We were strangers from all parts of the world – Australia (East and West), Belgium, England, Wales, and the US – circled around a glass coffee table overlooking the Aegean Sea that never ended on Schinoussa Island. I can be quite shy meeting someone for the first time, and it takes me awhile to warm up and be myself; but on this first night as a group of swimmers it was the infectious laughter that broke the ice.
When I was jotting down my experience swimming the SwimTrek Greek Cyclades holiday I had a hard time choosing what to write about – because the Greek Cyclades is just close to perfection when it comes to swimming, island hopping and gazing upon the sunrise and sunsets. The islands are plentiful; little drops in a sea of blue, and each unique. Schinoussa Island is a hilly island with pathways for roads, and when you reach the top there is a wooden windmill that overlooks a high panoramic view of the gorgeous Aegean Sea. Koufonisia has to be where the color blue was discovered. As you approach this charming island the white washed houses that reflect the bluest of waters welcome you home. But just as much as I can write about how stunning this part of the world is, it was the people, the friendships made that I would love to repeat.
I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend 7 days swimming in the big blue. When I reflect on what made all of us become close friends, these 3 things keep ruminating my mind.
Togetherness - The journey of life introduces you to many people along the way, and for me it’s the experiences shared together that creates that togetherness. Our days were spent swimming island to island, stopping in the middle of the sea to breath in the beauty, exploring caves, the underwater world. Whether it was playfully racing or leisurely exploring – it was about being together and supporting one another. The two men that I ended up swimming with were the best swimming mates, we were in sync, supportive when the swims became long and we always ended each swim waiting for the entire group with the biggest grin.
Spirit - Each and everyone in this group had a child like spirit, a spirit that could wash away the tide and shine brighter than the sun. This spirit created everything from silly jokes, playing in the water and spending the evenings in laughter. It was infectious.
Passion – There was a thirst for life in this group. Hearing everyone’s stories made me feel good because when you surround yourself with good, passionate, and positive people you can’t help but feel good inside.
We toasted our last evening together for not only a job well done as mermaids and mermen – but a toast to friendship. These once complete strangers from all parts of the world were now friends, and saying till next time was a little bit of heartbreak.
We still keep in touch with Facebook, and hopefully there will be a day where the tides of life will reunite us on another swim in the ocean.
Until next time my friends …