Sept 21, 2017
As I lay in my hotel comfy bed Sept 17 early am (the day my family left to go back to states) staring at the ceiling just thinking, what the F am I going to do now. Well I have so many plans, but it's just me now. I could easily just waste away and not do half as many things as I wanted. That's when it really sunk in, this was no longer just a long vacation as it may have been for the first couple months since I was staying with family/friends. This was going to be a full time job figuring out what to see, when to see, how to get there, how to understand things in different languages, timelines and still remaining flexible for the spur of the moment change of plans. I spent over 4 hours today trying to figure out the next 10 days. Well to be fair I had to work backwards from the end of my trip to today. The only non flexible plan I have so far is to go to Thailand for Yi Peng in early November to see the festival. So I had to work back from there and to see how much time I could/should spend in each place. What I've come to realize is I don't have much time. But JJ you planning to travel for almost 7 months?! Well as I start to research each country that I am on going, there's always so much to see and not enough time. So I either change my plans and stay in a certain region for longer or I spend little time in each place. I am split with this decision, as a photographer its easy to just spend a few days in one spot for some photos and move on, but as a person you begin to meet people and see the culture which you only start to see after a few days which is when I typically leave. But being by myself it is easier to push myself to see more than with a companion that may not be so eager. So for now I'm staying on course, I've shortened/removed some greek islands so I can spend more time in other places. If I wasn't doing a lot of this for my photography passion the answer surely would be different. The way I see it, is that I'm doing a big tour to see what each part of the world has to offer to return (hopefully with a wife) later to really dig for longer to enjoy the stay. For now I'm doing recon work.
One thing I've realized in living in hostels, well there's a few actually; first, there's almost always someone to talk to and or hang out with. Literally every night you can go to the common area, hang out for a bit (sometimes there's a bar) and next thing you know you're out till 6 in the morning with people you just met from all over the world having a blast. I saw this as initially a good thing but as I travel more I realize that it can also prevent me from spending that quality time by myself and finding the joy of solitude that I originally thought I'd be forced to deal with. Second, while I am meeting people from all over the world I am never really meeting anyone from the country I'm in. So far I've met people from Canada, Germany, India, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Oregon and Washington DC. And I've only traveled to Italy, Greece and Hawaii. So while I do enjoy meeting these people and there are a few that I plan on visiting again, it wasn't what I initially expected. The inner joy I seek really has to come from the effort in building that relationship, just as in any typical relationship with another human. I guess thats what drove me to be writing this, to collect my thoughts, course correct and keep truckin.' Tomorrow I leave for Mykonos which after booking everything and then talking with a few people I wish I would have not gone there and instead Eos, but there was too many things booked to change. Plus I feel I could stay visiting every island here so I need to keep moving for the sake of time. After Mykonos I'm traveling to Zante, then Albania, then to Croatia. There's some pretty magical places there that I hope to capture, and I'll save the location names for my pictures to do them justice.
Hostel World is a great website/app to help with finding and booking hostels.
Skyscanner is an awesome website/app that searches cheap international flights. You don't even have to put a destination, it tells you whats cheap from the departure place, pretty cool and pretty easy to get lose yourself on a Euro trip (in a good way).
Rome2rio is an awesome website/app that tells you how to get from point A to B via bus, car, plane, ferry, and/or train. Very powerful in conjunction with skyscanner.
Google Translate has a cool feature that uses your camera to translate pictures of foreign languages to your own. Some websites here don't have an english version and even the web browser won't translate it. Very frustrating when you're trying to book the metro.