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I moved to a Greek island during the global pandemic

2020 has been a year folks.

Wildfires; a global pandemic; international borders closed; lock downs; economic crisis; the largest global civil rights movement we have ever seen; more wildfires; Trump; a climate emergency on the brink in Trinidad & Tobago, a genocide in Nigeria, civil war in Ethiopia and of course the US elections.

All this and 2020 isn’t even done with us yet.

Needless to say it’s been a tough time for many of us.

On a personal note, this year has been a time of transition and immense release for me. They say before we can welcome something new into our lives, we need to first create space for it; to ‘clean house’ so to speak and relinquish all that no longer serves us.

This happened quite literally for me.

I moved to a Greek island during the global pandemic

Since January, I ended a relationship, finished my PhD, gave up my apartment, quit my job at the University, and donated most of my belongings (I’m now down to a few boxes in storage).

I moved into a 100 sq. foot Bunkie with nothing more than a bed, dresser and desk for 2 months.

Bunkie Diaries: writing about life in a 100 sq foot bunkie

Compared to a chaotic lifestyle simultaneously juggling a PhD, my job, this blog, freelance work and constant travel, I had suddenly completely cleared my plate. This relative ‘emptiness’ in my life felt unfamiliar, but not unpleasant, and I am at least grateful for the pandemic forcing me to slow down.

Truth be told, after defending my thesis in February, I didn’t know I wanted to do next, or where I wanted to be. All I knew was that I had a strong intuitive feeling to ‘wait it out’ and avoid filling the transitionary period (what I call ‘the space between’).

You see, I have lived much of my life ‘figuring things out’ through trial and error, ultimately learning the hard way by process of elimination; through first-hand experiences of what it is that I DON’T want, which is often quite painful by the way, but nonetheless I’ve come to know that it garners some of life’s best teachable moments.

I used to berate myself about this quality: my inability to pick one interest; my struggle to stay in one job, or one place. It’s just that I feel everything so vastly: the magic of life. To feel passion, yet not explore it, is soul crushing. When I’m in one place or one role too long, I hear the whisperings of other interests and passions calling me and I know it’s time for change.

I’ve tried to “settle down”. I worked in offices, leased apartments; heck, I even had a job with a pension. But, was I really doing those things for me? Or to appease the expectations and desires of others? Perhaps, it was even from a place of stubborn self-preservation, “to prove them wrong”, but really, I was doing myself a disservice by not living in alignment with what my inner self knew to be true; the life my soul was craving.

Recently, I have come to the realization that this way of being is not inherently flawed. I am not selfish, nor irresponsible (though I have been told otherwise). I am dynamic, layered and moved by multiple passions. It is simply part of my journey and my purpose in this lifetime to feel and experience the depths and breadths of life; to learn, and unlearn and learn some more, and then eventually to write about it.

And so, regardless of the pandemic, I started anew.

In mid-October I made the long journey from Canada to Greece to start a new chapter in my life. I’m writing this from the island of Kythnos, where I have been continuing my process of inner work, growth and personal exploration.

I recognize my immense privilege in being able to take this pause and recalibrate, let alone to do so in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Traveling abroad during a global pandemic and entering the EU with ease in the first place, is a massive testament to the unearned privileges that my citizenship and whiteness afford me. I believe this transparency is important, now more than ever in the filtered world we live in.

Living alone on a touristic island during the offseason has been pleasant, though very quiet. Most shops and restaurants close down during this season, aside from the area in the main port.

I am staying on the East side of the island in a beautiful house on the top of a hill overlooking the sea.

Each day I wake early to watch the sunrise paint the sky in pastel shades of pinks and oranges; no two sunrises have looked the same.

When I need a break from my computer, I’ll walk down the hill to the beach, which is always empty, and plunge into the saltwater. I find this extremely therapeutic! There is something about the ocean that is tremendously healing, yet also humbling. It’s sheer vastness reminds me of just how small and inconceivably meaningless my so-called problems really are. I felt the recent earthquake while at the beach, heard the ocean rumble and felt the sands beneath me shift. There’s no better ego-check than mother nature’s fury.

Some days we have high winds, with gusts peaking at 80km/hour. On these days, the sun rises through an ashy backdrop of deep blue, as if the sky and water have converged into one dark pallet. Eventually the sun breaks through, beaming illuminate streaks of white off the water’s surface: the calm before the storm. Without a doubt, on these windy days, the table and chair perched on the outdoor veranda will end up through the air and down the hill. I guess that’s why each of my floor to ceiling windows have thick and sturdy shutters.

I am finding joy in adapting to the rhythm of mother nature and to a new routine here in Greece. As I write this, Athens has gone into its second lockdown, so it seems I am meant to stay here on the island just a little bit longer. We are in a ‘green zone’, meaning the virus is virtually non-existent here, though truthfully on my side of the island I might go days without seeing another human being. It is a very safe place to be during the second wave, albeit a little isolated.

At the end of November, I am launching a new business. If you follow me on Instagram than you will already know what it is that I’ve been working on. Please make sure to subscribe to my newsletter through the form below so you can get notified of the news!



It is my truest hope that you are safe and healthy during these times.

Sending you love,

Steph

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