I have been in Athens for… three weeks, I believe. The original plan was to be a week or a wee bit longer, but due to obvious reasons I have had to wait. Luckily my couchsurfing hosts are lovely people with more or less minds on the same frequency as myself. There is no awkwardness when there isn’t much to talk about, and we all can do our own thing without thinking we’re ignoring each other or simply being rude.. for an introvert such as myself, it’s really nice to be around people like this. I’ve never liked talking or being talked to because it’s “the right thing to do.”
With such a large amount of time spent in one place, and walking for hours everyday getting a bit too redundant, my mind is having a lot more time to think and think and think some more. Although much of the time is reflecting on where I have been, who I have met, the feelings and the smells – all of that – I still relapse into some of the pessimism I reveled in as a teenager. The smells of the city, the unsmiling, lost, or simply miserable looking faces that drift throughout the crowds I navigate through is such a change from all the small towns and the nature that has surrounded me for the past five months spent in Greece.
I see so many phones brightening the faces of young people as they all sit together in the cafes and bars at night, and wonder at the world I have been very distant from for so long now. Bars are an oddity for me, having stepped in only one for maybe 8 or more months now, and it was a culture shock. Loud music drowning out all but the loudest conversations, with those few conversations being of the most shallow and skin-deep kind. Yikes.
Now I don’t want to sound over negative about everything. I realize and agree that everyone lives their own lives, and they’re entitled to it, but I feel more of a sadness than a resentment towards these people. By the way they talk, their faces, their mannerisms, it seems they are missing out on the outside world and things not based on temporary gratification. people live in their little boxes, and spend much of their free time in other more crowded boxes, to eventually return to the home box and work to keep that box and their boxey sorta life. ANYWAYS.
This time spent in such a large city has also made me appreciate what I am doing, to a greater extent than before. i think back to all the beaches, mountains, rivers, and forests i have spent time in, where the only sounds are of the surrounding nature and random conversations with my departed travel friends. At the time I thought of how nice it would be to have hot showers, internet, a full kitchen, etc. Not all the time, but usually during heavy rains, those colder nights, and so on. now that I have a place to stay with all these things, my mind feels less at ease really. I suppose it could be that part of all of us that, once we get the things we desire, we want the next thing, or just something else. Of course it’s good to realize these things and feel more humble in my opinions.
My passport SHOULD be arriving next week, and the plan is still off to Crete, and East towards Turkey. The next couple of months will be relatively cool, so says everyone, but I should be able to avoid the freezing temperatures. So head comes a departure from Europe, and the easiness of crossing borders ceases. The politics of the regions I move toward i find interesting, coming from such a quiet country devoid of such things. I hope to learn a lot in the coming months, and get more than what I read from online sources.
A year and a half away from home, and on the edge of the next big change – leaving Europe!