I have a decision making problem and I’m finding it gets worse as I grow older. It’s usually fueled by fear and doubt. I was very unsure of which town to book my hotel in on this island before I came here and it was all based on past mistakes I’ve made while traveling. The thing is, you can never know enough before you go and that’s actually part of the thrill of it.
I used my membership on Couch Surfer to try and find some friends in Crete before I arrived. l sent out about ten emails to other members asking if they’d like to meet. I sent messages only to people close in age to myself, though many surfers are much younger. One woman responded that she was sorry but she would be out of town and one man responded that he would be happy to meet with me.
I am always a bit careful about men because, well, they are men. This man worked at the Chania airport and made time to greet me when I arrived and welcome me to Chania. I thought that was very nice. He directed me to where I could find the bus and then we made plans to go to the beach the next day. It was perfect because I was exhausted from ruins trekking in Athens.
My friend, Dora, is a huge Crime Tv fan and has fantastic ideas about what might happen to single women traveling. The next morning I had coffee with my new friend, which he paid for, and afterwards I promptly sent her a message describing him so she could let Gideon know the details of how we met should I come up missing.
At the beach I met a friend of his and we had plenty of time to get to know each other. He is a very nice man but I was getting the feeling that maybe he thought I was using Couch Surfer as a dating site. I told him that I wanted to go see Knossos and he said he didn’t think it was worth the long bus ride. I mentioned going through the Samarian Gorge and he explained that he felt it would be too difficult. I mentioned visiting Rethymno and he said his town was the most beautiful and that even tourists said so.
Meanwhile, a friend of mine back in Chicago hooked me up with a friend he met here in Chania ten years ago. Her name is Anna and we hit it off right away. We went out for drinks and her boyfriend met us also. When the check came I tried to pay my share but he would not let me. This was like what happened with my couch surfer friend spin was a little perplexed. Anna explained that it is customary for men to pay for women they are with no matter the relationship. Maybe some remnant of the history of Goddess worship on the island, maybe just plain nice.
When I mentioned any of the things I wanted to do in Crete Anna responded with encouragement. I sent text messages to my girlfriends back home about hiking the gorge and they too encouraged me to go for it.
With this I realized I was letting the words of a man I had just met influence the entire reason I came to Crete in the first place. So, yesterday I spent about seven hours on buses just for a few hours at Knossos and it was completely worth it.
I took a risk in meeting a man I found on the internet and it turned out I had a nice time with him. I learned from him and from Anna and from myself.
In the end we must go with our gut and know who we are, what we are capable of and trust in our own selves to know what will be best for us.