So there I sat overlooking Fethiye harbour, the waiter had just brought me over my ordered glass of white wine and I had taken my first sip. I sat my glass back down and I took a deep breath –
“what the hell am I doing here!” I gasped.
Taking the Plunge!
Rewind several hours and you’d have seen me waving nervously goodbye to my friends as I embarked a small catamaran that would take me from Rhodes, Greece to Turkey. We had just finished a month of island hopping around the Cyclades and my friends were turning back towards Athens to catch their flight home to England. Whereas I had decided that a month simply wasn’t enough and I hadn’t wanted my adventure to end.
So….what do I decide to do?? I decide it’s a jolly good idea to hop on a boat across the water to Turkey, to desperately try to remember my way back to where I had holidayed the previous year in the hope that the hotel owners’ invitation to “come back next year and help me in the bar” wasn’t just his attempt at a polite parting of ways – and I decided that all this was only made an even more sensible idea by the fact that I had only £50 to my name and no return flight for back up! I mean – what other possible option was there for me to do at that moment in my life??
For me though, at that time, it had felt like the only option for me – I had spent the last 18 months scrolling and searching my way through the internet trying to find some kind of opportunity that would take me away somewhere. Not for any particular reason other than my little itchy feet that were desperate to start paving their own way out in the big wide world. I didn’t have a bucket load of money and I didn’t have much of a desire to head over to Australia on a working visa which seemed to be the new thing to do back then. So when I had been invited to come back to the hotel I had holidayed in I had felt a rush of butterflies and a voice saying to me ‘this is it – this is going to be the start of something special’ – and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t wrong.
As I write this today – 10 years 3 months and 27 days ago, on the 2nd May 2004 a week after my 20th birthday, I embarked on my first family free adventure. I had my backpack, a couple of friends with me to start with and I was ready to go!
Did this trip change my life?
In a nutshell – Yes! I could never begin to explain how much so. I know it wasn’t a big round the world trip but the beauty about travel is that it can come in all shapes and sizes. The things a person can learn and feel can be experienced from such places as the top of the highest plateau in the world or from something seemingly far less spectacular such as finding yourself a job on a beach bar – which is where my journey took me.
Having been quite a shy person, easily intimidated by big groups of people and overall fairly insecure about myself – to be in a position where I had waved goodbye to my friends to head somewhere where I knew practically no one, no job and very little money, was an interesting place to be! But you know what – I made it work because there was no alternative.
I forced myself to go up and talk to people and by doing so I found work and I met some great friends and I ended up having one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life.
So if you’re ever feeling that you just don’t have what it takes – think again! If you want something enough you will be surprised by what you can do. Don’t think that you need to have thousands of pounds to go off and create some life experiences, just enough will do and you’ll figure the rest out whilst you’re there. Like I did.