The past three weeks have been the trail run of my journey Together with my boyfriend, I traveled 4.000 km (2.500 miles) through eleven countries to reach the starting point of my trip, Thessaloniki airport. Yesterday was the day I dropped him there and continued my journey by myself. This is the story of the 60 minutes of that journey. Because it took 1 hour of being alone in Greece to make me feel like I wanted to go home.
I had a plan again…
For months, I had the plan to spend this week in the mountains around Thessaloniki. There should be waterfalls, hiking trails, and amazing views I was super excited to explore. However, there are no campsites, hotels, or even coffee places around. A week in the wild was my plan.
Then, yesterday morning, I got an unpleasant surprise. My second period in three weeks! Apparently, traveling speeds up my hormone cycle by 200%! With the heavy cramps, my will to be in the wild disappeared quickly. Besides, a shower and toilet are more than a luxury during these days of the (half) month. So I booked a cheap hostel next to the beach to relax till I regain my energy. Again, not the thing I wanted to do, but not too bad either.
With my first destination set, it was time to drop my boyfriend off at the airport. I had feared this moment since the start of my trip. Off course, part of this fear was to be without him, making memories without him there, and missing him next to me. Nevertheless, the biggest part of my fear was having to drive in a Greek city, by myself.
Driving away from him, choosing to be alone, and doing the thing I fear most, was the hardest moment I ever went through. I felt all emotions when I did it. Anxiousness, sadness, anger. But also excitement, gratitude, and pride. Despite, or with, all of these, I got on the road. And before I knew it, I actually reached my destination. The negative emotions and the fear disappeared when I saw the entrance of my hostel. I had made it! And now it was time to relax.
I got stuck
But it wasn’t. While I was trying to get my van into the parking area of the hostel, it got stuck on a concrete curb that was hidden underneath the sand. And by stuck, I mean fully stuck. Blocking the road for all other traffic, not moving front or back. Nothing.
The good thing was that every car that wanted to pass had no other option than to help me get unstuck. Soon I had 3 men, trying hard to release the van. The bad thing, however, was that even with these men’s help, nothing could make my car move. And while the men tried to calm me down by saying that this was just a little problem, in Greek they were cursing and saying that they had no clue how to solve it. I spent 1 hour alone in Greece and that was all I needed to fuck up.
Fight, flight, or relax?
At this point, I was ready to leave my van, get a cab, and catch the first flight back to the Netherlands. My second idea was to get angry with my boyfriend, tell him to get a cab to come here, and help those men to get my van out of there. Flight or fight were my initial reactions, two things that would not improve my journey in any way.
So I stayed.
I took a deep breath and took my dog to the beach for a walk. When we returned, the van was at the parking, and I was welcomed with sweets and something to drink. I could finally relax, and I had survived my first solo adventure!
My solo adventure, however, is not as alone as it was supposed to be. Greece, unfortunately, is full of stray cats and dogs. Many of them are abandoned by their owners, and others are born on the streets and never knew a home. All of them, however, long for human contact, and on every holiday in Greece, I have felt bad for them.
Persa was born on the streets, and taken into a shelter when she was only 6 months old. She suffered from a severe ear infection and needed medical care. Now, 1.5 years later, she was still in the shelter with 120 other dogs. Although she has never had a family, she is the most loving girl. Excited about everything, wanting to meet everyone, and always begging for belly rubs. I fell in love with Persa as soon as I saw her and adopted her 3 days ago. Since then, we have been traveling together.
Any tips on dog training?
Although Persa is friendly, playful, and not at all aggressive, she has many things to learn. She doesn’t come when I call her, she doesn’t sit down when I say so, and she doesn’t wait and relaxes before she eats. Besides, it seems that once we make progress on one location, the excitement of our next stop makes her forget everything we did before. This really makes me wonder if I should be traveling now.
So if you have any tips on dog training, traveling with a dog, or the combination, please leave a comment below! If it is better for her, I might find a place to stay for the next month or so, so we can work on the basic training before we continue to explore her country. Please let me know what you think!
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