I am now about three months into my journey to and through Greece. Month nr. 1 was about learning to drive and live in my van, while almost every day had set my destination. In the second month, my plans started to disappear, and I struggled with my new dog, the empty days, and living by myself. But I got through it and started on month number three, a month that I gave to myself. I no longer set destinations, chased stories, or even thought about social media or this website. Instead, I lived for myself, (and Persa, off course), disconnected from everything I used to know.
My phone went for an accidental and fatal swim
About four weeks ago, I was ready to continue my journey through the Peloponnese, to Monemvasia, Mani, and Pylos. However, on a beach just 1 km in that direction, my phone dropped out of my pocket, through a hole in a rock, and into the sea. I didn’t find out I lost it until half an hour later, and by the time I recovered my phone from the water, it had proven to be a terrible swimmer. It drowned.
With losing my phone, I lost my way to navigate the country and find places to sleep. Luckily, I was close to a friend’s house and knew my way there. I used his address to order a new phone, parked in front of his house and waited.
Slow village life
For a full week, I was stuck in a small village close to Nafplio, Kivéri. During the summer months, this village is a great holiday destination with beach bars and fresh fish. In early May, however, the place is close to being abandoned.
At first, I believed I was going to get crazy during my time here. I mean, I could walk to the other side of the village within 10 minutes and not meet more than four people on my way. And to make things worse, at least three of these people would be over 60.
However, with the days passing, I learned to enjoy the quiet around here and let it change me. Today, waking up and getting ready to start my day can take me until dinner. I get lost in watching the sea, enjoying the smell of flowers, or simply reading a book. Days keep passing by without me noticing but at the end of each one, I feel great. I believe I finally found the inner peace I had been looking for, and the loss of my phone helped me with this.
Live in the moment
When my new phone arrived, I understood I no longer wanted to check my notifications or answer calls and messages continuously. Instead, I want to spend as much time as I can enjoying what is around me. Live in the moment, instead of following a plan or chasing a dream. In a way, I’m thankful for this experience and will try to keep these moments of disconnection in my life.
On the other hand, now that I’m almost three months away, I do start to miss the social life I have left behind. I meet new people here and was even invited over for ouzo by one of the old villagers. However, my conversations in Greek are limited to the weather and the unfamiliar race of my dog, while many Greeks have this limitation in their English. Maybe it is because of this that I turned to writing today. To finally use my voice at its full capacity again.
Well, after spending so much time in one place I should be able to write the best travel guide to this region. So I will be working on that in the coming weeks. Besides, I’m leaving for Athens today and just spent a few days in Messenia, in the South-West of the Peloponnese.
However, I decided that I might not be traveling as much as I planned to do when I started this journey. I discovered that knowing where to buy a good breakfast or have a nice beer is a comfort I enjoy a lot. I love to hit the road (Yes, I actually love driving now!) and discover new places. However, doing this fulltime, never knowing where to sleep at night or where to find a toilet, actually made me anxious as well. Real relaxation I found by staying put, so I will mix more of that into my days.
Probably most of you think that I have been living a summer dream for at least a while now. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. I planned the start of my journey in March in order to enjoy many months of Greek summer. This year, however, it seems like I have taken the Dutch weather with me. March, April, and now even May, are not what they are supposed to be like. Temperatures are low, and although I tell myself each week that the next one will be better, 11 weeks later it is still raining.
Fortunately, the sunny days are getting more summer-like and the temperature of the sea is slowly increasing. Swimming becomes more comfortable and even on the rainy days I can now enjoy the thing I love most. Hopefully soon, I can float here forever.
To everyone who didn’t hear from me lately:
I lost a lot of my contacts due to a mistake with the backups of my old phone. So if you want to stay in touch or wonder why you didn’t hear from me lately, send me a message!
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