Things are changing.
But I can feel it.
It is still a trickle, but the diaspora is starting to return to the Homeland.
A younger generation, not blinded by politics and Communism conspiracy theories, but rather enthused with love of their roots and with an entrepreneurial spirit.
And this whole thing escalated VERY quickly.
One month ago, I posted a status on Facebook and LinkedIn. I have always had lots of email from the Croatian diaspora over the years, but it has increased considerably this year. My haters still send in their abuse and occasional death threats, but less so. I do miss their love though – does anyone have a better epitaph on their tombstone than me? ‘Tito cock-sucking British Jew writing fluff to humanise mass murderers in the Jewish style when socially engineering a people for ruin.’
But the increased email activity is coming from returnees, both actual and wannabes. More and more people are getting in touch to tell me about their experiences returning to the Homeland and giving it a try. And even more telling me how they would like to return but there is so little information.
And so a month ago, I posted that I would be happy to do interviews with any returnee who wanted to share their experiences. I was stunned by what happened next. No less than 63 returnees contacted me, all wanting to share their story. Not all were positive experiences, but I agreed to publish them all, good and bad, to give those thinking of returning a better overall picture. The Croatian Returnee Reflections series has been the most interesting thing on TCN in recent weeks, and you can follow it in the dedicated section here.
A few days ago, another returnee called Marija Franic contacted me on LinkedIn to ask if we could organise a returnee event, so that people could meet, exchange experiences, and network. I tested the idea on social media and invited those who had done interviews for the series and lived in Zagreb. The response was very positive, and Sime Lisica from Bibinje via Sydney also got involved. And so the concept of TCN/AVG Croatian Returnee Reflections Nights was born, the first of which took place at the fabulous Swanky Monkey Garden in Zagreb last night.
Am very grateful to our named speakers for sharing their stories – Eugene Brcic Jones, Andrian Juric, Maria Pokrivka, and Sime Lisica – as well as about 10 others who stood up to share their stories.
I think many were surprised at just how many returnees showed up, and I also think that people are slowly beginning to see that there are a growing number of returnees bringing their positive mindset.
It is time to connect them, to tell their stories, and to show those thinking of making the move that – as flawed as Croatia undoubtedly is – the benefits outweigh the problems. Not for everyone, as Croatia full-time is most certainly not for everyone, but for many.
It was a wonderful evening of new connections, heartwarming stories, and lots of laughs, and one which we agreed we would repeat soon.
Sime has agreed to work with me on this, and we will start to organise regular TCN/AVG Croatian Returnee Reflections Nights all over the country in the coming 12 months. We will do one more in Zagreb next month, then Zadar is next on the list, as there seems to be a growing returnee community there. We plan to do this in December when I visit Zadar for the book promotion event for Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, which is out now on Amazon.
I will create a TCN/AVG Returnee Networking Facebook Group in the coming days to see if we can find ways to better connect and get the story out. Additionally, with the imminent relaunch of TCN, the online magazine with news, we will have a big section on How to Return. This will be full of practical advice as well as real experiences. If anyone wants to help me with this, please email [email protected] Subject Returnee Help.
Thanks to all who came last night. I think we took the first step in what could be an incredibly interesting journey.
If you would like to share your returnee experience, contact [email protected] Subject Returnee
What’s it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners – out now on Amazon.