The heat that was radiating between the bombshells and reemsters hit me harder than the humidity on arrival in Crete and they were practically bouncing off the walls with the excitement of their impending “MEGALOLZ”. On the way back however, it was a completely different story. The sexual tension was still paramount but they were absolutely ruined. Hair extensions were sandy, suncream had clearly not been a priority in thirty degree heat and the “Bang Tidy Becky” t shirts were looking somewhat weathered.
I’m not going to lie, I judged them. And I would’ve judged them as a seventeen year old too. But do I have the right to? And what was I judging them for?
Three years at uni were spent mainly going out and getting hideously drunk. Every festival I’ve ever been to; obliterated. Pretty much every Friday and Saturday night; hammered. I’ve held a friends hair back on a street corner before and have definitely fallen over in public. I, too, have kissed randoms in clubs and can think of one or two nights with a DJ I’d rather forget. So why do young holiday makers get such a bad wrap for what they do when we’re all doing it at home, more often and probably twenty times as hard? Is it because we aren’t doing it in hot pants and a “Military Men Only” vest that it’s deemed okay?
For me, there’s just something a little different about going abroad and doing as you please (aside from it being pretty disrespectful to the locals). On visiting a small town close to Malia, all I could see behind the coloured lights were vulnerable British girls, teetering around in heels, clearly inebriated on too much Ouzo. I know it shouldnt be the case but the dark streets scared me; if a girl were to be separated from her friends for a second, she would be lost and alone. And that’s when I realised: I wasn’t judging them for having fun, I was judging them for putting themselves in danger. I just think that if you’re old enough to go abroad, you should be old enough to keep your wits about you AND have fun. Something I just wasn’t seeing.
You’re probably thinking I’m old as shit. And I sort of feel it as I write this. But if that’s the case, I’ve been as old as shit since the age of sixteen. My friends and I have always joked about how gutted we are that we’ve missed out on a holiday where you drink so much your fanny falls out. But since that trip to Greece, I’ve reassured them that it’s okay: we didn’t miss the boat, we, in fact, jumped right off of it.
So on the dawn of a fresh set of GCSE results, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a few more departures to Greece over the next few days with one thing in mind. I just hope they know how to take care of themselves.
And judging by the number of youngsters I’ve seen sheepishly buying condoms in Boots, they’re definitely playing it safe.
Safe and hopelessly optimistic.
When I was in sixth form, I wanted my year at school to be “The Year That Didn’t”… go to university. It obviously didn’t happen and my inner rebel was disappointed. However, I ended up not going myself that year and began an amazing journey with one of my best friends exploring the wonders of colourful Mexico and, well, the redbull of Thailand. It was wild, silly, but most importantly, an experience that taught me there is more to life than my pleasant inner city school and silly boy worries.
As we met various fellow travellers, I began to realise that not everyone takes the same path in life and perhaps the ‘right’ path is actually not so perfect. Everyone seems to think that we should do our A levels, go to university, get a job and build a career. However, my gap year opened my eyes to other options. Some people were travelling post-divorce, others post university, others having lost their jobs and some had always travelled and never even contemplated a 9 to 5. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but as I embark on my own voyage post graduation, whether that be back to London from Exeter or across the world to the middle east, I cannot help but get a thrill from the freedom that ensues and the importance of having fun. Why waste my time on a job in teaching that I will probably get bored of in five years time? Why get lost in a successful career in publishing that will end up in me working long hours in a stuffy office, for not very much money? Instead, I want to live life to the full and enjoy myself for a while!
I hate to sound like a gap year tragedy (i.e someone who wears an anklet three years after they’ve arrived home) but I really would urge everyone to take a year out… or three. At the moment, we are all being forced to panic about spending cuts, crime rates and the future. For those of us who have a family who depend on us then perhaps it’s not the best time to up and leave. But for us students, I think we’ve been given a great opportunity to start something positive elsewhere and perhaps we should start thinking about clawing our way through the economy at a later date?
So, with two of my friends globetrotting post graduation and another two of my friends spending their third year of university abroad, I’ve started to think about getting out of London myself. I’m also hoping for there to be an influx in bronzed backpackers to join me with the forthcoming rise in tuition fees.
Put one finger up to the system, save some money and bugger off to India for the year where you can really decide whether a degree is worth £9000 or not, away from the pressures of society. Sound good to you?
… Right, I’ll dig out my back pack and join you.