I never plan in advance where I want to visit in Greece. Instead I wait for the destination to present itself to me. This sense of being drawn to where to go next has never failed me. It’s like I’m being governed by an internal compass that steers me in the right direction of where to go.
Although no two places in Greece are alike, there is one common amongst my experiences in travelling this way. Each newly discovered destination shares the trait of being a little off the radar. I liken them to unpolished gems. There’s a rugged beauty in the landscape, a less hurried approach by the locals and although these destinations still swell with visitors, there seems to be an undertone of calm that counteracts the frantic pace of summer drawing in the crowds.
My favourite experiences have been the ones that have resulted in the least amount of planning or when I haven’t followed a map. They have often presented the most memorable moments that cannot be repeated. They belong entirely to that place alone.
Years ago I came across the work of the famous poet Cavafy. I read his homage to the island of Ithaca over and over. I was filled with emotion reading the verses. Long before I came across this piece, I’d taken a trip there. Making up a long line of islands nestled in the Ionian Sea, Ithaca, despite its meagre size was by far the one that left me with the greatest impression. There is something otherworldly here. A presence that I felt from the mountains all around me as I stood overlooking its coastline. An afternoon swim in the nook of a small cove emphasised this feeling even more. Standing at the shoreline, two giant boulders smoothed over and white washed from years of sun and salt exposure, felt like two massive giants acting like guardians of the sea. Standing in the middle, I was in complete awe of them.
I wondered about what had been presented before them, what wild winds would’ve battered them, roaring ocean waves crashing against them and the countless passing pilgrims just like myself that had come to rest upon them, savouring their presence and moving on…
There’s an infinite possibility to what can be realised when we travel. Some places evoke a greater sense of wonder than others. Our connections resonate purely by chance. There’s a pull that is inherent to the place, the moment and what we’re navigating through our own journey. Our travels can be as rich or as sheltered as we allow them. Regardless, we can never return from these experiences and what they’ve revealed unchanged.
Happy Travels…Paula x