This wasn’t planned. After the summer of 2014 I was determined that it was enough. After spending three (the most extraordinary) summer work experiences in hot Wildwood, New Jersey, I decided that it was time to move on. So what happened?
Ahead was my last, and most possibly graduation, year at the university followed by an uncertain future certainly coming to knock on the door to ask something like “and you fella, you wanna do what in your life?”.
Throughout the last summer I started to think about that future’s knocking and decided to give it a shot and sign up for one travel-working year in New Zealand after my graduation which would be pretty much in accordance with my rising aversion of an idea of pursuing happiness through working on my so-called personal career immediately after finishing the school. But also in accordance with my rising desire to discover the world, more precisely to never stop discovering.
The only problem in this appealing plan was the limited number of visas assigned to my little country and also the precarious” first come, first serve ” visa application, ehm lottery how people properly renamed it, scheduled for the spring of the next year.
So while I was dreaming about natural wonders of New Zealand and trying to resolve my uncertain future, I got this mischievous idea of going to Wildwood again and buy myself some time. My former determination was gone and I got pretty excited about coming back. Anyway, it’s funny how people change their rigid minds when facing the fear of uncertainty. But truth to be told, I honestly didn’t have a clue what to do or who to become after the graduation… I only heard my inner voice calling for an adventure what was waiting out there.
Eventually, my worries turned out to be misleading because I happened to become one of the lucky ones who won the New Zealand’s lottery and the future was now clear like never before. So I’m going to answer the calling and discover what’s out there.
That was just about the circumstances behind the changing my mind and coming back to the place where it all began.
I’m happy to say that the main reason why I came to USA – to work at Mariner’s Arcade on Wildwood’s Boardwalk – was truly enjoyable. Although it wasn’t the easiest to make 70+ hours a week, sometimes 17-hour shifts, to deal with customers, sometimes sadly silly, to run in busy times, sometimes with missing a break or to supervise people, sometimes sillier than customers (hah), I did like my job and it made the summer worth it. After all it wasn’t about being mad at work or something, but about the pleasure time spent with great coworkers and about the happy moments we created together.
Took me some time to figure out the best way how to present a tons of my memories in here. Then I decided instead of searching for some worthy stories I’ll try to pick out the original notes and pictures from my phone dated as they were created. I hope that might be a nice way of sharing my Wildwood experience to everyone.
Let me just start with the first day. “Heeere we go again” said to myself with curious expectations when I first got out on the busy street of the Big Apple dazed by its skyscrapers and yellow taxis. Feels good when, after all those years, you know the fastest way how to get out from overcrowded New York’s airports and from New York itself. Still I say that although it’s dirty and people aren’t always nice to you, New York is very special place. Its vibrant life must amaze all newcomers as well as comebackers. Just please, once for all, get out of the way, the rush found its definition in here… Or catch the pace. Late night arrival to Wildwood just revived a countless number of memories. As I knocked on the door of the house on Magnolia Avenue, where I was supposed to stay for upcoming four months, and was welcomed by my Serbian friends, I knew that this summer will be just hilarious.
Heeere we go again. This city will never stop surprising me. For some reason it feels like you are in the center of the universe. But better keep going and catch the bus to Wildwood, see ya.
Walking these streets reminds me the looong winter when I was thinking of summer, heh. Many people keep coming back for this summer atmosphere, glad I’m one of them. Meeting people at work, happy…
Sunset over the Giant Wheel.
This spectacular view never gets old. Spending time with old friends, eating pizza, enjoying Boardwalk as a guest, precious moment. Crowded.
Weather for the beach, start working from 4pm, better get moving instead of doing nothing. Nah, changed my mind when our manager came with Coronas. Add the sun and you get the picture of this summer. But add some lime first.
Having a pizza break at Franconi’s when witnessed interesting moment. Girl complaining: “I’m so angry…” And pizza guy’s sharp response: “Get over it” without even letting her finish that nonsense sentence. Think about it. About pizza, too.
Enjoying working and living with Kristina, my Serbian soulmate and one of the kindest beings under the sun. Found silver quarter.
Day off and the beach, getting tan, heh. Stealing nuts and fudge from James Candy. Night time and shot of Slivovice with John on the porch. Once for all, life is better with the porch, especially on Magnolia Ave.
Bare foot morning run on the beach, feels like in the movie. Haven’t mentioned any happy moments from work yet, but arcade is funny place itself.
Day off with the hot Wildwood beach and weather. Trip to Cape May, bought the Life is good T-shirt saying Not all those who wander are lost. Couldn’t help it, I didn’t even see the price. Looking for friendship cards in little shops on Washington Mall. Beach walk to lighthouse, came back and watched sunset over the Sunset Lake. Goood.
Night after work with Maria, my American bf homie. Nice talk about traveling and life goals.
Wawa hazelnut coffee. These cups allow you to survive 4 hours of sleeping almost every second night.
Day ended with very nice arcade people session on the porch when John got drunk or high, not sure. Emilia bought Bud Light, shame.
Trip to Philadelphia, 6am alarm very worth it. Classic attractions and Rocky steps. Looong stop in United States Mint, fascinated by old coins.
Sometimes the only thing what makes you happy are Jack’s cookies.
Excited about planning my ultraveling road trip in September. Longing for the west.
Surfing first time in my life, thanks to deez guys Nick and Matt. Couldn’t stand up on the surf but looked cool anyway.
Beautiful beach sunrise. Party at Matt’s with Coronas and Dusty. Good vibes. To-Do list: Remember these good times.
Time flies, already end of August. Season is coming to the end. Enjoying every day. Working hard, porch parties, beer and beach. Today’s surfing and couple of dolphins were playing close to me. Magical moment.
Wawa coffee, morning off. Finally did some reading, too. Awesome evening with arcade people and the new toy – wheel balance deck or however they call it. Fun riding it on the street. Walking gets boring then.
US Open! Made it, awesome atmosphere. Sunny sweather. Wanna keep this tennis memory.
Trip to Boston with my friend Maria finally happening. Funny talks. That just happens during long car rides. Exploring the city. Then Freedom Trail and brewery tour, just enjoying holiday moments in this stylish city. Very very good.
Goodbye day. Truly sad. Leaving the house, not memories, moments and everything connected with it. Long goodbyes to Kristina. Goodbye arcade, happy to see everyone but sad to leave. Now it’s really the time to move on. Next destination: Seattle.
That was it, No.4. Some say there is nothing much to do in Wildwood when you are all the time working and sleeping time is precious as never before. However, as many others I found time for hanging out with my friends after work what made my summer days unforgettable. I also spent some time for myself, got tan on the beach, did helicopter ride, went to watch quarterfinals on US Open, did trip to Philadelphia and Boston, bought a lot of stuff and clothes, made another quarters collection, tried to surf couple times and saw dolphins, went running on the beach, visited a zoo, became a supervisor, earned more money than I expected, spent more money than I expected, enjoyed eating outside, ate a lot of pizza, ate too much candy, drank gallons of beer, laughed a lot, worked a lot, made new friends, partied and chilled out on the porch, said goodbyes and cried because I felt how is to leave a place where I spent together more than one year of my life.
The enlightenment coming from sharing my summer story here is simple – don’t be afraid to change your mind from time to time, in my case coming back to Wildwood one more time turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Also because I earned enough money for my upcoming travel adventures but mainly because of another extraordinary life experience.