If you don’t already know Donna and Paul Scales, let me introduce you. You may have seen their incredible pictures from destinations all over the world. Does the handle “Global Jetsetter” ring a bell? Donna & Paul are living out any traveler’s dream — exploring the most exotic and exclusive destinations on earth. On many occasions, you will be at work – but will find these two in some far away land – wearing their Global Jetsetter branded apparel that includes their famous tagline “Where to Next?” That’s really not just a tagline — they really mean – Where to Next? LOL!
Within the last few years, traveling has become something that more African-Americans are doing in large and impressive numbers and visiting impressive and highly sought after destinations. These two have definitely made indelible and rich memories that will last a lifetime. Not to mention the education they’ve received that can only be achieved by seeing the world first hand. They have seen many things and can tell many stories – and because of this, they are qualified to educate others on how to achieve their dreams of global travel.
“Where To Next?” landed Donna & Paul in Croatia this year. Have you ever heard of Croatia? Moreover, have you ever considered traveling to Croatia? If you’re anything like me, I was immediately intrigued with their destination selection and wondered how many black and brown people would they see? Would they be safe, feel included and comfortable? On a rainy day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna about their trip to Croatia. Here are my questions and her responses to my questions about their trip to Croatia.
Would you consider yourself an avid traveler? Yes, I would consider myself an avid traveler these days at the age of 46. I first got the travel bug while dating my now husband when I was 22 years old. My first time flying was when he invited me to Las Vegas for a friend’s birthday celebration. At the time, I truly had no idea that Las Vegas was considered the “desert” but imagined palm trees and perhaps a beach … it was at that moment that I decided to educate myself on geographic locations in the United States. I’ve been traveling ever since and have visited 39 countries so far and counting.
What made you decide to travel to Croatia? That’s a great question! In all honesty, we decided on Croatia because it sounded like a great idea at the time of booking. We also knew that Dubrovnik is the filming location for HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones. Once we booked it and I began to do more research, I discovered Croatia is so much more than the Game of Thrones set. The photos of clear blue water, stunning sunsets, and medieval architecture REALLY peaked my interest, and the excitement started to build.
Did you have any concerns traveling to a destination that isn’t accustomed to seeing Black-Americans? Not at all. When traveling we make it a point to read the travel advisories issued by U.S. Department of State. We also register all of our international travel with Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling abroad to enroll with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A Visa was not required for us to travel to Croatia, which for us, was our green light!
Did you feel comfortable going about your traveler business in Croatia? While visiting Croatia, the people we made contact with were very genuine and very proud! Some of the things we conversed about with the locals was tourism, historic events, the economy, and sports such as basketball, tennis, and soccer which is a commonality amongst our 2 countries. English was the language spoken at all restaurants and points of interest; they also have Uber in Dubrovnik as with most major big cities which made getting around really convenient and easy.
What was the most fascinating thing about your trip to Croatia? WOW! The easy answer would be everything! We spent 8 days there where we did and saw so much. In addition to the beautiful beaches, food, people and touristy things we did, what we recorded mentally is Croatia has over 1,000 islands along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Most are small and inhabitable, but what’s sketched in memory is that the pure white limestone for the White House in Washington, DC and other well know world structures came from the island of Brac. Brac Island is known for the famous and crowded white pebble Zlatni Rat beach, often named a top beach in Europe. We didn’t visit Brac Island but I could imagine how beautiful it must be. When it comes to travel, we love exploring and taking photos with beautiful architecture as a backdrop. We now know where the stones came from for our very own gem in the United States which can now be a topic of discussion because of our visit to Croatia. One of my favorite quotes is “The best education I have ever received was through travel.” by Lisa Ling.
I also didn’t know that Croatia was known for its grape growing region which rivals that of Italy and/or California’s Napa Valley! We stayed on Korcula Island (pronounced kor-chula) for 5 days which is best known for its white wines, but they had delicious red wines as well. We explored many vineyards and sampled local wines (Grk, Posip, Rukatac (Marastina) and Plavac Mali), and other local products such as wild herbs and traditional soaps, marmalades, brandy, liquors, and olive oil. We even enjoyed a cooking class where were made tradition Dalmatian pastries from scratch using local products.
