Ohrid part 2: Volunteering and generally being a bum…

So the next day I woke up and missed my bus, so I asked Gyoko if his offer still stood and I could volunteer at the hostel. He said it wasn’t a problem and he’d go through the ins and outs of what to do later. He didn’t need to as there was nothing to do for the first two days. I justified my existence by emptying a bin one night, but other than that I was building a superteam with Watford on Fifa 17. Rashford and Penaranda up front, Januzaj, Odegaard and Bertrand Traore in midfield and Umtiti, Chambers and Zouma in defence, along with 7 ‘has potential to be special’ youth players…

Finally three days in I had something to do; 6 French people had to check in and 1 American girl. So I assumed the position and played Fifa, justifying it by saying ‘I can’t leave the hostel in case someone wants to check in’, as I ran past 4 players and dinked the ball over the keeper with Rashford…

The American girl showed up first, a girl called Kate who is working for the peace corps in Georgia and an all around legend. I went into professional mode and gave her a tour of the hostel, showed her what things worked/didn’t work and where all the decent places to go were on the map. Then I asked if she wanted to play some pool, as I’d been asking Aaron for a while but he didn’t want to go. She said yes so I asked Aaron as well and he also said yes this time, so the three of us went to a billiards hall nearby and acted like cool kids.

We played a few games against each other, then I introduced them to a three person game called ‘cutthroat’. They didn’t like it…

Then as we walked back Kate was saying to me that she thought I was a great host, which made me feel like I was actually earning my free bed as opposed to dossing around the place pretending I worked at the hostel.

Then the French arrived. One of the blokes after less than an hour asked me “Can I touch your dick…?” I stayed out of arms length and wondered why it’s only crazy blokes that say stuff like that and not girls who look like models…

But no, they were fine, I just had to keep an eye on Julien. They all came in drunk at 1 in the morning and we all played Fifa together. Julien sat in between two girls (Kate and one of the French girls in his group) and calmly cupped each girl’s breast with one hand. I thought Kate was going to pick him up and throw him through the window like a javelin but she stayed calm and went to bed five minutes later after we told him he shouldn’t have done that.

Kate left the next day. Not because of the Frenchman with the roaming hands, but she had to get back to Georgia for work. She bought one of my books and messaged me the same evening saying she’d finished it and really enjoyed it, which was really nice to hear.

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Then it was New Year’s Eve. Absolutely nothing happened here! I did not get paralytic drunk and embarrass myself, nor did I drink so much I still felt drunk the next evening. Please continue reading, nothing at all interesting happened on this day…

New years day consisted of me hiding in my room recovering. I had to take payment from two American girls that stayed for New Year. I was in pain but if that’s all I had to do to earn my bed then it was worth it.

The next few days were just me being my friendly self, showing guests what to do and where to go, and generally not do anything to piss any of the guests off. I don’t have an aggressive personality so it worked out pretty well for me. Then a girl from New Zealand checked in. She had a nice personality and we got on well so after chatting upstairs for a few hours we went and grabbed a pizza together. We are heading the same direction (it seems like nobody is travelling in the same direction as me on this trip!) so we may head out to Albania together, but before family members start getting excited and making me feel uncomfortable by declaring “You’ve finally settled down!” We’re actually only travelling to Albania for 1 day, then she’s going up towards Montenegro whilst I’m going south to Saranda, so it’s not the love story you readers were hoping for, we’re just friends.

And that’s it! Just like that 10 days working as a volunteer here went by (I say volunteer, I’m just checking people in, taking payments and being a good host) and I’m off to the next country. A friend of mine offered me a job a few months ago working for her tour company so this was great experience for that, and it’s good to know that I genuinely enjoy that kind of job. The only part I know I wouldn’t enjoy is the marketing side (I hate marketing my books. I feel very uncomfortable talking about them as it feels like a sales pitch, so if I was doing something that actually was a sales pitch I wouldn’t enjoy it at all, but the hosting/tour guide side of things is like a dream job) so when I eventually leave Thailand again that could be another option for me.

As for Macedonia, I hate to leave the place, but I know I have to if I want to see all the other countries on my list before I catch a plane to The Philippines. I’m sure I will be back. This would be the perfect place to volunteer for a month or so whilst writing another book. Gyoko (The hostel owner) also let me print off my book covers and advertise them on the door at the hostel which is really nice of him. Like I said I’ll be back, it’s just a matter of when. Macedonia was very interesting for me because most people told me that it wasn’t great, but it’s at the top of the list in terms of favourite countries in Europe so far. Let’s see what southern Albania, Bosnia and Romania have to offer!

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