"to travel is to live"
This quote by Hans Christian Anderson is one that I believe in with all my heart.
At 19 and 20 years old, I would have to argue that Mike and I are pretty well traveled. We have both been all over the US (aside from the East coast, but we made new friends from New York while in Greece so that's next on the bucket list), England, France, and Italy our senior year, and I've been to Mexico and Switzerland on top of that. I know in the grand scheme of the entire world this is so small, but experiencing life outside of our own little world here in Idaho has shaped us into who we are, so Mike and I knew we wanted to honeymoon in Greece, despite what others said about it being "impractical.
I won't lie, it was difficult at times while we were organizing and booking everything. It wasn't cheap either- any other time we would have been fine staying in small hostels and air bnb's, but as this was our honeymoon... well, we wanted to do it right. So we bought our tickets, reserved our hotel rooms, and then saved saved saved up until our wedding day and had faith God would provide (And of course, he did).
We left 2 days after our wedding and I couldn't sleep the night before, I was so excited! When we finally got done with our 24 hours of flying and our taxi driver dropped us off in front of our first hotel room in, we stood on the roof and looked out at the little white houses of Santorini and the beautiful sunset and almost couldn't believe it- we had made it.
We stayed in Santorini for 5 days. Imerovigli was where we stayed (basically the center of the whole island) and the first morning we woke up at 6 am and decided to walk into Fira. We spent 30 minutes walking along the cliff of the Caldera, looking out at the blue waters of the Aegean sea as the sun rose higher in the sky and took it all in. When we got back to our hotel room, breakfast with the freshest orange juice I've ever tasted awaited us. We sat on our private patio and enjoyed the stillness as we discussed the rest of our trip.
We honestly didn't plan a single thing before we left aside from a photo shoot with a photographer friend from Thessaloniki, and THAT was so surreal! Having Teo come show us around and take our photos on the rooftops and hillsides in Greece... indescribable. Other than that, we were free to explore what we wanted, when we wanted, with who we wanted. We met our new friends Rami and Rania on our second day by the pool of our hotel, and spent many evenings going into town and enjoying dinners in Oia with them. We spent our days eating delicious food, drinking orange juice, napping when we wanted, laying out by the pool, driving our ATVs through the island, and just enjoying our time together as husband and wife. (Poor Mike was my photography subject everywhere we went!)
Despite how relaxing it all was, on our last day in Santorini we were ready to hop on our plane and head to Athens. The leisure part of our trip was over, and we were ready to go experience the culture and history of the country.
One of the main reasons we picked Greece was because of my heritage. My family came to America from Turkey/Greece, and since I was little always desired to go see "the land of my people". Santorini was such a tourist-y destination we didn't come across very many locals or experience super "authentic" Greek life, but once we arrived in Athens it was like we were in a whole different world. It was there that I truly felt connected to my roots, and the feeling that I had the whole time was one that's so hard to describe. At a tattoo parlor that was right by our hotel, our tattoo artist Paul got so excited when he heard my last name and told me the history and meaning of it. And when we had met with our friend Teo in Santorini and he talked about Greek life, it became more and more apparent that my roots went even deeper than I thought. I felt so at home where we went. The people were so friendly and welcoming (and loud!), and several women we came across Mike just sat back and laughed at how much they acted like me. And the best part of it all? I got to experience it with my best friend. My muse. My husband.
My goal as a photographer is to one day be paid to travel the world doing what I love, with Mike by my side. Not only that, but I hope that by traveling and capturing the beauty of the places we go, that I can inspire other people to make goals to travel and get outside of their own town. Having a routine is nice, having family and a place to call home is so important, but God put us on this big beautiful planet so that we could experience it! I would much rather work to live than live to work, and put some extra money aside each year to go see places we have always dreamed of seeing.
It might be difficult, it might seem scary and even daunting at times, but I promise you- traveling is worth it all.