The night was fast approaching but the city was calm. After a quick dip in the pool, I laid on one of the sunbeds to read. But I looked out at the pitch black sky and immediately was captivated by a gleaming ball of light tucked in between the low rise buildings. The orb figure hypnotized me with amusement before snapping out and realizing it was the Strawberry moon gently sitting on the edges of the cliff. I scurried back to my room and grabbed my camera to snap the fleeting moment. Instead, I found myself in deep disappointment not being able to set my ISO and aperture right. What the magic my eyes witnessed could not be translated to the lenses of my device. And as I laid on the sunbed once again, I took a few deep breaths and drowned myself in imagination. And as the moon slowly rose, I dreamt of a Greek goddess ascending back to Olympus.
Daydreams are my gateway to envisioning a life that would lead me to where I want to be. In the past, when I was deep in a daydream I almost got hit by a bus. (True story, happened in China, but let us save that for another post). But I believe in the power of vision and how much it can change the way you perceive your path in this life and create the fate you desire. Yes, like Homer, you will encounter the unknown and be thrown into chaos but those are the stories that make the journey meaningful.
My Greece experience was interesting, to say the least. Three strangers who somehow crossed paths and turned Santorini and Mykonos their playground for six days. We drove along the coast, got lost in between, burned ourselves under the scorching heat, got washed by the waves and rolled through rocky sand, devoured every pita sandwich we can find, so on and so forth. Like any wild traveler, they know that the most beautiful part of seeing the world is being around people of different culture with different perspectives but with the same love for life. For all my independent travels and living away from home, this is where my heart lies.
But it was also through this trip, I learned to stop apologizing for who I am. I was always the one who adjusts for people because it was easier for my ego. But sometimes that can be detrimental to oneself. And for the first time in a long time or maybe even never, I felt at ease in knowing I am more than happy with where I stand. It wasn’t a eureka moment or anything negative that happened within the trip, it was simply allowing myself to enjoy the things I am truly passionate about, say no whenever moments felt uncomfortable and loudly saying yes to adventure. And when I did that, my odyssey in Greece became the perfect adventure to start off my summer.
Here’s my takeaway from the trip:
Photos can never capture the beauty of the experience
Strangers can turn into lifelong friends
Say Yes to Me for a change
Daydream! It’s free and you never know where it will take you.
Okay, story and realization over…. Now for the real part. I was shocked to learn how affordable Mykonos and Santorini can be. I always had it on my travel bucket list but I figured it would take a few more years before I would plan just cause it seemed costly. Hold and behold, the accommodations, car rental, and food fit perfectly on my tight budget. I even got to shop for some of their local goods. If anything, it was only the flight that cost the most because the Greek Islands are a tourist destination.
If you’re traveling independently (without a tour group), you should either rent an ATV, a motorbike or a car. Public transportations within the island are not the most convenient and way overpriced. The car rental was 30 euros a day, perfect if you’re planning to split it with two or more people. Also, most of the touristic spots have free parking spaces. Be mindful, this was prior to peak season. I loved chasing the sunsets every night, having our very own carpool karaoke with the windows down and the smell of summer breeze.
I m a sucker for Greek food. Anything with Tzakitzi sauce is heaven. The Baklava was perfection. The Feta and Haloumi cheeses were my staples. And that Greek honey and olive oil were divine. I had to bring home a few to stash up in my own cupboard.
If you’re in Oia, waiting for the famous Santorini sunset, check out Atlantis bookshop. It was my favorite place to splurge in. They have a vast selection of both vintage and new books for a reasonable price. I always try to get one with a local author or one with a significant story. Think philosophy or mythology maybe even sports if you’re into the history of Olympics.