Can you believe it!? After months (years, even) of contemplation and uncertainty over going abroad for an extended period of time, I finally made the decision to pull the trigger last night. The clock struck 3 AM and I sat in the kitchen with my laptop, sweating, anxious, and nervous. I finally said, “Okay, Rocky. This is it. What am I waiting for? Let’s go for it already!” There has never been a better time in my life to take a chance! If I go and fail epically, I’d rather fail fast NOW. I am not setting expectations prior to my travels because much of the beauty lies in the mystery of it all. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and I know some people will never understand but this really is about expanding my vision. The world is a vast place and doing something like this could become the adventure of a lifetime.
In that same moment, in the middle of the night, after many days of browsing destinations, prices, and everything else, my final decision was made. I bought a ticket.
In early July, I will be flying with a one-way ticket to Athens, Greece.
No joke, I have spent months figuring out the logistics of this trip. Planning the first leg required a lot of front-end work but I finally feel prepared to take the chance. The rest will unfold in due time. Traveling may sound glamorous but I can’t stress enough that I anticipate this trip will be anything but easy. Despite being “away,” I don’t expect this to be a “vacation” in the traditional sense of the word. I’m not “running away” or trying to escape from work. In fact, with what I am setting out to do, I know it will be very difficult and I will probably work harder than I did in America. I will have to learn to keep a budget and be very careful with the money I have available. I am going to be traveling to unknown places, working hard, all while trying to navigate, communicate, and get by in these unfamiliar cities. If that sounds stressful, well, yeah. This is about adventure and getting uncomfortable again.
Why Did I Choose Greece?
For a long time, I was going back and forth over whether to start my travels in Europe or in Asia. Once I decided to leave in July, I decided to start in Europe because of the hot summer weather. From there, things got really complicated because of Schengen laws. I’ll write more about this in another post but basically, Americans can only spend 3 out of every 6 months in the Schengen area which really makes any long-term travel in Europe very complicated.
I was considering going to Croatia or Bulgaria first but I ultimately settled on going to Greece (which IS inside the Schengen zone!) because I want to START my 180-day window as soon as possible. After Greece, I’ll most likely leave and go somewhere outside of Schengen the following month. Possibly Bulgaria. From there, maybe a stop in Lisbon or Paris.
What Will I Do in Greece?
Nothing is set in stone but I anticipate I will spend roughly four weeks experiencing life in Greece. I am going to use their public transportation, mainly their metro system, to get around the city of Athens. I will probably do some touristy stuff while I’m there because I’ll be in Athens and there are some places I would love to see – like the famous Acropolis!
The weather should be very hot in July so I’ll probably visit a few Greek beaches too while I’m there. Definitely going to take plenty of time to appreciate Greece’s beauty.
Some people prefer to have every detail of a trip worked out months in advance before they go somewhere. I’m intentionally not going to plan anything else during this first leg of my trip. I want to adjust, make sure I don’t overextend myself, and enjoy the city around me!
From there, I’ll decide where to go next!
So let the countdown BEGIN! T-Minus 3 months.