Tag Archives: buying a house on santorini

Lifestyle Seachange… do you have what it takes?

It’s that time of year again… people have either booked their holiday or are planning it for next year. The approaching summer seems to be the trigger in people’s minds. They start thinking about what it would be like to be on holidays somewhere, what it would be like to live somewhere else…what it would be like to change their lifestyle completely. The seachange has been in their mind for a while, quietly brewing away… and now suddenly it surfaces. Sometimes it can go on simmering for years, other times it happens very quickly (depending on personality and circumstances). Suddenly people want to know things – how much does it cost to buy a house in Oia, how easy/hard is it, how does one go about it, where does one start?

There could be any number of things that trigger an epiphany. From something as basic as a “birthday”, to a separation, a divorce, a story you read about, a movie you see, a death of someone you know or a dinner you have with a friend who is about to do something considered “radical”. All of the sudden you find yourself in bed wide awake… your mind racing, wondering, roleplaying. Can I, what if, I should’ve, I could’ve… the little voices in your head start to whisper to you… torturing you. The dreamer in you starts to wonder… while the always restrictive, logical “coach” tries to talk some sense into you. Wouldn’t be just wonderful… says the dreamer voice – yeah… but don’t even think about, too many things to take care of here first… says the coach.

Welcome to the mental state I call “threshold”. Although the word is used in many different ways… my definition is derived from aviation. A Qantas pilot once explained to me the more technical details of what “threshold” means during take off and landing…. but the thing that I remember and kept is that “crossing threshold means COMMITMENT”.  Once you have gone over that line, invisible or otherwise, you are “committed”.

So people find themselves awake in bed… lengthy dialogues between the dreamer and the coach taking place, arguments back and forth, considering options, debating, more dreaming, visualizing, wishing and/or planning. Threshold is either crossed or it becomes like a solid granite wall 20 metres thick. My guess is that 1% cross over and “commit”… the rest run head-first into the granite and then either drop dead or walk around in a daze for weeks/months or even years. Crossing threshold… or even approaching at the required speed is not for the faint hearted. As I said to someone who asked me to define threshold… “it is the ultimate bullshit filter”. It’s put up or shut up territory… go big or go home.

So now we’re back to the enquiries…. how much is a house in Oia, can I find a 2/3/4 bedroom on the cliff (for under 300k…. because Greece is in a crisis isn’t it? )….. etc etc etc etc etc etc ad infinatum….

My answer is simple… if you want it, come and get it. The how, where and how much you will find out when you’re here. The only question in your mind should be… is the place worth the effort? and if you don’t know the answer to that by now then get ready to experience what crannium hitting granite feels like !

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Haven’t posted any pictures for a while so here are some of my favorites from the past couple of months… enjoy ; )


below is the view of the old fort from a special place…
the “Summer Lovers” villa

a floating resort leaving at night….

Oia at night…. at least my neighborhood..

dinner at Ammoudi… never fails to impress

and one of my favorite shots of all time in Oia… sail boats just after sunrise
magical sight….

Have a great summer everyone….

ps: don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for daily updates:

https://www.facebook.com/OiaSantorini

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Isle of Saint Nicholas – Ammoudi… Oia, Santorini

It’s been a busy summer and I haven’t been able to spend anywhere near enough time with Alessi as I wanted to or should have. But this morning we decided to go to Ammoudi for a swim together, at our usual spot away from the tourists that flood the tiny rock beach.

 It’s a good thing that most tourists don’t stay long enough to learn all the secret spots on this island. Ammoudi… the little port below Oia becomes very busy in August, all the small tavernas working hard to make the most of the busiest month. The small beach opposite
St. Nicholas island is also a very popular spot and for good reason. The water is absolutely crystal clear and very deep… making it cool and refreshing in the middle of summer.

I took up my usual spot on the rocks….

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It doesn’t look like much… but the flat rock that’s constantly washed by the sea and a wet, folded sarong for a head rest, feet hanging in the water… pure bliss for several hours. You just have to take a step and you’re in the azure water…

Alessi has his own favourite spot… sitting on top of a buoy the fishermen use in winter. He loves sitting on top of it and look at the fish below the water, as well as watch the big cruise ships sail by Oia.

