So today marks the second time in my life I am flying alone to another country. Only this time I bought a one-way ticket. That may not seem like much to the well-travelled amongst you, but for me, it’s quite something.
I’m flying to Rhodes to spend a few days before sailing to the island of Leros, one of Greece’s Dodecanese Islands. As you may or may not know, this island has been hit hard by the refugee crisis. Once there I will help with the setting up of The Yellow Days Festival. The first of its kind, this will be a cultural festival for everyone, uniting people together under the same sun and celebrating all that we love most: music, art, theatre, and food. When you have had to flee your home country, lost loved ones along the way and forced to leave your identity behind, a celebration of you and your culture could mean the world. Not only will this festival be filled with happy vibes and beautiful refugees (definition: humans just like me and you) it will restore some form of economic prosperity to the island, by working with local businesses to rejuvenate the suffering tourism industry in Leros. The Yellow Days Festival is not just a 3 day event; it’s here for the long run.
The question on everyone’s lips has been “are you nervous?” Well, considering I am an anxious person – prone to panic attacks, who has for a long time been worrying about the world’s problems as well as my own – surprisingly, no. Maybe it’s because this is something I’ve been wanting to do for over 4 years, or maybe it’s the hippy crack I’ve been taking (I haven’t really).
All of my trips over the past couple years have been planned and organised; I’ve more or less known which sights I wanted to see, or what I might be doing, that sort of thing. When you’re on holiday for a week or two that is inevitable. I have been craving an adventure, and it looks like I’m going to get one (sleeping in a tent for over a month, hello!) I cannot wait to meet a vibrant mix of people in Leros; volunteers, locals and refugees, and contribute in whatever way I can to a cause which has been breaking my heart.
The introvert in me should be bricking it, right? I’m the sort of person who would rather ask my phone a question than stop a person in the street, but with interaction and communication comes great opportunities, unexpected adventures and memories. Here’s to the next month of putting my phone down, enjoying the people around me, and providing some sort of aid to those who are in need.
I will keep you updated though of course…