Brain is spilling out with heartfelt experiences about what I learnt from my trip to Portugal. There’s honestly soo much to write about! This will be one of many Portugal inspired blog posts.
First off, let me take you back to my past…
Childhood trauma haunted me.
I couldn’t escape, because it was me.
It swallowed me into a pit of depression.
Little Naomi didn’t know how to handle it,
She was a child,
She couldn’t hold the darkness,
It built up,
until it exploded into panic attacks.
I’m now realizing how strong little Naomi is.
I love her soo much.
The saving grace,
The holy vibrations,
Music saved my life.
Got lost in the rhythm.
Took me to another reality.
A sweet surrender.
Dancing like a flame,
Singing at the top of my lungs.
In those moments,
I was free.
My demons melted away.
I would dream of seeing my favourite artists live. One year I got hyped up about Lollapalooza, a music festival in Berlin. But little Naomi lacked confidence, friends and money to go. I was living in a place of fear.
The last few years I’ve been healing my trauma wounds. My spirit guides assure me that this world has beautiful things for me. I trust the universe. I am open to receive the miracles life has to offer.
In 2019, I let go of what was dulling out my light; left a shitty relationship, left my job, my house, gave away most of my possessions, bought a one way ticket to Greece and tickets to the 2020 Porto Primavera festival.
Due to covid the festival kept being postponed but finally it arrived!
Thing is with trauma is that it keeps coming up. Its a constant battle, but once you make friends with the demons, it gets a lot easier to reason with them and not let them take over your reality.
They started whispering thoughts of fear
“Everyone will be drunk with their friends, and you’ll be the sober loser on your own”
Cycling through Greece, during the summer, isn’t the best idea! I’m glad I did it though. Gaining wisdom through experiences and anecdotes to write about!
I was staying at this cafe for four hours, reading my book, charging my phone, using the WiFi. Avoiding the 32° heat!
The Serbian waitress face lit up, when she found out I was from England.
“You’re from England! I love England!” she shrieked
As I’ve spent most of my life in England, I don’t appreciate it as much as a tourist would. I find it a bit boring. Especially comparing it to the rich Greek culture.
She went on to ask me loads of questions about where I lived, London, what my favourite boy bands are!
I reeled off some nostalgic boy bands that I would scream out the words too when I was a teenager and occasionally now and then haha.
“The Kooks, Scouting for girls, The Hoosiers”
She diligently wrote these down, then stated “Mine’s One Direction”
Of course is was, I thought. I was at school when they were on X factor. Whether you like them or not, Harry Styles was a common lunchtime topic amongst the girls.
Although the Serbian waitresses was enjoying my company. Most people don’t stay in cafés for four hours. I was trying to read the energy of the owners, are they thinking “when is this girl going to leave already”
The thing is, I would have love to get back on my bike and continue my route, but it was just too hot! I started cycling from Loutraki and was planning on cycling to Patras where I could get a boat to a Greek island or to Italy.
As the land curves round, I could see Loutraki, where I started off! “I was over there, now I’ve managed to get here, by pedalling myself, well done Naomi!” I proudly told myself.
The first night of sleeping out in nature, I kept passing potential places to set up camp. “There’s gotta be a better spot” lying to myself, I was nervous. As once you’ve found a spot and claimed it as yours for the night, it becomes real!
As it got later, darkness crept in, which made me worry even more! I settled for an abandoned area in Corinth, it really stank of poo, but thought “oh well at least I’ve found somewhere.”
You don’t realise how loud the outside world is, until you sleep in it. Sirens, dogs barking, cars, mosquitos. If you focus on the noise you’ll never get to sleep. Focus on your breathing. I started deep breathing.
Felt relaxed, until I heard footsteps, coming from the abandoned house. It was a middle aged man. My eyes widened. I darted straight for my pen knife. He saw me. He slowly started to undo his belt. Fuck! This is it! I shoved my feet into my shoes. Then looked over, to see him squating down, having a shit! Then he just sauntered off, as that was the most natural thing to do!
That smell of poo, was his! It grossed me out, so I ended up getting a hotel room.
