A slow food and boating guide to Turkey

Posted on August 18th, 2016

You might have caught my last bareboat sailing trip in Australia’s Whitsundays? I loved bareboating – sailing your own boat, no skipper required. More than I thought. I slept. I ate. Did I mention I SLEPT!?

That’s our cat. And Me. And the infamous Turquoise water.

So I saved up and planned and orchestrated another bareboating trip, this time in Turkey. Because I’d never been to Turkey. And I knew the hiking there was worth crossing the world for, too. And, then, there’s the food…right?

(A little side note on the terrorism issue: Yup, Istanbul’s Ataturk airport was bombed while we were there, as well as just a few weeks beforehand. Terror can strike anywhere in the world today. There appears to be no pattern to discern as to where or when or how. We did, however, decide to enter via Greece, by boat, instead of via Instanbul airport. I advise you stay abreast of travel warnings. It’s also possible to do similar trips in Greece, Italy and Croatia).

I explain how bareboat sailing works. In Australia, you can simply turn up with your driving license and you’ll be walked through how to sail your own boat.

To sail in Europe, however, you have to get an international sailing license, which you can SWOT heavily for and do a half-day session with an accredited agency before leaving. You’re then given a briefing on arrival, charts and Read more

A slow food and hiking guide to Symi, Greece

Posted on August 11th, 2016

Two months back I found myself in Symi, a small Dodecanese island near Turkey, via the kindness of a stranger.

Symi island harbour

Symi island harbour

Sinead of @seasoulandsnow reached out on Instagram when she saw I was in Rhodes (how I wound up in Rhodes is a less pretty story). She offered me her holiday home in Symi as she had sensed I was having a pretty rough trot (the unpretty story). She’s never met me. She simply cared.

I was (having a rough trot) and so I took the opportunity. Because sometimes it pays to just go where the invitation leads you. And be vulnerable and in need.

I’m supremely glad I did. The place healed me no end. Symi is a truly special place where tourism hasn’t mucked with its spirit. There is a distinct sleepy fishing village vibe to the joint. Tour boats arrive from Rhodes during the Read more

The secret to a good life? Hunt down difficulty

Posted on August 4th, 2016

I’ve read about the work of philosopher Martha Nussbaum for a while. She’s one of the most prolific thinkers around. Nussbaum has published 24 books, 509 papers and received 57 honorary degrees. Last month she won the Kyoto Prize, the most prestigious award offered in fields not eligible for a Nobel. And so on, so forth. She’s a fierce mind with a fierce set of ideas about life. You can read about the fabulous anomalies…bearing in mind she has some wonderfully robust ideas about inconsistency.

Image via nikakaiser.com

Image via nikakaiser.com

I found this thought worth pondering: She believes the point of life – a good life – is to not just accept difficulty (and grow/learn etc from it), but to actively seek it out. Indeed, she writes that if she notices herself feeling too satisfied, she begins to feel discontent.

“To be a good human being,” she says, “is to have a kind of openness to the world, the ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered.” 

This is a disarming notion for me. You too? I agree with her, though. I often have debates about the worth of hardship with folk around me  who “just want to be happy”. Happiness, I’ve written before, is one of many byproducts of leading a good and meaningful life. Surely we are here for more? Surely we’re here to grow? This is how we’ve evolved. It’s also how we feel most satisfied with our lives…when we know it’s heading somewhere. And we really only seem to grow and progress by overcoming hardship. Read more