Living On A Greek Island Blog. What is this?
Welcome to our own little world! Long story short, we abandoned city life for a life in Greece. We chose living on a Greek Island, Lefkada, as this was our all times favourite holiday spot.
Our stories are about how we, as a foreigner couple feel about living in Greece as expats. About living in a smaller community. About island life as a non-islander. About having the sea by you at all times. About eating good and buying fresh produce from the street market. About About the simple things in life. About what determined us to finally move to Greece. About adapting to the Greek culture. About learning this whole new weird language. It’s still all Greek to me. Of course, it is a very subjective view, we can’t have it any other way. Anyhow, feel free to join our love affair with Greece.
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Life just got better.
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Our story. How we ended up on a Greek Island.
Whaaaat? Have you gone completely nuts?
My guy kept bringing up that he’d rather live on a deserted island. Everybody around us took it literally. It was in fact, just a figure of speech. Everybody was too busy to bother to understand the whole context. Stick with me.
This is our story. Grab coffee. Grab beer. Grab your cat. Just grab something. Maybe your wife/husband?
Our answer was always very short and straight. “We had enough”. Developing the matter seemed senseless, as none of them had ever accepted having enough.
I mean, they were accepting their own reality as shitty or boring as it would have been. They were OK with living in that world. We were not.
Anyhow, if they insisted, we’d tease just a bit.
Step 1. Addmiting to ourselves that something was off.
Privately, we kept bringing up the things we disliked about what’s around our reality.
I don’t even want to talk so much about that (but I’m gonna do it anyway later).
The things that were missing and we desperately wanted to bring into our lives:
- We wanted to have wide-open green/blue views, as opposed to the grey, tight sights with boring skies and dull sunsets.
- We wanted crowds and traffic noise to be left behind and become just a faded memory.
- That, screw polluted air, we want to breathe some clean air.
- We hate cold damp winters. We want sun! We want sun! We want sun!
We want to allow ourselves to pay attention to the simple things in life, which we never had time for before.
By the simple things I mean you know just the basics: cooking, sunsets, a drink with friends without talking about money and stress, longer walks with our dog, take the dog swimming for the first time in her life, beers on the beach, gardening, spending some time in a tent on a beach, photography, and a few others.
And generally, feeling more “present” into day-by-day down-to-earth activities.
In the end, that we want OUT.
And bottom line, that
Ok, so life here sucks. It's ok. I have a plan. Sell the car. Buy a boat. Sail the f... away.
4 years ago, we finally decided to do something about it.
Our plan: we’d sell our car, buy an old sailing boat, live on it and cross oceans at some point and experience world’s cultures. And we’ll be nomads. Imagine the faces of friends & family. Again.
After watching a ton of Youtube videos on the subject of living on a boat, we were convinced this nomadic-hippie lifestyle was the one for us.
Funny not funny, we’d never slept even for one night on a boat. Not to mention we’ve never sailed before.
But we did it anyway. Desperate situations call for immediate solutions 🙂
Sold our car and bought an old sailing boat.
Ok. Now what?
To summarize, we felt that we are now part of a completely different and exciting new world. We were discovering so many new things and met so many open-minded people that we thought this is it: We hit the jackpot! Whoo-hoo!
The silence, the sense of freedom, the talks in the boatyard, the way time was stretching, as if days had much more hours… We loved it more and more as days passed. That was a new wake up call. So yeah, you CAN have it another way after all.
With all the romance of living on a boat came a different sort of stress, concerns and new struggles. Like not waking up on the rocks. Sleepless nights. And how the heck are we going to get the boat to a docking spot, here when we feel the boat doesn’t listen to us? 🙂 Or, How were we supposed to handle this strong wind as beginner sailors?
So, the moment we had a chance to take a break from boat life, we went for it. But we knew we didn’t want to go back home.
A phone call from a friend happened to lead us to Spain for almost a year for a work-related project. Ok, life in a new country. Cool, vamonos! Get the boat out of the water. Bye girl, stay safe, we’ll come back for you soon 🙂 And off we went. To Spain.
2 years on fast forward. Spain. Cyprus. Greece. Spain (again). Greece.
Spain was exciting, with the perfect infrastructure and we loved the language. Learned it in a few months. I feel Spanish is so sexy and charming.
Work was work. But besides work, we didn’t get the feeling of ‘belonging‘.
Spain was indeed perfect. For them.
For us, it was just 1 year of “this doesn’t feel quite right for us“. We felt we’re losing it.
Spain is indeed a magnificent place to be. But it just wasn’t meant to be for us. Mostly because we felt it had lost some of its original charm due to massive development.
The beaches were not what we were used to. Where is the turquoise sea? Where’s the small private beach? I was often wondering. I didn’t even wanted to go to the beach.
There were a lot of awesome things even for us in Spain, but not enough to balance the missing ones.
