Bio – Rebecca A Hall
Born and raised in the UK – S E London and then Devon, Rebecca had tenuous links to Greece from a young age. As her father had to visit Greece many times for business reasons, sometimes she’d accompany him as a young child, always being spoiled by the local people and became used to regular summer holidays there.
Following a varied career in travel and studying as an Undergrad in International Relations as a Mature Student in her 30’s, Rebecca decided to then take a TEFL course to enable her to move to Greece to teach English in a country that had run deep within her veins. She felt she really wanted to integrate within the culture.
Moving to a small Greek village on the mainland in her late 30’s to teach was tough - being the ‘only foreigner in the village’, but also insightful and rewarding in that she was thrust into the thick of the culture and in that year, came to learn that the chaos and bluntness of Greek culture – in complete contrast with Britain’s order, political correctness and politeness, actually suited her very well.
It was during this time that the 2008 global financial crisis started, with her beloved adopted country pocketing much of the blame. Rebecca wasn’t having any of that!
She took it upon herself to try to contribute positively to Greece’s image in any way possible, even in a small way, and so the conception of Girl Gone Greek began (actually – the title came much later). The aim was for Rebecca to pen a fictionalized account of her village life and the characters encountered in order for her audience to see the real Greece. Through self-publishing on Kindle and paperback through Amazon, finally in 2015 Girl Gone Greek was born.
In November 2017 it was written into a film script, winning Best Feature Fiction Film Script at the 2018 London Greek Film Festival. She is actively seeking to see if the script will get picked up for transformation into film – further showcasing the beauty of her adopted country that she feels has wrongly been portrayed.
You can also follow Rebecca through her travel writing on her site Life Beyond Borders.
We asked Rebecca about the inspiration behind the book and her own experiences of Greece…
What inspired you to write Girl Gone Greek?
“I set about writing my novel: a fictional version of my first year living and teaching in a rural Greek village. I wanted to point out the humorous and positive aspects of this country”
What was it about Greece that first appealed to you?
“Initially the sun – living in a climate where the sun rarely shines really affects me. I only intended to stay here a year and gain experience teaching to then move on. But then I fell in love with the people, how kind they are and the Greek lifestyle”.
Have you visited many of the Greek Islands? Which is your favourite?
“For Rough Guides I research many of the Dodecanese islands…Kos and Rhodes are probably the ones that most people will have heard of – but I love many smaller islands. There are over 1000 islands in Greece, so it’s hard to pick a favourite, especially when all are so unique. But for the smaller ones, I love Symi and Halki in the Dodecanese and Lefkas in the Ionian Island (which is actually linked to the mainland by a pontoon bridge…making it easy to explore the Peloponnese region of the mainland too)”.
What’s your top tip for travelling Greece and getting a feel for the culture?
Try to travel on local transport – they’re mainly inexpensive and clean and great for getting a flavour of local life. Eat in local tavernas and go to the local coffee shop, don’t worry that you can’t speak Greek, just sit there and listen to the noise around you. It’s wonderful to sit in a village square either on the mainland or an island and just soak up the atmosphere, watch the families and community spirit.