My friend Chassity and I just returned home from 10 days in Mykonos, and what an incredible adventure it was.
This wasn’t a trip where every single moment of every single day was planned out, nor were we following any kind of agenda. Neither of us had any desire to constantly be on the go – there were a few days when we didn’t leave the hotel pool.
I drank wine with every meal (aside from breakfast), and I literally ate everything I wanted… Even after I noticed my clothes were getting tighter. For once in my life – in 32 YEARS – I didn’t care.
There were days when we simply wandered through the streets in the town, without a map, stopping in little shops, chatting with vendors, sitting by the sea, and once – being chased by a drunk local with his pants down, junk flying freely. No joke.
We rented an ATV, and Chassity – total badass that she is – learned how to drive it on the spot. We rode through the hillsides with the wind in our hair, past white houses with stone fences, following signs to Paradise Beach. And truly, it was paradise.
I believe we spent at least 6 hours on the beach that day, relaxing, reading, and drinking wine. Since October is off-season, there were very few other people there – which was perfectly fine with me.
As many times as I’ve seen the ocean, in as many different places, it never ceases to take my breath away. The sheer immensity of that endless blue, the sound of the waves hitting the shore, and the reminder of just how big the ‘big picture’ can be, in comparison to whatever stress I’m allowing to dictate my daily life.
So, I did something I haven’t allowed myself to do in about 8 years. However reluctantly, I stripped down to my bathing suit – in public and in broad daylight. After some choice words from Chass about how ridiculous my body issues actually are (what are gal pals for, after all?), I walked my curvy self right into the Aegean Sea. Taking a deep breath, I dove headfirst into the cool, salty water, my training from swim-team coming back to me without any hesitation or conscious thought. I remember thinking, “this feels like home.” I blame that on my mermaid obsession, of course.
I’d forgotten how much I love being in the water. It’s comforting, the sensation of being ‘held’ by something so immense, so all-encompassing, and always in motion. Even when the water’s depth was more than twice my height, I could see straight to the bottom – a clear, crystal blue.
I swam for a couple of hours, easily, at times just treading water and staring into the horizon. I thought about what I want in life, how unreachable it seems, and how hindered I feel by my current circumstances. I prayed for the ability to let it all go – the uncertainty, the self-doubt, and the attachment to my past that so often keeps me from fully living in the present.
Funny, how all of that seems so much simpler when you’re halfway around the world, on a small island in Greece.
We befriended a lovely gal who was a member of our hotel staff, and she joined us for some wonderful evenings in the town. Her name is Aneta (pronounced Annette-ah), and I loved listening to her speak to the locals, even though I couldn’t understand a word. She is kind, soft, beautiful, and unique – inside and out.
In Greece, dining out is an event. We’d sit down at our table, and we’d be given time to peruse the menu before even being greeted by a server. Drink orders are taken first, and once the wine is present, we’re given more time to select food. Salad and appetizers are enjoyed fully, often eaten in entirety before the main courses are brought out. After the dinner itself, dessert is basically a given. When we didn’t order dessert, they’d bring it to us for free. You see the pattern? It admittedly took Chassity and myself a while to get used to such a casual and welcoming process, and having Aneta join us for meals helped enormously.
As Americans, we’re programmed to rush through our meals – especially in restaurants. Servers are anxious to gather as much gratuity as possible, and understandably so; but still, dining out has definitely become an accelerated process. For me personally, this can be uncomfortable at times – constantly being interrupted and checked on by servers who are clearly eager to send us on our way.
I say it often, but Americans could really stand to learn a few things from places like this. Call me unpatriotic if you must, but our priorities are askew. And I’m not just talking about the dining culture… But that’s a different topic altogether.
What an adventure. What a gift. I’ll be forever grateful to my crazy, generous, extremely outspoken friend (she knows what I mean!) for inviting me to join her on this trip. I will miss her, as much as I’ll miss Greece… Perhaps a tad more.
I’ll be forever grateful that I allowed myself to live the magic of Mykonos. Even though everything that I’m currently experiencing in my life was cause not to go, I desperately needed this trip. I needed the distance. I needed the reminder that there is beauty and simplicity in the world, however far away it seems. I truly needed the magic.
As far as vacations go, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Όλη η αγάπη μου, μέχρι να συναντηθούμε ξανά.