Tag Archives: Greece

The Art of Scrapbooking

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It seems like I’m rarely writing about all the goals I have to complete this year, and yet my 101 in 1,001 and 23 Before 23 are patiently waiting to have numbers crossed off. Today’s post is about #13 on the 23 Before 23 and #17 on the 101 in 1,001! 2 in 1, woo hoo!

While I was in Greece in August (yes, I am bringing up this vacation again!) I had the idea that I wanted to teach myself to scrapbook. I realize *teach* is a bit of a strong word, but I am seriously crafty-handicapped. I’ve never been great at it, but the idea of having a place where I could store photos & memorabilia that I collected along the way sounded enchanting.

The week I got home, I was at the craft store buying supplies. I found my scrapbook and a bunch of cute things to put in it all on the same day- we’re talking like early September. And then I proceeded to basically completely forget about my project. Well actually, that’s not really true. I needed to get my pictures printed, and with almost 1,500 photos to sort through I needed to find the time to do it. This is what I ended up printing:

Yes, that is two BOXES full. Pretty sure I printed about 500 photos! 

Finally, about two weeks ago, I decided to sit myself down and try to start my scrapbook. It’s been about 6 months that I’m home & I was already home from ANOTHER vacation after that one so I wasn’t really in the mood to do it… But you guys? I ended up LOVING it. I’d like to think my scrapbook turned out relatively well- it’s not done yet, I still have 4 pages to complete, but other than that? I sat down over the course of one weekend and I was un-stoppable!

I’m so proud of my new-found craftiness, I really wanted to share my handiwork. So without further ado, the scrapbook of a non-crafty person (not so bad, right?!)

… Sorry about the image quality, my iPhone wasn’t quite up to the task, it seems! 

I tried as much as possible not to ruin the beauty of the photos by cutting out too much of the view in the background, because that is such a big part of Greece. I think I did a decent job of preserving the beauty in the photos, and the ones that I didn’t was simply because I wanted the picture in there for fun. I added in a few little fun things I collected on the different islands I visited, which I thought gave it a sweet personal touch.

All in all, I’m really happy I gave scrapbooking a shot & I can’t wait to finish it up once I’m out of finals! It was such a lovely way to bring back tons of happy memories and become nostalgic once again for a time in my life that I absolutely adored. I still have a MILLION pictures leftover and I can’t wait to organize them and set them up in a photo album to look at any time I want to visit the vacation of my dreams!

Have you ever taken on a hobby that you didn’t think you’d enjoy? What kind of crafty things do you like to do?

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Daydreaming of a faraway land…

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The other evening I happened to be looking for a picture on Facebook, and I came across my album of pictures from my trip to Greece this past summer. On most days, seeing a picture from that vacation just makes me smile, but every once in a while I get nostalgic for those three weeks of my life.

The truth is that almost 5 months later, I still feel like I could have just stayed in Europe for a year and traveled and been completely happy. Most days I love being home to be with friends and family… But there are other days when I just feel like dropping everything and traveling the world until I’m just plain sick of traveling.

I’m so excited to go to Florida in just FOUR WEEKS (and a few days)! I need to get out of my city really badly. Not just because it hasn’t stopped snowing in, oh, 4 days? But because I love the freedom to learn a different city and explore new surroundings. Not to mention I’m going to be a wizard and move into Hogwarts this time around, so that’s always a plus.

But seriously, I can’t wait to get away, even if it’s just for 6 days. I’m already trying to decide when my next trip will be and how much I need to save because there is honestly NO feeling like the one you get when you’re somewhere entirely new. I would LOVE to spend a month of my summer visiting new places- maybe I’ll make it happen, but for now I’m going to just keep wander-lusting after every possible vacation I can.

Do you ever feel like spontaneously booking a vacation? Have you ever done it? 

