Greece

110,745 kilometers later: an update on Nomadderwhere

110,745 kilometers later: an update on Nomadderwhere

I'm watching the Vancouver Marathon from my apartment window and giggling as seagulls drift by at eye-level. Canada represents my final destination of this academic year, and though it was an exciting year and an important one for my own growth, I am glad it's behind me.

Traveling with a math expert this year introduced me to the beauty of slow data. With every car ride or room change, she plugged miles traversed or beds switched into a spreadsheet. By the end of 220 days "on the road," she presented to us the impressive numbers of our #cdtravels:

  • 110,745 kilometers of transit = 2.76 times around the world
  • Total hours on planes, trains & automobiles (not layovers or wait time): 246 hours / 6 work weeks
  • 50 beds roughly, averaging 4.4 nights per bed

If you're wondering why I spent the last year making an epic carbon footprint (not proud of that), take a peek at the TGS Changemaker Program and read my post on this curriculum development mission. If you're not sure how I went from travel media to writing curriculum documents for a high school, I understand your confusion. It surprised me, too. Here's something on my evolution.

Last year at this time, I was living in Florence, Italy with THINK Global School, plugging away at graduate school and enjoying as stable a lifestyle as I've achieved in the last decade. Between then and now, I changed jobs, visited ten countries, and wrote two years of projects with three colleagues.

Here's what it was like...

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Journeys of a Lifetime in June

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

The St. Lawrence: If you have an interest in Canada's most historical city, a passion for seafaring, and a love of the slow travel movement, take this river route from Quebec to Montreal, which exhibits its fair share of beautiful nature. Glacier-carved paths have never been so cool.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise: It looks like there are some very appealing options for the Caribbean other than the all-inclusive resorts. Sailing from Antigua to Puerto Rico sounds like one of them! And if you're not obsessed with sun-worshipping, don't forget the intriguing cultures, inland adventures, and fantastic diving opportunities are paired with a Caribbean good time. Not a cruise-goer? I don't think you should expect the stigma.

By Road

Lake Michigan Shoreline: Traverse one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Motor from white sand beaches to the dunes, big cities to the Cape Cods of the Midwest. Would make for a great summer road trip for anyone unfamiliar with the highlights of the region.

Crossing the Andes from Bolivia to Chile: June will be a cold month for South America, but that also means seeing very clear skies reflected in the beautiful salt plains. With a title like "The World's Highest Road Journey," you know it has to be a memorable trip. To the Andes, baby!

By Rail

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Sounds like the kind of trip a traveling family would enjoy taking: boarding an authentic steam train for a day though the Colorado Rockies. Of course, if you're a nature lover, it could also knock you down with its river/gorge/forest/mountain awesomeness.

The Qingzang Railway: I'm guessing you didn't think this is how you'd ever experience 15,000 feet. Linking western China to Tibet, this high-altitude train has oxygen supplies under every seat, in case you get a little woozy from watching a landscape of glaciers and Himalayan peaks. Note to the wise: you must prove your heart capable of making such a jaunt, preferably with legit paperwork.

On Foot

The Carpathian Mountains: Give yourself a week in Eastern Europe for some vampire hunting. Whether you believe in Romania's folk mythology or not, the day hikes through these mountains peppered with wildlife and culture-rich castles and related history. Let your imagination freak you out in Transylvania.

High Atlas Mountains: Pack mules lug your load while walking from village to village among the Moroccan mountain range. And if your particularly adventurous, climb North Africa's tallest peak at 13,670 feet. And, of course, there's no doubt this country harbors some pretty amazing cities with loads to unload in the form of exotic culture.

In Search of Culture

Athenian Ruins

Classical Greece: Imagine the birth of Western civilization in the actual places of its occurrence. And showing up in June could score you front row seats at a Greek play spoken in the original language, that is if you stop by Epidavros for the annual festival. And don't then call it quits after Athens; you've still gotta see Delphi, Mycenae, and Olympia.

Arnhem Land Cultural Safari: The oldest civilization on the planet have got themselves a nook all their own to cherish their history, culture, and way of life. To visit the Aborigines of Northern Australia requires registering and taking a guided, organized tour. And with that golden ticket comes a slew of coveted experiences from the Aborigines themselves.

In Gourmet Heaven

Trappist Monastery Beers: Investigate the subtle differences between every other [immaculately engineered] beer in the world and those with the Authentic Trappist Product label. Either you can rent a car and visit the monastery churches (not the breweries), or you can sit at a bar and try them all from the comforts of your stool. I guess one is more scenic.

