Rebecca Hall was an EFL teacher in Greece and naturally transitioned into Travel Writing, initially updating two editions of the Rough Guide to Greece and the Greek Islands, purely because they were short of a writer in country.
Her travel writing progressed from there and after Greece started getting negative press in the 2008 financial crisis, Rebecca wanted to present a different side to the country so set about creating her debut novel Girl Gone Greek to showcase a better side.
She regularly explores the un-touristic side of the country and also loves her home county of Devon, UK.
You’ll usually find her sourcing a new café to eat Greek pastries.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I went to University as a mature student after holding down several different P.A. roles and working for several airlines at LHR. I then volunteered abroad and discovered a love of teaching, so returned to undertake an Access to University course in my native UK before studying International Relations at University.
After completing a TEFL course I came to Greece to teach, fell in love with the gentle chaotic nature of the country and have stayed. Now I teach occasionally but mainly, having been in the right place at the right time, I travel write and aim to highlight the positive aspects of this country (that had for too long been receiving negative press).
My novel Girl Gone Greek was self published in 2015 and I hope further gives insight into this beautiful country. In 2017 it was adapted into a screenplay, winning Best Feature Fiction Script at the 2018 London Greece Film Festival and is shortlisted for Best Script at the 2020 Santorini Film Festival, hence currently I am also learning a lot about an industry I have little prior knowledge of and hope to see it produced.
I also hope to successfully bridge cultural gaps through literature and intercultural communications.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No. Experience has taught me that if you are too rigid in your life plans, you’ll end up disappointed. Unless you are convinced you want to be a Dr – for example – that takes years of training, why not be flexible in your career path? And why does life have to be about a ‘career’ that everyone recognises? Happiness, to me, does not come from career status…it’s about doing what makes me happy and being around people that do too.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I think trying to fit into a 9-5 lifestyle that was ‘expected’ of me by elderly parents (because really their generation was used to a more traditional approach of ‘job for life’, etc). Once they saw how happy I was with my life in Greece, they were happy I am happy. Yes, financially being freelance has its issues and sometimes I do crave the stability of a regular paycheque, but I make sure to account for harder times when better times are more forthcoming.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
First off, self publishing my debut novel Girl Gone Greek in 2015 and then having it written into a film script in 2017 (not by me, by a script writer). 2018 saw it win the Best Feature Fiction Script category at the London Greek Film Festival and is shortlisted for the Best Script at the 2020 Santorini Film Festival. I would never, ever have envisaged my ‘humble’ book about Greek life (semi-autobiographical) making it this far. I do so hope it gets produced…I have no illusions; an ‘indie’ flick would be just great, so long as the kindness and beauty of Greece and the Greeks is correctly portrayed.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I think believing that what is right for me and following it. Following my gut and that means not following what’s expected of me and/or convention at times. You should always live your life, not someone else’s.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I have had coaching at various stages because I’ve felt I’ve needed it, especially during my regular ‘wobbles’ when I question my choices.
I’ve never mentored anyone myself.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Honestly? I think the narrative should change. Whilst we are so busy referring as women and men as ‘different’, then this isn’t Equality is it? I see a person, not a man/woman; ie: Is that ‘person’ right for the job, etc. Stop making it about gender completely.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Stop trying to solve the ‘What if’s?’ all the time because obviously, the ‘What if’s’ are exactly that and may never occur. Plus, it’s exhausting try to look at every potential angle.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My main challenge now is to get someone to take my book and script seriously and start the production process, with me having a hand.
Then I feel I should write another book, but I feel I have too much pressure on me to ‘perform’ because the first one was a success.
This is a stumbling block I need to overcome – and I will, but in my own time.
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