It has been a full two months since Clay and I officially moved into a campervan and it has been a steep learning curve. In all the excitement of travel – discovering new places, enjoying the weather and time with friends, planning where to go next – and in all the stress of actually making it to our first destination in the first place, I haven’t really addressed this huge change in my life, but it has made me appreciate some things I have taken for granted all my life.
One of the most important, and also probably the hardest things about travel is knowing when to move on to the next destination. You have to somehow time it so you’ve had the chance to make the most of a place, but also not so long that it becomes tedious.
With Greece, we nearly overstepped that mark. The weather was getting too hot, the few climbing crags that were still in the shade quite samey, we lacked novelty and motivation, and the climbing itself wasn’t going that well. In short, it was time to move on. We decided to head to Croatia and take some time off from climbing along the route.
In the pitch black of night four excited figures made their way along the bank of a dry riverbed into the wilderness, taking care not to stumble on the stony ground. Armed with a couple of torches and a speaker full of music to drown out the eerie quiet, we were ready for an adventure. Across the riverbed, we knew, lay a sheltered cave we had seen every morning but had failed to explore until now, and it seemed like the perfect time to check it out. It looked like someone’s secret lair, with bits of old furniture scattered around the place, barely visible behind the shrubbery.
We thought Leonidio was an undiscovered Greek climbing paradise, where we would have all the crags practically to ourselves the majority of the time, feeling ever so smug about how well we did to “discover” this place before anyone else…
…how wrong we were! Leonidio is absolutely teeming with climbers. They’re everywhere. Whenever you see a non-Greek person walking down the street of this tiny town, you can be nearly 100% positive it is a climber. And incidentally, I would say you can be around 70% positive they are German.
Whenever I take a break from climbing outdoors I feel like I’ve gone straight back to square one. Leading even an easy route can reduce me to a gibbering wreck if my bolt is a little bit too far away, or I’m not quite sure where to go, or my feet feel a little bit slippery. It seems to happen every time after a long break, no matter how confident I feel going into it.