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March madness

Hello from Croatia!

It's not been easy for me to write this blog. And it isn't because I haven't had time. I was hoping each blog would be fun, informative, and entertaining - but to write truthfully now means that it won't always be that way.

This life change that began for me in January was always supposed to be a long journey - not measured in weeks or months, but years. I have to keep in mind that it's only just beginning.

Given all that's going on, March could be the beginning of Chapter Two. Chapter One was the opening chapter - full of new, exciting adventures. But Chapter Two has to take on a different tone - and like any good book, there are many more chapters to come.

So let's review the story so far shall we?

Chocoa Festival

It seems like a lifetime ago, but my weekend in Amsterdam in February was amazing. The city is super fun, and the Chocoa Festival was informative, chocolately, and yummy. When I wrote about this last month, I hadn't finished my video of the weekend yet, so here it is:


I loved taking short train trips while in Vienna. The train station is really efficient, and you can catch a train to most anywhere in Europe. To me, train travel is beautifully slow and peaceful.

The one thing I really wanted to do in Budapest was to visit the Szechenyi Bath, the biggest thermal bath in Budapest. Since it was only a weekend trip, I only had one full day there. And fortunately, that day was sunny and nice.

Goodbye Vienna, for now...

I had hit a wonderful stride in Vienna. I will miss these people from Body Concept Vienna. Their studio and classes were spiritual, motivating, and uplifting. I can now take part online because of the virus, but it's not quite the same. Hugs to Sizanna, Verena, Moana, and Anya...until next time!

The Trek to Zagreb

So I was supposed to have a leisurely, three day train trip from Vienna to Zagreb starting Sunday, March 15th. But the week prior, things were changing daily in terms of COVID-19. Travel restrictions were becoming more and more common. I felt like I needed to check out other travel arrangements and get to Zagreb sooner, so I booked a Friday morning airline flight.

After booking the flight, I was now forced to scramble to pack and clean my Airbnb - and say goodbye to Vienna a few days earlier than planned. It was emotional to say the least.

I got to the airport plenty early on Friday. I had a reservation, but not a ticket. This was a bit unsettling, and even more so when I found out my 10:00 a.m. flight was cancelled. The good news is that they booked me on a different flight a few hours later, and I ended up in Zagreb by 5:00 p.m. that day with no hassles at all. In fact, I wasn't even self-quarantined like most everyone on the plane was because I was from the U.S. - and at that point the U.S. was not on the list of countries that required a quarantine.

The first few days in Zagreb were great. Lots of activity and good vibes. The restaurants were quite full, and sidewalks were filled with tables, tents, and happy people. Then as each day passed, more and more restrictions took place. The restaurants closed. The buses and trams stopped. And then the earthquake shook us...the most powerful one to hit Zagred in 140 years!

LEFT: March 15, 2020 RIGHT: March 22, 2020


Life at this point is nothing like I expected. It's mind blowing to me to think of how wonderfully different my life was a month ago in Vienna compared to today in Zagreb. COVID-19 virus has now impacted me - and I survived the most horrific earthquake in my entire life here in Zagreb. The aftershocks continue even as I've written this.

But life right now is not what anyone expected. One thing I know is that everyone's life has been uprooted and affected, so I know I'm not alone.

COVID-19 and earthquakes are hard enough to deal with, but what's been especially tough for me is forging new friendships and connections with people here in Croatia. In Vienna (and prior to the virus lockdowns) I could meet new people and have meaningful interactions through the gym and yoga studio, my co-working space, and Meetups like my improv class.

Right now, I have none of that. Thankfully we have the internet and technology to help us stay connected, and that certainly is comforting. Isolation and lockdowns suck.

But, I am going to continue. I meditate every morning, go outside and walk twice a day (10,000+ steps!), take online exercise classes, eat well, and wash my hands often.

Years down the road when we ask others "where were you during COVID-19?", I'll have my story. Not knowing how long I'll be here and what lies ahead in the upcoming weeks and months is hard, but I'm learning a lot about what it means to surrender.

I am very blessed to be on this journey in my life, and many others have not been so fortunate. They have lost friends or family, or their jobs to COVID-19. That is truly sad and they need our prayers. I have to keep in mind that planes, trains, and buses will run again. Hotels will re-open. And travel will continue. In the meantime, I remain grateful. Croatia's approach to the virus makes me feel safe. Everyone seems calm and rational. We will come out of this.

I'm supposed to be going the London on June 1st. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

Thanks for following along! Stay safe and healthy everyone!



Bob Tapper


Outside US: +01 9494846275

Inside US: (949) 484-6275

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