We did eat a lot of fish though 🙂 We’ve made a few close friends and we love and miss them a lot. We learned how to cook the most delicious paella and arroz a banda ever. We learned Spanish. We flew our dog from home, we were missing her so much. At least it was again, the 3 of us.
But when we drew the line… No, it’s not Spain. But guys, for most people Spain is really a great choice, so don’t stop here, go to Spain, check it out for yourselves. And generally, don’t believe a word from the internet 🙂 Judge for yourself.
Going back. Our ONLY way OUT of that long-face state of mind, was coming back to where we knew we feel okay. Greece, here we come. Again.
So, okay, back to the boat. We email the boatyard in Greece that we’d be coming and that we’d be staying on the boat, in the boatyard, till we get her back into the sea. Never bothered to call.
2 flights later, we arrive at the boatyard. It was closed for another 2 months 🙂 And it had some dogs guarding the place, so no. We couldn’t mess with that.
Now what? Call sis in Cyprus. It would be nice to hang out after so many years apart. A warm invitation from her fiancee’s Cypriot family came within a moment. Book flight Athens to Nicosia for the next day.
It was so good. Finally hanging out with family and familiar faces. We even though about staying more and maybe live in Cyprus. But still… Nope. It was missing something. I guess it was the nature thing. We needed more of that. More trees and bushes 🙂
Back on the boat in Greece. With new adventures, new people. Also … stories for another time. This one’s getting too long anyhow. I am sorry, never knew how to tell a story in just a few words… My bad. I wish I had better writing skills. Nevermind, moving on.
We had a few weeks before getting the boat out on water. We were having lunch and beers almost daily at the taverna next to the boatyard. The owner (lovely guy and lovely wife) who became our friend, understood that we were looking for a place to call home. He said. “Try Crete, it’s awesome you’ll love it”. He was born in Crete. He recommended a few places to visit in Crete.
So, off to check out if Crete could be our new home. First stop: Chania. Well, okay, Crete is starting to get a lot closer to what we’d call home. And Crete is really, an amazing place for people relocating to Greece.
Unfortunately, we didn’t find any long term rent back then. So, we just stayed for 3 weeks, explored as much as we could, met a bunch of lovely people (Hi Giannis, Despina, Antoni) and went to some really beautiful beaches and villages. We loved Chania so much! A story that deserves its own post at some point.
I have one post talking about this hippie place in Crete called Matala. If you’re into that, here you go.
Back to square one. Back to the boat. Again, adventures, again new people, again new lessons.
After 3 beautiful and exhausting months on the boat, another phone call. Spain calling, again 🙂 As we didn’t want to spend winter on the boat and we weren’t even close to being prepared for sailing the world, we accepted the work project in Spain.
Story on repeat. It proved to be just a confirmation of what we previously agreed upon. Spain was not for us.
Another 7 months later…
1 word that changed everything. Lefkada.
Seeing me kind of let’s say unhappy… he pronounced the 1 word that could get me out of the sad-state-of-mind: Lefkada.
He knows me way to well. And he knew that this word is the one that would put a big smile on my face.
Because 8 years ago, when we have first visited this island, I got tears of joy because of the wild turquoise situation at Kavalikefta Beach in Lefkada. And we visited Lefkada as often as we could during the years. It already felt like a familiar place.
All in? This time, hell yeah! Sell the house, sell everything. Move to a Greek Island - Lefkada.
We knew there’s no way back.
By this point, we knew it’s been Greece all along. How could we have been so silly and spend so much time and money looking for another place? We felt kind of stupid for not realising this earlier.
We knew we had to really do it this time. Ok, so now what? Should we do this step by step, to be on the safe side? I mean, should we go to Greece, rent a house and spend the winter and check out how we feel about it?
Well, no, it couldn’t be. Just like with the boat.
Ok. ALL IN and no way back, so that nothing else, no phone call or who knows what could tempt us from leaving from Greece.
So, there we are, selling our house back home over the internet and everything we owned.
All righty, we are still kinda young, in our 40’s, so we could maybe start from scratch, provided we lower our expectations?
The 3-day car trip from Spain to Greece.
Ok, so moving to Greece. We had to find a way to travel from Spain to Greece with our German Shepherd. We bought a cheap car from Spain and planned our 3-day voyage. Spain, France, Italy by car, then ferry to Igoumenitsa.
Our dog seemed to take one for the team as she didn’t complain once. She had all the trunk for herself. The backseats were packed with crap we managed to gather in Spain.
When the Greek ferry we took from Brindisi didn’t leave for 4 hours, we knew we were heading to Greece 🙂 We didn’t mind, it was just amusing 🙂
Our brilliant plan. Find a plot. Build a house. Live a simple life as expats in Greece. (Still searching for that plot after 2 years... Zzzzzzz)
We have already been warned not to move to Greece with the idea that business is doing great here. That was actually a plus from our point of view, maybe people around are not so obsessively focused solely on making money.
