SUCCESSFUL CROATS IN THE WORLD
Wande S. Radetti from New Yorka
Dynamic and agile travel professional and communicative, successful business woman, Wanda S. Radetti, owner and founder of the company VISITCROATIA.com- Tasteful Croatian Journeys, is one of our frequent passengers. The six-time Condè Nast Traveler Awardee as World Top Destination Specialist for Croatia (think the Oscars of the travel industry) has repeatedly been drawn back to Croatia, not only due to her work, but also her heart. We say back to Croatia because Wanda was born here.
Circumstances of life compelled the family to leave her birth town of Rijeka and move to the refugee camps of Italy while waiting to migrate to America. Permission
to immigrate to the United States of America was given to the family when Wanda’s father, a professional chef, was fortuitously offered a job in a restaurant in Chicago where he hoped to bring his family to start a new life.
However, his sudden and unexpected death one month before the family’s scheduled
departure dealt a staggering blow to the family’s dream of going to America. That did not stop Wanda’s mother from mustering up the courage and strength to follow through with the realization of the family’s dream. Dressed in the black of mourning, she gathered her children and embarked upon a voyage fraught with uncertainty, but filled with hope as she brought her family to America.
- We settled in New York City and my mother got a job in a book factory. My brother, who is seven years older than I am, also worked while I went to school, remembers Wanda. In addition to English and Italian, her mother tongue, Wanda also speaks Spanish and a bit of Croatian. Her knowledge and love of languages has, ndoubtedly, been very useful not only in her work, but also in her extensive personal travel experience.
- Living is a form of travel; it is a journey. That is why I love my work as it permits me to share the region of the world that I love most by offering customized, life-enriching experiences to travellers, Wanda emphasizes, and goes on to more precisely explain the difference between a tourist and a traveller.
- Travellers know exactly why they want to travel to a destination, what they wish to
experience there and hope to discover. Well educated, sophisticated, insatiably curious - the traveller prepares for the journey by learning as much as possible about the destination and revels in the anticipation of discovery.They study the destination’s geography, history, literature and political influences. They take pleasure in all the expressions of art, savour the local cuisine and enjoy the wines. Most of all, they want to meet and connect with the people and learn about their customs and their stories. A traveller endeavours to personally connect and establish long-lasting
relationships as they see the reflection of themselves in the eyes of their new friends.
A traveller appreciates the beauty of nature, respects it and is engaged in the preservation of a pristine environment. Wanda creates a romantic image for us,
Travellers, for instance, recognize the difference between the morning breeze that gently caresses their cheek, and the mild wind which brings a bit of freshness to the late afternoon of a hot summer day on the Adriatic Coast.
And, they know the name of the wind that envelops them in that particular moment.
Wanda and her highly professional team work meticulously to ensure that all her travellers are professionally served while experiencing beautiful moments that they will forever cherish Her company, VISITCROATIA.com.
- Tasteful Croatian Journeys, in practice confirms the Latin saying nomen est omen, i.e. a name is a sign. Those who travel to Croatia with Wanda will not only become well acquainted with the beauties of our country, but will also reawaken their senses as they take in the various flavours, colours, scents, and melodies. On a particular small group journey, the Annual Tasteful Croatian Journeys’ Spring Processions of Korcula™, the travellers have a chance to literally immerse themselves into the lives of the Croatian families that are the venerated members of the three ancient
fraternities in the town of Korcula: All Saints from 1301, St. Rok from 1575, and Our Lady of Comfort from 1603. The traveller is adopted by the families during Holy Week and will join in the family’s traditions and rituals, help with the foraging, cooking, baking, and blessing of the food, and participate in the fraternities’ elaborate processions. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that culminates with the family’s
celebration of rebirth and the renewal of spring at the Easter table on Sunday.
In reflection of the way her mother brought her to the U.S., even before the war was completely over in certain parts of Croatia, Wanda had the courage to design and organize Tasteful Istra and Kvarner Journeys™ in 1995.
The tour was organized for the Histra Association for Women in New York. It was a journey of self-discovery for the participants and a truly emotional and sentimental return to the land of their birth. The tour was a wonderful success and remains in great demand.
In 1995 Wanda’s dream to organize luxurious travel experiences to Croatia was hailed as avant-garde by the Croatian press. There was, of course, a lot of work to be done, and it was an incredible challenge that has become a most satisfactory accomplishment and success. And now, Croatia is a destination that delivers five-star travel.
Presently, she arranges luxury experiences for the sophisticated and demanding members of a growing list of travellers that come from every part of the world. Wanda shares a keenness with her travellers for the highest standards of quality and value, and delivers in all capacities. She believes that a job well done is reliant upon sensitivity to detail and nuance. And the results are undeniable, as Wanda states, It’s wonderful to work with people and bring a smile to their faces − it is the greatest satisfaction we can get after much hard work.
Wanda is always striving to enrich her offerings with new projects that are true to her spirit and coherent with her life journey. For Rijeka, the city of her birth and her emotional home, she dreams of building the Mediterranean Migration Monument of Honour, a reflection of the Honor Wall on Ellis Island in New York City which records the names of immigrants who arrived in the United States. The monument brings millions of visitors every year to New York City from all parts of
the United States and the world. The design for the Mediterranean Migration Monument of Honour would be the reverse, as it would list the names of the courageous people that left their homes, families and friends in order to find their
place in the world - and it will bring the world to Croatia.
- Borders are meant to be a place where we can meet, not where we separate. As a child of borders, it took me a lifetime to understand that I was blessed to be born in a region where many European cultures converge resulting in a beautiful Italic, Germanic and Slavic mosaic of art, history, architecture, music and cuisine.
My life in America has further enriched me - I am a Croatian Italian American.
In line with her mission to bring people together, she is currently working on a project
called Dining Beyond Borders™, a boutique travel experience exploring the gastronomy and wines of Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. Moreover, the project would present the common culture, history and heritage shared by these
three neighbouring countries that used to be part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy.
- People like returning to their roots and the more they live the more inclined they are to look back. As years go by, it becomes increasingly more important to us to know who we are and where we came from. More and more clients with ancestral roots in Croatia and surrounding regions engage us to create their Tasteful Heritage and Culture Journeys™. Upon completion of their journeys, I delight in learning about their fulfilling emotional reactions, the life enrichment, and the expansion
of their hearts and minds. Croatia is a beautiful jewel which gives off different flashes of brilliant colour when looked at from different angles. As my adventurous and courageous Croatian mother would often say, Travel is wonderful, and one must travel in life, but it is most wonderful when there is a home to return to.
Wanda concludes, I love to travel and to help people travel. When to my ‘domovina’ I eventually return, I return to Rijeka... to Croatia.
Those who travel to Croatia with Wanda will not only become well acquainted with the beauties of our country, but will also reawaken their senses as they take in the various flavours, colours, scents, and melodies . ( sent by Wanda Radetti /