Friday 23 March 2018

From Draft... to Published | Greece :: Solo

In Summer 2016 I went to Greece on my own. I wanted a holiday with some sunshine, but had no one to go with. I am very comfortable being alone. I lived alone in China and Korea. I enjoy being by myself, wandering around, sitting in a cafe reading or writing, minding my own business. |I enjoy lunchtime walks around Tavistock and Russell Squares listening to podcasts. I went to the cinema last week by myself. But I can't embrace solo travel. I don't like being completely alone. The only other time I have travelled for an entire trip alone, was in Bali. I wrote on this blog about the mountain that I climbed, the food I ate and the cooking class I took, but what I didn't write about was how I spent every evening in my room, watching Eastenders on youtube and going to bed early. How I wandered around alone, from one cafe to the next, wishing there was something I would meet up with later to talk about our day. How I signed up for the hike and the class to try and meet people, but only ended up feeling more lonely. How I was glad to leave by the end of the week. 

I thought that this time, in Greece, it would be different. I was different. I wasn't newly out of a relationship and feeling sorry for myself. I was only intending to go and relax, sit on the beach and read my book and I would be happy with that. But it wasn't. Turns out, I just don't enjoy solo travel. I don't like not having someone I know to chat to over a glass of wine in the evening or a friend to go off and explore with. At home, I am glad to spend time alone, but abroad, solo to me is just lonely.

Thoughts and observations from my trip:

Arriving at that in between time when people are still out from the night before but 1/2 hour later everyone else is up to start their day 

Watching the town/port slowly wake up. A lady sweeping her balcony, man walking his dog, recycling van and church priests chanting. 

Wandering the small street past bars closed maybe only an hour or so before, last nights' detritus still sitting on an outside table

The still and calm before the day has begun. 

Boarding the ferry and watching the dark blue water mix with turquoise and bright white foam as we chug along the water. 

Mesmerised by the flag blowing tirelessly at the stern

Deciding to try and walk there from the ferry with my case was foolish. Thankfully a taxi driver appeared who helped me get to the right place and then didn't charge me for it.

Lady at check in: 'Just one?' 
Me: 'Yep.' 
Lady: 'Hahahha' 

'Solo? One?' - Man in restaurant. No one likes to see a woman travelling alone. And this woman doesn't enjoy having people point out she is alone. It highlights the fact more. It reminds her, you're here alone and others are wondering why. You're reminded that you couldn't find anyone else to come with, and for the next week you have no one to talk to or spend time with except yourself.

I stop by a small kiosk on my way to the port to pick up a bottle of water & an iced tea. Lipton iced tea is my holiday drink. I never buy this in England, although it's readily available, but on holiday, particularly in Europe, it's the drink I always end up choosing, besides water of course. I place the bottles on the counter and look to the cashier to tell me the price. He stares back, mute. We stay like this a couple of seconds longer than is comfortable before I ask 'How much?'  'Ah!' he says '€1.50' [in English]  'Oh you were waiting to see what language.' 'Yes, because you look like you could be Greek'  Really? Perhaps that explains why so many people have spoken to me here first in Greek. In Asia I was easily identifiable as foreign & to be addressed in English. I was really happy the first time I was mistaken as a local in Russia, after so long being foreign. But I didn't expect that here, on a tourist island, pale skin and blue eyes. But maybe that's just my ignorance.   

Sunday 4 March 2018

Wanderings Lately :: February

I started February learning how to make macaron and ended with my very first work trip to Istanbul, with a bit of culture in the middle. Due to the work trip last week I managed to evade the entirety of the snow that blanketed London for the week. It's not been snowy since 2013 that snow really settled in London so I am disappointed to have missed the beauty that comes with newly fallen, untouched snowfall. I am also glad to have missed the travel chaos that any kind of extreme weather causes in the capital. Maybe in the next week or so we'll be looking into spring. Maybe... just maybe.


Got my bake on first with some bake-at-home pain au chocolat and then at the macaron class at Les Atelier des Chefs. This was a leaving present when I moved jobs last year and I decided to use it as an early start to my birthday. I picked up some tips and am looking forward to putting them in action soon whipping up my own batch at home soon.

Bletchley Park

Mum and I went to Bletchley Park to learn all about deciphering the enigma code and the very first computer. The complex is huge and we didn't see everything but as the ticket lasts for a whole year it gives you plenty of time to go back to see the rest. Interesting to hear more about what went on and the rest of the people (other than Turing) whose work really changed the course of the war.

Work Bonding

We went for an away day with work at Flight Club Darts, which was good fun and I found that I was actually quite good. A surprise to me but I even impressed myself!


We went to Istanbul last week a conference this last week, and although most of the time was spent in the same building and in a room without windows, but I got as much out of the trip as I could. I've been before and did all of the tourist sights then. Thankfully the final day in Istanbul had great weather, and I followed some advice from a friend and hunted out the rainbow steps.

Friday was a lovely day, spent wandering around by the water, along Istikilal street and drinking apple tea (& wine!)


This month I also went to the Museum of London and saw part of the Whitechapel fatburg, drew the lines back on our netball court and had breakfast with Macey and her keepcup!