He came home bear hugging a borrowed suitcase that had lost both handles and wheels, his pockets empty, phone missing, lap top crashed, shoes flapping, eyelids drooping and I thought, “This is exactly how a 21-year old kid should look following the greatest summer of his life.”
He traveled through nine countries in 78 days, jumped from cliffs four stories high, enjoyed a chance encounter with a step cousin on a street corner in Split, cheered passionately for the home team on a packed Croatian beach during the World Cup Tournament, then rolled his creaky suitcase on to Amsterdam and cheered just as passionately for the home team during a national viewing party there.
By the time he landed in Berlin, he had lost his phone and his lap top had died. His suitcase wobbled on a single wheel. Still, he made his way to the crowded town square and cheerfully celebrated a third country’s World Cup win as Germany trounced Brazil 7-1.
Humble finances encouraged creativity; he spent the phone-and-laptop free portion of his trip mostly off the grid, making actual friends who only later became Facebook friends.
Best of all, he connected with the family of his great-grandfather (and namesake) Vinko Biskupic and all of the wonderful, hospitable Biskupic relatives in Croatia.
In a few weeks, Vinnie will return to UW Madison to complete his senior year. Real life beckons, and, God willing, a full-time job.
For now, though, he is basking in summer memories and the sweet satisfaction of a long dreamed about adventure successfully achieved.