Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece

January 29, 2015
Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece

I’d been on the road for more than 150 days, had ridden the rails across five nations and more than 15 cities, slept on the deck of the ferries and sailed the Aegean down to the isles of one of the oldest civilizations. I hadn’t imagined it until I got there, but I had learned that if you let go and stopped planning where you were going to go and what exactly was going to happen that life still went on. Your path still took shape.

I’d never planned on going to Greece, but my partner’s nationality gave her a distinct interest in the country the same way that I had hoped we would end up in Italy. So we passed from Spain back to Portugal back through Spain across France into Italy through Ventimiglia, camping in the olive groves of Florence, exploring Siena, taking the circumvesuvian train to Naples, camping on a volcanic cliff in Sorrento.

We were viewing the magma preserved bodies of Pompeii, taking a dingy to Capri, motorbiking the cliffsides to Amalfi, storming back up through Rome, taking the train out to Perugia and searching for my family’s old farm in the lost country of Guadal Tadino, and we pooled our money and got a plane in Brindisi.

Then we landed beneath the crumbling Acropolis of Athens.

Return ticket from Greece

We had plane tickets to return to New York in three weeks, but I knew we weren’t going back.

I’d never planned on going there, just like we hadn’t planned on going to Portugal when we first arrived but then…it was just so close to Spain. “It’s just over there,” she had said. “I want to see the chorio.” So we boarded the plane and landed in Greece although I wasn’t particularly invested.

Yet when I saw the caldera come into view first from the ship out of Piaraeus, its huge, open, striated crescent stone face and then the blue domes sitting on the white cubic edifices climbing up into Aegean sky, I thought, “I don’t ever want to leave.” It was something about being on this unexpected archipelago, midway between the mainland of Europe and the giant hulking continent of Africa, somehow caught between those two solid realities and many months from when I’d had an apartment or a car or something more solid than the backpack on my back.

Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece

We had plane tickets to return to New York in three weeks, but I knew we weren’t going back. Still, the sensation made no sense.

The tickets were bought, after all. There had been an end date, a run out of money date, a date by which the reality of life would seep back in through the circulated air of the plane we would ride back to rebuild our lives after this epic trek. And yet…that day came and we were sitting in the square of Naxos drinking frappe, watching the sun fall into that frame on the hill of the port.

Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece.

I didn’t go home, and I didn’t call the airline, and I didn’t rearrange things and I didn’t care. I was 23, and I threw the ticket in a wastebasket and rented a cheap hillside room in Mykonos and stayed there until the visa implications forced me out, riding my rented ATV across every dirt road of the island to every chora, letting the insects bounce off my helmet as I rode along the ancient coastlines in the dark with nothing to stop me but the inevitability of time.

Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece.


Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece.

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Have you traveled to Greece? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you!  

Ticket from Greece

Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece photo credits: unsplash.


About Lindsay Valentin

Lindsay Valentin currently lives her life in Portland and works as a writer as well as in volunteer management. She holds both a BFA and MFA in Writing for Publication and Media, and is dedicated to the written word as well to international travel and altruism. Her travels and work in development have taken her across the nation and globe, and she has written on her journeys across Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the US.

2 thoughts on “Why I Trashed My Return Ticket from Greece

  1. Michele
    August 21, 2015

    I love this.

  2. Alix
    January 29, 2015

    Went to Greece on vacation – twice – I will finally be moving to Greece in May.
    I am from California and I love my country but I am 80 y old, so it might very well be my last trip….

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