From Pesto to Paella: Genoa to Valencia. It's very obvious the one bound for this gastro-adventure will come home 10 pounds happier. Order what's most fresh and special, the delicacy of the area, the meal everyone else is munching on. Rent a car and take your time. Savor those morsels!

Into the Action

Dutch Bulbfields: Cycling around Holland seems like an obligatory task when traveling there, but it's also said to be the optimal way to view the blooming extravaganza every spring, when tulips fill fields with brilliant colors. Stock up on your bulbs like you're heading to Costco.

Diving with Sharks: While some call it a truly crazy idea, I call it a darn good time. Jumping in a cage next to a boat surrounded by chummy water and fish the size of station wagons - what could be better for a thrill? Head down to Cape Town to see the scariest smiles in the world.

Up and Away

Floatplane to the Nahanni: Glide on into the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the remote Northwestern Territories of Canada. Rock, rivers, wildlife, waterfalls - they all blend their extremes together to create an impressive backdrop for an adventure. Careful of the massive mammals that roam the lands.

The Burj Dubai: The world's fastest elevator, which happens to be a double decker, is fittingly situated in the massive column of the Burj Dubai, presently the world's tallest building. Observe the hazy, impressive city of Dubai from the 124th floor where you'll surely feel a bit of a sway to and fro.

In Their Footsteps

The Odyssey: Reading The Odyssey while buoying around the Aegean Sea may just inspire you with divine knowledge to know which real islands were the models for the fantastical ones from Homer's epic poem. Santorini? Crete? Give yourself three weeks to follow your own version of the journey.

James Joyce's Dublin: Joyce's book, Ulysses, is yet another reason why tourists love Dublin and its earthy goodness. June marks a great time to visit, as the Bloomsday Festival carries on with period costumes speckling the streets and activities based on the classic book attracting the true fans to the plate.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in July for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

This year's popular posts

I'm very happy to report Nomadderwhere has come a long way since this time last year, when I moved from a simple blogspot to a bonafide domain of my own. Since that time I've changed my writing style and topics, grown a readership of surprisingly many (thanks to you), won the most amazing internship known to man, and turned this online outlet for my travel thoughts and work into something that may one day sustain me. For those of you just stopping by for the first time, this is probably the best post at which to start. According to my stats and Google analytics, these are the top posts for Nomadderwhere.

The Makings of a Travel Video

The Makings of a Travel Video

...I didn’t study telecommunications or video art in college, nor did I have a good operating system while making my application video last year. If you’re new at this, like I was, don’t worry because if you have a computer, some travel footage and a passion to produce, you can make some mean videos...Bottom line is to be aware of the story you are crafting and make sure it gives people a reason to watch beyond 10 seconds and a reason to stick around until the end. The music helps me monumentally with this step of the process.

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

Ten Great Ideas for Chicago

...I received word from two different people that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas! in Lincoln Park had the greatest and most authentic tapas in the city. Since my cousin is a budding foodie and my other friend lived in Spain and learned to cook there, I took their advice as fast as I took down my sangria. Rioja short ribs with manchego mashed potatoes, house meat plate with serrano, salchichon, chorizo, chicken & artichoke paella, crispy spicy potatoes with sun-dried tomato alioli, and warm potato & onion omelette - everything tasted so flavorful, even my friends who had been here before were amazed and raving. The thrill of good food doesn’t get old...

My Friend, Evan Witty

My Friend, Evan Witty

...But he found more appeal in living with 100+ kids in a country he had no ties to. He wanted to move people and make physical and emotional necessities available to anyone. With that desire and an experience such as the one he had at Palm Tree, his life work was destined to be hugely impacting and awe-inspiring, and I'm so sorry we don't get to witness his next steps.But he passed with people who loved him and he loved in return, in his sleep on the beach in Cambodia...

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

Things I Didn't Know Before Coming to Greece

...The Greek and Italian languages are nothing alike There’s no avoiding cigarette smoke in Greece…It’s everywhere In Greece, the party starts well after midnight and can continue into brunch time The water really is that blue...

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

Sometimes On the Road...You Miss Out

...For some reason unknown to me and my surrounding web, I've decided it's okay to miss the things that matter most in order to blaze literal and personal trails towards anything from failure to success. This travel path can sound illogical and like a waste, but when I realize the passions I've acquired and the maturity I've obtained, I fear where I would be without all those 50+ flights to global destinations and potential moments of learning...

