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.   

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