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We sat there for a couple of hours, enjoying the sun and the beautiful clear water. Our little island is a favourite in summer as well as winter…when there is nobody else here. That’s certainly not the case in August though… it’s a fight for space for most tourists, unless they are willing to venture out into the lava rock formations. The small island is a magnet for people throughout summer and it’s not surprising…

 

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It’s only a 20m swim across from the main island and the water is just too perfect for words. What a lot of people don’t realise is that around the small island there is 2-3 meters of rock… followed by a sheer vertical drop of more than 1,000m depth. Imagine what it would look like without the water…. would make Grand Canyon look like a creek.

Here is a view from the top of the cliff in Oia… looking down at the small island in late winter:

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To the right of the small island you can see a lagoon forming, around 20-30m deep… you can drop a coin and watch it all the way down on a calm day. To the left of the small island…lololol, you can drop whatever you like there folks, you are NEVER going to see it again.
It’s a loooooooooong way down. A scary thought as to what this scene would look like if the sea water wasn’t there.

Just another day at our local beach and small island…. another little adventure in this mystical island called Santorini !

Have a great weekend and I hope you get to spend some time with your kids too ;-)

 

 

 

Aegean seachange…

- “What on earth made you move to an island in Greece ? “
- “If I need t0 explain it to you… you’ll probably never understand ! “

Its July…. the island is teaming with people from all over the world. All age groups, all kinds of people, seeking to enjoy a holiday on the Greek islands. For many its a holiday they had planned for years, or a dream wedding, or an island-hop adventure, or a second visit to an island they fell in love with years earlier. Each visitor has a story…their own personal story.

Many people have been visiting the Aegean Design studio since it opened. A surprising number of people actually. Some happen to walk passed, others have heard about it somehow and seek it out. Most are very curious as to how it came about and they will ask questions… many questions. They want to know how, when, why and what. They want to understand, they want to hear the story and listen to the rational behind it. However…it often makes me wonder if they really want to know “our” story or do they want to mentally compare it to the story/vision/dream they themselves have deep in their minds.

You see I have a theory… my theory is that there is a seachange lurking inside everyone. Its like a short movie that plays inside their heads, over and over. Sometimes it has taken years to create the movie, other times the movie was started as a result of a more recent event like travel, seeing a documentary/travel show, seeing an image in a magazine or a web site or a blog. Some read a book or they have a long conversation with a friend about an old movie made in an “exotic” location. Whichever way the short “movie” was created in their minds it is now their dream, their personal mental adventure, their ultimate “escape” plan.

According to my theory most people ask a question about life on the island and as soon as I start telling them the story I can see their minds drifting. Their own movie kicks in (so to speak). Its not me they are thinking about…its themselves. How does my adventure compare with theirs, is that what they would’ve done, is that how they would’ve handled things. Their thoughts often spill out and they will say things like “I’ve always wanted to do that” or “my dream is a house in …..” or “I see myself doing that one day”. Other times they say nothing. They just tilt their heads and listen with a broad smile on their face…. and you can tell they are dreaming.

Not everyone dreams of a seachange on an island or another country of course. Some people simply want to move house or change a job, or pursue a career or achieve a goal. The term “seachange’ simply symbolises a burning desire, a passion, a dream (at least in my mind). The interesting thing is that from all the people I meet and talk to its those with a clear dream, passion and/or desire that seem happiest. They may not have accomplished it yet… but they know what it is and they are somehow working towards it.

Having that “short movie” in your mind may seem (to some) as a luxury, an indulgence or a guilty pleasure. But I see it differently. I see it as a driving force, a reason for being, a lifeplan.

I think everyone should purposely become the director of a short movie called “My Life”. Write your own script, scout your own locations and “choose” the role you want to play in it, as well as the roles for anyone else you want in the movie. Choose the soundrack of your life, the scenes you want in it, the surprises and the highlights. Choose your co-star/s and set out to cast your own movie rather than leave it to chance. In short…. be the director  and star of your own movie/life. If you don’t, you’ll probably end up being an “extra’ in someone else’s.