One month later [in top 5’s]

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Today officially marks my one month return home from Greece, otherwise known as the trip that changed my perspective on travelling. I thought I’d wrap up all my Greece posts with this last one that I’ve been thinking about for a little while, and share with you the things I don’t miss at all about Greece, the things I’m so happy to have back at home and of course the things I miss most about Greece.

Top 5 things I don’t miss at all about Greece [the sarcastic stuff]

1. The line-ups. Or rather, the non line-ups. That shit doesn’t exist in Greece and it drives a girl crazy, let me tell you.

2. The un-organized bus system. Every time I (line up) and wait for a bus now in Montreal, I praise the Lord that we have a functional bus system that understands the meaning of rush hour.

3. The money-spending. I mean, I do love to shop but Greece was for real getting me to spend more on souvenirs and food than I’ve ever spent in my life. Sweet baby Jesus, I once paid 18 CANADIAN DOLLARS (That’s 12 Euros) for one freaking cocktail. Also? 8 Euros on bread and dip! Good Lord!

4. The travelling. Okay this is a bit of a stretch because I also kind of loved the travelling, but I did SO MUCH MORE OF IT than I ever thought possible. Like, hi, 10 hours to get from Athens to Kefallonia? Thank heavens we stayed there for 9 days and made it worth it! The upside is that I saw a LOT of Greece… Even though hours of it was through a bus window or off a boat’s deck. The boat thing sounds like a really great time, but it really wasn’t that time kids were being sick all around me and you couldn’t go to the bathroom without being surrounded by girls on all sides feeling the sea-sickness too. Ugh.

5. The jet lag. I only got used to the time difference in our last week or so in Greece. And even then? Really freaking weird. I called my brother at 3:30AM Greece time on his birthday only to find remember it was like 7pm the day before in Montreal and he was still at work. Oops. I like being in the same time zone as my people, let’s just leave it at that. Although the whole ‘knowing people in yesterday’ thing was pretty cool. So was the whole ‘re-living the same afternoon twice’ thing when I got home. But I’m over it.

Top 5 Things I’m so happy to have back home [The truth]

1. The internet at my fingertips. Being somewhat unplugged was hard, but the toughest part was living without my 3G network. I missed being able to tweet what I was up to WHILE I was there.

2. My bed. I loved sharing a room (and sometimes a bed) with my friends, but I don’t think I’ve ever slept as well as the day I got home. It was like a cloud had landed in my bedroom and transported me to a far away land.

3. My family & friends. I didn’t exactly feel HOME SICK while I was gone, but I was really sad to miss out on a month of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy, I missed a wedding, my brother’s birthday and just cuddling with my puppy and kitty whenever I wanted.

4. Canadian money. I hated calculating 1 and a half for every single thing I bought. I was so conscious of the ridiculous amounts of money I was *throwing away*… Not to mention Euros look really funny. Although strangely enough when I got home, Canadian money looked really funny… But basically I just missed spending the money I earned at face value.

5. Melissa time. Again, I loved spending so much time with my friends & I never got sick of them, but I require Melissa time at least every once in a while. Sometimes I needed to just be in my own space for an hour or so, or I needed to go to bed at the time I wanted to, with lights off… But that was unlikely to happen in a one room situation.

Top 5 things I miss most about Greece [the mushy stuff]

1. The food. Oh God do I miss the food. I don’t think I’ve eaten a single meal since I’ve been home that has matched up to the ones I had while I was there. So much deliciousness. The yogurt, honey, lemon chicken, stuffed vegetables, gyros, fries spiced with oregano… I could go on and on.

Lemon chicken & baked potato dinner courtesy of Naoussa in Santorini… One of the best meals I had in all of Greece! 

2. The sunsets. I’d seen some beautiful sunsets before going to Greece. Some evenings, in the summer, the sky in Montreal turns into beautiful colors of pink and orange, showing the world that another beautiful day awaits tomorrow. Then I went to Greece and saw colors in the sky that are literally miraculous. The sun would set on this country in a fiery ball of deep orange, lighting the sky in reds, yellows, oranges and pinks. The moment the sun disappeared over the horizon, the entire sky would turn into some kind of rainbow, pink covering all the land in the distance, turning into deep purple and then eventually blue. Every single day in Greece was ended like this. Every single day. You didn’t have to wonder if the next day would be beautiful weather or not, either.

