Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Departure Day

I know now why travelling is such a joy for children. I have never been so overwhelmed with preparations, organisations and visitations in my life. I don't remember feeling this run off my feet when travelling at 20. Apparently, you really do get set in your ways with the passing of time. You're just about set and then you see something sitting on a shelf and you think, 'Oh, I really can't go without that!' And in it goes. It kind of defeats the purpose of why one is going to a secluded little Greek village in the first place. How spoilt we Aussies are!

So here I am now, about 3 hours away from airport time. Miraculously, the packing is finished. Now, just relax and enjoy the ride...

Monday, March 10, 2008


With barely 3 sleeps to go until departure day, I am wondering at my inactiveness. I haven't packed anything and everything I intend to take with me is sitting around the house. Meanwhile, I am sitting around doing nothing to improve the situation. For nearly a week we have been going through an unseasonal heatwave which has slowed down my brain and body. All I want is to go to sleep and have a cold, peaceful world around me with no hassles.

The truth is that I am not looking forward to this trip. I should be feeling excited, elated. I have waited 3 years. Every day has been like a painful eternity. And now, just days away, I seem to be frozen inside. My brain has stopped thinking and my heart feels empty. All I can think of is how much I want to get away from this place for good. How the time has come to make some big decisions that will affect the rest of my life. But also, there is so much uncertainty. I look around me at my safe world and I wonder if I can ever actually leave it. People with adventurous, encouraging parents could probably do it, if they really wanted to. But my parents are so adamant that I don't move away that they have said such things to me that have embittered my spirit and robbed me of all joy, courage, hope and optimism. Now all I see around me is darkness and despair. I don't know which way to turn; nobody is reaching out a helping hand to me, I am completely alone. I know my own strength; if only someone else could see it too and guide me and give me encouragement to follow my dreams, instead of making me feel like a fool.

Call my desire to live in Greece for awhile a foolish one. I actually believe it is, myself. Foolish. But the alternative is to stay where I am and that has been making me so depressed I want to die. I look around me and nobody cares. People are anywhere but here. There is no-one, no-one. This whole place is one big dead-end.

If I can be bothered before I chop my Internet connection, I will post again before I leave. Hopefully the next post will be a bit more cheerful. I wish all my readers well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Simple Life

It was a hot, hectic day back in 2005 when I was working as an emergency teacher in various schools in Melbourne, that the idea first came into my head. Or rather, the idea was already there but the events of that particular day brought it out of my head and into my reality; thus, it was hatched into action.

I was returning from a drive somewhere I don't really remember, maybe the beach. I often went there when life became too complicated and difficult. I went to be alone and to think with the help of the waves. Although the beach is an hour's drive from my house, it was always worth the hassle of going because after sitting at the water's edge I always felt refreshed; everything seemed clearer and problems didn't seem so insurmountable. It's hard to feel afraid when you're facing that blue. It speaks courage to your soul.

So anyway, I was driving through the nicest suburbs I could work out a route through to lessen my homeward-bound stress, and the heat, the sun, the traffic, the noise, my car's lack of an air-conditioner or radio and my lack of inner peace suddenly got to me. I thought, 'What am I doing here? This is crazy! I'm spending the best hours of my life stuck in a little metal box on a road full of toxins of every kind. I've got to get out of here!' At that moment, even my grandmother's little village in Greece seemed like a paradise compared to this daily chaos. Something inside me snapped and I stopped the car at the side of the road next to the next phone box I came across. I got out, grabbed a phone book from the nearby milkbar and dialed the number for the Greek consulate in Melbourne. I was going to get myself a Greek passport and go and live in Greece. I didn't care if I had to farm olives and tend bars in the off season to support myself; I wanted peace. Or at least space to breathe.

Well, it didn't happen that very day but that was the first step. Many problems, negotiations, hassles and chaotic days later, I am now days away from boarding that long-awaited plane. Yet to all outward appearances, I am only taking a holiday. That's what I've told everyone around me, anyway. It really all depends on what I find at the other end of my journey across the oceans. If you've ever travelled with the 50/50 uncertainty of whether you intend to return or not, you'll know that packing for such a trip is one big bee-ai-tee-see-aich. What do I take? What do I leave? Is it easier to bring stuff I don't need back, should I intend to return, or to have stuff I need sent over, should I intend to stay on? And what about extending the actual return date? Health and travel insurance? Bank accounts? Telephone connections? Friends? My whole world??

I've often noticed that the best changes take place one small step at a time and are so exciting that everything falls into place relatively painlessly for people. Things that are missing are patiently waited for because so much else is going fantastically well (maybe for the first time ever). How else could we adapt to new life situations? If we don't believe in what we're doing, everything's a hassle. How else can we put up with the daily obstacles? We need that excitement for life to make everything else less annoying, to put life into perspective. Living in the Western world, especially a country like Australia, where the government makes so many things easy for us, makes us develop a warped sense of perspective. Our parents can huff and puff in vain; we won't make changes according to their advice unless we live the reality they came from. We can't understand them from our little box of comfort with its messages that the world is our oyster and we should just get out there and live our dreams. We just won't get the importance of what they're telling us every day: don't trust everybody, study hard, find someone to marry and save, save, SAVE.

Surely that's not a bad way to go. But what gave them this perspective was the world they came from. And that means their world was healthy. Simple and uncomplicated. They had exactly what they needed and no more. They survived. They brought their dreams with them wherever they went and many of them made them a reality. But dreams have many forms. We, the city generation, have been raised in the noise and hubbub of places our parents used to have romantic fantasies about. But many of us dream of places our parents left and often fondly reminisce about. Are our dreams any less valid or responsible? Is wanting to live a healthier, quieter life in a small village or town any worse a goal than wanting to move to a big, busy city with all of life's modern conveniences?

I sign off this entry with this hope: I hope everyone who has a dream, whatever it may be, finds the courage and hope inside them to make their dream a reality. Where there is a will, there IS a way. We are ships of hope that are equipped with everything we need to reach our destinations. Only those who have found a way to penetrate into our inward parts through our ears - penetrate with doubtful, fearful and critical thoughts - have the power to sink us. So don't let anyone get to you. Nothing can be more right, more correct, than the energy and passion that keeps you getting out of bed in the morning. Everything in your life should revolve around this force of will.