Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.

There and Back Again

This past weekend, I started my volunteer trip. I am now back. Obviously that was not the plan. So here’s what happened.

I flew to Athens on Saturday. I arrived Sunday and flew from Athens to Kefalonia. From there, I hired a taxi to go the hour north through the mountains from Argostoli to Fiskardo. The driver and I searched for hours but couldn’t find the camp, despite the directions I had. None of the contact numbers I had answered or had voicemail.

Around 11 pm he drove me back to Argostoli. Obviously this was unsettling. And it became clear that the island was not merely quiet during the winter, but basically shuttered for eight months – so even had the situation worked out, I would be essentially living alone in an extremely desolate area with a man I soon came to distrust entirely. To say the least, this was not as we had discussed.

Monday, I again tried unsuccessfully to contact the organization. I was about to go to Fiskardo again to try to find the people when I finally reached my contact. He didn’t remember me at first, and then claimed not to know that I was coming. Stunned, I reminded him of the dozens of emails we’d exchanged over the last three months, especially his last confirmation of my detailed travel plans. He was dismissive, saying that was “a long time ago.” It had been exactly a week earlier.

Shaken but still trying to be businesslike, I told him honestly that after the previous evening’s search and after this conversation, I was extremely concerned and wasn’t sure I felt comfortable staying. His response was an even more dismissive, “okay, whatever.”

I realized then that there was no way I could salvage it. I flew to Athens that night and home the next day.

I travel abroad often, including some fairly remote destinations; I organize events and meetings as part of my job; and I had researched the organization (which came recommended by a former volunteer-abroad professional), the town, the island, and Greek culture in general. Nothing led me expect any of this.

I wouldn’t have felt safe doing anything other than what I did, but obviously I’m disappointed. It’s hard to see something that you put a lot of work into not be a success.

Comments

Christine

Sarah,
I just read your post – I’m so sorry that happened. From your previous posts, I know you were looking forward to what should have been a great experience. I echo the other responders and say that I’m glad you’re home safe. A better opportunity will surely arise.

Ashia Sims

Oh wow Sarah,

I’m so sorry to hear that as well. I was excited for your trip to Greece and looking forward to reading about your adventures. I’m so glad you’re so smart to come back home once you felt uncomfortable. I know that you will get the opportunity to spread your goodwill all over the world. Those folks in Greece really missed out.

Denise Dorman

Sarah,

I’m so sorry and disappointed for you. I give you a lot of credit for being as brave as you were; as a woman traveling alone, I’m hyper-paranoid.

Denise

Olga

I’m sorry honey but I’m glad you are back and ok. Chock it up to a bizarre life lesson. It just wasn’t meant to be. You’re meant to do some good work here. I’m glad it ended quickly at least.

Hugs,
Olga

Matt

Sarah – I’ m so sorry to hear your trip didn’t work out. I would want to follow up with this guy to find out exactly what happened. It sounds kind of crazy. I’m glad you’re safe.

Avitable

You did the safe, smart thing. It’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out, but even if they had, you might have been in a worse situation.

Christy

I’m very happy to have you back home and safe! Thank god you kept a level head and thank god you didn’t stay. What a jerk!

greg rust

YIKES! I feel bad for you but glad you had the wherewithal to take the action you did. I was looking forward to reading about your experiences there and how it had rejuvenated your soul. Don’t dwell on the bad but know that there is something there for your spirit.

Amy

Oh my goodness, how awful. Hate that didn’t work but glad you are ok.

Steve Woodruff

Wow. I’m guessing this guy isn’t going to get a recommendation on LinkedIn. Glad you’re back OK – sorry you had to experience such a disappointment.

Jorjana

THAT SUCKS. I’m sorry. I bet Plan B will be even better.

Peter Justason

Glad you are home and safe. Very scary but ended ok.

Tommy M

What a traumatic experience! This guy sounds like such a jerk. Sorry that you didn’t get to explore and enjoy Greece as you planned, but I am also pleased to hear that you are home safe.

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