Santorini sunset

3.  The beaches. I mean, this one is pretty obvious, but I just loved visiting a new beach almost every single day. You can’t go to Greece without visiting them, and there’s a reason for it. They are some of the most beautiful, with the most turquoise water I have ever seen in my entire life. The sky is always clear and reflects into the water, showing the soft, sandy & sometimes rocky bottom of the ocean. I also loved spending long, lazy days laying in the sun with a drink, a book and loud music. There’s no tan like a European tan, let me tell you!

Selina, me, Agnes & Kate in front of Myrtos Beach, Kefallonia.

4. The landscapes & architecture. I was by no means ‘culture shocked’ when I arrived in Greece, but it was certainly an entirely different culture. In Montreal I’m used to seeing huge buildings, skyscrapers, the suburbs… The usual city scenery. But Greece? It’s a whole different ball game. Around each turn there’s a breath taking view, surrounding by the traditional Greek architecture. Everything was picture perfect- especially on the islands. The homes were little and adorable, the roads often built out of stones or driven on by scooters because it was just easier. This country really and truly had it’s own distinct style and I miss it terribly.

Oia, Santorini. It really is all white & blue and picturesque. 

5. My friends. I miss the last four things very much & maybe I will until the next time I travel again, but none of it would have been even half as amazing without those three girls by my side. They made the trip worth taking, it was our high school dream brought to reality at only twenty two years old. People dream of Greece their whole LIVES without going, and we were lucky enough to be able to make it out there together in our twenties. I never got sick of seeing their faces and we NEVER ( I mean seriously, never) ran out of things to talk about. I missed them the minute we said goodbye at the airport exactly one month ago today, and my days have been that much more lonely without them in it each and every single day.

Love these girls. ❤

I swear, that is my LAST post on Greece. I will stop talking about it now in huge detail. It’s been one month since I’m home- time to get back into the game & plan where-to next!

Tell me, what is YOUR dream vacation? Have you lived it yet? 

Notes from the Journal- Final Week

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A few things before getting started here…

1) Check out my guest post on Kendra‘s blog Like a Bird on living inspired. Leave comments over there, I’d love to know what you think about it!

2) This summer at Warped Tour I interviewed a whole ton of bands, and now that I’m home my interviews are starting to go up on the CONFRONT website. Currently you can check out my talk with the lead singer of Ill Scarlett!

Okay, here we go! I’ve got one more post about the details of my Greece trip to share along with some notes from my journal that I kept while I was there. I feel like I’m re-living the end of my trip all over again, so I may get a little nostalgic. Scratch that, I AM nostalgic, right now.

A few years ago, while I was still in high school, my brother practically BEGGED me to just get up and go to Europe already. I was always like ‘yeah, okay, I’m going!’ but it was only this year that I actually did. Why I didn’t do it early I have no idea. Maybe it wasn’t time yet, maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated it the same way. What I can say though is that if you’ve never traveled abroad- truly abroad- to Europe or Asia or the Middle East- then you HAVE to. Whether you do it alone or with some best friends, it will change you. There is something inside that will ultimately be different.

Greece: Day 16 [August 23rd 2011… Written the following day.]

On my second full day in Santorini we finally headed to the beach. We spent the day at Perissa, one of the famous black beaches. I mean, the sand all over Santorini is black, but for some reason at this beach you just DON’T WALK BAREFOOT. Don’t do it.

We also had some legit drinks made by a bartender that I totally fell in love with (he wasn’t even Greek!) and it made me fall right asleep. We ended up staying until way too late at this beach. The result?

