When I was in grade ten, I went on a cruise via the school through the Greek Islands. We stopped at Athens to see the Parthenon and Rhodes and imagined the Colossus and Sparta and Istanbul.
It was terrific but also funny. There were a lot of kids there from Britain. At that age, girls are more mature than boys. We were taller with boobs while the boys were short with creaking voices and acne. The British kids had a game where the girls would kind of bend backwards over the railing so the guys could kiss them and try to slide towards second. Along the way, they left hickeys. Dozens of hickeys. The girls would display their trophies proudly the next day at breakfast. One girl was so mottled by her amorous suitor it looked as though she had contracted a disfiguring disease.
The boat was called the SS Uganda, which should tip you off as to the quality of the accommodations. The food was atrocious and whenever we’d stop, we’d disembark like starving lemmings ignoring the glories of the past in search of something edible. There was also a bad storm and somehow over the ages the iron stomachs of the British navy had morphed into clay. Those kids lost their breakfast, lunch and dinner until the ship’s decks were slick with vomit.
I was travelling with my older sister whose job was to keep me safe. I ended up hauling her ouzo-sloppy ass out of all kinds of dives. All in all, a great trip.
Anyway, it was that trip along with my Latin and Ancient History teachers who gave me a thirst for a travel and a passion for gods and goddesses. I am trying to weave some of that into my new sci fi novel Gaia. (The myths, not the vomit.)