This was a message from the universe, gently reminding me of what I already knew. Our thoughts become reality. I attracted that situation. I was already in a state of fear, before the man arrived. So naturally more fearful situations are prone to happen.
When I tell people my plans, some well meaning people project their fear on to me, I don’t discredit them, but I don’t hold on to these ideas.
Actually, the statistics show that you’re more likely to be murdered by someone you know. SOOyeah!
After this slightly scary situation, I became alot more chilled out to camping. There’s loads of vineyards in Greece, where trees are a perfect distance apart to hang a hammock. You might be gifted by falling fruit during the night!
Crickets sing through the night. Olive branch silhouettes illuminated by the stary sky. Gently rocking myself to sleep, was soo in love with those moments.
Although the birds woke me up at 5am, how could I be annoyed? They’re celebrating a brand new day! I’d wake up full of pride that I’d manage to sleep outside.
I managed 3 nights outside and 1 night in a hotel room, covering a distance of 27km. Okay, it’s not a huge amount, but I’m happy I gave it a shot! I was wasting alot of time just avoiding the heat. I’m now on a ferry to Italy! Looking forward to new adventures ahead!
I still have a few unfinished posts about Greece that I may finish and publish! So don’t be confused if I’m still talking about Greece!
My main reason why I love Athens is in my other blog post so if you haven’t read that then… Go read it!
Okay, now thinking about it, perhaps this is the top reason why I love Greece…
Gosh you lot are quite something! I don’t like to generalise, but hey I’m going to generalise. I feel like I’m allowed to, since I’ve lived here for a while now and notice significant differences between Greeks and English people.
I feel like there’s two main type of Greek people.
The religious Greeks.
If you’ve read my other posts, you might have come to the conclusion that I dislike religion. Although I have a lot of constructive criticism to give to the churches. I won’t go into that now… I’ll save it for another blog post.
This is a Love story after all!
What do I love about religious people?
Spirituality gives people purpose and direction.
As Buddhists and Meeseeks say “existence is pain.”
When bad situations enter our lives, we might see this as a test from God/Universe.
How do we show up? How does our experience shape us? Do we let our past decions define who we are today?
The use of rituals is prehistoric.
Many of us partake in rituals without realising, whether it be celebrating a wedding, new year, birthday or grieving someone at a funeral. These events help us connect with our emotions and reflect.
Our busy lives take over, and often these events become the only rituals we observe.
While religious people, who often pray; to give thanks, ask for strength and forgiveness with whatever they’re dealing with. Surrendering what they can’t change to the universe/God. Giving all that weight and power to a higher being, with the belief that they will help you overcome it, is a mindful practice.
The act of positioning your hands in a certain way, for example bringing the palms together in a prayer position “connects the right and the left hemispheres of the brain and connects with spirituality/god/divinity. It promotes respect for oneself and others. It is considered a natural remedy for stress and anxiety and is useful for entering into a meditative state.” (from kooshoo.com)
It’s common to see people praying and making the sign of the cross on themselves, when they touch the head, the chest then both shoulders. The act of connecting a physical action with a spiritual belief is powerful in itself. Mind, body and spirit are connected. Practicing these rituals daily, help us connect with our higher self/intuition/god.
The Greek spiritual art work has its own unique style. The artist sees their creation as a part of their worship, therefore take time to make something beautiful. Rich jewel tones are a common theme: gold, emerald, marron and of course the classic Greek blue.
I said there was two main types of Greek people…
Can you guess the other group?
Anarchists! Of course!
Christians and Anarchists, polar opposites right?
It may look like that on the surface, until you look deeper and it becomes apparent that both groups are very similar.
Anarchism is derived from the Greek root anarchos meaning “without authority. ” They reject hierarchy structures and call for abolition of the state.
So do they want complete chaos? No
Instead of goverment, they think that people should work together to create a society in any form they choose. The belief that we can take care of each other without a government, is to have faith in humanity.
What do you think would happen, if we didn’t have governments? Do you trust people or governments more with your wellbeing?
Questioning and rebelling against authority goes back to ancient Greece. Philosophers that dared to share their controversial thoughts were put in prison and executed for “corrupting the youth.”