“By 5:45 I wasn’t feeling well, so we packed up to catch the bus home. We didn’t even think about rush hour & got stuck waiting for an hour before fitting on a bus. The whole ride home we were hysterical & squished.” 

I ended it rather importantly in my mind with: “I’m still getting used to the city here that’s nothing like I imagined. I’m loving this place more each day though and having fun meeting new people that live here.”

Perissa Beach

We were lucky enough to find a seat on the bus, but you can see how squished everyone is around us!

Greece: Day 17 [August 24th… Written the following day.]

The day we trekked a volcano. For real, this was THE COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER. I nearly got trampled alive by donkeys, I got on the cutest little boat and sailed through the Caldera, I climbed up an ACTIVE VOLCANO, took a billion pictures, and then went to some hot springs where I got photos of my friends swimming in (I didn’t swim in because I forgot my contacts that day. Damn.)

“The entire thing was huge mountains of volcanic ash and rocks. We trekked the entire mountain right up to the top. It was pretty exhausting, but a great work-out. We stopped at 2 craters on our way up that are still active. The 2nd one was still smoking! After half an hour or so we had to climb back down onto the boat. I got some amazing pictures. I couldn’t stop staring out at Santorini. You can literally see every part of the island from the top of the volcano.”

That night? I visited my DREAM place. Oia, Santorini.

“It was just as I imagined Santorini to be; beautiful, peaceful & the sunset was gorgeous. We ended up taking a lot of photos and doing more shopping… It was just really lovely. Overall it was one of my favorite days on our trip.” 

One of the friendlier donkeys… You can see we’re a little weary anyways. Also? We were climbing down 600 stairs.

The boat!

Sailing through the Caldera..

Walking some flat volcanic land… Before it got ridiculously uphill.

Looking out (on the left) at Oia, Santorini and (to the right, not pictured) the main city, Fira.

The last stretch right to the top!

Everyone swimming into the Hot Springs (that brown water closer to the volcano)

The four of us having dinner in Oia

Greece: Day 19 [August 26th 2011… Written the following evening]

My last full day in Santorini was definitely another favorite day of mine on this trip (along with that last day on the volcano). Although my friend Kate was sick and had to sit this one out, the  three of us headed out to explore some of the more remote beaches of the island.

“When we got off the bus we were basically in the middle of nowhere with no beach in sight. We wandered and followed a few other people around until we realized we had to get aboard a little speedboat that would bring us to Red Beach. We got on & had a fantastic view of Santorini’s cliffs & little surrounding islands. We noticed that the beach wasn’t very special (or red of that matter) so we stayed on the boat & went instead to the next stop which was White Beach. The sand there is black, but it’s surrounded on all sides by huge white cliffs. It was literally like a deserted island.”

Later that night the four of us got out for dinner, but Kate still wasn’t feeling good so she called it a night after we ate. The three of us decided at the last minute that we wanted to enjoy our last night so around 11 we went back out and found a little club… And ended up having the BEST time.

” We danced to the best music until 2am in the jam packed bar and only left because we knew we had to be up extra early. Santorini definitely felt like a real party place to me. We couldn’t have ended our night in a better way.”

My last words about Santorini?

“All in all, Santorini was NOT what I expected… But by the end I fell in love with the place it actually is. I saw the most beautiful sunsets over the Caldera, I trekked a volcano & saw the island from the top, and I took pictures of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. I definitely see myself coming back one day, if only for the breathtaking view.”

On the boat headed to White Beach!

The last sunset…

The three of us at the Tropical Bar on our last night… Holy tanned!

Greece: Day 20 [August 27th 2011… Written at 9:45pm]

A lot happened on my last day in Santorini. There was a lot of drama, a lot of “maybe we won’t get out of here” because our ferry got cancelled… But finally, we ended up heading back to Athens. The ferry was the most ridiculous thing of my life to say the least, but the one thing that really stood out worth sharing from this post? Maybe the line that I needed to re-read this whole time.