Describe your favorite meal while in Croatia. It’s a toss-up between the pasta and seafood; both of which are my favorite cuisine. The pasta was always fresh with various sauces and they offered various types of white fish. Another popular dish in Croatia was Octopus Salad, which I bravely sampled, and Dalmatian prosciutto; a cured meat product made from fresh pork (ham) with bone. The ham is salted with sea salt, smoked and matured for no less than 12 months. It’s also a product protected with a geographical origin indicator. I haven’t eaten pork in 4 years. When the restaurant owner and chef of the establishment we frequented while in Korcula gifted us with Dalmatian prosciutto as an appetizer, out of respect for his generosity, I sampled … actually ate quite a bit of it and I’m glad that I did!
What’s the best piece of advice that you wish you had received prior to traveling to Croatia? Since we didn’t know anyone that has visited Croatia, the best advice I can give to anyone traveling from the United States is to thoroughly research your travel options. We were able to save $700 roundtrip per person by booking a roundtrip ticket to Amsterdam from the United States; and a roundtrip ticket to Dubrovnik from Amsterdam. Give yourself ample time in between landings times as you’ll need to clear immigration and customs in Amsterdam (or whichever European country you fly into). We also didn’t know the travel time and travel route to Korcula Island. Once we arrived in Dubrovnik, it was 2-hour scenic ride to Orebic … and the views were absolutely breathtaking! Once we arrived in Orebic we took a 15-minute ferry ride to Korcula Island where we witnessed the most beautiful sunset from the water. Upon our arrival on Korcula Island, it was a 45-minute ride to get to the other side of the island. So as you can imagine, that was a lot of travel time that we didn’t anticipate while the excitement about Croatia was brewing; we just knew we were going. My dear friend Kinyatta Gray has always said that I’m the type that’ll “act now and think about it later.” So, on Day 5, to turn our travel dilemma around for the best experience possible while in Croatia, we decided to leave Korcula Island to spend the last 3 days in Dubrovnik. In Dubrovnik, we got to spend a lot of time in Old Town, also known as King’s Landing from HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, where we booked a Game of Thrones tour. We got to dine at some of the best restaurants Dubrovnik has to offer including the Panorama Restaurant & Bar, which can only be reached by cable car. At an altitude, the restaurant offers a spectacular view of the Old City and a wider area of amazingly beautiful landscapes. We also enjoyed Dubrovnik nightlife, including partying in a CASTLE … I mean a freaking Castle … also known as Culture Club Revelin; a phenomenal experience in itself! Croatia is certainly a place to put on your bucket list!
I know that you recently launched your own brand of travel-inspired shirts and accessories. Tell me what inspired you to launch the brand, and how can my readers find Global Jetsetter products? Global Jetsetter became my Instagram handle in 2014 when I began to travel more frequently. I thought it was a cool handle, or as people now say a “dope” handle. In 2017, a friend of ours started a travel and lifestyle line of their own with statement tees. When asked if they could create one for GLOBAL JETSETTER, but they never got around to it. Fast forward to February 2018 with the strong push and genuine encouragement of a very dear friend, supportive family members and my travel community, I took a leap of faith and launched my own brand, Global Jetsetter, for occasional and avid travelers worldwide. Travel is my passion, so the brand aligns with exactly who I’ve become over the past few years. Please visit our online store at www.globaljetsetteronline.com. Stay booked and safe travels to wherever your next journey takes you!
As this amazing interview concluded, I really had chills running down my spine, Donna’s reflection on their trip and the many sights and sounds they experienced certainly was both motivational, inspirational and once in a lifetime.
I am so proud to know this loving couple who have inspired me and hundreds of others to live, travel and see the world while you can. And folks, a Dreamtrip with Donna & Paul was the catalyst for FlightsInStilettos. I love this couple.
Until next time Croatia…