You can find Socrates prison in Filoupapou Hill, where he was held and killed. His friends and followers planned on setting him free, but he denied their help, choosing to martyr himself.
Imagine his followers at these bars begging him to leave, he nonchalantly replies “We don’t know what the death is, it’s not reasonable to be afraid of it.”
Would you call him brave or stupid?
In modern Greek history, a fascist junta military dictatorship took power in April 1967. Those who stood against them were tortured and killed. Freedoms were restricted; elections abolished, demonstrations and strikes forbidden, only church gatherings were allowed.
This led to the growth of Anarchist and Anti fascist movements in Greece, led by mainly students.
On November of 1973, students and citizens came together holding a massive demonstration at the Polytechnic University. The dictatorship retaliated by crashing a tank through the gates of the University, brutally murdering 24 people and leaving many injured.
Emotionally looking through pictures and footage of the uprising. Reminding me of the countries that are currently under oppressive rule.
Courageous people, that know how dangerous protesting is, but because they have soo much love for each other and what is right, they put their lives on the line. Rest in peace.
The same anarchist chants echo through the streets today. “Our passion for freedom is stronger than any prison.”
My favourite anarchist value is that no one “owns” land. We are all citizens of the earth and we should be allowed to go wherever we please. Sadly the ruling class have divided the earth with imaginary borders. Imagine the first person to ever draw maps. How would they know what seperates one country from another?
Anarchists offer support towards refugees, providing food at solidarity kitchens. They also are invited into squats. There’s even a squat only for women and their children.
Can you find any similarities between Christians and Anarchists?
They’re both about humanity and solidarity.
Which explains why Greeks have hearts of gold. Many that I’ve lived with would often cook me food and check in on me. One Greek lady would always end our conversations with “if there’s anything you need just let me know.”
The white cross in the Greek flag represents the Orthodox religion. While the 9 white and blue stripes represents the amount of syllabus of the phrase Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος’ (Eleftheria I Thanatos) which means “Freedom or Death.” Perfect symbolism for the general Greek attitudes.
Thank you for reading till the end!
What did you learn from this article? Are you Greek? Do you agree that Greeks have beautiful souls? I’d love to know your thoughts!
I still have soo much more to write about magical Greece!
It’s not soo much a love story rather things I love about Athens.
But then you could say that I’m love with Athens…
I was on a search for a secret ingredient.
What is it?
This oil that my French/Portuguese grandmother would put in her crepes to make them taste even better! She called it “Fleur d’oranger”
I don’t know where she learnt this from. Perhaps a trick passed down through generations.
I desperately hunted for it in cake shops, even in French shops they weren’t sure where to direct me.
Until I came to Greece.
Although the streets are filthy.
The bright sweet smell of orange blossom saves the day!
Most streets are lined with Orange trees. Sadly they aren’t edible. But they smell gorgeous! Everytime I smell it, I imagine my grandmother.
I found the Oil in a health food shop in Athens. Forget getting your friends Olive oil as a gift! Get them what Greece actually smells like on a spring day. Its very moisturising too, I rub it on my hands, neck, hair, cakes and crepes!
Other prominent smells are Lavender and Rosemary. They’re planted everywhere in Athens! I’m Grateful because they’re such useful herbs. I regularly go trim bushes, hang them up in bundles and make tea/ cook/ burn them.
I feel that Greeks are very much connected to nature. There’s loads of these cute little shops. I call them the Witches Market. Where you can buy dried plants, permice stones, natural sea sponges and all kinds of magical things. Some shops take care displaying goods in glass jars.
My favourite is this little messy shop. You might find an earwig hidding in the leaves. The wise old man foragers himself. Gives away nuggets of wisdom on the power of healing using plants.
Although Athens is mainly concrete, Greeks make use of their balconies growing big beautiful plants that cascade down. Seeds, leaves and bugs blowing in from the neighbours balcony, creating its own little eco system
Okay so there’s soo much I could write about Athens… I’ve decided to stick with the nature part for this post. My next blog post will be another aspect of Athens.