“I said goodbye to Santorini this afternoon, my dream vacation spot, after spending the last week there. I do get attached to people & things very easily, but I think there’s a reason I felt that way throughout this trip. You spend enough time in any place with the right people and it can begin to feel like home.” 

The four of us in Athens the following day (our LAST day) having a huge lunch! Om noms.

I still miss Greece, I miss it as I write about it and every time I look back on my pictures. It was a thrilling adventure for me, it really was. Each day brought something new for all of us, and I think I’m closer to these girls than ever before. The way we planned our trip fell so perfectly in line with what we NEEDED from it. We did everything we wanted to do, we took chances and we just had an amazing time. So yeah, it makes sense to miss it.

And now? I can’t wait to get back on a plane.

Life on hold

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These last few weeks have felt really strange. Exactly three weeks ago I was sitting in Athens with three of my best friends, sipping on frappes (that’s their favorite iced coffee. Yummy.) and looking out at the skyline of the capital city of Greece. It was fabulous.

I was only gone for three weeks of my life, but it might as well have been a hell of a lot longer because I feel like a completely different person now that I’m home. I find myself constantly day dreaming of far away places. I’m even ACTUALLY dreaming that the four of us are on more adventures around the world. Last night we were in Sydney, Australia. The night before, we were heading back to Greece.

Flying over Amsterdam on our way home from Athens

My brain has some unfinished business with the world, clearly. I don’t blame it. Traveling 8,000KM away from home for the first time had a profound effect on me in ways I still don’t quite understand, but I guess my subconscious is slowly learning to come to terms with it.

I think the reason I’m still adjusting to being back in Montreal is because I’m not READY to be back here. I mean, I love home. I love being here- I love my family and seeing my friends and waking up in my bed- but traveling in Europe really opened my eyes to another part of the world. And I loved every minute of it.

All this to say that  I feel like since getting home, my heart hasn’t truly been in anything that I do 100%. I don’t like that feeling at all. I want to be present in my life and enjoy where I am, always, where ever I may be. I miss traveling there’s no denying that, but I’m spending more time thinking of ways to hop back on a plane than how to be happy where I am right now. Little annoyances are setting me right off the track, school is like a foreign language to me, I’m not even finding my usual enthusiasm to go to concerts. I don’t quite understand what my deal is right now.

Far, far away from home

I’ve been avoiding my blog. I haven’t written in a few days because I don’t know WHAT to write. I know what I want to write about, I’m just tired of putting myself through reminiscing about summer memories. I need to get back to my life, I need to press play- I feel like I’ve been on pause for 3 weeks.

I have one or two more posts lined up on my trip, because I want to finish writing about it the way I had originally planned. After that? I want to put my heart back into my current life. I’m tired of feeling like I’m on hold. I need to get back into the game, get back to homework and real life. I don’t really know how to do this yet, I’ve just come to the realization and decision that I have to. I know there’s ultimately a reason that I’m feeling this way, but I can’t really think of a solution besides paying off my debt and saving up my pennies for the next vacation.

I was reunited with my Greece girls last night for the first time since we arrived home, and it was the first time I felt really happy about being home. I think that’s when I realized there’s something not right for me, right now. My friend Kate said at one point “it feels like Greece was a dream. Did we even go?” and to a certain extent I felt the exact same way. We’ve been here for three weeks and so many things have been happening, but I’ve just been passively watching it all around me.

I’m excited to start being fulfilled with my life RIGHT NOW. Yes, I miss being in a completely different part of the world. I miss the food, the culture, the people, the night life, the landscapes… But if I stay stuck there any longer without actually being there, I’ll start forgetting why it is I love my home so much.

Tell me, have you ever felt like this at any point in your life? How did you move past it?

Notes from the Journal II

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Last week I shared my first week & a half from Greece in short journal excerpts, and I thought I’d finish up talking about my trip in the same way. It was a lot of fun for me to look back on my writing & I’ll admit that it had me a little teary eyed and missing the ocean. There was something kind of special and homey about that country that I’ll never forget.

