I’m being broken down

I’m now in Icaria, Greece. I should probably explain why and how and what for before launching into a post about an Icarian experience I’m currently having. But, as you will soon learn, everything on this island is topsy-turvy. So an introduction will have to wait.

Since arriving in Icaria I’ve been getting looks from the locals. And comments. Knowing comments and looks, like they know something about me that I don’t. Yet.

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Photo by Rachel de Joode

Eventually someone said something. It was Elias. He said to me one morning, after a hard, tortured night of no sleep, “You’re here for a reason. Icaria will change you.” He then told me that if I didn’t sleep that night that the next day I was to join him goat herding for the day, that we’d drink a litre of wine watered down with water when it got hot in the afternoon, eat some cucumbers and goat and then come home late. “And then you sleep…we do it the Icarian way,” he said

Icaria is changing me. And I asked for this. And so this place found me. Or the other way around.

If you’ve followed my travels via my social media outpourings you’d be under the impression I’m having a Fabulous time with a cap F over here in Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I am, but not just in a cap F Fun way. Often in a cap F F*ck This is Full On way.

Icaria is a truly strange place. Everything you thought you knew about life is turned on it’s head here. The locals drink a lot, eat a lot, eat at odd hours (lunch can be anytime between 3pm and 7pm) and they sleep…whenever (some villages head to bed around 5am, with the shops open all night, shutting at sunrise). And yet they live longer and healthier than anyone else on the planet. I’ll write more on this paradox shortly, but for now I need to share what this can do to a girl. Especially a rigid, fearful girl.

It breaks you down.

There’s also a strong energy here. Someone else said something. It was Thanai. She said Icaria will either embrace you or spit you out. “If you fight the energy, it will win,” she said. Others have shared with me how the first time they came they couldn’t handle the energy. All their issues suddenly surfaced and they had to leave immediately. I’ve heard this over and over. People have almost drowned. The National Geographic team almost lost a team member last time they were here. The camera guy fell and had to be rescued via a CNN-funded jet from the bottom of a cliff. The team tell me he’d been pushing way too hard in the lead up. Connected, perhaps?

I should say, though, that all who talked to me about this came back and went through big shifts when they did…for the better. The island did it to them, they say. The locals confirm it. They’ve seen this phenomenon a lot.

It breaks you down.

Me, I didn’t sleep for my first six nights here. I felt I was going insane.

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