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Musings from Chania, Crete

What have I been up to?

Chania, Crete

Love the colors in Chania, Crete

I’ve been laying low in Chania, gathering strength after Cambodia and trying to plan my future; a nearly futile exercise that becomes increasingly difficult given my current “lifestyle”.  I never know what today will bring.

The three stooges have arrived:  Loneliness has crept in.  As has worryBoredom, a stranger to me for the past 11 months, has made an appearance.  This boredom, I know won’t last long.  All these feelings seem par for the course.  I am just observing them and imagine they will soon be exiting stage right.

With the nice weather here, I’ve spent lots of time sitting in coffee shops beside the harbor, working on this website, attending to aspects of it that are largely unseen.  It even surprises me how much work is involved in developing this website and learning how to manage it.

I met up with the beekeeper that sent me flying a few days ago and while I was hoping for a rekindling of that magical feeling between us, what happened was just the opposite.  You really can never go back.  Trying to recreate an experience or feeling in another place and time is an exercise in folly.  Of course, this was a disappointment.  While I did not return to Chania for a romance, I certainly wouldn’t have declined it had it come my way.

After my fabulous experiences last October in Crete, and given my active imagination, I won’t deny that I’ve had fantasies of marrying a Cretan man and living happily ever after beside the Libyan Sea while tending to bees and goats and creating art.  Ridiculous?  Sure.  But I’m not the only one.  Thousands of foreign women have fallen down the same rabbit hole.  It’s a common occurrence.  The spell of the Cretan man and Crete itself is a powerful one.

That’s not to say I haven’t gotten any action.  In fact, I have been entertained by two suitors.  On Theophany, a dapper man half my weight, and twice my age, approached me and shook my hand in the church plaza.  He then would not let go of said hand, and dragged escorted me to a bench where he caressed my hand in what could only be described as a violent manner, all the while smiling and speaking to me in rapid Greek.  Several times he placed my imprisoned hand on his heart.  While I initially found this entertaining, I quickly tired of the situation and removed myself.  As easy as removing myself from the tentacles of a giant squid.

My second suitor, Nikko, is also easily in his eighth decade.  He walks the harbor everyday.  I noticed him weeks ago because of his astonishing mustache.  It mimics the look of a guinea pig having died on his upper lip.  Attractive?  Not so much.  Impressive in it’s masculine vitality and exuberance?  Affirmative.  Nikko speaks ten words of English but has managed to clearly express that he wants to meet me today at the coffee shop and take me to dinner.

With so many men to choose from, what’s a girl to do?

What’s next?

Chania, Crete

walking through the old town in Chania, Crete.

I’ve had plenty of time to consider where to go next.

Unfortunately, due to visa laws, as an American I can only stay in the Schengen zone (which includes most all of Europe excluding the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia, and Bulgaria) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Knowing that I want to return to Crete in the Spring, I need to get out of the zone now to maximize my visit in April.

The romantic notion of spending “a year in Europe” is far more complicated than I previously imagined.  There are ways to get temporary residency in various European countries, but this process can take months, usually has to be initiated in the United States, and is fraught with red tape and expense.

And so, with this in mind I narrowed my choices down by analyzing weather, costs, and the availability of award airline tickets.  Getting out of Europe entirely seemed to be the answer.

South Africa offered the companionship and guidance of a friend I met on the Camino, perfect weather, lots to do, and affordable accommodation.  And so I decided.  South Africa it is.

And then literally five minutes before I made the ticket purchase, a former co-worker sent me a message asking if I might help open a store in Colorado.  Making money has been in the forefront of my mind for several months and this temporary job would help a whole lot financially.  The timing is right.  Good one, universe.  Funny stuff.

So today, while I wait for more details about this potential job,  I keep two plane tickets on hold, one for South Africa and one for Colorado – both leaving this week.

Two roads diverged in a wood… indeed!

Stay tuned.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve pulled up your website a couple of times now after stumbling onto it looking for the name of a church in Spain. It is absolutely remarkable how similar our last years have been. I left on my trip on March 29, 2013 – first stop Camino de Santiago! Since then I’ve continued around the world, including Cambodia which I actually enjoyed (although I have no desire to go back anytime soon.)

    Now I’m also in the position of returning to a place (California) with the hope of rekindling a love from the road, which also turned the other direction. I’m also considering joining a friend I met traveling on his trip to South Africa in March. And now I am ALSO feeling somewhat bored and depressed trying to figure out what to do next!

    To be honest I am thinking about writing a book, not with aspirations of publishing, but more for personal reflection. In order to accomplish that I would have to set myself somewhere far far away with beauty to inspire me. SO in a super round-about way, I am curious about your opinion; I didn’t make it to Greece or Crete but I have been thinking that it might be exactly what I need to reassess and recharge for awhile. I would be super appreciative of any recommendations of places that I should check out!

    Thank you for chronicling your trip and sharing it so folks like me know that in a way, we’re all in this together! Keep on going girl!

    • Wow Nicole! That’s amazing. Would love to meet you one day…we’d have lots to talk about!

      Regarding where to go to chill and reflect and write, I can only tell you where I would go based on the places I have been so far. And I hesitate a little to say only because the love of a place is such a personal and random thing. I can’t really explain why I disliked Cambodia immediately or loved Crete immediately. Having said that I would inquire more with you about what you find inspiring – forests, the ocean, etc. Do you want people around or solitude? Do you want sun or cold?

      If *I* were going to write a book, I would go to Crete right before the season (April/May or October). I would find a place to camp and make friends with the local tavern owner for wifi and electricity. In Agia Roumeli there is free camping and at that time of year it would be peaceful. There are also a million places on Crete that I haven’t seen yet that might even be better. I have a soft spot for Crete, so that would be my choice. It’s cheap by European standards, the food is awesome, and it’s beautiful.

      Thanks so much for writing. Would love to stay in touch.

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