Three years ago, I embarked on a journey looking for solace. It was a trip I had wanted to make for some time, but circumstances, some serious and some ridiculous, kept me from my desire. To say that I was going through a rough time would be a gross misrepresentation of fact; by the time I arrived at my destination, I was tattered and depleted. Bereft of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy, I was an empty shell, desperately searching for replenishment.
My destination was a small seaside village on the southeastern coast of the Greek Peloponnese. This picturesque seaport was founded and inhabited by my great grandfather in the 1860’s, and cultivated into a bustling stopover for ships bound to the Cycladic islands from Pireas. The jagged, rocky coastline of this region is unfriendly to most ships, with the exception of our little harbor, which still serves as a safe shelter when the seas turn rough. The town is studded with whitewashed homes and a small church erected to honor St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, resides on the cliffside.
I experienced profound healing that summer. Armed with a journal, a camera, and my yoga mat, I set out on a 6-week journey of transformation. I practiced Asana as the sun came up over the mountains, serenaded by the cries of the roosters. I sought comfort in the therapeutic waters of the Aegean, relaxing fully in its briny, supportive embrace. I let the brilliant hot sun warm my skin, and welcomed its heat as it seeped deep into my body, purifying my psyche. My lungs and breath expanded to the rhythm of the surf, and I finally connected, once again, to my true voice.
I let the locals, many my extended family, nourish me with their food, love, and wisdom, as we shared meals, stories, laughs, and tears. I offered prayers, set intentions, and sat in meditation in the little stone church my great grandfather built by hand. My body and mind had begun to surrender to the magical beauty of the landscape and its people, and my transformation had begun.
I learned a lot as I explored this amazing region, as it has been one of the cornerstones of Greek history, from antiquity to the present day. Woven into the culture are sumptuously detailed stories boasting larger than life characters leading extraordinary lives, the lessons of which are the threads that bind fact and fiction. This is the land of the Myceneans and Helen of Sparta (Troy), the birthplace of rose wine (yes, it’s true!), and the envy of many foreign powers, whose occupations were met with fierce opposition. Evidenced by carvings in archeological ruins, sunken cities, shrines built around ancient relics, and cavernous voids in mountainsides from exploding bombs, there is much here to see and learn.
For three years, I have returned to this magical village and its surrounding towns, and each visit has manifested in me a most astounding tranquility. The peaceful pace of life here encourages thoughtful contemplation of both the body and spirit, whether one is enjoying the magnificent ocean vistas or entertaining a cultural curiosity. As I pondered this thought at the end of last year’s trip, I had an epiphany…I NEED TO SHARE THIS!
The culmination of my experiences has brought me to create two very unique Greek retreats, a taste of which I invite you to experience on FaceBook and Instagram as I chronicle my travels this year. I hope I entice you to join me on my transformative journey in person.
While we all should remember that life is about the journey, there are just some destinations that make the journey that much more thrilling!