Here I am. Back in Winnipeg, for the second time this year. I’ll be staying here for at least 6 months this time around. It’s only been a week now, but I’m still adjusting to the Canadian way of life, since it’s a drastic change from the relaxed Greek lifestyle. I don’t live five minutes away from the beach anymore and I can actually read everything wherever I go. Truthfully, I’d much rather be back in Europe, if I had the choice and unlimited money. Although, I would probably not go back to Athens because the heat was too much to bare after the last two months of +30℃ weather (and hotter) every single day. I’ve spent the last year in Europe, other than my two trips back home to get an Irish and a Greek visa. At the start, I didn’t think I would leave Paris only after a few months, and I definitely did not think I would’ve ended up living in Athens, with my Irish boyfriend. My life has changed so much in the last year, and it’s all been for the best.
As I said, I started off last summer in Paris, as a young and naïve au-pair, thinking that I would be there until late last month. I spent a few days in Paris at the beginning before I went to the city that I lived in for 3 months when I was 16. Then I was off to Belgium with an unforgettable day trip to Amsterdam. A week later, I was going to stay in Berlin for three weeks, which turned into three days. After leaving Berlin heart-broken, I decided to go to Spain for a week to visit one of my very good friends. After a week of insane partying in Vitoria-Gasteiz and then going home to Paris, I decided to check out Ireland. I won’t lie, I fell in love on my very first night, and, of course, on a pub crawl. It wasn’t just a guy though, it was also the country that I fell madly in love with. A couple weeks later, for the anniversary of my mother’s death, I travelled to Venice alone and I visited a Canadian friend in northern Italy. Shortly after, I went back to Ireland, again and again, and a few more times after that. I worked during the week in Paris and I went to Dublin every second or third weekend for about two days. I also went back to Amsterdam for a weekend by myself, and it was some of the best days of my life. Later on, I bought flights to Liverpool for my Boyfriend and I since they were super cheap. Before going back to Ireland for the fifth time in three months, I quit my job in Paris in late October.
I went back to Dublin because I had no other place to stay than in my boyfriend’s flat. After a week, I saw that flights to one of the Greek islands were less than 30€ return, so I decided to go to Greece for the first time, alone. My first sign to not go should have been me missing my flight to Chania, but I stupidly decided to go to Athens the next day to try and salvage my three week long trip to Crete. After a few days in Athens, I flew to Chania, finding out only in the airport that I couldn’t use my Canadian debit card in the ATM to get out more money. I was stuck on the island with no cash, so I urgently called my nana to book me a flight back to Dublin. My boyfriend was already back in West Cork, so I would end up going there for a couple weeks. I was 110% ready to see another part of that beautiful country. We soon decided to rent a car to go to the Wicklow mountains for a week, just before I would go back to Winnipeg to get an Irish visa. He then got a job in Athens, asked me to come, and I followed him there.
I spent a week and a half applying for jobs before I got one in a call centre as technical support for Apple. I would have to go back to Winnipeg to get a few documents, and then to the closest Greek embassy, which happened to be in Toronto. But before going back, I spent a few days in Dublin and I visited Germany for the second time. While back in Canada I stayed in Toronto for two and a half weeks. I eventually visited two other islands in Greece once I settled in and I had planned a trip to Rome and to Bucharest, but unfortunately, I didn’t go. Yet I did go on another weekend trip to Sofia in Bulgaria.
So that was a fairly brief summary of my travels this last year. Despite the many hardships and the many times I was alone in a place I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I’ve learnt more about life and myself in these last 12 months than I have ever known before. I cannot wait to go back again next year.
I went to 22 cities, 11 countries, and I even lived in two different countries, one of which I did not plan on going to. I am amazed at how far I’ve made it now, because I didn’t think I would make it past 15 years old. To those of you I’ve met in Europe or even in Toronto, I’d like to thank you for the amazing memories I have and for the friendships I can see lasting for life. I can’t name everyone, because there are so many people that I’ve met, but trust me, I haven’t forgotten. I know I’ll be back in Europe next year, and I have many plans to visit new places in North America for the time that I’ll be here. So that’s a wrap on my Europe trip 2016-2017; until next time!