This month, I celebrated my biggest milestone yet when I hit the halfway point of my trip. July 13th marked 233 days since I left Melbourne and 233 days until I would arrive back on Australian soil.
But that’s about all the counting down I’m doing at the moment, because I’m not ready to finish this adventure just yet. It’s a relief knowing that I don’t have to worry about the post travel blues at least for another 7 months.
Other than milestones, July saw me take off the solo travel hat for most of the month. I started the month with my grandmother, spent three weeks island hopping with my friend from home and was finally reunited with my sister and our Austria friends for our last week on the Greek islands.
July was a month for reunions- even after waving goodbye to my sister I caught up with three friends (including my cousin) in my three shorts days in London.
It was nice to switch dorm rooms out for guesthouses, and have someone to watch my stuff while I went to the bathroom, but it also feels good to be solo travelling again.
1-3 July- Chios, Greece
4-7 July- Mykonos, Greece
7-9 July- Paros, Greece
9-12 July- Naxos, Greece
12-16 July- Milos, Greece
16-19 July- Santorini, Greece
19-22 July- Ios, Greece
22-26 July- Santorini, Greece
26-28 July- London, United Kingdom
29-30 July- Dublin, Ireland
31 July- Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Some Interesting Statistics
Countries Visited- 3 (Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland)
Flights- 3 (Santorini-Athens, Athens-London, London-Dublin)
Tours/Organised Activities- 3
Cars Hired- 3
Islands- 10 (counting the UK and Ireland)
Cave House- 1
Overnight Journeys- 1 (Chios-Athens)
Things Lost- Another pair of sunglasses!
- Island hopping the Greek islands- I spent the majority of the month hopping through the Greek islands, something that has been high on my bucketlist for as long as I can remember. All up, I spent more than a month in Greece and this is one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a truly incredible and beautiful part of the world and I’m glad I dedicated so much time to such a beautiful country that also has a special connection for me.
- Specific highlights from the Greek islands included wandering the streets of Paros, hiring a car and exploring the mountains and little villages of Naxos, an incredible sailing trip around Milos with the most amazing guide, partying at Far Out Beach Club in Ios, hiring quad bikes and driving around in Ios, and watching the sunset in Oia in Santorini. I’m so excited to write about all these places and the experiences I had there.
- Taking a break from solo travel- After almost 8 months of complete solo travel it was nice to be able to share the reins with other people this month. I absolutely love solo travelling but I’m so glad I got to spend this month with friends and family. Travelling with other people can be difficult but my friend and I really clicked and it was one of the best joint travel experiences I’ve had.
- Reuniting with my sister- I’m extremely close with my sister and being away from her has been one of the hardest things during my travels. I can’t describe the feeling of finally running towards her and throwing my arms around her as she hopped off that bus in Santorini. I just wish we had longer than a week together.
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Athens to London is a very long flight, especially for me, as for the most part I like to organise my travel itinerary geographically. But when I managed to buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child back in November, I rearranged a lot of my itinerary to make it London for the play. It’s the best show I’ve ever seen- the acting, the story and the physical effects were simply amazing. I was buzzing with energy for hours after the show with just how happy it made me to reunite with my favourite Harry Potter characters. I only wish I could have gone more than once!
- Finding my soulmate city in Dublin- Dublin is seriously a city after my own heart. I love live music and I love bars, especially in comparison to clubs and club music. Visiting Dublin pubs and listening to some super talented musicians play covers from Coldplay to the Beatles has made me instantly fall in love with Dublin and Ireland. I even got to see the musical ‘Once’ in Dublin. I’ve already seen it before but there was something special about going to see it again in the city in where it was set, and in the country the music was written.
Favourite Food Moments
- Meltemaki Fish Tavern in Chios- On our second last night in Chios, Nan and I drove thirty minutes to the small seaside village of Katarratkis for one reason- to eat at Meltemaki Fish Tavern. This ended up being the best meal I ate in Greece, if not one of the best meals I’ve had in 8 months of travel. We ordered the shrimps saganaki (grilled prawns with feta cheese and a tomato based sauce), fried mussels with aioli and squid stuffed with cheese. All of the seafood was so fresh, it was cooked to perfection, and with drinks our bill only came to €35 between the two of us!
