before it finally dawned on me why I was in such a positive disposition - the people here are smiling! They seem so much happier than in Lviv! Even after three weeks of traveling through Ukraine, I still can’t get over how ingrained the simple act of smiling is in my life and how significantly it effects my mood.