What is Nomadderwhere?

What is Nomadderwhere?

...Nomadderwhere is a philosophy: it doesn't matter where you are, it matters that you're always learning and flexing with your surroundings, whether you're traveling or stationary. To capture this idea is to capture the art of travel, to know the importance of movement and to become self-aware...because you are the only constant in your world...

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

Street Smarts: Transport Scams

...“So I know we agreed on 40 rupees to the Siliguri bus station, but I know you’re going to forget this deal, even though I wrote the fare down on my hand. I’m really hoping you’re an honest and swell guy who claims he has change when he really does.” With this sort of dialogue, it’s all about tone and appearance. Speak kindly and smile the entire time. It doesn’t work any other way. And a word from experience: the more you make them laugh, the better the fare becomes...

The Irony of my Lifestyle

The Irony of my Lifestyle

...Since I returned from a round-the-world trip on August 17th, I’ve done very little besides sit in front of screens – computer, TV, what-have-you. I seldom leave home or drive my car unless it’s purely necessary. Rarely do I step outside if not to summon my cat in at twilight, and the most exercise I get comes from group fitness classes at the gym down the street. I spent one weekend in northern Indiana with my best friends eating guacamole and floating on one long raft around Lake Tippicanoe, but that certainly can’t be all the excitement I can handle over a two month period. Why do I not carpe the diem when I’m not traveling?...

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

Reviewing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild

...What was certainly magnified by Krakauer's text was the reality that we humans harbor primordial desires, and it's on a sliding scale how much we allow these feelings to be heard and acted upon. It is my belief that travelers, adventurers, nomads and those hopeful to detach from the man-made structure of modern civilization are more responsive to those "calls of the wild." Unconventional living forces a constant reevaluation of one's life [and one's mortality], and when we are closer in mindset to our own expiration, it seems we connect closer to the motivations of our primitive ancestors...

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

Cruises, Destination, and the Authentic

...Within the open ocean is a sea of 60-40 couples, incredibly perky cougars on the prowl, families with seven year-old twins and recent divorcees taking back their lives, not to mention a slew of Rascals scooting about. Of course, every cruise liner caters to a different demographic, which accounts for the vast differences among the commercial cruising fleets, but what they all share is the sense of ease that, in the mind of a “bare-bones” traveler, strips the so-called adventure down to physical displacement and cognitive retirement, which is in many cases the whole point...

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

Interview a Traveler: The Ski-Crazy Humanitarian

...I work in an environment where people are stuck in one mindset. The monotony of everyday life can suck you in and but also give you the comfort of stability. I want to stimulate my mind and mix things up. My entire senior year of college I saved for my trip to Europe, and everyday I think back to the crazy things I did and the knowledge that I gathered and feel proud. Being young and having a flexible (and seasonal) job is a plus. So spending my money on travel is why it’s there...

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

The Birth of The Nakavika Project, Part 1

...L: “I found an amazing flight deal I want to look further into. If the price is right, would you consider dropping the road trip idea and heading to Fiji to live in a village? We could do our own thing there, use our skills to start some effort from scratch, and I know we’re already invited and welcome to be there. I talked to them a week ago.” G: “Wow, Linz, you’re turnin’ the tables on me! This could be such a huge opportunity. Let me think it over…(30 minutes later)...I am completely, 100% behind this idea...

Plummeting Towards Earth

Plummeting Towards Earth

...We landed perfectly, a few steps to a complete standing stop, and I yelled my amazement to all the men at the bottom who hear these exclamations every day. And that was it. I jumped out of a plane. Nuts. Simply nuts...

Consume and Update: Life, Tolerance and Free Guides

If you're always learning, hopefully you're never bored. Here's my attempt at bringing you the quality information I'm learning by this week. Christine created a series this month on what she knows best: giving a lifestyle some massive alterations to become one's dream life.

This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.

Today marks her 20th day in the series, and even if you don't harbor a desire to drop what you're doing to live at large in the world, reading her steps toward being location independent can uncover whatever dormant lifestyle shifts that are begging to be released in you. I personally enjoy Day 16: Becoming a Digital Nomad, The Freelance Edition as well as some assorted tips from Day 15: The Not-So-Secret Trick to Finding Cheap Airfare.

