In retrospect, getting dropped off at Gatwick Airport 5 hours early was not a good idea. I thought that, in the spirit of becoming a digital nomad, I ought to get used to hanging out at airports (and learn to enjoy it).
What can be so bad? We are definitely there, where we needed to be, as opposed to the stress of getting there in the early hours. We couldn’t really stay at home as our house was empty of beds and sofas – empty of any kind of creature comfort, in fact.
Sarah can sleep, I can watch Casey Neistat videos or even write the blog post for the SwaggerAndSoul.com that was due that day.
So Chloe (Sarah’s daughter) dropped us off at Gatwick at around 10pm, after taking the diversion Sussex Police had set up to avoid a rather serious accident on the M23. I hope everyone was ok from that one, albeit a bit bashed up judging by the number of ambulances and police cars.
We couldn’t check in until gone 3am so went and found some of those lounge seats you see in airports, the Gatwick ones being located just upstairs, by the Costa Coffee in front of Security. They were rock hard (unlike the padded ones in Dubai) but better than sitting bolt upright for 5 hours. Around us, some others had had the same idea about coming early, while some were from a delayed flight from Belfast that got in at 11.30pm, making an onward journey impossible to the early morning.
People were nabbing two at a time and sleeping across them and I saw folks lying on the padded seats in Costa Coffee to sleep too, but that just seemed a bit rude even if you had bought a coffee. It wasn’t over-crowded though, there was somewhere for everyone to get relatively comfy.
Territory claimed, the hours ticked by very, very slowly. It wasn’t perfect, as I say, the seats were not the padded kind, we were too close to the escalator which made a relentless mechanical noise and there were two rather large, pissed guys that didn’t make a scene but one insisted on listening to the footie on his phone but wearing no headphones. Not the kind of chap you want to ask to turn it down.
We had already eaten chinese with Chloe and Spencer earlier so while we would need food for the plane, we couldn’t kill an hour or so on dinner and Wagamama’s and Jamie Oliver’s was in the other terminal anyway. I was trying to ration my coffee intake, so I might have some outside chance of sleeping on the plane.
I’m not sure how many Casey videos I actually watched that night – each one is about 10 minutes long – but it ran down a whole month’s worth of pre-paid data down, as the free airport wifi was not strong enough to stream videos. I tried to buy some of the paid internet but all my security alerts on all my gadgets went into meltdown and I couldn’t get out of the browser pages they threw up.
I’ve not seen a bad Casey video yet, no wonder the guy has over 1 Billion views on YouTube and won GQ Magazines Man Of The Year Award for Best New Media Star (among many other awards). He’s a born storyteller and combines several different techniques along with some beautiful drone footage. I even like the music he uses.
There was one video that made me laugh out loud several times, it’s called “Make An Electric Skateboard for $100” (you can watch it here) and it’s where a kid sends a prototype of a boosted skateboard to Casey’s New York studio and it’s simultaneously very powerful and very hard to control. Hilarious. Casey, as you will see from his New York photographic studio, loves making things almost as much as he likes making films, so he was very impressed with the effort shown in the building of the thing.
I did Snapchat the whole night, which included some very funny shots of Sarah, sleeping all bundled up in her parka, arty shots of empty escalators, shots of a mysterious sign that took me a while to work out (praying) and hourly shots of an empty check in area as it very, very gradually filled up.
But by the time I got to Greece, I was so knackered that I totally forgot to download the “My Story” video before 10pm and there’s a two hour time difference and your Snapchat stories only last 24 hours, I just missed it.
I sometimes feel that you are supposed to live your life in triplicate now; once for Snapchat, once for Facebook Live and once to take decent pics for Instagram and your blog posts! Not to mention YouTube Live…
Really you should just pick one media and stick with it. Snapchat is great, I really enjoy it’s mix of video and pictures you can write on or annotate, but if you miss that story download you can miss a lot of content.
Just thinking about this for a second, I think the safest way is to use Snapchat for video but take still pictures on your phone / camera too, and upload those to Snapchat in between videos, then you don’t lose the pics if you don’t download your story.
The flight was uneventful, having pre-bought something to eat and drink, we both slept most of the 3.5 hour odd flight. The landing was textbook, so light and with none of the bouncy / swervy qualities that are always so terrifying in landings I find! People don’t seem to clap landings any more but that one deserved a round of applause.
We didn’t see Yvonne, our Stoupa house hostess at all, although apparently she could see us climbing off the plane, through the smoked glass of Kalamata airport (also known as the “Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos” although for obvious reasons, that name is not widely used on a daily basis!).
Our ride to Stoupa was there waiting, polite, friendly and full of information about the local area. A lovely drive to Stoupa in the sunshine followed and when you get to the turn in the mountain road that reveals the glorious view of the three villages of Kardamyli, Stoupa and Agios Nikolaos, you know you are nearly home.
We passed up the opportunity to stop at Liddl on the outskirts of Kalamata, the last thing we felt like doing was shopping at that stage of the journey. Besides, there’s a fully stocked supermarket called Katerina’s at the bottom of our new road, where I’ve never been disappointed no matter what esoteric item I sought.
Finally, we were dropped at the house that is to be our home for the next 5-6 months and I opened the sturdy wooden door to reveal to Sarah our new home. It looked warm, welcoming and boy, what a view!
The living room doors opened onto a good sized balcony looking down to the sea in front, the mountains to the right and little sandy stone houses surrounded by groves of olive trees and swathes of bougainvillea everywhere else.
“Nice?” I asked.
“Nice” she replied.