I awoke this morning on Ithaca. The overnight storm had subsided and the air was balmy. We’re staying in a house on a hill for a few weeks and have gorgeous views over the town of Vathy which lies below. A handful of boats are moored in the harbour and a black car makes its way slowly around the harbour’s curve.
It feels good to be here after 29 months of travelling, a journey inspired by Sean’s and my shared desire to travel together. Greece is a key destination for both of us. For ages, I’ve wanted to spend considerable time in Greece, to get to know the country of my father and ancestors, and to connect with the Greek in me. Likewise Sean, who has for many years wanted to experience Greece, having studied ancient Greek and the Greek classics in graduate school. And, so, it feels particularly fitting for us to be on Ithaca, home of Odysseus and the island he took ten years to return to after the end of the Trojan war. Not only have we both held the dream and intention to come to Greece, Sean and I have been through a whole host of Odyssean trials since we began our travels in 2012.
While walking around the harbour yesterday evening, the ground still wet from rain and the sky covered with grey clouds, so low they were spilling over the mountains, I was filled with a strong feeling of calm and gratitude. I’m not sure if it was a feeling of connection or relief to finally be here. Or perhaps it was simply the nourishing effect of the clear air and the light bursting with life.
Despite being on this beautiful island we still have to work and our plan, as we have no internet connection in the house, was to head straight into town to a café with free wifi. But before that we had water issues to deal with. Last night, when filling a pan to cook pasta, the water from the tap reduced to a trickle and our meal was abandoned until after two plumbers and an Albanian guy called Fortis had been to assess the situation. We were told we needed a new water pump but that it couldn’t be fitted until the morning. Fortunately, Fortis and one of the plumbers arrived at around 11 o’clock and set to work. The new pump was in place by lunchtime and normal water service was resumed.
Although arriving to a house without water is definitely something we could do without, it’s been a really good way to get to know both the plumbers and Fortis. It’s good to know we know some locals, that there are people we can call should we need anything over the course of our six-month stay here.
In the meantime, it’s time to walk back up the 85 steps to our temporary house on the hill, happy in the knowledge that tomorrow we’ll wake up on Ithaca. Again.
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Mufidah Kassalias is a writer, photographer and slow-travelling digital nomad. She’s also Co-Founder & COO of CreativeThunder.co, working with creative businesses and individuals, worldwide, to build tribes of loyal customers via strategic websites, visual storytelling and social media.