My favorite part of travel is how whacky situations always seem to work out and make a great story. But while you’re in them, in the midst of an internal panic, it seems like you’re stuck with no options and no idea what to do. But you are forced to figure it out.
There’s simply no other way. You can’t sit down on your suitcase, stranded, and just stay there. You have to keep moving, find a solution. Even if the solution seems insane, you do it because you have to.
Let’s walk through the example of my trip from Athens to Mykonos and dissect everything that went wrong (which was everything), and how it’s one of my favorite memories from my adventures in Greece.
Step One: Get to the ferry.
It’s early in the morning and my travel companions Horacio and Phil and I are on the hunt for a taxi to take us from downtown Athens to the ferry port. We have a 7am high speed ferry that will get us to Mykonos by 10. We hail a cab pretty easily, and get on the road. Should take us about 20 minutes to get there, and we’re leaving 60 minutes before departure. No problem.
20 minutes pass and we’re still on a highway. I pull out my phone and check Google Maps – we have been driving in the opposite direction of the ferry port. Turns out the driver thought we said airport. We turn around and speed the rest of the way there, me watching the clock and feeling a tightness in my chest. We wait in a line for our tickets (pre-purchased but not printed) and watch the clock and miraculously get on the ferry before it departs.
Step Two: Get off the ferry, attempt to walk to Airbnb.
We disembark the ferry (a party of 6 now, meeting up with Alison, Bryant, and Maggie) and realize there are two ferry ports on Mykonos, and we are at the wrong one.
Step Three: Find a cab. Or not.
There is a line for cabs, and one cab comes every 2-3 minutes or so. Group begins to get frustrated.
Step Four: Learn about a Sea Bus that could take us to the other ferry port.
Step Five: Spend 5 minutes not making a decision on whether to stay in the taxi line or get on the Sea Bus. A few false starts.
Step Six: Choose the Sea Bus.
Step Seven: We watch the Sea Bus pull away from the dock as we walk over.
Step Eight: The next one comes in 20 minutes, we buy tickets and wait.
Step Nine: Take the Sea Bus to the other ferry port.
Step Ten: Use the pin from the Airbnb host to walk to location.
Step Eleven: I poorly navigate and get us turned around (remember, we’re carrying luggage as well so every wrong turn is a pain). Phil takes over and only makes fun of me a little bit.
Step Twelve: We’re wandering around downtown and find the pin, but this doesn’t seem right. This looks nothing like the pictures and isn’t near the beach as in the website description. I call the Airbnb Host.
Step Thirteen: No answer.
Step Fourteen: Airbnb host calls back, asks why we don’t have the address. I explain we are using what was provided, and she says Oh no, that’s where you go to take a taxi to get to the house. You are nowhere near the house.
Step Fifteen: Walk back to the port in search of taxis (we need 2).
Step Sixteen: There are no taxis at all. A local mentions there are never many taxis around.
Step Seventeen: Minor panic. Horacio kindly tells me I’m not a good traveler. I punch him.
Step Eighteen: See an old man on a scooter with a trailer attached. Ask if he gives rides.
Step Nineteen: He does. Also has a friend with a scooter and trailer. We look at each other, know it’s our only option, and pile in.
Step Twenty: Enjoy the bumpy and reasonably dangerous ride across the island and the views and the breeze, and laugh the whole way.