The day has arrived! I’m off – eaaaaak! My latest travel plans, as detailed here, see me first head off to Barcelona for some girlie fun with a good friend, and then to the beautiful island of Skyros in Greece to attend a writing retreat for two weeks. For now, I’m enjoying a First Class train journey to London King’s Cross – not too shabby!
I have never felt such a strange combination of nerves and excitement at the same time. I cannot wait to get back to doing one of the things that brings me the most joy in life – travel. Every time I arrive in a new city I feel so ridiculously alive. The unfamiliar surroundings – a foreign language being spoken, new food to try out, signs in foreign languages – all give me such a high (almost as much as the sight of Idris Elba on TV does. I digress…).
The nerves, however, are understandable I guess seeing as I haven’t travelled alone in years. My friend will be with me for the first five days, and then she’ll head back to the UK. I’ll be staying in Barcelona for two days solo, which I think is a great way of easing my way into it gently. I’ve already booked a tiny room in a centrally located guesthouse; I’ve chosen this place because it has many communal areas where guests hang out, so I’m hoping to meet some new people while I’m there and get this solo show firmly on the road! And, in all honesty, I’m also looking forward to simply wandering the streets alone, getting completely caught up in the surroundings, and seeing where the trail takes me.
Then I catch a plane out of Barcelona to Athens, from where I get a connecting flight to Skyros. On the island I’ll be with a big group of people, and the course sounds so ridiculously fun – I cannot wait to see what it’s like! Not only will I get to take part in this great retreat, but I’ll also get to explore the island, and subsequently also see some of the other Greek islands.
There’s a great saying, which is: feel the fear and do it anyway. This has pushed me forward in many situations in my life when I’ve sat wondering “can I really do this?”
I’ve always found the answer to be – yes, I can bloody do this. I can do anything I put my mind to. I’m sure there will be challenges along the way – having to deal with my own heavy luggage all the time, trying to communicate with people whom I don’t share a language with, occasional loneliness, having to be extra careful about my safety. But challenges are what shape us as human beings. No one ever evolves by staying in a room and looking at paint dry – you have to head out there and seize every single opportunity that you can get.
I won’t lie; the developments of the last few months have completely thrown me, but they also made realise that nothing good can ever come of standing still or looking back. You have to carry on marching forward in order to be happy in life. And let’s face it – none of us know how long we’re going to be here for. So my answer to that is to make the most of every single damn minute of it – and travel!
Next stop, Barcelona!