In 2008, when I was 21, I came up with the idea of booking an Interrail ticket and touring Europe for a month. I decided travel to Paris, Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, Athens, Istanbul and Vienna. And I felt the strong urge to do this tour alone.
Day 19 – Travel from Bari (Italy) to Athens (Greece)
After I reached Bari, I made my way to the harbor and found the ferry terminal. A night ferry was going to take me across the Mediterranean to Greece from where I would take another train to Athens.
On the ferry, I encountered two other backpackers around my age, one from Sweden and one from Japan. We had interesting exchanges about our home countries and travel experiences over dinner on deck, sharing our travel provisions.
Honestly, traveling alone, you don’t have to actually be without company. If you are open to it, you will meet so many people from all walks of life and all over the world along your journey. And you are in control to decide how much of your path you want to travel with them by your side. And these encounters makes for great cultural exhanges, human connections and maybe a couple of great travel recommendations along the way.
Unfortunately, aside from these lovely exchanges, the rest of the ferry ride was miserable. I had booked the cheapest option, which was passage on the upper deck. Since we were in the Mediterranean, I had thought that a night outside would be no problem. But I had not taken the wind on a moving ship into consideration. And let me tell you, it got cold. Within a couple of hours, my companions and I were chilled to the bones. No layering or taking walks under deck was helping.
I was so relieved when we reached the Greek coast and we got to warm up in the sun before we boarded our trains to our destinations. Moving forward, I will not book this type of passage again. I will rather allocate a little of extra budget for the sake of being comfortable.
How about you?
Do you ever travel alone?
Cover picture was taken in Athens (Greece) in Sep 2008
Missing the beginning of this story?
Around Europe in 30 days #1: Forming a plan