In 2012, I decided to go to Greece by myself. I had no experience travelling internationally, let alone travelling by myself. So what spurred me to make such a bold move? I was fed up. After yet another failed attempt at planning a group vacation, I just gave up and decided to go by myself. It was the best decision ever.
I was studying for one of my accounting exams, so I didn’t have time to plan. I heard good things about Contiki, a tour group for young adults and just booked the Greek island on a whim! I think I picked it because the length of the trip was just right, just a little over a week. Little did I know that this trip would change my life forever.
I met so many Australians, and I didn’t know what the fuck they were saying half the time. I learned that a “thong” was actually flip-flop shoes and that you can just flip your middle finger and call someone a “cunt”, just for fun. I felt so worldly. Oh, and there was a moment where a bunch of us girls from the tour sunbathed in the nude in a secluded area. The girls in the tour group were so much fun!
It wasn’t easy at first and I was really lonely. On my first day on the Mykonos, I thought I missed the cruise ship back and it was really stressful. I remember my second night in bed alone, I felt so relieved to hear the couple beside me having sex because it made me feel a bit less scared and homesick. I even called home to my boyfriend at the time on a choppy connection.
We got around the Greece islands on a cruise boat, and there were so many drunken nights. One night, a nice guy from the tour group walked me back to my cabin. I asked if he wanted to stay over, and he agreed. I had no experience with these things and so I didn’t realize that you can’t just invite a guy to stay over for a platonic sleepover. Doesn’t matter, it happened anyway. My cruise ship cabin had two single sized beds that were perpendicular to each other and so we slept like that just chatting about things late into the night. It was sweet.
After the third day, things became easy as I got to know the tour group more. I enjoyed the beauty of the Greece islands. There were so many beautiful moments that left me teary.
Turkey was also part of the tour. We did a day trip to Emphesus to visit the markets and to tour the ruins. At the time Emphesus was very open to tourists and we did not have to wear more conservative clothing.
The tour group was just so perfect. I could not have wished for better. I felt like I was saying goodbye to good friends at the conclusion of the tour. The end of the tour left me back in Athens. It was in Athens that I received a phone call from a close friend of mine who called to tell me she just broke up with her long-term boyfriend. I told her that I would be home very soon and that I was sorry to hear.
This short, but impactful trip changed me. I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I knew that it wasn’t going to happen if I was with my boyfriend. I was becoming somebody new, someone who wanted more for myself and I didn’t feel that he was supportive of it. It was not the trip that made me feel this way, but it was the trip that made me realize it. I had grown as a person. I decided while on the plane back home that I was going to have to end my four-year relationship with my boyfriend at the time.
This blog post was not only about me sharing my experiences of Greece, but it also leads into my next “I got shaded” series, so stay tuned.