It’s been eight years since my summer holiday to Rhodes Island, Greece. To this day, I hold it to be one of the best holidays I have ever been on. I vividly remember that the way I spent my time was representative of an ideal holiday and of an experience I would like to repeat in the future.
Roasting in the sun
For about ten days my days started with breakfast and comprised non-stop sunbathing sessions on the beach (with a two-hour break at lunchtime for food and a nap, which helped me avoid the more dangerous sun hours).
Day after day, I got browner and browner until I remember going back to work at the end of my holiday and my colleagues being amazed at the chromatic transformation I had gone through.
Exploring the island
The only break I took from roasting in the sun, although quite stingily, was to go on a one-day boat trip to the village of Lindos on the other side of the island.
It struck me on my way there that that sailing the free seas might have been a good career opportunity in a previous life (should such a thing exist). And I figured that out while my hair and skirt floated in the wind as the boat cut through the waves.
I remember admiring the Greek coast from the deck and imagining what it might have looked like a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years ago, particularly as we passed some of the ruins on the island.
I remember closing in on the small port of Lindos and seeing the local acropolis distinguishing itself atop the highest rock in the port. What a sight of wonder, civilization and knowledge it must have been in antiquity.
Sensations of the day
I vividly remember the walk from the port to the top of the acropolis. It was a hot summer day and I admired the traditional Greek houses painted white, as I walked uphill. The only spots of colour were the house doors, some red, some blue, some black, and the pink flowers adorning the house entrances.
The view atop hill showed the sea on the one side and the village on the other. A blue and white sea altogether and I wondered again what life must have been like in this village on a daily basis.
The view that has stuck with me most is that of the umbrellas on the beach, the port, its boats, the clear blue sky and the sea in the background. So postcard perfect, I can still see in in my mind.
The taste I remember is that of the freshly caught octopus, which I enjoyed – albeit grilled, at a restaurant on the beach.
Towards the end of my recent six-month stint in New York, I kept exiting the subway at Bedford Avenue, taking the wrong exit (as always) and running into a Ford Mustang.
A hot, red Ford Mustang.
It stirred a drive to go on a road trip when the winter cleared. Drive it out of New York and towards the West coast possibly on the famous Route 66. Wearing daisy dukes and a plaid shirt. My hair perfect. Stop at gas stations in the middle of nowhere to fuel up. Stay in motels.
It is quite incredible what a nicely designed product can do to you and to your imagination. In a recent meeting, I told the person who asked me what car brand I saw myself as that I saw myself as (that) Ford Mustang.
He said being modest was not a trait of mine. I say it’s a challenge to be awesome.
It is Friday afternoon at the start of April. I am sitting at the communal table in this petit, coquette and extremely lovely coffee shop located fairly close to where I live. It is called The Yard and it lives inside Alexandra Palace train station.
You would never expect a place of this kind inside a train station, however this is one of the reasons it is so special. An unexpected and tiny oasis of coffee, croissants, homemade food and cakes (including chocolate cake, that I’ve just had a big piece of) as you are walking into the train station, swiping your Oyster and rushing down the station to catch the next train to King’s Cross or up north.
It is really difficult to pass it by, as it feels part of a different world and something that is out of Alice in Wonderland (or your favourite magical land).
It also feels like it belongs in a different part of town, perhaps a cul-de-sac in South Kensington, and a street around Brick Lane or Shoreditch altogether. It brings with it the vibe of a cool place, a cool part of town, a cool era –
and as I sit here writing this up and listening to what sounds like interwar jazz, I find myself thinking of the streets of Paris around the same time in history or a reclusive attic in New York where all the artists used to gather, discuss the arts, sip whiskey and smoke cigars or some of the rom-comedies that thrilled us all in the 90s.
A lovely ending and experience to a week full of ups and downs.
If things and money don’t buy happiness, why aren’t there more places that tell people what happiness is about as opposed to places that sell them things for money?
Could it be because we have come to associate the exchange of money for things with happiness?
(Sparky insight/random thought that came to me around Bloomsbury this weekend.)
My love of simple started last year, when I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I immediately put the learning to practice and de-cluttered all of my belongings. I felt overall relieved at the end of that exercise and satisfied with the look of my wardrobe, among other things. I liked what I saw and looked forward to wearing the clothes that had made it through.
Recently back in London, I have gone through the exercise one more time and found some more stuff to part with.
“The Minimalists” have had a part to play in it and I am now interested in leveraging the de-cluttering experience and benefits throughout everything I do.
I reckon my next two stops are at the level of my spending habits and, through that, of all the packaging that I bring into my house. I may document the experience and the learning points I get from it and make something out of it in due course.