So, the plan was to find a plot in Lefkada and build a small house that we can call home. With some space for a vegetable garden and a few fruit trees. And a summer kitchen. Maybe even a few chickens. Definitely a fireplace. It should be our sanctuary where we would have this simple life. And we want to build it ourselves. If it could have a sea view, that would be nice to have. But not mandatory, as our budget was shrinking day by day.
It still is, because we haven’t found any plot till now. It’s been 2 years since we started looking..
And oh, Hello! I talked so much that I forgot to make the introductions 🙂
I’m the feminine side of our couple and I’m 37. The 47 years old guy that I’ve been sharing my life with for almost a decade is my love.
He’s the one who’s been next to me and my (sometimes, most of the times) ridiculous ideas for more than 8 years.
She is our beloved and loyal German Shepherd.
And these guys are some of the 1,2,3,4,5,6 adorable Greek cats around our rented house that we adopted while living on the Greek Island of our choice – Lefkada.
What are we doing right now?
I’m not going to talk about professional life now.
But I can talk about what I love doing right now.
During the last years, I’ve learned myself the how-tos of photography and video creation. Because I’ve always had an uncontainable wish of sharing the little things I discover. And I’ve done it along the way in various forms.
But this little homemade project called “Living on a Greek Island” seems to be bringing me the greatest joy. People seem to relate somehow to our stories. You guys are curious and thirsty for more. And we are really happy to be a little part of people wanting to give life in Greece a try.
Like Chris, the Irish guy who showed us some liveaboard sailing boats when we were looking to buy one. He was a liveaboard himself. We told him: “Don’t spend all your day with us, showing us these boats. They are all lovely, but way out of budget.” He told us: “It brings me joy. Converting people to liveaboards :)”.
A big lesson learned on the way. Changing is Exchanging? Right, so what do I have to give up?
Changing countries is not necessarily an easy journey. Ask anybody who has already done it. There are almost always bumps along the road.
What we’ve learned: Changing seems to be Exchanging.
It’s about a trade you make with yourself. You MUST give away something you’ve already GOT. You’ve got to make space for something new. Something you consider it’s missing from your life.
It is indeed natural and tempting to ignore this side of completely changing your life(style). And to be honest, maybe it’s better now knowing all of this before you do the move. Because if you know it, maybe you’ll never do it 🙂
PS. I hate cold winters.
I remember my cold fingers and toes during wintertime. Grrrrr…. I hate cold weather. I guess I have brain-freeze only when I think about it.
I am deeply grateful that minus something degrees is just a faded memory now. The temperatures during winter here are always a plus number. The sun is friendly almost all year long. And that is comforting. Even though all-year-rentals in such touristic islands of Greece are almost impossible to find and we have to find another one every six months. Even though these rented houses don’t come with proper heating or cooling systems. But they do come with friendly neighbours and often with a view, we’ve never had.
Our friends: "You lucky bastards!"
Our friends have mixed feelings about us living in Greece. Some say oh, you lucky bastards! You don’t give a damn, you live the #islandlife, life is beautiful.
Well hell yeah, this was our choice. But do not think for a second that you can have it all. Especially on a Greek Island.
Others are like: Are you kidding me, you leave this place, your family, your friends, your business, and all you’ve built here to go and live like Robinson Crusoe in no man’s land? You must be out of your mind. Are you all right? And, just to tease them, we’re like: Oh man, these guys don’t even bother to name their streets on the island 🙂
Theoretically, yes, there are a lot of things missing from our new life. But honestly, in our own reality, very few things are being missed. Our family and a few old friends. But that’s it, mainly.
We have purposely traded all the other things for some that have a higher place in our values hierarchy. I guess the most significant ones would be the peace of mind, the evergreen nature and a stronger grip to day to day reality.
It was not the easiest thing we’ve done till now, but surely it feels like the best thing we’ve ever done.
With each passing day, we discover new things and find answers to new dilemmas or questions we might have. I’m still trying to learn Greek as I feel we need it, if we really want to feel at home.
And learning Greek is quite a task as it’s nothing like learning Spanish.
Every single day we are trying to adapt to this new culture. And most importantly, understanding the deeper reasons for Greece being the way it is. And why is it like a magnet for so many of us?
It’s a journey. And it has no end. But do tag along if feel there might be something for you here 🙂
Our side projects
The beaches of Greece are my energy drug. Not only they offer me the setting to let my mind wander around with no particular subject in mind, but they also inspired us for our photographic and videography art.
Hello From Paradise
This let’s say the artistic side of us is showcased on a Youtube channel we’ve made a while ago, called Hello From Paradise Project. Showcasing a bunch of places we like to call Paradise. Mostly beaches of Lefkada for now, cause that’s where we are right now :).
Follow Hello From Paradise on Instagram.