5 Experiences You Can’t Miss in Santorini

Recently back from a brief trek through the incredible Greek island of Santorini and I still can’t believe how beautiful it is.  Our photos don’t even do this place justice.  The sky is a deep blue, the sea is so clear and to top it all off, the sunshines are a gorgeous array of pinks, oranges and purples.  Can we say heaven?

As an ode to my new favorite vacation destination, I’ve here are the top 5 experiences you can’t miss:

  1. Sunset in Oia.  Oia is at the top of the island, set a atop a lovely hill overlooking the Caldera.  Watching the sunset here is nearly breathtaking.  Keep in mind that you’ll want to get here early and you’ll likely be watching with a couple hundred of your new best friends.  Tip: to evade the crowds, grab a spot at a local restaurant for dinner or drinks.  You can see the sunset, enjoy some local fare and have a bit more space to yourself.
  2. Four wheelers!  Common on the island are both scooters and four wheelers, they are even the preferred method of transportation for most tourists.  You will see them everywhere, they’re even street legal.  And there’s really nothing better than exploring the island with the wind flying through your hair!  There are many places to find four wheelers in the main cities, consider asking your hotel as they may have a partnership as well.  Here’s hoping these babies become street legal in Cleveland soon!
  3. Dinner at Salt & Pepper.  Seemingly a hidden gem, we stumbled into this place on mistake – getting somewhat lost in Fira and then looking for dinner.  It has nearly 5 stars on Yelp and there’s certainly a reason for it.  Delicious food, with a wonderful atmosphere – the owner is one of the kindest people we met on our trip, even with a packed restaurant she saw I was freezing sitting outside (I’m pretty much always cold) and moved us to a spot inside, she even comped my soup since she felt so bad that I was cold!  Each delectable dinner ends with a small dessert and a photograph you can later find on the restaurant’s Facebook page.  This was by far my favorite meal in Santorini.
  4. Enjoy drinks and appetizers at one of the many restaurants in Amoudi Bay.  The seafood is fresh, there’s a fine assortment of local beers and most importantly you can’t beat the atmosphere.  If you can manage to snag a table right on the water I highly recommend it, our table looked as if it just ended on the water, absolutely incredible.Drinks in Amoudi Bay
  5. And I saved the best for last!  Cliff jumping in Amoudi Bay.  This was definitely my favorite part of our trip.  Though keep in mind, this one isn’t for the faint of heart, my dear husband who is afraid of heights sat this one out and played videographer.  A once in a lifetime experience and worth every second.  Not to mention, it’s quite nostalgic for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!

Happy travels!

Cheers to Saying “No”

Ok, so when did saying “no” become a bad thing?  Maybe it’s always been that way and I just never realized it, who knows.  Especially as a woman, I feel like I’ve been constantly excepted to say yes to everything – yes I’ll do that, yes I’ll go there, yes I’ll take that project on – YES, YES, YES.  And then I hit a wall, I was exhausted, miserable and a million miles from myself.  I still remember the first time it happened – I said no to a friend who wanted me to come to a rec league game, I was exhausted from work and didn’t want to go anywhere, let alone play sports, so I said “no” – and wow did it feel good.  And as expected, immediately she was pissed.  And for the first time I didn’t care – I wasn’t going to feel bad for taking care of myself (this was even before the recent boom in the self-care trend).

Just that one time opened the door for me, I now had the courage to keep saying no.  And my goodness was my life changed for the better.  I found myself again, and the things that I like to do.

But it’s funny how easy it is to get back into that pattern.  I constantly need to checkin wth myself – is this me?  Am I saying yes to the right things for me?

A year and a half ago, I was in a training session with the kickass yoga teacher Kathryn Budig and I distinctly remember her telling us a story and the big lesson was that you never have to justify yourself or your actions to anyone, it’s ok to say nothing.  And that stuck with me, especially when I think about saying no – I don’t need a reason to justify why I’m saying no, I’m just saying no. Period.

And damn does it feel good.

Having the Courage to Take the First Step

Why is getting started so often the hardest part? It’s like I have a plan, I know where I’m going and I know how I want to get there, but my feet won’t move, I’m just paralyzed.  That’s exactly it, I’m paralyzed with fear, and why?  There is absolutely no reason to be scared.  It’s funny, it’s like my body’s fight or flight mechanism is kicking in, except guess what, I’m not being chased by a freaking bear!  All I’m trying to do is write a blog post (which it’s like no one is reading them anyways) and start a new business concept.  Is it really so awful to fail?  No, not at all.

So, here’s to circumventing the fear mechanism – because, hey I can do it when I’m jumping off a cliff, so why not when I’m starting a business?  Plan of action to workaround this fear:

  1. Make a plan to achieve business goal
  2. Complete a “draft” of first step (i.e. blog post, website, etc…)
  3. Take a deep breath
  4. Jump, click publish (OR have someone do it for you – though, personally I’d rather jump than be pushed!)
  5. Move on to next step of plan

The good news is that if you’re reading this, then the plan worked – I clicked post.  SUCCESS!

And it sure does feel good.  Now on to step 2.

Comfort Zone, Schmomfort Zone

Everything you’ve ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone.

I came across this quote for the umpteenth time recently and it got me thinking – why haven’t I started blogging yet?  I have wanted to blog for years now and for some reason I just haven’t started.  I finally admitted to myself that blogging is outside my comfort zone.  It’s funny how just admitting something to ourselves makes it that much less scary.

That’s one of my favorite pieces of advice for working through life – figure out how to own your fear instead of letting it own you.  One of my tactics is admitting it to myself or to others – putting it all on the table.  Much to look forward here with my blog, right?

Another one is intentionally facing whatever it is that I’m scared of.  I stand up paddleboard frequently, and whenever I go out the first thing I do is jump into the water.  I intentionally fall in.  It seems silly, but it completely changes the experience. Once I’ve had that first jolt of hitting the water, the entire experience becomes lighter.  So maybe during my next presentation, I should intentionally trip?  Future blog post!!

What are your tactics for managing fear and stepping outside your comfort zone?  I’d love to hear!