I've been feeling a little stagnant lately, but there is often no better way to gain perspective and refocus than to take a break from daily routine. So when the chance to visit Montenegro came up, I grabbed it with both hands.
The mountains here are a 360-degree panorama of majestic grandness, calling me to explore them via hiking and biking trails. Politically, Montenegro is a relatively young country with ancient towns, such as Kotor, dating back to 168BC, together with respectful new developments, such as the beautiful Luštica Bay and Porto Montenegro in Tivat.
As I sit on the water’s edge over dinner on the first night, I’m reminded of the Italian and Swiss lakes; glassy water, imposing mountains and great wine. Not too much wine though, as I’m up early to hike to the top of the Castle of San Giovanni. It’s hard work, but the sweat is worth it when I reach the lookout points; the view across the Boka (the bay of Kotor) is breathtaking.
The flat waters of the bays are perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, too. With my newfound determination, after a few minutes on my knees I pluck up the courage to wobble onto my feet. Not long after, I’m striding across Tivat bay feeling smug, fitting in a full-body workout, sightseeing and topping up my vitamin D – all in one go. After a hearty lunch of fresh fish, I’m back at the Almara Beach Club for kayaking around the more peaceful Luštica Bay.
Montenegro, an unspoilt hidden gem, has shown me how to approach my goals with excitement and perseverance, and to look back with pride at the mountains I’ve climbed, giving me the strength to tackle new challenges with an air of positivity.
For more on Luštica Bay, visit lusticabay.com
Take a grown-up gap year and volunteer with GVI (Global Vision International). Visit gvi.co.uk