There is little in life that can not be fixed by a day at the beach. Especially when beach is pronounced the exact same way as bitch. At least it makes for something quite entertaining for me.
The past two days I’ve been traveling the three legs of Xalkidiki, Greece with three very unlikely traveling partners. The bond that ties us all together is Couch Surfing, a website that allows people to travel and stay with locals from around the world at no cost at all. Every time I tell others about this website they begin to freak out. Haven’t you seen any of those terrible movies like Taken or Hostel? Yes, yes I have.
But this is a community of recommendations and of trust that’s truly built on a generation that’s interested in breaking down borders and understanding each other. What better a way to do so than sharing your home with another?
So I’ve happened to have done just that. Among my time here, in addition to staying with my friends and family here, I’ve had the opportunity to couch surf with Nikos, a spanish teacher here in Thessaloniki, who just so happens to speak Italian, English, French, and a handful of other languages as well…lucky bastard. During my time here, he’s also hosted two French girls, Jill and Marie. It’s through CS that we’ve become unlikely roommates and even more unlikely friends.
The wonderful thing about travel is you’ll never know who you’ll meet and when- and that’s a powerful sentiment. My dears Jill and Marie are currently on a 6 month trip from their mother country France, around the whole of Europe discovering life in a new way possible in their van – which looks like this. This van has become their way of life for the next 6 months, where they sleep, eat (with stove and all, these girls are very organized), and where they travel. It was the night we camped at this site by the beach that we discusses our dreams, Jill, Marie, Nikos and myself. The need for adventure is truly a sentiment I share with Jill and Marie, and I could honestly see them becoming best friends with my sister- especially if she spoke French.
A lack of importance to marriage, a need for mobility and a true need for the unknown makes these girls so fearless. I love it, and it’s something that I want to strive even further to conquer through their spirit. It’s amazing too through thousands of miles traveled between the 4 of us and the same things we still all encounter.
Jealousy, sadness, loneliness, excitement, nerves…we even encounter the same exact problems with those we date. When we were driving the other day, Jill and I were explaining to Nikos how we could have the sweetest and kindest man in the world in love with us, doting on us, but it wouldn’t make us happy. We had to explain to him that it was more about a partnership, and that we wanted to be challenged as people, not just held as objects. After convincing, he understood why we felt this way.
As this trip rounds to its finish in the next two days, I have to look back at it with fond memories. It was in no way what I expected to find when I came here. I expected romance, rekindled love- all of that of course with Kostas. Instead I found heartache, understanding, self-actualization. Among other things that found me were also sunburn and many many mosquitos. This trip has been nothing I’ve expected, but that’s its beauty. I’m very grateful for the lessons learned. This has written a much-needed new chapter to the book of my life.