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Best and Worst of 40 Days

Athens, Greece

For my 20-day mark I did the 20 most important lessons I had learned so far. I know it's a little late, but I thought I would compile, from my 40+ days' experience so far, the 20 best and 20 worst things about travelling in this part of the world. So here goes:


1) The fact that Sundays in Catholic countries are miserable. Unless you are big on Mass and don't mind fasting.
2) Hidden costs and people always trying to rip you off.
3) Local customs that prohibit the wearing of weather-appropriate clothing.
4) 'Transit days' and having to move on as soon as you get settled.
5) People who snore.
6) Having to pay half a day's budget just to get your clothes cleaned.
7) Traffic that is an all too constant reminder of your fragile mortality.
8) Understanding how much we rely on people to speak English and trying to deal with it when they don't.
9) The Pound to Euro exchange rate.
10) Showers that are broken/cold/slow/dirty/non-existent.
11) Last minute panics of the 'Oh-God-where-am-I-going-to-sleep-tonight' variety.
12) Places that have more Brits than locals.
13) Most fellow travellers younger than about 16. Especially in groups.
14) Having to keep your hands in your pockets, lest somebody else slips theirs in to steal something.
15) Having to remember to charge everything, and creating a rota in your mind so that you don't suddenly find yourself with no working MP3/camera or worse: phone.
16) The unprecedented number of injuries you manage to sustain.
17) Carrying around a backpack for two months.
18) The constant and unwavering fear that you are going to lose your passport.
19) The one or two occassions when it actually rains and you feel like you deserve a refund.
20) The guilty feeling that creeps up every so often when you know that really, you're just having too much fun.

But if I'm being honest, there's nothing in the Worst section that I can't cope with. I would endure a bad shower, the risk of pick-pocketing or even expensive laundry just to spend a day with interesting people in an interesting country doing something I've never done before.


1) The weather: so good it feels like it must be bad for you.
2) Sitting in cafes, reading and sipping a cold drink without a care in the world.
3) The realisation that all people, no matter what language they speak, are essentially the same.
4) Swimming in the sea without getting hypothermia.
5) Meeting so many interesting people doing travels of their own.
6) Seeing places you have always dreamt about/read about and them exceeding your expectations.
7) Talking to strangers on public transport.
8) Sharing stories.
9) Understanding your place in history.
10) Trying the local cuisine, but being able to rely on the fruits of globalisation should you need to.
11) Looking again at everything you take for granted about your life.
12) Feeling, in a way, healthier and more relaxed than you ever have before.
13) Hearing new music (and hearing old music in a new place).
14) Waking up to days you know won't be ordinary; ones you will never forget.
15) Living in the present, fondly remembering the past and excitedly anticipating the future.
16) Seeing the lives affected by the politics and current affairs you hear about every day.
17) Learning so many new things every day and realising that there is so much you can never understand.
18) Views that take your breath away.
19) The satisfaction of doing something that is completely yours and that proves your independence,
20) Knowing that, if all goes to plan, you will get so many more opportunities to do this again.

permalink written by  BenWH on May 10, 2009 from Athens, Greece
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
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