Greece: Day 11 [August 18th 2011 Around 7:45pm Greece time]

“Mykonos is literally more beautiful than movies and postcards and pictures. I’ve only been here for 4 hours but I’m already in love with this place, and I know the other girls are too. The view from my room at the hotel is possibly more picturesque than Kefalonia. This is exactly how I pictured Greece” 

After leaving Kefalonia, we spent one evening in Athens & the next morning woke up at 4AM (ugh, I know) to catch our ferry to Mykonos. It was a 5 hour ride but so, so worth it. After getting to our BEAUTIFUL hotel, we walked to the nearest beach, had lunch by the ocean & then we headed back to the room to relax for a few hours before going back out. Our hotel was at the very top of a hotel overlooking the main port & the city, and we all wanted a few hours to just soak it all in. This is how I ended that same entry:

“The sun is setting and the lights are going on below us in the city and I really can’t handle how gorgeous it is.” 

View of the far away city from my hotel room balcony

Greece: Day 12 [August 19th Around 12:30AM… Technically the 20th]

My post on this day is actually like 3-4 pages long because I hadn’t written in almost two days, but there is one main thing that stands out worth sharing for the ladies…

“The men here are VERY gorgeous, pretty sure I stared at a few dozen of them today alone.” 

Seriously, Mykonos was beautiful, and not only the scenery. It’s ridiculous how beautiful Europeans are. But as for the rest of the post, I wrote about how the two places we went out to eat we got free shots (we got free shots EVERYWHERE in Mykonos, it’s their thing apparently! Or we’re just very likable.) and how we had a really great time at the beach. I think this was the day I spent the most money- food in Mykonos is ridiculously expensive and I mention the fact that we had to pay 8 EUROS for a basket of bread, without even being asked if we wanted it. Crazy.

“So far though I love the vibe of Mykonos and I like how there are a lot of young friendly people.” 

The one downside to Mykonos? THE WIND. Look at us, we’re flying away! But beautiful sunset behind us, am I right?!

Greece: Day 13 [August 20th… Written the following day]

This was my favorite day in Mykonos. Here’s a little bit of how it went:

“The woman at our hotel told us we had to see a sunset in Little Venice, so we picked a restaurant by the water. We had the perfect view of the classic 5 windmills where we were sitting, and we ordered some super yummy daiquiris. Our waiter was a really nice Romanian guy who promised us good drinks, and then he gave us a free shot of I don’t know what, but it was good!” 

That was just the beginning of a really awesome evening (well, for me anyway). The whole day was actually a lot of fun, we spent yet another day by the beach & watched the most beautiful sunset over the ocean with drinks that had about 8 bazillion pieces of fruit on them. Afterwards we shopped through the winding streets of Little Venice and much later on we ended our night at a bar called “Down Under” which was awesome. We definitely weren’t big party go-ers on this trip because we preferred making the best of our days, but we at least gave it a shot and had a ton of fun. Apparently my motto of the night was ‘go big or go home!’ so you can imagine that I had quite a bit of fun.

Sunset in Little Venice… Beautiful and SO bright!

At “Down Under” bar… I miss being this tanned already!

Greece: Day 14 [August 21st… Written the following day]

I’m rather proud of myself for being very honest in my writing. I wanted to love every bit of my trip but there were parts I didn’t like, namely my first evening in Santorini. I mean, I loved my evening. But this is what I wrote about where we were staying:

“Santorini isn’t what I expected, especially not here in Fira. The city is so busy & full of tourists, and kind of dirty. It has some beautiful views though which is what I’m excited to see more of.” 

Luckily my night looked something like this:

“We had a 10pm dinner, after an hour in line, at Naoussa. It’s ranked as one of the best food places in all of Santorini and it’s easy to see why. We were served wine in line and the food was some of the best I’ve had on my whole trip.”

