Well known Croatian adventurist, author, journalist, model and karate champion Dvina Meler talks to Croatia Week about Papua New Guinean cannibal tribes, eating cockroaches and tarantulas, and tranquility on the Croatian island of Cres in the latest installment of ’60 Seconds With…’
Hi Dvina, your CV is very impressive, apart from travelling the world and writing, you are also a former Croatia Miss Sport, karate champion, and model. What are you up to these days?
I have just returned from the Caribbean where I have done some research for the article I am writing for Playboy. Next week I am travelling to Finland, hopefully to see Aurora Borealis. After that I will be engaged in the promotion of my new travel book called ‘Nepodnošljiva lakoća putovanja’, and I should also start to prepare next expedition to Africa
You have extensively travelled the world, what would you say is the most important thing that travel has given you?
Travelling has helped me push my boundaries and discover some parts of inner self I was unaware of. Being able to witness the rich variety of different cultures around the world, I have become aware of transience, prejudices, superficiality and vanity that affect us in everyday life of consumerism.As the time is ticking away I am striving to make the most of it and to enjoy in beautiful things
Do you have a favourite place which you have visited?
It is hard to point out just one place. I have visited 138 countries of the world so far and each one of them impressed me in a different way. But since my motive was always adventure and discovering of unusual cultures and customs of the people around the world, I have always preferred isolated, untouched places which have managed to preserve higher degree of their cultural identity. Examples would be the island of New Guinea where cannibal tribe of Korowai lives, or Benin and Haiti where voodoo religion stands in the heart of society, moral laws and medicine, or Gabon where plant tabernanthe iboga (notorious in many countries of the world) is used to reach the God… All these places have left an indelible mark on me
I have never been in a life treating situation. On one occasion 7 years ago in the Nicaraguan capital Managua we were attacked by a group of young armed bandits in the middle of the street. We were surprised as it was still daylight and there were some people around us. But this is just one isolated case in the midst of many beautiful experiences on my travels
Where have you not been to yet that you would like to go to visit?
I would like (and I am planning) to visit all the countries of the world
What do you miss about Croatia when your away?
I could not say that I am missing something specifically, but every time I am looking forward to return home
What is your favourite place and beach in Croatia?
In my childhood I used to go every summer with my parents and grandparents to the island of Cres and still have many fond memories of that place. No matter how busy, every year I am trying to spend at least few days on this beloved island. Just below the enchanting town of Lubenice my favourite beach is situated
Ever since I was a little girl I am not eating meat. Having said that, I must admit that out of curiosity and sometimes because of courtesy, while travelling I have tried all sorts of delicacies such as tarantulas, worms, cockroaches, rats, caterpillars, ants, crocodiles, grasshoppers… And some of these were pretty good! I really like Indian, Japanese, Lebanese and Italian food.
My favourite pick would be aged rums such as El Dorado, Zacapa or Flor de Cana. And I also like locally produced ‘rakijas’
How do you like to relax?
My passion is drawing but I also find peace in the air. I have a pilot licence for small aircrafts and I would like to devote myself more to flying in the future
What music do you like to listen to when you travel?
I always like to hear local music of a certain region where I am travelling. Also, if I can, I always attend places where local music is performed
Do you have a favourite quote?
That would be Mark Twain’s:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover