16. April 2015.   •     Matej Milanović

What does that even mean?

Does it make you wonder, how my day off looks like… let me try to describe it.

One day off for an Adventure guide?

For me, as an adventure guide, a day off is not typical. It’s not relaxing on a beautiful coffee shop terrace with a coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other, nor is it resting in the sun or shade, just chilling, no. It is a day for me to discover some new, some unknown places around the area where I work. I love those days where I unite myself as guide and tourist because, at the end of that day, both of us are happy and ready for the next working day!

Adventure guide day off
Cycling to the ancient fortress at Starigrad Paklenica

Learn new thing

Since the season in Croatia lasts several months, from spring to autumn, my every day is spent leading groups of tourists on adventure trips that the company I work for offers. These excursions and day trips are mostly standardized tours and routes around spectacular “off the beaten paths” in Croatia, where I am already experienced guide so I know almost every part of my own pocket. That is why my day off during the working season is spent somewhere unknown to me. I want to see and experience new places and make the new experience in areas, not so familiar to me. I want to guide myself, learn new thing and feel as a tourist.

These days are those “days off”

There are days in the season when there is no work for all guides. These days are those “days off” I am talking about. Those days are precious and I like to spend them researching the area that I have never visited before. “Investigating” these sites fills my soul and makes me happy as a person and guide, both as for my own knowledge as for future references that I am presenting to the guests.

Adventure guides day off
Jumping off a nine-meter high waterfall on Zrmanja River

So, when I finally have the time to explore and experience these regions then I take the opportunity to go “solo”. Sometimes it can be all day hiking through old, forgotten, and neglected trails of Velebit Mountain. Another way is by cycling the potential paths for future trips, and sometimes it is kayaking on the river Zrmanja with longer retention in certain locations within the river canyon.

Explore and experience

One reason for doing that is exploring the river, its waterfalls, and rapids to the point that every whitewater guide should, to read the river. The second reason is the ability to train my skills and polish them, either in a kayak or a raft. The third reason is to rest and meditate in the amazing landscape of Zrmanja or Krupa river canyon.

Raftrek Adventure guides hiking the ridge of Velebit Mountain

How to “charge batteries”

There is no better way, my favorite actually, to charge my batteries and be fresh and ready for my next working day. These days of independent research trips to areas that I haven’t been but want to visit, and me being there for the first time is the best way to do it. To be able to continue my hard work as an adventure guide I need to feel the rush of being there for the first time, as a tourist. I feel amazed and relieved because I was there, I learned something new, I saw something new, and then I understand the feelings of amazed tourists that a see every day. In addition to my own happiness goes the fact that the better I know the area the better will guest feel it and the presentation of it will be complete.

Velebit Mountain ridge above Paklenica National Park

I love nature and I love Croatia

So when you combine both you get perfection. Croatian nature offers new places to explore and amazing landscapes to visit while having a great time in the outdoors. Due to a small population of rural areas in Croatia, these places literally wait to be visited and explored. Although Croatia is a small country, the diversity of the landscape is extremely high, and there are always sites that one finds for the first time. Such landscapes enrich Croatia, and confirm the fact that Croatia is a small country for a great holiday! Sometimes it is necessary to seek such abundant, not so known, areas because not all the beauty of this country is in popular or well-known tourist sites.

During the winter period, or when it is not the tourist season, I call it not working season, I travel outside Croatia to visit some new countries where I haven’t been yet, to familiarize with new cultures, different traditions, and powerful history.

Adventure guides day off
Adventure guide, Marko Kovac enjoining his winter vacation

So, basically my day off is not Saturday or Sunday, it’s every day that I spend in nature doing what I do best and love most.