3 min read

Lessons from a Sleepy Seaside Town

Lessons from a Sleepy Seaside Town
Porto Katsiki - Lefkada Island

I am in the sleepy town of Vasiliki. I'm on the edge of the definitive end of the season. Restaurants here can be as likely closed as open. The open ones no longer serve all their dishes; some have even stopped serving food altogether. While the locals are still savoring their last coffees at the waterfront restaurants. 

As a tourist, I find this frustrating. Just yesterday, after a long day of cycling, I was craving pizza. The pizza place was closed, but the neighboring one that was open had pizza on its menu, which made my heart jump of joy. However, once I sat down, they informed me they no longer served pizza, as the season had come to an end. Too bad. 

But as a human being, I find it inspiring. In the Netherlands, we keep going non-stop; there are no longer seasons in the way we work, and we're always on the move. Even the cafes at the beach now strive to stay open year-round. It can make us, or at least me, rather spoiled. A princes catered to every whim. On my bike rides, I've made a few mistakes, thinking I'd find food, or even more troubling, water. Each time, it turned out okay, sometimes with help from others, sometimes with instant meals tucked away at the bottom in my bag.

This brings me back to a comment from the dive school in Albania runned by a lovely Ukrainian couple. They noted that when the schools reopened, the local dive schools closed. There was a sense of wonder in her voice, and the spoiled tourist in me understood that. The human in me thought, "Wow, these people value something more than money. They choose more time with their families over making more profit." The people in these villages choose to close the season, relax, recover from the busy season in summer, spend time with family, go on trips, and prepare for the next season (as I gathered from my brief interviews, n=3).

Time to harvest

One of the themes I'm exploring is living more in tune with the rhythms of nature, rather than the rhythms society imposes. Here, in this secluded place, amidst nature, it's much easier. I already notice the difference when I stay in an apartment; I naturally go to bed later and wake up later. Outdoors, I follow the rhythm of the evening, which eventually becomes cold and pitch-dark, and I wake up as the sky starts to brighten.

Now, as the sun, even here in the warm South, slowly loses intensity and the first rain showers fall, you know that autumn is around the corner. Autumn represents an inward energy, a time to wrap up projects, reflect, and harvest the fruits of your labor. It's a time to listen to your intuition and let go of what no longer serves you.

My bike journey is coming to an end. Yesterday, I told someone that it feels like a parabola, and I've passed the peak. The first leg from Stockholm to Rotterdam was overwhelming, with deep lessons and significant confrontations. This second part feels much more relaxed, and I am the determining factor in that, as I've grown. Now, here in this sleepy town, I'm getting ready to go even deeper within. My yoga teacher training starts on Sunday, and I can't wait to delve deeper into this adventure. That also means I won't be writing for the next three weeks, taking a page from all these closed restaurants here. (Sorry if I bug your inner princes tourist here ;-)).

What about you?

And for the record, I don't think businesses here close to harvest and reflect on their season, and it's probably less economically relevant to stay open. But let's hold onto the poetic aspect for a moment. Ask yourself: What is your rhythm? What are you wrapping up, and what are you letting go of?