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Destination Coastline: Sunsets, a Photojournal

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida's Coast

“The sky broke … into full sunset and the water caught fire.” -Pamela H. Johnson

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida's Coast
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida's Coast

As I type, I sit below a large canvas painting of a coastline sunset where the water reflects so much citrine color it looks as if it is on fire. I painted it several years ago, and it is my personal favorite. In the center of the painting, a girl stands in the lapping waves with her skirt hiked up, askew, as she stands transfixed.

In the same way that some of us can’t stay away from a sumptious chocolate or a handful of vine-ripened raspberries, I am drawn to the coast. And in particular, I love coastline sunsets. There is something about the way that the earth meets water, and then touches sky, that grabs my heart and keeps hold. Every time we are near an ocean or the sea, as time approaches for the sun to dip to bed for the night, I find myself standing along the shore, rapt by the sun’s grand color show.

This week, passing through photos, I caught a glimpse of a photo I took along the Florida coast just over two years ago (above). And I knew I had to share it. To me, there is something about the colors which won’t let go, about the vibrant light which boldly says “I am alive.”

In the past few years, we’ve been able to see many coastlines on different parts of the world. Here, four of my favorite sunsets from four different Seas:

Sunset over the Adriatic Sea, from Coastal Croatia
Sunset over the Adriatic Sea, from Coastal Croatia
Sun Setting over the Mediterranean Sea, from the coast of Tuscany, Italy
Sun Setting over the Mediterranean Sea, from the coast of Tuscany, Italy

 

Sunset Color in Maine, Lands' End Harbor of the Atlantic Ocean
Sunset Color in Maine, Lands' End Harbor of the Atlantic Ocean

 

Florida Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Florida Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Do you have a favorite place to watch sunrises or sunsets? One particular time you remember?

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In the Light of Diamonds

The Beautiful Adriatic Sea
Driving through Croatia
Driving through Croatia

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to travel with my family for Spring Break from our house in Prague, since we are American expats living abroad for a couple years. When we needed to decide where to go, we asked all sorts of friends about a good place to see, driving by car, as a family. The seaside in Croatia, they all said, was a beautiful place. So we decided unanimously to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Beautiful Adriatic Sea
The Beautiful Adriatic Sea

After hours and hours of research and finding a hotel right on the coast of the Croatian Lapad Peninsula, we set our navigation and started south toward Dubrovnik. Little did we know how much traveling and staying in the region would affect us, how much we would love it, and how much it would rearrange our hearts.

We stayed in graffiti-riddled Zagreb, passed by countless checkerboards of fresh white graveyards, teetered on tiny treacherous roads in rural Bosnia and seaside Croatia, and had an encounter with the Croatian police and numerous border patrols. It was an experience not easily shaken.

And there began my next novel.

Over the past year, I have tapped into the incredible beauty and extreme heartache of that region of Europe that has widely been forgotten—a place recently shredded by war, and yet is still so beautiful it takes my breath away.

The story developed into a women’s fiction novel with strong romantic threads, about the pull and tug of two worlds in one woman’s life—her New York City fashion design life and her twin sister’s world in rural Bosnia.

My novel, entitled IN THE LIGHT OF DIAMONDS, is currently in the hands of my great agent, Chip, as he is taking it out on submission to publishing houses.

Here, a brief bit about IN THE LIGHT OF DIAMONDS:

Twenty-eight year old fashion designer Ali Boyd believes she will succeed in life with a bit of charm and a heap of hard work, all on her own. But when she meets her young niece for the first time, and learns she has been left in New York without her mother, Ali puts aside her glitzy life to find her sister in rural Bosnia. She journeys with architect friend Nate Pryce, and together they endure the shattered country and the sobering events surrounding their trip. Though she returns without her sister, she comes back shaken by the inherent beauty of a broken country and a newfound love—both force her to face her life in a fresh light. Throughout her journey to Bosnia and back again, she comes to realize the many ways in which love can manifest, and the power it has to change a life.

