When I first ventured to Greece it was with a backpack and minimal planning. My fellow and I spent a few days wandering around Athens, then boarded a ferry to Crete and I pretended to be an expat living there.
I came home with a fantasy of returning to rent a small house on a hillside overlooking the impossibly blue sea and paint and write from that vantage point. Haven’t made it back yet, but Jennifer Barclay has made expat living on a small Greek island, Tilos in fact, a reality.
It almost seems like fate brought her to making Greece her home. Her family took regular vacations there from London. In college she studied ancient Greek. Later she found a way to work in South Korea, France and Canada and vacationing in Greece. But obsessions can be derailed as hers almost was several times, through heartbreak – falling in love, or as they say in Greece, falling in honey with the wrong person at the wrong time. The story of how all that worked, the surprises, delights and discoveries are in her book, Falling in Honey: How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart.
She talks about how she healed heartbreak through 3 very personal gifts to herself:
- To cut back on work,
- Stay out of relationships until she healed her heart and to
- Spend a month in Greece
She spends long days working from a village cafe (the only place with reliable WiFi), managing severe thunderstorms, discovering the underwater world in the island preserve and creating location independent work, plus so much more.
I’d like to think that my fantasy of spending an extended period of time in Greece will happen one day. In the intervening years my bucket list has expanded but reading Jennifer’s wonderful memoir has made the dream of expat living on a tiny island above a blue, Mediterranean sea tangible once again.