A few years ago someone asked me why I liked to travel and see new places. They didn’t ask me because they were inquiring about the wonders of exploring someplace unknown and contemplating doing it themselves. No, they asked me in an incredulous manner — as in, why would you want to spend your hard-earned money on a week in a scary new place?
That’s me in Mykonos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. I recently got back from a trip there as well as the island of Thira (Santorini). Why Greece? I’d been thinking about Greece for a few years and decided to make it happen this year. Needless to say, I loved it (except for the crowds, which I did not like).
Traveling isn’t something I’m able to do as much as I’d like to right now now due to limits on my vacation time. Well, the the sort of travel I envision, which is multi-week jaunts to far-flung destinations around the globe. In place of that, I’m trying to explore more in my backyard. There are some quirky destinations and places I’ve never been to within a few hours drive of me, which I’ll be writing about in the future.
Why do I like to see new places? It’s exhilarating, fascinating and, most importantly, I think it really helps keep life in perspective. Your bad day seems a lot less consequential after visiting other parts of the world, even other parts of America outside of your neighborhood.
But back to Mykonos, because that is a far-flung destination that I was able to get to. Mykonos is known for its cRaZy partying, which I had every intention of experiencing, but I didn’t. I instead opted for low-key nights on the beach drinking wine. Priorities, people.
I stayed in the village of Ornos, about 2 miles from the main town — which is also called Mykonos. Ornos is a quick walk to Ornos Beach.
Staying in Ornos was originally done to save money, but overall I’m glad I ended up staying there. That way, I went back to Mykonos town — which seemed an awful lot like New York City’s Time Square at times — when and for the length of time I wanted to.
And just like Times Square, the best time to visit the town of Mykonos is apparently early on a Sunday morning. That’s when the winding roads of Little Venice and the hulking windmills originally built in the 16th century were all but empty.
Get this, though. I WALKED from Ornos to Mykonos. On my own free will to boot! See, that’s one of the things about embracing minimalism. I look for little ways to save money that actually make for a better experience. I like being active and exercising, and rather than wait for one of the estimated 30 taxis on the island to come and pick me up or navigate the bus system so early in the morning, I instead got some exercise, saved a few bucks and got to see these sights:
Yes, that’s a donkey next to a flag of Greece. Perfection.
Mykonos strip mall
That walk and a hike I did up a mountain to an ancient site (details to come in another post) on another island were some of my favorite experiences of the trip.
Of course, I did use the bus system later on when I didn’t feel like being quite so active or when I went elsewhere on island that was farther away. But the bus was hot and crowded. And a girl standing next to my seat threw her water bottle on the ground like it was trash because she said she couldn’t be bothered with holding it any longer.
Luckily, after that experience I was able to go back to focusing on the important stuff:
Don’t mind me. Just image crafting.
Minimalism travel tips:
-Walk as often as you can. When that’s not possible, take public transportation.
-But take cabs to and from the airport/dock to your hotel. This helps you get an idea of your surroundings, allows you to see how far you are from the sights or nearest town, and helps saves your sanity when you’re dealing with carrying luggage. Trying to maneuver luggage onto an overcrowded bus or train is not fun.
-Stay outside of the city centers. Accommodations are usually cheaper on the outskirts of town and may help you achieve more of your goals for your travels.
-Try to see sights early in the morning before the crowds wake up. It’s more peaceful and you get an opportunity to see the sights up close without waiting in lines.
What are your minimalism travel tips?