The cure for COVID Homesickness

Kleon Papadimitriou, a Greek student studying in Aberdeen, Scotland, found himself feeling extremely homesick during the pandemic. With flights canceled and transport around Europe practically none-existent, his chances of getting back to his home country were looking bleak.  

With university classes on hold, Papadimitriou found himself with plenty of times on his hands and in need of a new project: and so his adventure was born. After his father joked to him about ‘just walking home’, he decided that he was going to cycle the 2000 mile route from Scotland to Greece to be reunited with his family in his home town of Athens. 

Image via Kleon Papadimitriou’s Instagram page, @Kleon.vs.lockdown 

This is Aberdeen’s Story of Gratitude for the inspirational story of Kleon Papadimitriou’s determination to be reunited with his family during the pandemic.  

The first day of his journey saw him battling snow, rain and hail, covering 120km of ground. According to an article by The New York Times, the 20-year-old electrical and electronic engineering student found the start of his journey physically and emotionally challenging, stating that “my parents did not know where I was, I started crying, I didn’t know where I’d stay for the night.” 

The journey didn’t get easier from there as Papadimitriou battled sore feet, camping outdoors and going days without showers. The journey was a ride of of ups and downs, both figuratively and literally. “The moment I believed I could make it was when I boarded the ferry from Ancona,” Mr. Papadimitriou said.  

Throughout his journey through 5 countries over a span of 48 days, he experienced getting three flat tires in a single day; beautiful views and landmarks; making friends with cows and the occasional pit stop at friend’s houses along the way. This trying journey came with a whole host of life lessons learned, including the most prevalent, “always have a full meal before making any important decisions”. 

Imagine if we could all take our frustrations with the pandemic restrictions and turn them into a positive project, utilising the increased amount of time many of us have on our hands. Not only could we achieve something big like reaching a new fitness goal or finally building that garden shed you’ve been saying you’d do for years, but the mental benefits of setting out to do something and competing it are second to none.  

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