Tag Archives: dare to dream

Happy New Year – dream big & obey your dream !

To all readers new and regular…
I wish you a New Year full of health
great adventures
the fulfillment of your dreams !

Dream big… and obey your dreams…
don’t let others talk you out of them…
put a start date on your dreams…
don’t let anything stand in your way…

In the words of an old friend…

“when it’s all said and done…
it’s only the great adventures we remember !”

Happy New Year !


“Santorini Dreaming” – winning essay !

It is a big commitment… far bigger than I perhaps realised when I first decided to embark on this essay competition. When you’re dealing with people’s dreams you have to be very very careful and considerate. A lot of things had to be taken into account and a lot of thought went into how to approach the whole thing from the start. It could’ve been promoted a lot more… it could’ve been turned into a more commercial exercise, but that wasn’t the idea behind it. What I wanted was to see how people would respond when given an opportunity to fulfil a dream.

What the whole thing proved to me was that (as suspected), there is only a percentage of people that are willing to chase their dream. Some are too shy, some are cynical, some are just not committed enough and some are not used to having the clarity of mind to visualise themselves winning (“as if I could ever win something like this?”). However… by far the largest group, I think, are the procrastinators. “I”ll do it tomorrow”, “I’ll start it next week…still plenty of time”,
“I just can’t think of a good way to start the essay right now”, “I’m not in the mood to write, I need some quiet time to think about this” etc etc etc.

It is a fact that the large majority of essays were emailed in the last 24 hours of the competition. Whilst I fully understand that some people wanted to take as long as possible to think about what they wanted to write… I also know that a lot of that was procrastination. It really is a debilitating condition. One that starves so many wonderful people of so many opportunities.

On the positive front there were hours of wonderful story reading for me. I said at the start that every one of you that wrote in has already won….and I absolutely believe that. You have committed your dream to writing…. that’s more than 99% of the population will ever do. By entering this contest you have placed yourselves in the 1% that takes action. That is willing to work to make their dream a reality. That means your subconscious is already hard at work in making your dream come true…even if you’re not aware of it. I mentioned in one of the earlier posts the story about the guest speaker at a school…who holds up a ten dollar note and asks “who wants this?”. Whilst most kids sit there frozen…not wanting to seem too eager, not wanting to be seen as uncool… one little girl walks over and takes the ten dollar note from the guest’s hand. She does what the others thought about, what they “wanted to do”… but didn’t. She gets the money and chances are… she will also get everything she wants out of life.

No… I’m not preaching. I’m just an observer. This was quite a special prize… worth a good deal of money, but beyond that a chance to experience a special place in the world… under some very special circumstances. Both the hotels involved are dream destinations. Movie stars, prime ministers, millionaires and Sheikhs stay at these places. So it was certainly worth siting down and committing your dreams in writing and many many of you did. I know there can only be one winner, but I honestly believe that the fact you thought about your dream enough to write about it… will go a long way towards making it a reality.

But enough of all that…my sincere thanks to all of you that entered this contest. We already know we will do this again very soon and I look forward to receiving your entries for our next contest.

The winner of the “Santorini Dreaming” short essay is  Christa Hobart and below is her wonderful essay.




I dream about Santorini a hundred times a day.  Whether I glance at a framed postcard in my kitchen that reads “We serve Greek salads here” or when I grab my keys and catch the words “Greece” spelled out in silver beads dangling from my evil eye key chain, I am constantly reminded of my magical times on Santorini.

The first time I was introduced to the enchanting little island of Santorini was in 1982, when like so many others who filled theater seats to see the quirky film “Summer Lovers”, I left knowing I would one day experience it for myself.  A few years later, imagine my delight when one of my closest friends announced her family would be spending a year living in Athens.  I leapt at the chance to visit the country I had dreamed about since leaving that theater in Minneapolis.

Since that first trip in 1985, I’ve returned to “my” island, but not nearly enough to satisfy my soul nor to experience the real essence of the island.  Much like wine that develops a more intense flavor as it ages, on each subsequent visit my love affair for the island grows more complex.  Each time I have set foot on Santorini’s soil I feel as though I am truly where I am meant to be, yet I know I have only scratched the surface of this complex rocky gem.  I’ve tried to explain this feeling to people over the years but I’ve yet to find the words. Perhaps it is a feeling for which there simply aren’t words.  Like falling in love for the first time, there are not enough adjectives to accurately express your emotions.  Rather, I believe, the lure and spiritual charm of the island has to be felt deep within one’s heart.

When I close my eyes and let my mind wander away freely, I always drift to sultry sun-kissed Santorini.  Perhaps it is the hypnotic rhythm of the waves and the pulling of the tide that gently calls to my subconscious.  My mind always fills to the brim with the endless possibilities of time spent on this ancient and alluring isle.  In my idyllic dream what would I do? How would I fill my time in my paradise?

