A little bit about travel: Relaxing in Santorini (Part 2)

After spending the first half of my week near Oia, I decided to relocate to Kamari, which is on the southern part of Satorini. It is also the place where the beach is located. I figured spending a few days beachside wouldn’t hurt and I managed to get a room at Nostos Hotel (which I highly recommend btw). So, I took all my stuff and ventured out to the main bus station in Fira, and somehow managed to make it to Kamari.

Upon arrival and check-in, I ventured out and walked around the boardwalk. There are tons of restaurants along this boardwalk and the view to the beach is quite nice. The beach itself has sand which is made up of black stones which was nice (and a little painful). The beaches weren’t as impressive as the ones in Martinique, but they were calm and peaceful…and I managed to get my tan on.

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For a few days, I lay on the beach and just chilled out. I came to the realization at this point that even though I was away, my brain was still in NY. I was still so attached to everything that was happening back at home, which defeated the purpose of going away. So, I turned off my e-mail, bought a few e-books, and just lay on the beach. I allowed myself to be lazy and to actually take in the great weather. When I finally got “bored” at the beach, I took naps and grabbed some food. Again, the food wasn’t great. I am not sure if it is just because I was ordering the wrong things, but, apart from the breakfast (which they know how to do at Nostos), I didn’t really feel a strong connection to the food.

After spending a few days at the beach pondering life, I decided to hike up to old city Thira. The hike wasn’t particularly tough, but it was long and I am glad that I had been working out before I left and was used to all the cardio. When I got up there, I was so pleased.

You can see Perisa and Kamari when you get to the top. A four euro ticket will get you into old city Thira and the ruins are well preserved and beautiful. The ruins evoked a lot of positive feelings in me just because there were once people who lived and built a civilization up here. They didn’t have all the tools we have to build today, but they did it nonetheless and this just amazed me. Often times, I feel like I’ve been limited by my own belief that I can’t accomplish something, and to see that ancient civilizations did so much, reminded me that everything is possible.

I spent some time in Old City Thira mostly sitting and taking in the view. I had my first and only bout of crying while I was up there. I am not sure what propelled it because I was quite content, but I figured it was probably a release of all of the pent up anxiety of the past few months. Getting this PhD has been one of the most emotionally and physically taxing experiences of my life and , to be honest, I think moments like these are necessary in life. I am not a crier when it comes to work related things, but it felt good to just sit there, shed a few tears, and then move forward. Thankfully there weren’t a lot of people around and I was able to do this quietly while mediating a bit on my life up to this point.

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After spending a few more days in Santorini, I was convinced of a few things. This trip was definitely worth it. The beauty in this island, the people who are incredibly nice, and the general feeling of relaxation was totally worth the long trip here. Even though, I may not see Santorini in my lifetime again, I left feeling like I had learned something about myself.

Traveling alone, seeing the beauty in this world, and knowing that I can actually just depend on myself was freeing in many ways. I realized that I am really resilient and that the challenges that present themselves are not as complicated as I sometimes make them to be. Life is about these challenges and I am learning that how I handle these challenges says much more about who I am as a person than anything else. I am so thankful that Santorini, wth its chaos and beauty, began to open me up in this way. These are realizations that I hope to take with me and that will remind to keep calm as I re-enter medical school and the remainder of adulthood.

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xoxox,

M

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