ATHENS, Greece // Arriving in a new country we have always felt anxiety. There are uncertainties like going through customs, exchanging currency, and getting new sim cards for our phones to work. Arriving in a third world country I always felt like I was looking over my shoulder or had a target on my back for scammers. In Greece, everything felt at ease.
A great travel writer Paul Theroux once said that when you are fearful or scared, you tend to remember situations a lot more than when you are happy or just simply enjoying yourself. I remember arriving in India, Vietnam, and Indonesia at night and getting into an unknown cab and taken to our accommodation with fears of the unknown. Everything was fine in the end of the cab rides, but just involved cab drivers who spoke no English, smelled of body odor, or had on a dirty T-shirt. We tend to fear things on this trip that are not real, but we make up worst case scenarios. This usually happens subconsciously when we arrive in different countries. Greece was so different though and it began with a simple thing like our cab driver, which I laugh at as a metaphor to the discrepancies of the different countries we've been to and the feelings I've had.
This guy was middle aged, nice close cropped salt and pepper haircut, spoke English, well dressed with a button down dress shirt tucked into khaki pants, a Polo Ralph Lauren half zip on, and playing Frank Sinatra. Needless to say, I was at ease as he took us to the Acropolis center. The history of the place was stunning and there never once was a time I felt uneasy. We went out to a nice dinner the first night and already have positive biases of this country. Maybe it is the familiarity with New York City or the fact that the people look familiar to us, as most people are of European descent obviously. Either way, we are happy to be here in Greece which may end up being our final country of this long trip.