If you’re an archaeologist, the fact that you spend your summers working in a foreign country has probably often been (mis)interpreted as a leisurely vacation.
Don’t get me wrong – working in Greece for four to eight weeks of the year *is* something I am privileged to be able to experience. But it’s still work. And working five or six days a week in the heat of the day takes its toll, mentally and physically, after a while.
Many people have already recognized this, and schedule in a vacation at some point during their trip. I, on the other hand, have been coming to Greece for six summers and have not once taken any time to myself.
This year, however, I had a little extra time in Athens and thought, “Hey, what the hell? No time like the present.”
I know, I know. The optimal Greek vacation would involve me sunning myself somewhere on an island in the middle of the Aegean. Trust me, I’ve had many, many people assume that my ‘vacation’ would take just that form.
In all honesty, I had neither the time nor the energy to figure out the logistics of traveling to a Greek island by myself during peak season. Instead, I opted to splurge a little on a fancy hotel with an excellent view.
I’ll admit, I would have never in a million years expected to receive such a mixed response to the photos I posted on my first night in Athens. Many of the comments were negative, others were simply condescending. It’s amazing (though unsurprising) how quickly so many people jumped to conclusions about me based on zero facts.
“Don’t stay in Athens! You must visit other places in Greece!”
“If you rent an Airbnb, don’t come again.” (This one was my favorite since this was in fact my first time *not* staying in an Airbnb in Greece.)
The biggest, most ridiculous accusation was that I was *actually* planning to stay in Greece forever. I really had to laugh at that one, since this vacation was only two full days at the *end* of my trip. I was leaving the country less than 72 hours after I posted those photos.
To be honest, I tried really hard to just laugh the trolls off. But I’m not a superhuman.
The more of them that commented, the worse I felt. I know these people aren’t representative of the entire population of Greece, and certainly several other people came to my defense and welcomed me with (virtual) open arms. But it seriously set what I’d hoped would be a relaxing end of field season off on a really low note.
Nevertheless, I persisted. I got outside and away from the notifications. I don’t want to dwell on the bad parts. Instead, I want this to be a sign to you to treat yo’ self at the end of field season. You deserve it.
Here are some parts of my mini vacation in Athens that made me happy:
(Despite the trolls, I am both excited to be home and kind of sad that I have to leave. Until next time, Greece!!)