Luckily we stayed in Santorini long enough that my entire view on the city changed. There are still things about the place that I didn’t like, but I came to fall in love with that island like I did with each other place we were at.

The streets of Fira… Always busy and FULL of shops every which way you look.

Don’t you wish  you were sitting there right now? I do.

Greece: Day 15 [August 22nd Around 11:30PM Greece time]

All I can say is Thank God for this day. I miss this day, but most of all I miss this night. Here are two of my favorite parts:

“We got dressed & headed into Fira for breakfast and decide how to spend our first day. We ate at this amazing breakfast place called Corner that specializes in waffles & crepes. I ate an apple-cinnamon-honey waffle with the best coffee I’ve had since leaving home” 

Because really, food is part of the experience. We went back to this place again and were not disappointed. If you’re ever in Santorini you NEED to go here.

And my night? Looked something like this:

“We sat outside looking out to the ocean & the surrounding islands. We ordered a plate of cheese with 12 kinds of wine to taste, and we just relaxed & tried wine. As the sun set we all took about 800 pictures and ordered some yummy dessert for dinner. I really think it was the nicest way to spend our first day/evening. I’m finally settling into this new island- it’s just so much busier than I imagined. I’m starting to really see the beauty in this place and I’m excited for the things we have planned.” 

We spent hours at this place, the Santos Winery, which I think must have one of the most beautiful views of the sunset over the caldera. When I think back on this EXACT moment I’m so overwhelmed because it was one of the most breath-taking things I’ve ever seen. You’ve never seen a sunset until you’ve seen one here.

Our first sunset in Santorini

At the very edge of the island, overlooking some of the most beautiful parts of the world

That’s where I’m going to leave it for now! At this point, we had just 6 days left before coming home at this point and so many more things happened while we were in Santorini. I can’t wait to share those last few entries, but I’m sad that I’m closing the chapter of Greece in my life for now.

#1 Take the trip of a lifetime Pt.1 [23 Before 23]

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I haven’t talked much about my 23 Before 23 list, which I created & posted in July for my birthday. I’m really loving this list right now because it’s a more recent accumulation of goals that I’d like to get done before my 23rd birthday.

The first item on the list was a bit of a no brainer for me- I wrote it knowing I was going to Greece- but I waited until I got home to actually cross it off. It really WAS the trip of a lifetime for me. At this point in my life I’ve traveled a little bit, but never to Europe and never for three weeks. I was with three of my best friends and I always pushed myself to try new things while I was there.

I’ve posted a lot of pictures from my trip but haven’t actually TALKED about it yet. I thought I’d take a bit of time today to share some of my favorite moments from my journal. While I was there I wrote every single day & looking back I’m SO happy I did! I was kind of annoyed on some days about it, but more often than not I loved writing all the little details, already thinking of re-reading those little moments in the future.

So here we go, my first week in Greece in journal excerpts. I haven’t changed anything from the day I wrote them.

Greece: Day 1 [August 8th 2011] around 8:15pm Greece time

“Oh, the jetlag. I never knew I would be able to stay awake for nearly 30 straight hours, and yet here I am, sitting on a balcony in Athens & feeling pretty lively.” 

Those were my very first words written, and every time I look at them I remember EXACTLY how I was sitting and how I was feeling. It could have so easily just been yesterday.

Greece: Day 2 [August 9th 2011] Around 2:30pm Greece time

“I love these travel days. I love seeing the country from all these points of view and just soaking in the beautiful scenery. It’s not all picturesque like what I’ve seen online, but I think it’s incredible in that far away from home, new culture kind of way.” 

I wrote those words sitting on a ferry on my way to Kefalonia. I laugh looking back on that because once I started traveling the islands it was EXACTLY what I expected from Greece and even more. Athens is not picturesque by any means, but it really did have that far away from home feeling to it.

