I have been living in Santorini for 2 years now and I can say that moving to an island has definitely changed my life. Living on an island, and an island like Santorini is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Before moving to Santorini, I was living in London, I was working in the art and photography environment, in an Indian restaurant and in a Greek Deli. When I was free (yeah, but when?) I was going to an exhibition, to the theatre, to watch a movie. I had to stop drinking coffee as I felt I was always overexcited, only after I left the City I understood it was not about the coffee (not only at least), it had a lot to do with the hectic life that I was doing. And I needed a change.
One day suddenly I thought it was about time to give me the chance to make my dream come true, it was about time to start a new life in Santorini.
What is like living in Santorini?
I wake up very early watching the sunrise sipping my cup of tea. I read a bit one my fiction books. I have breakfast and three times a week I do some exercise at home. This is my morning routine and it’s also the only routine I can keep. You would think that living on an island, a small place, could be boring, but it’s not. I now know that I cannot plan too much my day because there will be something that I did not consider, which will not help me to accomplish my daily tasks. It could be the cut of electricity or water for some hours when you need internet or need to wash your hair. It could be driving for 15 min for shopping as it’s winter and everything is closed. It could be going to an unplanned meeting for work.
You don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to entertainment if you compare this to London: to me having a cinema in Kamari every day and once a week the Cinema at Boutari Winery is more than enough for my needs. For everything else, they told me there is Netflix… You don’t get to go to many concerts or plays at the theatre, but I think this is something I can give up if the quality of my life is ideal.
Human relations are also not so easy. During winter time only a few people live in Santorini and in the summertime when the island is very populated, everyone is very busy and it is very difficult to meet even for a coffee.
So the golden rule is quality over quantity, for everything.
Even though I love my family and friends like crazy, I have to say that I don’t really like going to Italy now. I feel that it is not my place anymore. My house is in Santorini. I cannot stand the life of the town: too much noise, too many people, too fast. I am happy at the very beginning and then I start counting down the days to my return to Greece.
Yes because I do not go back to Italy, I go to Italy and I go back to Santorini. This is where my life is now.
Quoting my friend Claudio, who lives on an island too, and replacing Rome with Santorini: ”Finally someone who understands the correct meaning of ‘going back’. People who insistently ask me when I am going back to Rome, annoy me quite a lot”. I feel you.
Honestly, I don’t think that life on an island is for everyone. You have to like loneliness and you have to enjoy having a lot of time for yourself. Which is not always easy in the long run.
To explain to you better, I have this image in my mind: it is as if I arrived in a new place fully dressed in my usual clothes and a big suitcase with my stuff, and someone throws everything away and I am left naked with a small choice of what to wear. This is how I feel: I am with myself and only with the necessary. All the excess is gone, you focus on you and your growth.
So this is how Santorini has changed my life: I am taking care of myself over everything else. I enjoy the small pleasures of life. I carefully choose where to go and who I spend time with. I read a lot. I commit to my projects over the others’.
I discover the island slowly. As I know I might stay here for a long time, I am not in a hurry.
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©Nicoletta Barbata/One Quarter Greek