 

PS: promise to post a lot more that I did this past week. Lots of pictures and stories next week ;-)

Bougainvillea – A sexy South American in Santorini

It’s an amazing world we live in… how often have you thought about that lately?  Not often? Perhaps you should.

Lately I have found myself running around a bit too much and realised that its been a while since I took Rex for a long walk through the village. Today I rectified that and although its very hot here… it was an uplifting experience. Its the middle of summer (almost), the light is very bright and the village looks a picture. It struck me as I walked through the narrow paths that there are so many beautiful images all around, quite apart from the views of Oia. It also struck me that you can’t help but gaze towards a particular plant at this time of year…wherever it may be growing.

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Its bougainvillea… and in Oia, its everywhere. This sexy little climber from the South American tropics has certainly found its way to the Greek islands and in this small village it is almost symbolic. There is good reason for that of course… the colour contrast between the various varieties of bougainvillea and the mostly white-washed walls in Oia is spectacular. The effect of bougainvillea on a landscape can be stunning.
 

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Whether it’s someone’s garden…

 

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Or a small hotel like this. The contrast against white and blue seems completely natural and “right”.

 

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It is used to add colour to our narrow lanes…

 

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and even our clock tower.

 

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Shops use bougainvillea….

 

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so do our restaurants. Some of these are old, very well established plants, adding lots of colour and atmosphere.

 

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Others use them in a very subtle, understated way to achieve sublime results !

 

There are no prerequisites to having a bougainvillea. You don’t need a spectacular villa or a great restaurant. You can just as easily have the good taste to grow one in front of your small island home.

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It certainly makes plain white & blue look like dreamland…. don’t you think?

 

And so it was…walking around my little village, that I realised what an amazing world we live in, if only we take the time to look around us. A gorgeous South American now living and thriving in Greece, adding infinite beauty to the landscape every year.  

Go for a long walk…clear your mind and look around you. I bet you’ll find plenty of beautiful things you haven’t noticed for a while ;-)

Oia Santorini – Change

Of all the things in life…. change is the only constant!

Of all the fears in life…. fear of change is the most common!

These are not quotes (well…maybe the first is), they are just personal beliefs. I don’t think that either are profound or particularly insightful., but I have seen enough evidence in my life to know that both these beliefs are valid. 

We are all creatures of habit and the longer we do something the harder it is to break away from it. We are all aware we do things out of habit… some are good and some are bad, yet we keep doing all of them… often for years, sometimes for a lifetime. Change is uncomfortable and therefore we avoid it…. often at all costs.

So we keep doing things, stay in places (jobs/homes/cities/countries), talk to same people, think the same way….yet, we somehow expect that things will one day change. A reasonably intelligent gentleman (as in Bert…. as in Albert… as in e=mc squared) told us that “insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results”… he did have a knack for simplifying things to the point where just listening to that makes one feel like a total fool. We have all done it !

So… are we all insane? 

Lucky for us those clever munchkins, the head-mechanics, have a very valid theory. Its’ called “escalated commitment”. The more you commit to something, physically, emotionally/mentally, the harder it is to change it or at least break away from it (oversimplifying the theory here…forgive me). When you really think about that it explains so much of our lives. Our commitment to so many things has been allowed to “escalate”… often to ridiculous, even insane levels. We find ourselves so “deep” into things that we can’t break away. Sometimes it’s pride, money or emotion invested, reputation, or length of time that’s stopping us. Whatever the investment… it has escalated to the point where we become prisoners to it.  

Yesterday I got four different emails from people who said that they would love to live somewhere like Oia (you can fill in the place with any city/country/island you wish). Yet each of them mentioned that they had “commitments” they couldn’t walk away from… so “for now” they will just “dream” about doing it “one day”. It all sounded familiar to me…very familiar. You see, I used to say the same thing…for years. Until, I realised that there is such a thing as “positive escalated commitment”. By that I mean “aligning your life to your dream”. 

I figured that it can be good to escalate a commitment…. as long it is in line with what you want to do or experience or feel. Good things take time and you have to keep working towards them. If you make a start and you keep investing time/effort/emotion/passion, then soon you can achieve it. At least you are heading in the right direction. You are taking steps, albeit small at times, towards the dream…. whatever that may be !

