Tuesday, July 29, 2003

It's a funny thing ferry sleeping. Our first ferry from Piraeus to Mykonnos was on the Greek Orthodox easter long weekend. People just threw their stuff on the decks inside and sat down. Who knows why they wouldn't try and get in a chair but heck, when in Rome. Plus, the shock factor of not speaking the same language left me in the inclined position to just do as they did.

There was the overnight ferry from Crete to Piraeus when we thought it would be a good idea to just sleep on the deck - cheapest option for the budget traveller.

After scoping out many a place, we found these wonderful long benches - we really couldn't believe our luck!

All was going well as we spread out our goods for sleeping - me with my little bilum bag stuffed with clothes for a pillow and my jackets as my blankets - until a friendly steward came by to tell us if we wanted to sleep there, we would have to wait until 11:30 p.m.

It seems we had landed ourselves in the first class section of the deck. All those people who have their own cabins and were probably sitting in the bar on board because they were travelling first class, should not have to be subject to us peasants sleeping on their precious lounge couches.

Perhaps worse was that at 5:20 a.m., we were awoken for the same reason. The ferry was not arriving for another 2 hours but the first class people might want to mingle and sit in the dingy lounge instead of their comfy cabins.

Lesson Learned: It was then I realized that not all rules make sense and I was ready to throw caution to the wind and start breaking the ridiculous ones. I had followed too many rules all my life. It was time to re-evaluate which ones were just and which ones were just stupid.

Monday, July 28, 2003

It's been over a year since we decided to take this adventure.

Sadly, I have not written all that I wanted to on this 'vitural diary'. I suppose it's difficult when travelling on a bus across Crete or staying in hostels in Rome to actually whip out the laptop and start typing.

And with the cost of internet cafes - whoa! - not so much a good thing for the budget traveller.

As I sit now, however, at my temp job in Leeds UK, I am finding some time to write on my lunch break.

Each day now I will be able to pop in and write a little story from our adventures - whichever one comes to mind. Today, it's the overview of the last 12 months.

July 2002 - D. and I decide to give it all up - the condo, the car, the cushy jobs - and move to England to travel Europe!

August 2002 - The condo sells in 10 days! A record, I would think...and so now that we're homeless, there's no turning back

September 2002 - finishing off jobs and preparing to leave. D. takes a couple of weeks before the trip and will arrive two weeks early to find us a place and check out the job scene

October 2002 - possibly the longest month ever!!! I am alone to defend to everyone why we're taking off to a place where "it's so cold and it rains a lot and it's so expensive". Plus I miss him desperately, especially knowing he is all alone. But he finds an apartment in a weekend and ventures down to his grandma's for a week or two to kill time before we meet up.

October 21st 2002 - The adventure begins. We meet in Amsterdam and start our adventure.

November 2002 - touring through Luxemborg, France, Spain and Portugal. We missed some cities but plan to see them again later on in the year.

December 2002 - arrive in Leeds. Both of us start looking for jobs over the holiday season and find them in a week. D's a cook and I'm a glass collector. Can't get any more the other end of the career spectrum than that.

January 2003 - Work is looking up as we sign up with temp agencies and are back to cushy office jobs, without all the political bulls*** as we have no responsibilities

February 2003 - Still working. Make some friends and go for pints. Mostly, we are saving money for the next stint of travel.

March 2003 - Still working. And the plan is coming together. We'll spend Easter with D's grandma and then spend the rest of April and May travelling.

April 2003 - Two weeks of work. And two weeks of heavan in the Greek Islands. We know that we'll be leaving Greece the middle of May but this relaxed atmosphere is making us reconsider.

May 2003 - Days on the beaches, driving scooter and drinks and great food in the evenings. Seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and of course, the sunsets on Santorini. But after only a week there, we are off to the country of culture - Italy. We see more cities than expected and have a fabulous time. Who knew the Last Supper and the Sistine Chapel were going to be THAT amazing?

June 2003 - Ah, Switzerland. A week in this clean, expensive country and we're trying to figure out ways to live here. Plus, two weeks at home!!! D's sister's wedding and seeing tons of friends and family. An amazing roller coaster of emotions but a good fix of familiar faces.

July 2003 - Ah, good old Leeds. Back to business as usual and our little flat. Very comfy with evenings of Earl Grey Tea and Graham Norton.

Amazing what can happen in 365 days.