On The Road Again… Again: End of The Freedrinking Era

My time in Croatia has finally drawn to an end. What was intended to be simply another country to visit on my way to Kenya (I anticipated arriving in Kenya overland in June), became one of the longest stops on my trip so far. I arrived in February, became involved with my couchsurfing host in Split, left to BiH and Serbia, came back to start working at the hostel in Split, left to visit Kenya briefly, returned, met Chelsea (who also left and returned numerous times), quit my job at the hostel, left for a month to travel with Chelsea, then returned to Split and started working with the local pub crawl. She also came back a month later.

In total, I spent just under 3 months working the pub crawls. 3 months of promoting almost every day, and drinking almost every night. For those wondering, it’s not the most difficult job to get into, and also not the hardest to keep. I fell into it by getting introduced to the right person at the right time. I know of some kids who simply went on the crawl consecutive times, and socialised with the staff until they took them on. It’s often just a matter of asking.

When I returned to Split, my boss, Chad, had organised a room in an apartment for me to stay. At 100Euro a month, it was a steal. It was also a piece of shit. I spent 2 months living in a basement apartment, with A/C or fan (in the middle of summer), no toilet seat, one working element on the stove, no working shower (think buckets over the head), and a bed that fell out of the frame with the slightest movement. All that said, it was home, and I did have cable TV somehow. I had numerous guests while I was there, some staying longer than others (i.e. Hume, who kicked around for about 3 weeks without paying rent, but admittedly ‘helped’ with the crawl). And Chelsea moved in for the second month… Didn’t take her long to try and tidy the place up.

In Split, my days consisted of waking up, usually around 11am. Eating breakfast, then waiting for Entourage to come on at midday. Then into town to ‘promote’ the crawl, which typically involved going to the rock beach with Steve/Hume/whoever else I could find, or getting lunch at Rizzo (possibly one of the best sandwich shops in existance). I wasn’t much of a fan of the promoting side of the pub crawl. The novelty of approaching groups of tourists, and convincing them to come on your pub crawl to get drunk, kinda wears off. Especially towards the end, when the competition started getting a foothold and the hostels flipped on us. Anyway, after the beach, and occasional promoting, I’d head home, usually change, scoff more food, and head into the crawl, where I would round up drinkers, get them drunk, and get more than a few (free) drinks myself, and move them from bar to bar to club. Home by 2-3am usually. Despite the arguments we had while she was back, it’s true that my time in Split became more enjoyable, and memorable, once Chels returned.

All that said, in the end the crawl had slipped downhill, and lost the suport of the hostels: meaning no more business coming in, and no more cash in the pockets. Chels and I cut and ran. She’d been ready to leave Split for a while, and I was feeling the same. So we packed our stuff, and headed south, via Korcula island and Dubrovnik. Stayed a night at the Dubrovnik pub crawl apartment, and heard about the deal they had there. They had A/C, internet, a working shower, washing machine, full kitchen, and a projector. The promotions were done in 3 hour shifts, and it was an easier sell. The downside was I was offered this position months ago, and turned it down, since Chels had said she wasn’t keen to live in Dubrovnik with me. Seeing the apartment made us both regret her decision. I made the decision to stay on, and earn a bit more cash (Split hadn’t worked out so well, financially). However, Chelsea was flying home in 3 weeks from that date, and she wanted to see more of Eastern Europe before she left. We shared one last night together, and broke up the next day.

I worked on the Dubrovnik crawl for a month, and sure enough, it was better living, an easier gig, and more cash. Why hadn’t I spent all summer here jumping off big rocks!? Of course, I was still pretty cut up about Chels, and it took a while for that pain to dull out enough for me to really focus properly on the work or anything else, except excessive drinking, to be honest (An advantage of the job is the ease with which sorrows can be drowned, if need be). Now she’s back in California, and I’m still travelling around, trying to plan ahead.

The pub crawl season drew to an end at the end of September, where we were pulling zeros for the crawl more often than not. After a ridiculously binged last night on the job, I packed my incredibly overloaded backpack (more on that later) and headed into Montenegro with Tasha, a workmate from the crawl.


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