There comes a time when we have to choose to either re-conciliate with life or to remain stuck in old patterns.
I chose the former.
Facing the transition into my 30s, I began to question myself whether it would be a right moment to make a step further and pursue the dreams I had left on hold for years. Drowned in professional insecurities and day-to-day challenges, I forgot the freedom of play and the joie-de-vivre, becoming a much too pragmatic version of myself.
I knew I had to choose between leaving my country or keep living here. Faced with previous episodes of depression, I felt that great changes can either save you or bury you. I feared the latter too deeply, thus I decided not to run away from my roots, but to transform them into the wings that would allow me to reach places entangled within the core of my heart.
I began searching for temporary homes that would shelter my hungry spirit; hungry for intriguing beauty, for shape and color, for novelty and otherworldliness.
Like a nomad, I come and go.
Like a nomad, I am transient.
Like a nomad, my only home is within me.
I am on the balcony of the Efta suite at The Vasilicos in Santorini, where I am a guest, a passenger, an ephemeral presence. In front of me lies the bluest blue of them all, emerging from the dance of two lovers – the horizon and the Aegean sea. The sense of infinity is so deep that I feel like floating through space and time. I remember Brâncuși’s Endless Column and I take a self-portrait, just to mark the fact that we are made of solid rock; we dwell inside a universe of celestial harmony and we shall only seek that.
There is a feeling of peace this temporary home gives me. It allows me to see clearly different stages of my life. Innocence and darkness; childlikeness and womanhood; faith and the loss of it. They all collide into a single being, one that only now I have begun to embrace.
As I explore further, the village of Imerovigli reveals itself as a mixture of the past and the present. I try to gasp its historicity as much as I can, yet I cannot be left untouched by its modern structures.
I notice a man wearing a cap with Santorini written on it; I cannot see his face, but I can tell he is smoking his cigar behind the low fence of his house, like a portal between the crowds of tourists and his solitude.
In panoramic corners of the village, multiple photo-shoots take place at the same time. They all look deal with the same aesthetics – women dressed in shiny, voluminous dresses (called “flying Santorini dresses” on the Internet) pose with the sea behind them, while sun-heated assistants hold and release their colorful trains.
The villagers seem somehow absent within all this scenery, like ghostly presences trying to mind their own business while crowds of tourists pass by on the steep, narrow paths of Imerovigli. I try to imagine life before tourism, but I simply can’t; only vintage postcards found inside my suite show a glimpse of it and I can reckon the modesty and quietness this place used to be veiled into.
Back home, a sense of surrealism strikes me; I return to a city which sinks itself in cars and concrete, smoke and waste day by day. I miss the serenity that had temporarily filled my spirit. Yet I feel grateful for the flash of beauty that Santorini offered me. For a while, I am healed. For a while, I can breathe. I am not stuck. I am an emotion in motion. Until the next journey, I make peace with my decision and move on. Move; it’s the only way inwards.