Day 3 (11/16/19)
I was a minute late for the planned 7a.m. walk and started out on my own to find Dimitrius, Christine and Tav the dog. It was a gorgeous, crisp, cool morning, sun rising through the trees and over the mountains. I got lost on the unfamiliar, winding roads, but eventually found my friends. Walked for an hour up and down the hills of the narrow, twisty rural roads among the olive trees and homes scattered about below the White Mountains peaks.
Came back and chatted with Christine over hot fresh home-brewed ginger tea on the sunny outdoor deck overlooking the valley before going to the neighbor’s house down the road where I helped Babis, harvest olives. It’s pretty hard work, the kind of work these hardy Greek men my age and older do regularly. The kind of work that persuaded me as a youth that my future lay somewhere other than agriculture.
We used hand-held mechanical harvesters that are like weedeaters with several flexible plastic rods that jerk back-and-forth to shake the olives safely from out of their trees to make olive oil.
We waded into the trees and indeed the small olives fell unharmed onto the large tarps that we placed on the ground. We’d remove the sticks and leaves, gather the olives together in a tarp, and pour them into 40kg (88lb) burlap bags.
They were ready for pressing at the factory in the nearby village of Vrisses.
More than two weeks ago I arrived at Chania airport on the island of Crete, the largest island in Greece, where I'm caretaking a villa.
I took a chance on this trip, not knowing what I was getting into when responding to a travel forum solicitation for someone to take care of the property, which includes a dog and a cat, for 11 weeks from mid-November through January.
I was thousands of miles away in Malaysia when I started corresponding with the owners, a young, American ex-pat couple. The photos they posted were gorgeous and we seemed to work well together online, so I was inclined to go for it after a lengthy stay in Southeast Asia, just for the change.
Still, you never know, right? They didn't know me either. But we played our hunches, struck a deal, and I booked my flights.
Now I'm so glad I did. What a wonderful place to be!
The photo was taken from my window seat on the second of five separate flights over 36 hours of travel to the Island of Crete, Greece. Amazingly, I made all my connections and lost nothing along the way. Now I'm now enjoying life in the Mediterranean far more than I imagined I would. Stories and photos from my first few days here will come shortly.
The Island of Crete: Breathtaking beauty, ancient architecture, world-class history and culture, the Mediterranean, fabulous food, and the birthplace of Zeus, King of the Gods!
Greece has been on my mind for a long time, but I was never sure how southern Europe was going to fit my itinerary.
Here are three photos from one of my favorite places, the Kinabatangan River in Sukau, Sabah, Malaysia, where there's an abundance of wildlife and beauty abounds. The photos received a gratifying reaction recently from subscribers to the Facebook forum, "My Beautiful Sabah: The Crown of Borneo," so I thought I'd also share them here.
I am now counting down the days in Malaysia before I begin a new chapter in my travels. After an eventful three months in Malaysia, I'm leaving Nov. 12 for my next destination, one I haven't mentioned before, but a place I've always wanted to go. The opportunity came suddenly so my previous plans for trekking through Indonesia are currently on the shelf. Even the best-laid plans can change fast and often. I'm very excited and will post again soon on where I'm going.
Meanwhile, I'll end this post with a quote from the the multi-talented Shel Silverstein, best known for his children's books, but also an accomplished travel writer, who wrote:
"Comfortable shoes and the freedom to leave
are the two most important things in life."
It's among a number of new additions to my collection of travel Quotes For The Road.
My Kota Kinabalu friend Cathy and I went rafting down the Kiulu River on a pleasant Saturday in Sabah, Malaysia last week.
I don’t know where you can get a better taste of traditional, native Sabah foods than at one of my favorite eateries in Kota Kinabalu.
Traveling isn’t all cocktails on the beach.
Not the way I do it.
When you travel full-time, it’s a special lifestyle.
My dear friend and high school classmate Denise Leussen Dersch is a wonderfully gifted artist who has pursued her vision with a passion since her recent retirement from a long, successful career in public school education.
Denise has been an ardent and supportive follower of my journeys since the beginning, and I am so pleased and honored now that she has taken inspiration from some of my travel photos.
Above is Denise's wonderful take on my photo of boats at Banteay Srei, Cambodia, which I recently posted to My Gallery of favorite travel pics (pull down "More” in the menu above). Below are lilies in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, to which she is currently applying her creative talents.
The question in the headline came up on recently on Nomadic Matt's Nomadic Network on Facebook, and it didn't take long for a particular traveler to came to mind. Here's what I wrote on the forum:
Many have inspired me, from Nomadic Matt to Rita Golden Gelman to Paul Theroux, among countless others, but I’d like to give a special shout-out to Andy Lee Graham, a champion “Hobo” world traveler who may not get all the credit he deserves for inspiring travel.
Andy’s a little eccentric but wildly enthusiastic about travel life, and he makes no bones about how he rose from an empty, dead-end, alcoholic’s life in midwest America more than 20 years ago to an enriching, productive life through world travel. He’s enjoyed life on the road, worked hard to sustain himself, and shared his thoughts and experiences on social media ever since.
Several years ago, while sinking into a new recliner, aimlessly clicking the TV remote and wondering how I was going to beat a bad case of retirement blues, I found Andy’s YouTube videos. At that time, Andy, perhaps more than anyone, led me to realize that traveling could change my life for the better, too. As a result, I hit the road in 2016 and haven’t looked back.
If you are unfamiliar with Andy, take some time to visit his sites. Maybe you won’t like his style, but he knows a lot about traveling and, if nothing else, he’s prolific and entertaining.
What I didn't say on the forum is that Andy's also sensitive to criticism and can be prickly about it. Unfortunately, I pissed him off a couple of years ago when I questioned some of his ideas and he banned me from his site. But that doesn't diminish the admiration I still have for what he's done, nor my thanks for helping to inspire me to the life I lead today. Travel well, Andy, always my friend.
Quotes For A Good Life On The Road
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
-- Anthony Bourdain
Now see my complete collection of travel quotes online by clicking "Quotes For The Road" under "More" in the menu above.
Solas "Best Travel Writing" Awards
Saysha: What Happened?
13th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing
(Read it here)
'More About Me?
I'm a retired journalist from Hawaii who tired quickly of retirement and hit the road as a slow, solo world traveler in August 2016. I've spent time in 20 countries on four continents. Currently I'm in sunny Merida, Mexico, waiting out developments in the coronavirus crisis before moving on. Meanwhile, learn more about me and my travels at Nomadic Matt, and Expat Focus, and in a great story by veteran Borneo newsman and prolific author James Ritchie about our meeting in Kuching, Malaysia, A Confluence of Adventure Writers .
Also online ...
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