Greece: Day 5 [August 12th 2011] Around 5:15pm Greece time

“When we got home we had an amazing home cooked meal of chicken, oven potatoes, and salad/bread. Yum. After dinner we sat outside on the balcony with ice cream and laughed SO much and just looked at the gorgeous view. I’m so excited to see other parts of Greece but I’m going to miss the landscape very much here!”

That day I went to one of my absolute favorite beaches, Petani, and I can say that it was one of my favorite days in Kefalonia. That passage from my journal basically describes our evenings spent there. We ate so much ice cream and spent so much time talking together and laughing. We laughed so much I can’t even tell you. We always had our evenings free in Kefalonia and I’m pretty sure spending all that time together made us feel closer than ever.

The four of us with Petani beach in the background

Self-taken group shot at Petani beach, enjoying the wavy waters!

Greece: Day 6 [August 13th 2011] Around 8:30pm Greece time

“We drove through the mountains and saw some of the most spectacular look out points & landscapes ever. We got off for pictures at Myrtos Beach. We were high up from the beach so we got some breath-taking shots… But honestly nothing can ever compare to actually seeing it & being there.”

Also from that day:

“I fell asleep on the trip bac khome because I had to take some Gravol, but we were all super exhausted. I swear this island has made us ALL motion sick at this point because of the winding roads & long travel times, but all in all it’s been worth it” 

I loved this day in Kefalonia. When I think back on it, I smile immediately. We spent the whole day on a bus tour of the parts of the island we hadn’t seen yet, that’s when I visited the caves, the monastery, the winery, and some beautiful beaches. We were in the bus a lot but I stand by that first paragraph 100%. None of my pictures come even CLOSE to the real thing. I’m sure it’s the same anywhere you go in the world, but I remember turning to my friend Selina and telling her that I couldn’t handle how pretty everything was. Also? Bring like 3 packs of Gravol when you travel the Greek islands. Those Greeks are crazy drives let me TELL you.

The four of us in the Drigorati Caves

Greece: Day 8 [August 15th 2011] Around 6:30pmGreece time

“Never in my life has time passed by as quickly as this last week. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs here, but relaxing in this sweet little Greek home makes me realize I’m going to miss this village. I’m going to miss the weather, the scenery, my room shared with my friends with our cute little balcony, even the people I’ve met. At the same time I’m so excited to see what’s next for us. This place was a great way to be introduced to this country. Yesterday we met an older man who told us that he’s been all over the world & there is no place more beautiful than this country. That made me feel even better about being here.”

This was written on the evening before my last full day in Kefalonia. Clearly I’m already getting nostalgic about the place, and that still hasn’t ended. I’m always thinking about the quiet beauty of living in a village that lives on practically nothing. All we had for entertainment was each other, our books & the landscape. And it was plenty.

Having some fun at the lighthouse!

Greece: Day 9 [August 16th 2011] Around 7:30pm Greece time

“Our last full day in Kefalonia is coming to an end, and beyond everything right now I’m just very sad. When I first got here I wasn’t sure if I could stay this long in one place but I’m really glad we did. I think I get attached to places far too quickly for my own good because I’m having trouble coping with the idea of never coming back here. I may make an exception to that rule because so far I’m falling in love with this country. I have a feeling this isn’t the only place that I’ll feel this way about when it comes time to go home.”

I think that’s a pretty self explanatory entry. I love looking back on that day because I was right on so many levels. I miss every part of Greece that I visited so much. I get attached too easily, that’s undeniable. I remember how SAD I was and that makes me smile because I saw so much beauty after this day, but I do understand my feelings… I still am sad when I think of how far away I am from this place right now.

Random group shot on one of our walking days

This was basically my first week in Greece, in a nutshell. Kefalonia made me fall in love with a country thousands of miles away from home in a way that I never thought possible. This part of my trip was not only amazing, but a great start to an unbelievable three weeks. I can’t wait to share more pieces of my journal very soon from my last two weeks!

**Thanks to Agnes’ camera for all these pictures!!