- Seafood in Greece- More generally, Greece gave me so much opportunity to eat my favourite produce. I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I live for seafood, and the Greek islands delivered with fresh, delicious and affordable seafood. I especially rediscovered my love for octopus, especially when prepared Greek style. As one of the people on my Milos sailing trip said- octopus tastes like Greece!
- Tomato Balls in Santorini- I’m a bit sad that I only discovered this dish four days before I left Greece. Tomato balls or tomato fritters are a mixture of tomato, onions and other delicious herbs and spices that are then fried. They are a speciality of Santorini and if you go to a nice restaurant, they are only prepared with fresh organic tomatoes. Served with tzatziki they became a bit of an obsession of my sister and I for our last few days in Santorini.
- Getting my drink spiked in Ios- While at Far Out Beach Club in Ios I made the very stupid mistake of taking a drink from a stranger. It wasn’t long after drinking this drink that my slight buzz quickly turned into me not being able to walk and lots of vomiting. I was going drink for drink with my sister (who really can’t handle her alcohol) and I’d only had about eight drinks over three hours and suddenly I had gone from tipsy to absolutely destroyed in a very small amount of time. It didn’t take my friend or my sister long to connect the dots and realise my drink had been spiked.Luckily some incredibly nice girls from Melbourne who were staying at Far Out let us share their room for the night as I was not going anywhere. I woke up in a strange room, with no memories, and was absolutely relieved that I had people looking out for me that night. Without them, it could have ended very differently. It serves as a warning for everyone to watch their drinks and to never accept drinks from strangers. I’m sure I won’t be doing it again.
- Saying goodbye to my Nan and my sister- whenever someone visits me from home, there is a small part of me that wish they never came at all. That small part exists when I have to say goodbye to them. It’s easy to not feel homesick or miss people- after 8 months I’m used to not seeing them at all. Out of sight, out of mind. But saying goodbye for the second time is often harder than the first time.
- Cancelling Turkey plans- Turkey was one of the countries I’ve been most excited about visiting, but unfortunately my friends and I have decided to cancel our plans following all of the civil unrest. When the threat was only terrorism, I was adamant we were still going, but a military coup is a different ball game altogether. Hearing that all tour operators had cancelled their tours was the final sign for us to pull the plug. The positive is that I now find myself with another three weeks up my sleeve to explore somewhere else. I’m thinking of heading to the Northern Baltics but if you have any other ideas let me know!
Money Spent- $5119.372
July 2016 ended up being my most expensive month yet which really surprised me. Greece wasn’t an expensive country and compared to many places, I was spending a lot less on food and activities. But this month I wasn’t really a budget traveller- I was staying in guesthouses and hotels instead of dorm beds, I hopped around a lot on expensive ferries, and I did a lot of shopping in London.
Whilst this figure might be concerning, I’m actually under budget for this month. I knew I wanted to have a good time in Greece without worrying about money, so when I first budgeted this trip I budgeted a lot of money for my month in Greece. It was only in London and Dublin where I was over my estimates. In most of the islands, I found myself $100-$200 under budget for each island.
As always you can see all my expenses for this month detailed in my expenses google sheet.
Crappy island internet made it a little difficult for me to keep up with posting this month. At the start of the month I had closed the gap to six weeks behind but its since blown back out to two months. I’m hoping to start catching up again now, especially with long trips on buses during my tours of Ireland and Scotland
Instagram Top Five
I am not surprised the Greece stole the show on instagram this month. The Greek islands provided some of the best photo opportunities of my trip so far.
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
The majority of the this month will be spent exploring Ireland and the United Kingdom. I’m in Ireland until the 8th of August on a Paddywagon Tour of the country, before I head to Scotland. I’ll celebrate my birthday while on a 10 day tour of the Scottish Highlands before catching up with my grandpa and auntie in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. I’ll then spend a little bit of time having another break in Chester with family before my grandpa and I head to Krakow where I’ll finish the month.