Brave New Traveler's Ian MacKenzie brings to our attention a video about tolerance and diversity that is worth the 8 minutes of attention.

Spiritual Enlightenment

Spiritual Enlightenment

Christine Garvin continues to think philosophically about travel's influence on personal identity and self-respect. It's the underlying theme of it all, and there's no point in continuing whatever mission you have if you don't have a conscious emphasis on this in your life. It helps to read these works regularly.

l now feel in my bones something that has been said to me time and time again over those last 10 years: to have others look at you with appreciation, you must first appreciate yourself. And the way to attain that appreciation for the self and connect to spirit is to gain some understanding of all those other people out there roaming the earth.

Other Discoveries This Week

Elance.com and Guru.com: As I'm beginning my freelancing career, it's important to know there are websites like these making it easier to bridge connections between suppliers and demanders.

Kayak Buzz: I've been looking for something like this. It's almost like having an eject button.

The Happy Planet Index: An independent think tank that believes in economics as if people and the planet mattered.

Phoenix: Four French dudes that make up a quality band

Update on Nomadderwhere

Speaking Engagements: On Thursday, October 1st, I will drive to Northern Indiana to present my travels to interested Hoosiers. If you're a friend of my grandparents, you'll be seeing me in a Peabody conference room, chatting about travel photographs and the dramatic stories behind them. If you live in Wabash, Indiana, be sure to reserve your space at the Honeywell House fast, because the room is already filling to capacity for my later presentation. But there will be no lectures, because in the spirit of lifelong learning, I won't for one second pretend I'm not there to learn from the audience as well.

Free Guides: I receive e-mails fairly frequently from friends and family asking for tips on certain travel destinations. In an attempt to offer what I know to those who may benefit, I've created free guides to cities and countries I've visited, which will continue to grow in number as I continue to get those kind of e-mails. Thus far I've offered my city guide of Florence, a first timer's guide to India, and some pointers and background for the Greek isles. With each guide, there is the option of the pretty or the printer-friendly version, depending on how you will read and enjoy the material! Email lindsay {at} nomadderwhere.com if you have a request for a free guide!

Sick as a Donkey: Day 61

That'll do, Donkey.

Holy mackerel, Mykonos ripped my body apart and threw it to the seagulls. With every passing minute on the ferry, my head swirled against the motions of the waves and filled with pain. My cough was extreme. I went through three toilet rolls blowing my nose dry. And it's so sad, when your body becomes a victim to disease on the road, but I tried to wipe away my horrifying expression and enjoy as much as possible this most anticipated destination: Santorini. Here's what one can expect from Santorini... -All civilization lies at a high elevation on the island. It takes a while to get places. -Buildings really do cling to the cliffs and present those beautiful cityscapes. -The beaches are both calm and crazy and all are clothing optional. -Scooter and ATV rentals abound, making it very easy to get around and love where you are

Climbing elevations caused my head to throb. I could barely open my eyes to the gorgeous sunset falling over the rooftops. And without the ability to open my eyes, I couldn't rent a scooter and therefore discovered no beaches. Sadly, I did not see Santorini the way it was meant to be seen. But I did spend a lot of time in an air-conditioned room watch samurai movies and Major Payne.

My weary body did, however, muster up enough energy (after 18 hours of rest) to go on the optional tour with the group: to walk over the Santorini volcano, swim in hot springs, and ride a donkey from the water to town. Views were blue, rocky, and gorgeous at every glance, and luckily, the heavy smell of sulfur in the hot springs had no affect on me. I could barely breathe, let alone smell! We covered our faces in hot mud from the floor of the hot springs, and my struggling complexion caught a break with its healing effects. And finally, we boarded stubborn donkeys at the base of the cliff, only to laugh and scream all the way up. They would run, stop, bite each other, squeeze our legs against walls and other donkeys, and I couldn't help but make as many "ass" puns and donkey references as humanly possible. I laughed and was momentarily cured of my ailment. But I expended my days worth of energy and returned to shower, sleep, and watch amazing movies once more.

Santorini has the parties and the peace. I wish I could have experienced and loved both, but instead I dealt with the realities of travel: the occasional disease caused by exhaustion. It happens, and you can either ignore it (and suffer later) or take your vacation in sips, saving up energy for the moments that really make the trip. Now I know Santorini should be done...for next time...when I'm fit and ready.

