Today I wanna tell you something less related to my planned travels but more to my general life. For the past twelve years what was most present in my life was school. Now, that is over.
After a very tough and intense couple of months between Christmas of last year and the beginning of June, it is over, finally. While most of my classmates started studying for their exams at the beginning of Christmas break, my only preparation at that time was reading one English novel while on vacation in New Zealand. And afterwards, I spent most of my time doing nothing productive and stressing out about the obviously missing progress at the end of the day.
When I eventually started to dig deeper into Van Life and kind of became obsessed with all the Youtube videos on the topic, that didn’t really improve my learning situation although I can not complain at all about how I came through all the exams and finally graduated.
So my last day of school was May 17. Once more, the following two weeks until my oral exams were more about enjoying not having to go to school and already finding a job than about learning.
A week before my oral exams, I finally started to work which was a lot of fun and I managed the exams kind of okay or actually very well taking into account how much I prepared for them.
The following three weeks went by just as quickly as the time before because then on July 22, 2019, it was finally the day a couple of my classmates and I were working for over the past two years: Prom.
After coming together in eleventh grade, a fairly small group started planning small champagne receptions at school concerts or theatre plays but also bigger events like an Oktoberfest at our school, also for the fun of it but mainly to raise money.
With a lot of time and effort put into all the preparations and organisation of the evening including an after party from midnight until 5 am, the evening turned out great in my opinion!
On the other hand, I am only able to judge the Prom itself because from my lack of sleep over the days before and all the stress that day, I fell asleep in a cold and quite room right next to the party just after it started and got up just in time to help clean everything afterwards. Still, it was a great day!
Just a few days later, on June 25, I set my alarm to 9 am (Yes, that’s very early after six weeks without school!) to pack my things, leave the house and head to the train station. One train and a very long bus ride later, a friend and I met up with six other friends, at the airport. That day, the next big adventure started.
After a few complications concerning a friend’s PlayStation which was supposedly carrying explosives, we took our three hour long flight to Rhodes, Greece.
A very warm and moist climate welcomed us on the island as we took our shuffle to the villa. We decided who would sleep in which room for the next nine nights, changed our clothes and jumped into the beautiful pool of our villa.
At least seven of us did so. I preferred sitting outside the pool still very tired from the weekend before and not really in the mood for a ball game the others then played.
The next days we would wake up at some point between 12 and 2 pm and get some breakfast. Some of us seemed to enjoy leaving all kinds of garbage on the counter, ranging from empty plastic bags over uneaten toasts to broken egg shells. Further, from the third day on, the living room would feature dozens of half-filled bottles, cups and glasses from the night before and eventually the pool started to consist more of beer than water with quite a number of empty beer cans, plastic bottles, deodorants etc floating on it as well.
Therefore, we made an effort of cleaning up the villa every ‘morning’ after breakfast which turned out to happen at least every second day or so.
After that, we would either stay in the pool for a while or directly pack our things and head for the beach around 1.5 kilometres from our villa. After some time playing and swimming in the water, resting in the sun and mainly lotioning ourselves with sunscreen, we would then head to the supermarket which we all thought was way to expensive.
Then we would get some Greek versions of German Kebab from a restaurant on the other side of the road which was basically our only impression of the Greek culture during our stay beside two meals at a restaurant further downtown. After that, we would take on the hike back home which seemed to get longer from day to day with specially high increases on the days we would buy a super tasty, cheap and big but therefore also heavy watermelon we had to carry home.
When we finally arrived there, we would have some lunch with the air conditioning set to 18°C most of the time (keep that one in mind), jump in the pool again and relax a little while drinking tons of beer before around 10:30 pm we would start to drink more seriously.
After an hour of that, we would leave the villa, walk to the main road and take a cab to the next party mile.
This one might sound like an easy task but since in Greece the cabs don’t have that thing counting the distance you drive and turning it into the price you have to pay, we were constantly discussing on the prices pissing off quite a number of cab drivers and most of the times ending up in a cab racing down the main road restricted to 50 km/h at 100km/h minimum passing slower cars on one-laned parts of the road and of course ignoring any zebra crossings whatsoever. The only two things the driver would stop for were red traffic lights and the destination. And this isn’t even an exhaggeration.
Anyways, at the destination, we would cross the main street and enter a smaller, maybe four metres wide road filled with drunk party guests like us, promoters for each of the many clubs along the street, prostitutes trying to make eye contact and touching every second person passing buy and their promoters offering ‘free pussy’ of various quantities to us. The most was ’15 free pussy’ which we only reacted on with a loud laughter.
We quickly started to ignore all those people and instead head straight to our favorite club: Solsidan.
It was a small building consisting of one single room. There were a few tables with people at it in the front and a dancefloor in the back. On the bad days, it would be an empty space back there. We would walk inside, check the situation, give each other looks of disappointment, one of us would make a quick gesture with his hand, everbody would nod and we would head outside again.
But on the good days, the estimated 40 square metres would be filled with people rubbing against each other, jumping up and down, dancing, screaming and sweating. The latter would make every last bit of alcohol in your body disappear within a matter of minutes but you wouldn’t even care.
The fun inside would be interrupted once or twice an hour by a small breathing and refreshing break outside the club where the wind from the sea would blow all our sweat away (keep this one in mind as well).
Around 2:30 am we would then leave the club since most of the others had done that already and take a cab back to the villa. After getting off the cab, one or two of us would stress out about the angry cab driver who now knew where we were living and who might break into our villa at night and harm us in revenge for the two euros we would insist on not paying him.
Then, some would jump in the pool once more while others would shower right away. Afterwards, we would get together in the living room once more watching a soccer match and exchanging stories of the day until we would head for bed at some time between 5 and 7 am.
Now I hope you kept in mind the air conditioning in the villa and the wind tunnel in front of the club and if you did, I think you might have already guessed what must have happened on day seven of our vacation. Exactly, we got a cold. We, that’s one of us on day seven and everybody else on day eight.
We still kept to our daily routine just taking things a little slower, most of us swapping the one kind of drugs for the other, some of us staying out of the ocean water and keeping the air conditioning turned off at almost all times.
These measures might have helped a little but did definitely not have the impact we hoped for.
That made me feel very sorry for the passengers sitting around us in the plane on our flight back to Frankfurt as any of the eight of us would constantly be either sneezing, cleaning their nose or coughing during the full 3 hours.
The flight was on Thursday, now it’s Sunday and I’m not feeling better at all, so you better pray for me before going to bed tonight.
The vacation was still an exhausting but amazing time. There was quite some cleaning but also so much fun. We had the cheapest noodles with the cheapest barbecue sauce but we had it inside a great villa. We became sick eventually but we got to go from our pool to the sea, back to our pool and to Solsidan every single day. We had to share our room with a friend and the kitchen with seven friends but we got to make unique memories with all of them.
It was an awesome time, but now I am looking forward to a quiet, peaceful and at times lonely time in a van somewhere between Alaska and Mexico even a little more than before.