Hoping that this story will land in the right place at the right time … thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts. I will keep you posted as to how it goes …

Thanks for sharing in my writing journey! -JK

PS> A little note about website troubles here … sorry, but my site is having to be redone piece by piece … it should be all back up and looking right within a week! Thanks for understanding.

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Sunset over the Adriatic

Sunset over the Adriatic
Sunset over the Adriatic
Sunset over the Adriatic

When I took this photograph, I was standing with my family in the extreme south of Croatia, on the Lapad Peninsula just outside of the magnificent and near-ancient fortress city of Dubrovnik. We had heard so many amazing things about coastal Croatia that we stayed in a great little hotel right on the coast. This was the view from our balcony.

All along the coast of Croatia, islands fan out like rocks skipping across the water. And the Adriatic Sea is like a chameleon, changing from green to blue to turquoise and back again, all depending on the sun. From this vantage point, one lighthouse is visible on one of the islands, though it looks too tiny to be real. But it is real. We could watch three other lighthouses blink their guard over the Sea from this spot. It was magnificent.

It still is. I’m glad to get to share it with you … -JK

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Dubrovnik: Pearl of the Adriatic

Dubrovnik

Posted on August 13, 2010

“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and see Dubrovnik.” – George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize winning writer and playwright

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

A bright star perched along the Croatian coast of the sparkling Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik looks more like the inspiration for the Disney set for Pirates of the Caribbean than any other real place on earth. Constructed as a series of fortresses to protect against centuries of invasions from pirates and other nations, Dubrovnik is guarded by massive stone walls and hefty cannons butting up against the sea-a sight like no other and a city worth visiting…

Read the rest of the post by clicking here: LINK TO JENNIFER’S ARTICLE on AOL’s Gadling.com.

Again, I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with some great editors, and to put a few articles out into a large audience and many readers’ screens. I hope you enjoy them! -JK

Starting the conversation: Have you visited Dubrovnik? If so, what was your favorite part?

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Inspiration: Croatian Sunset

The Sunset that Lingers, Croatia
“Happiness is a Swedish sunset; it is there for all,
but most of us look the other way and lose it.” -Mark Twain

 

Last month, our family spent a week on the breathtaking Lapad peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea beside Dubrovnik, Croatia. I had never imagined such a place on earth existed: steep mountains colliding with a clear azure Sea, age-old fortresses perched along bleached cliffs, and three lighthouses blinking from humpback islands dotting the coast. One night, the sunset confirmed my thoughts– this spot was pure inspiration.

 

Happiness is a Croatian sunset …

For many months, I have enjoyed working hard on writing a novel. And now, as I continue with the work of rewrites, I find myself tapping into art, images, and music for inspiration. The following image lingers in my mind, unforgettable, as pure inspiration. I return to it again and again. (I hope you enjoy it, too…)

 

The Sunset that Lingers, Croatia
The Sunset that Lingers, Croatia
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was right–the best, most enduring works come to be because of hard, hard work. When a piece of life–art, image, music, video–connects deeply, it can be the perfect fuel for a great work, the one percent needed to make the end product beyond excellent. It’s worth shooting for, and soaking in art, to help inspire us beyond our limitations, toward creating something great.

Starting the Conversation: Today, what inspires you?

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Croatia, Dubrovnik, and other Related Travels

Dubrovnik

“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it.” -George Bernard Shaw

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Last week, our family of five packed our suitcases, mounted our Chica (Garmin), and followed the Winding Road to spend a week in Croatia. As it turns out, our trip meant far more than a “beach vacation”, and the places and things we saw will linger in our memories for many years to come. Croatia and its neighboring countries are quite unique.
Croatian Coast
Bordering the Adriatic Sea almost the whole length from Trieste, Italy, to the NorthWest coast of Greece, Croatia consists of a tireless strip of coastline. For much of the stretch, the Croatia-Bosnia border is only a few miles from the water, and at one section on the road South to Dubrovnik, the traveler by car must cross Bosnia for a dozen miles.