An Island I Can Handle: Day 57

Windy Paros

Weee! A beach! A warm beach! Without jellyfish, sharks, or boiling outdoor temperatures! The Greek islands were calling me while I was still preparing for the trip in America. Every island the ferry passed was a tease until we finally slowed and reversed into the port for Paros. Oh, sweet breezes and salty air! We made it to our relaxation portion of this year's internship, a much needed moment for sun-worshipping and getting rid of my wicked farmer's tan. Paros marked the first destination on a tour of three islands in the Aegean Sea, and she met almost every expectation. White buildings with strong blue accents made up the entire landscape, and windmills stood poised over the harbor. Restaurants lined the boardwalk, and the wind made my hair dance into happy knots. Maybe the only thing that strayed from my pre-conceived images of the Greek islands were the appearance of the beaches, not sugar white but more in line with their volcanic births.

The tour itinerary was something along the lines of "choose one or more of the following: eat, walk, shop, rest, beach, pool, tan, read, rent scooters, drink, enjoy your beautiful surroundings" and so on. Well, okay. That sounds darn near perfect. And the next day, when it came to a full day of experiencing Paros, our tour guide had something in store if we had no inspiration on our own. I took part in the optional day tour and found myself wandering picturesque fishing towns, running across wave-breaking walls, and at a lovely beach playing newly invented ball games with new friends and a very hospitable sun.

Nightfall in Paros had me dancing on a table. How'd I get up there? Oh, I know. Two days of soul-pleasing leisure and a Red Bull. And it did not take any convincing to get the other tour participants up on the tables with me. Flashing lights pulsed and free group drinks flowed to make smiles spread across our newly tanned faces. This was only the beginning. We all had energy. And to be in Greece during the high season when ferries overflow and funnel in mass amounts of tourists, we were there hassle-free, our only responsibility being to enjoy new company and atmospheres.

Paros left a good taste in my mouth. Made me long for even sleepier islands and the breathtaking beauty of an uncommercial destination. Greece could be a painter's dream, soul-quenching...but our next stop being Mykonos, we were about to have our soul's disgorged via thumping music and innumerable cocktails. Which sounds better?

Clicking with Athens: Day 53

Anything seems inspiring in Athens

I love Italy; therefore, I always thought I'd love Greece. It's easy to lump them together as Southern Europe/Mediterranean countries and call them similar cultures since they both claim responsibility for civilization as we know it. Ah, but driving into Athens, observing the surrounding barren hills, passing by the various eateries, hearing a language so dissimilar from the romances...Greece immediately broke away from Italy in my mind and thrilled me immeasurably. Things are very different here; however, there still seems to be that indescribable inspiration that pulled me to Italy years ago. I was bound for a good week in a new country. Athens knows no boundaries. I couldn't find the end to the buildings that crawled up the hill slopes and towards the sea. I was far too intimidated to venture anywhere in town other than my hotel's neighborhood, for fear of never finding my way back. Athens certainly wasn't a planned city by any stretch of the imagination, so streets rarely met at 90 degree angles or seemed as wide as they should have been. Instead, I took a few steps outside and found the Plaka scene, a.k.a. tourist haven at the foot of the Acropolis.

Steaming and juicy gyros in minutes. Artsy fashion shops amongst souvenir displays. Trendy joints for moussaka blowing misty wind at the pampered clientele. I found everything I wanted (sandals, dresses, and gorgeous alleys), and all the prime opportunities for people watching I could ask for. And in between the buildings rose the age old columns of the Parthenon, the gods probably chuckling at all the ridiculous t-shirt designs and ruin-themed shot classes.

As much as these areas of towns piss me off, they also satiate all desires of shopping, eating, and observing things you didn't expect to see. One of my favorite parts about Athens was the fact that so many vendors were trying to sell these squashing, gooey balls that flatten as they're thrown on a board. Sad thing is tourists buy those. We all get sucked into the culture catered for us at some point, somewhere.

And with every turn down an alleyway, I found a moment between building and vine, stray cat and doorway, iron rod fence and flowers that made me stop, pull out my camera, and sweat away in the hot sun for that picture of the "moment." I would have taken a photo of trash cans if they were next to a wall of fantastic graffiti. There's something about these Mediterranean destinations that pulls my eye in and makes everything seem more romantic, even garbage and vandalism.

A city of vast expanses, charm and grit, and constant inspiration rising from every crowded street and pile of rubble. Athens has a history that will forever express itself. I like this city.