  • I want to view the early morning rising sun and feel how, with each passing minute, the light and warmth begins to awaken and enliven my soul.
  • I want to stroll to a local kafenio and sip piping hot coffee while learning to play tavli.
  • I want to explore the famous ruins at Akrotiri.  The Minoan city surely keeps the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis within its crumbling walls and exquisitely preserved frescos.
  • Many years ago I read “Zorba the Greek”.  A passage from the book has hung on my wall ever since.  The paper has yellowed and is a bit crumpled but it has not been forgotten as I am reminded of my quest every day.  “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.”  Perhaps now is the time to unfurl my sails and let the warm Cycladic winds fill my dreams.
  • I want to visit the vineyards and see how the assurtiko grape flourishes in the hot and dry fields.   Then stomp the grapes with my bare feet as though I am participating in an ancient mythical Dionysian festival.
  • I want to break a plate while shouting “Ompah” and drinking ouzo!
  • I want to walk along the rugged path that clings to the caldera’s edge from Fira to Oia relishing in the breath taking views that surround me.
  • I want to listen to live bouzouki music.
  • I want to live in the moment.  Why is it in “real life” that we have such difficulty achieving this most simple and obvious task?
  • I want to pick up a paint brush or piece of chalk and attempt to capture the dramatic and ever changing beauty that was created by nature’s hand.  I’m not an artist but I know here I could be.  I can’t imagine a setting more inspirational, colorful and poetic.
  • I want to ride a donkey.
  • I want to taste the bounty of this volcanic arid land.  Fragrant bright yellow lemons, succulent grapes, pungent feta cheese, plump vine ripened tomatoes, freshly pressed olive oil, honey , pistachios and salty olives would all be served around my table.
  • I want to sit down on the edge of the caldera with a bottle of retsina and slowly watch the sun slip to sleep beneath the rolling sea.
  • I want to gaze up at the night sky and watch the stars dancing like millions of fireflies to the heavens as I drift off to sleep knowing I have found paradise.

This is my Santorini Dream.  It plays daily in my mind.  It is serene, intimate, respectful, romantic, soulful, filled with passion and uniquely my own.

Congratulations Christa ;-)

PS: This Sunday… a post I have wanted to do for a while: “Living with a purpose”. I hope you can drop by…  M

Santorini dreaming & inspirational living !


I think “they” are wrong (“they” being the sad cynics of this world). I think there is a romantic lurking inside most people… some just need something to “nudge’ it out of them and it seems the images of the Volcano View villa I posted earlier this week did just that.

An imagination that has been stimulated is a wonderful thing and “possibility thinking” is a wondrous thing. Suddenly people can imagine themselves “being here” and by writing a short essay there is a “real possibility” that they can be. 

Suddenly there are emails from people that have been “following” the blog for a while but are now deciding to “out” themselves… to declare their secret desire to visit this island, or write about their dream to escape with their loved one to a “fantasy” destination, to spend a few romantic days and nights in a world that normally occupies their dreams. Suddenly there is a reason to think romantically… suddenly there is intent !

There are many stories about people who had been doing the same thing for years on end… then, one day, they changed their perspective and their whole life changed. There is the story of the father who was taken by his son for a mountain climbing weekend at the age of 60. He had stopped work and his health had seen better days. But something happened that weekend… he got out of his routine, got out of his TV-chair, he got fresh air, spent time with his son and he experienced the beauty of a mountain-top (albeit a small one). He came back a new man… a man with a dream, a man with a mission in life – to climb mountains of similar height in every continent on earth.

Suddenly his life had a purpose. Same person, different mind-set…. new perspective…new lease on life.

Then there are stories of a spouse who suddenly decides to do something special. A dinner by candlelight, a special weekend away, a picnic under the stars, a dinner & show. Something out of the ordinary, breaking the routine, thinking creatively and actually thinking of what would please the other person in one’s life. All of the sudden there is imaginative thinking going on… there is planning, there is anticipation and then there is pleasure and reward. It’s an addictive state of being… and it surely beats existing in a state of  “comfortably numb” !

I said on Monday that Volcano View villas were the first part of the dream holiday… the second half being planned in my village, the village of Oia. Now…I know you thought that the first villa looks special and it is. But  your hotel in Oia is also special my friends… very VERY special.
The “Andronis Luxury Suites” hotel was built only about a year ago by a friend who has impeccable taste… as you will see. You’ve already glanced at the cliff-top peninsula dining area… something completely unique on Santorini. Now let me take you by the hand for a brief tour of the rest of this fantastic place. If this doesn’t make you dream at night……..

andr6you saw it from above… but this is what it will look like during dinner ;-)


andr5Now…I know you have you’re fave restaurant back home, but this is a bit different.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of… 

andr2just imagine your elbows on that infinity edge…

andr1you could get very used to this… right?

andr7 I think this is enough to inspire anyone…


I do believe that many of you… if not all of you out there in blogland, should use this opportunity to do a number of things. Use it as inspiration to not only be creative for this particular “dream” essay submission… but also as inspiration of the sort of thing you should dare to dream about. Use these images as inspiration for a new perspective on life… for a new way of thinking, a new intent. It’s all possible… if you want it to be !


As previously mentioned all you have to do is tell us in 1000 words or less what is your dream romantic holiday on this magical island, what it would mean to you and what you would do here if you won.

The final details on dates and other surprises will be in tomorrow night’s post. Submissions can be made as of Friday 9th October 2009 and will close on Monday 9th November 2009. 

The list of surprises for the winners keeps growing, but I can assure that the two hotels alone are more than worth any effort you go into for your submission. So set your mind free, become inspired, dare to think about things you normally wouldn’t and allow your creativity to take over.

To be perfectly honest with you…whether you win or not should be neither here nor there. Use this to change your perspective on life. If you can be creative, innovative and imaginative for this… there is nothing to stop you from living that way all the time. Write to your heart’s content… you may just be creating the new YOU !

Till tomorrow…. enjoy dreaming ;-)


PS: I know this is a day late…. and I know it’s the second time this has happened, but life has a way of getting in the way my friends. Allison has a pinched nerve on her shoulder (far too much painting over the past few months) and my friend in Athens (owner of hotel above) is a very busy man. So in between chasing him, physio visits, running the studio, three children on the island and wondering why the fourth hasn’t written from London in two weeks… well, time just runs away from you. Apologies…but hope the images above make up for it.

Be inspired and live with passion !