 

Bosnia

 

Our destination, the near-ancient and historic town of Dubrovnik, proved to be the jewel on the sea as Croatia says it is. If there were ever a “Pirates of the Caribbean” like the movies and Disney’s setup, it is Dubrovnik. Consisting of multiple bastion-type forts and a continuous city wall stretching two kilometers, Dubrovnik has fought its battles for centuries, and won. The most recent battles fought there were in the Croatian War for Independence, 1991-1995, with lingering battles in Dubrovnik into 1996.
With such a recent devastating war, you can imagine the sites we saw–simple and humbling remnants from this nation who gave so much for freedom. Fresh cemeteries with uniform headstones seemingly stood in every village we passed. Buildings demolished into dormant ruins, mortar marks, bullet holes– all serve to remind only years later of the war.
Reminder of Recent War, Croatia

As the Croatian people forge ahead, FREE, and they create the alluring accomodations and roads to host visitors from all over the world, we can cheer them on. We felt quickly at home–their smiles are gracious, their English impeccable, their hospitality warm. And their country is beautiful beyond mere words.

Endless green-blue Sea

 

Coastal Charm, Croatia

What leaves the indelible impression upon me is the need for government and people to find a harmonious path, and to give each other the grace we all need in return. For without a doubt, when too much is taken, the human spirit will rise up and embrace freedom.

Starting the Conversation: Croatia has countless islands capped by mountains jutting skyward from the sea–a radiant and unique coastline, dotted with mini-lighthouses and sailing yachts. What is your favorite coast along the sea–any sea?

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God Bless the Winding Road

The winding road along the Croatian Coast, near Bosnia
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost

The winding road along the Croatian Coast, near Bosnia
The winding road along the Croatian Coast, near Bosnia

One year ago, I would’ve never guessed I’d be where I am today.

This week, our family has been vacationing for our kids’ Spring Break from school at the shore. Not at the coast of Florida, or South Texas, or California, but in the extreme south of coastal Croatia.

As recent as a year ago, I could’ve never imagined I’d be standing in Croatia. My husband and I were hopeful at some point, on some year, he’d be offered a position with his company overseas, but we could not have imagined where that road we hoped for would take us. Only a few months later, we were selling our home and cars, packing up our family, and moving across the ocean to Prague.

It’s funny, as we dare to listen to our hopes and dreams, we naturally tense up from fear. None of us knows exactly what tomorrow will bring. Or the next moment. And it leaves us with the choice: to become paralyzed with fear, or to embrace the winding road and whatever it may bring.

 

Krka, Croatia

To open ourselves up to possibility is to open ourselves up to receive the blessings …

When we’re on the winding road pointing toward bigger dreams, we can’t see what lies around the next bend, past the next corner, beyond the coming hills and mountains and challenges and peaks. Daring to follow the challenging course, the one that stretches us and brings us closer to who we hope to become, can be scary. But if we can let go of the fear of the unknown and simply let ourselves trust, we can find the exhilaration and untapped joy beyond any we’ve ever imagined.

 

the extraordinary blues from our little gem along the Adriatic

Today, as the sun set over the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, I saw a sunset like no other I’ve ever seen in my life. Lush mountains spilled down into the azure water of the Adriatic Sea. Three lighthouses perched among rocky islands began their blinking for the night. And the setting sun streamed tangerine light across a glittering bay. Unforgettable.

Tomorrow, we leave for home, Prague, our expat home away the USA. As we wind around the curving roads leading up and through the mountains of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech, and again, we’ll embrace the possibility lying just beyond the bend … God bless the winding road.

Starting the Conversation: Where have your winding roads taking you? What amazing possibilities have opened up as a result from your choice– being open and taking the winding road?