We are lucky that our network is filled with adventurous travelers who enjoy seeing different landscapes of the earth. This includes our friend, Adhit Zaki – an entrepreneur, consultant, and serial angel investor in F&B – and his unconventional, distinctive choice to spend last year’s summer in Croatia. Conveniently, this month of August is about exactly the one year mark of this trip we are reminiscing about. Read through as he shares transversal pictures of his trip with a crew of six arriving in Croatia from Budapest.
Taman Hayat : Tell us why you decided to go to Croatia. What motivated you to go there?
Adhit : I’ve never been to an Eastern European country before. It also happened that there’s a festival there I’d like to come to. That almost didn’t happen because the ticket sold out. Luckily, a few weeks before the trip, we met someone who gave us a guest pass. So, I really didn’t think twice about going.
Taman Hayat : Was it your first time? What was your first impression?
Adhit : Yeah, it was my first time. I didn’t really know what to expect. But also, it’s not a destination that most people would go to. At a glance, it’s not as glamorous as going to St Tropez or Amalfi Coast. But it definitely has its own subtle charm that I really enjoyed.
One very interesting destination was not the only appeal for this trip. The sounds of music performed at Dekmantel Selectors easily become an essential element that merges with the visual delights of Croatian landscapes.
Taman Hayat : Can you tell us why you decided to come to Dekmantel Selectors? How would you describe this festival in short?
Adhit : We came to experience dancing while floating on the Adriatic coast. Not only that, but the festival lineups are well-curated. Consisting of a quality and diverse range of genres while showcasing well-known and up-and-coming acts.
Taman Hayat : From what we gathered online, Dekmantel Selectors describe themselves as a “celebration of sun, music, and togetherness”. Why do you think that is?
Adhit : That’s the most suitable tagline to describe the overall experience of the festival. The weather never failed us, every day there was always a performance that gave us chills, and we got to experience all that with people from various backgrounds. Nature, music, people – the true harmony of life.
Taman Hayat : We also find – through pictures – that the festival is more “intimate” than other festivals, is this true? What’s your impression of it?
Adhit : True, because as far as I know the organizers only sell 2000 tickets (limited capacity), and the festival itself lasts for 5 days.
What made it intimate and special was that this was the first summer festival after two years due to the pandemic, so we could really feel the euphoria from the people present. For me, this was solid proof that human connection is incomparable. Virtual shows and events will never evoke the same feeling I reckon! The ambiance was so warm, everyone present was so welcoming so we found many new friends from various countries. We even stayed in one hotel where all the guests headed to the same destination. We overheard conversations about how excited people were, who shared the same spirit we had, and somehow we ended up partying on the same boat, even on the next day.
Taman Hayat : How easy or difficult was it to get lodging, transportation, food, and other necessities?
Adhit : I don’t think it was particularly difficult, except that there were many uncertainties before we planned this trip which made the preparation quite rushed. And because it was festival season, a lot of the lodgings near the venue were full. Fortunately, we found a homey villa in the Murter area. It’s actually on a different island to the Dekmantel Selectors’ venue (Tisno). The food was amazing (especially Gina Bed & Breakfast), fresh seafood everywhere we went.
We recommend renting a car so you can get around easily, it’s very driving-friendly even for cross-city commutes. Expenses-wise, also much more affordable than countries in Southern or Northern Europe.
We listened as Adhit divulged the journey of his travel and we couldn’t help but picture dream-like moments and exciting experiences that we want to take a part in. As the story began to conclude, we asked Adhit to share some of his more memorable takeaways.
Taman Hayat : Was there one most memorable moment from Dekmantel Selectors or Croatia?
Adhit : There was one funny moment where I didn’t expect that the local people would be so kind and thoughtful. I was about to jump into the ocean from the top of a rock at the beach, and I was already told not to wear my shades. Unsurprisingly, when I got out of the water, it was nowhere to be seen. But one family noticed I was panicking to find something, and they lent me goggles. They even dived in to help me look for it, while barely speaking any English! The glasses were finally found at the shallow bottom of the sea. “The most valuable catch”, someone observing the situation said. Lesson learned, and thankful to say the least.
Taman Hayat : If you have to choose one experience or one place that is a must-have on this trip, what would you recommend?
Adhit : It’s quite difficult to choose just one, as we experienced both island-hopping & trekking too. We rented a small boat (without having to have a license) and took a spin around Murter, from one island to another. Then I also went trekking as well to Krka Waterfall which happened to often appear on TV screensavers (and it looks exactly the same in real life). These were a few of my most memorable experiences other than the festival.
Taman Hayat : Any intention to go back? If so, anything you want to do that you didn’t have a chance to in this last trip?
Adhit : Maybe for now this isn’t the first place that comes to mind that I would want to go to. But because there are a lot of other festivals there – such as Love International – maybe if there’s another chance I’d like to experience something different. Next time, maybe if we could be there longer, we’d love to drive to Split or Dubrovnik.
Embarking on this vicarious journey to Croatia is made even better with tunes to accompany us.
Taman Hayat : Is there any concept or message that you want to communicate through this playlist you made for Taman Hayat?
Adhit : Like I felt when I was at the festival after being isolated and “keeping distance” from other human beings, the message is something I would quote from the movie, Into The Wild, “Happiness is only real when shared.”
Some of the tracks here were played several times during the trip.
Once again, we are grateful for how our Taman Hayat friends constantly astound us with their inspiring travel stories. Sharing these stories with you is just one of the many ways we bring nature’s presence in our thoughts.
If you resonate with these words, we encourage you to listen to this playlist by Adhit.