An autistic person travels to Europe – Part 2

An autistic person travels to Europe – Part 2


In Croatia, we got a coach from the capital City of Zagreb to the seaside port of Zadar. We booked specific seats as I’m 6 foot 5 and wanted the best legroom possible, and upon arrival found two women in our seats. Explaining the situation to the coach driver resulted in us being moved to another set of seats despite our tickets clearly showing what we had booked. I think the driver knew the women and was keeping the front free for them and his stuff. Ugh. Admittedly, the seats we ended up with were fine, but did we really need that hassle? This wasn’t a small independent coach company. It was a big European-wide company with uniforms and branding called Flixbus. Their disability page only caters to people with wheelchairs and those with guide dogs.

On arrival in Zadar in 30 something centigrade heat, we were greeted by countless men smoking and shouting “Taxi?”. No no, no no no no, no no no no. No no. I required a moment. I needed to get off the bus, find my bearings and decide where to go. Even when I found a spot with fresh air, in the mid-afternoon sun, they followed me and kept saying “Taxi?” I tried to explain to a man that I didn’t want to go in his taxi because he was a smoker, and they trigger migraines for me. I’m not 100% sure if they do or not for sure, so I try to keep my distance. Not only that, but I was trying to be polite as I wanted some space for a minute. He seemed irritated by my medical condition. Imagine if I’d attempted to explain autistic sensory overload from the noise and smells.

Amazingly, a non-smoking taxi driver overheard our conversation about smokers and offered his services. Was he a legit safe to use taxi? Should we have waited for an official Uber? (I’m not sure Lyft was available in those parts) I wanted out of the situation and to get to the hotel to calm down, so we accepted his offer.

Unfortunately, we found this time and time again in Croatia. Getting off a coach or ferry resulted in smoking men hounding you. While at a bus station, a man said, “Airport?” I was at a bus station. Did I look as if I needed a plane? There was simply no place to calmly wait. I appreciated that they have bills to pay and people to feed but a little space guys, OK?

Ear plugs at the beach

Sitting on a quiet beach in the early hours of the morning, watching the yachts frolic on the horizon, is a lovely thing. Unfortunately, others like to sit on the beach and shout at each other. My AirPods Pro have great noise cancellation, but I want to listen to the sound of the water. Thankfully, I have Loop Ear Plugs – Experience Edition ear plugs with me. They look cool with their rose gold tinted edge, which is great because I don’t have to worry about looking weird wearing earplugs at the beach. I can hear voices and laughter, but at a reduced volume. Best of all, I can still here the waves crashing. It helps me to not hyper fixate on little annoyances and enjoy my book.

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