When I started this blog I dedicated it to the “undecided”. I guess what I am saying with this post is that if you do have a dream, then make sure your “escalated commitment” is towards that. Turn it into a passion and invest a lot of you in achieving it  .:.

 

On a lighter note… the cacti on the front steps have actually flowered!

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How is that for change…

Have a great weekend ;-)

Oia Sunrise & life decisions

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”  

-  Beverly Sills

 

These words can burn in your brain like a red-hot syringe. For years they ran through my mind.

This morning I woke up early and had a coffee outside. This is what I saw…

 

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Oia – Santorini.

Yep…. good decision!

 

 


Oia Santorini – sound of silence…

We always knew there was a very old room at the back of the first cave…it had been filled in with all the rubble from the original work done to the cave many years ago. It took a week to dig it out (more pics on that soon) and then it took me several hours to dig this candle window, as well as two more. It was winter, bitterly cold outside, but deep inside the cave, well…. that’s a different world.

 

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It’s a weird thing to be several metres underground in a raw cave. There is something very primal about it. The candle light reflected off the raw “aspa” cave walls and there was something that most of you living in big cities simply wouldn’t know about……”the sound of silence”.

No….I don’t mean quiet, I mean  s i l e n c e !

Complete silence…to the point where all you can hear is your heartbeat and your mind.

So what would you do in this blissful silence?

 

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Well I don’t know about you… but I got myself some nice Santorini red wine, put on some very soft music (which echoed amazingly in the cave) and sat there for a couple of hours thinking about what this bathroom is going to look like. Candle light flickering…. with what seemed like soft sense-around-sound. Bliss….

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TIP OF THE HAT

Her name is Michele and during the day she makes a living as a management consultant….. but deep down she wants something else.
Look at her beautiful blog  “My Notting Hill” and discover what this elegant woman really wants to be….

Michele was gracious enough to mention the caveman in her blog yesterday…. and for that we tip our hat in gratitude.

Oia Santorini – looking out the window of life!

Depending on where you live, or how you live, you probably spend several hours a week looking out your window…we all have a window that we like to sit in front of and look out. A few of you have asked what it’s really like to live here…. “dont you get sick of the view?”, “doesn’t it get boring after a while?”.

I’ve always felt that looking out your window… you see your life. You see yourself essentially. The view from your window is either what you’ve dreamed about and achieved, or perhaps what you have to look at… till you make your dream come true. Some dream of looking at fields of gold, be it vines, olive trees or endless farmland. Others dream of a Tuscan countryside scene, or lavender fields in Provence, or a lake or a mountain-range. Others simply want to look at a glorious garden that they have painstakingly shaped over many years. Whatever the view is… it says a lot about you and where you are in your life. If the image you see is the one you have always wanted to see…you have made it happen. If it’s not, then you are still working on it. Either way the view you see out your own window didn’t get there by chance (with some exceptions). The choices we make everyday… place us in front of our windows. What we see when we look out is the result of our choices…or lack thereof.

Using our window view as a metaphor for our lives is, I think, quite valid. We all hear people say “I’d love to look out of my window in the morning and see……”. I used to say those very same words….”I’d love to”.

Then one day… I changed it to “I WILL look out of my window and see…..”.

So, to answer the people that asked “do I get sick of it” or “doesn’t it get boring”…. the answer is NO!

Along with many-many other reasons.. here is why:

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at sunrise I see beautiful ships coming into the caldera….

 

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all kinds of ships…. big and small 

 

ferry

in peak summer I see a dozen ferrys come and go daily…

 

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and the local fishermen returning home at lunchtime
after selling their catch to the tavernas at Ammoudi…

 

 

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in the afternoon I watch the big boats leave…
this is the biggest of them all….the Princess 

 

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at sunset I watch my kids watching the old sailing boats
giving visitors a taste of Santorini magic…

 

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and often…late into the night, as I sit here and type this little blog,
I see the cruise ships leaving…lit up like Christmas trees !

 

If you look out your window and you don’t see the view you want to see, the view you have dreamed of seeing… its never too late.
If you really, really want to… you can make your window view everything you want it to be ! ! !