Back from my 2-week vacation and what a trip it has been 🙂 Apprehensive as I set off, having reservations on whether I’ll be able to cope with the physical demands involved especially when the destination is famous for its preposterous amount of steep steps with a landscape that looks like this 😉

Oia, Santorini Island, Greece
Oia, Santorini Island, Greece

Apprehensive as I was on the physical aspect, I embarked on this trip filled with a sense of confidence and purpose. Not even sure if confidence is the right word, but I know that this will be the last trip before I return to focus my mind to go through all necessary medical procedures and treatments. I know well that this trip will be a stretch to my physical body but when I survive it, I would have arrived at a mental state where I am ready to face what is required. I was ready to pay the price for this trip.

We can never fully prepare for something until we are there to experience it for ourselves. On the first day when we arrived at Oia, Santorini, we were greeted with mean steps leading to our accommodation. If you look at the above photo, just beside the white balcony closest to us at the bottom right corner is the location of our accommodation. close to the top right hand corner of the photo is a brown coloured mini market situated at the top level of the village, the level where most activities in the village take place. The top level and everywhere you see in this photo is only accessible by foot / or hired donkeys. We were dropped by car somewhere in the mid-level at the other side of the village, lugged our luggage all the way to the top level, checked-in at the office and were led to our accommodation. Traumatized we were as we lagged behind our porter (thank God for porters) who took both our luggage, 15kg and 18kg respectively on his shoulder, breezing through the steps at the speed of wind. We struggled to keep up even though our hands were empty… yikes.. what a way to be greeted on the first day.

Horror thoughts went through my mind as I struggled through the steps. Staying at a room so far down means we have to climb up the exact same steps each time we go out and down as we return. We have 3 nights and 4 days in Santorini – it was disturbing, and worried I had become. Did I ever mention that I have difficulties even with the well designed and evenly constructed stairs back home? The entire Oia village is constructed on uneven grounds and is connected by steps of different size, height and depth. No two steps are the same. I could only trust, hope and brace myself for what I would have to face. I whispered many many prayers.

One thing I had learnt through experience this time is that we can only progress when we dare step out of our comfort zone. Never, and I say never in my day-to-day routine will I even come close to any situations where I’ll be required to climb such stairs or be subjected to activities requiring such physical demands. My current adjusted lifestyle is safe and controlled, allowing for some experimental risk but only within boundaries that are regulated by each ‘experimental outcome’. In Santorini, I rose up to the challenge, with the help of painkillers of course. I was on daily dose of 7.5mg Meloxicam. After a few times up and down those stairs, they become less intimidating as the mind and body (maybe) start to adjust to them. The walking and climbing was so intense that though I couldn’t feel any physical pain (thanks to the painkiller), I was told that I had started to walk funny. The sensation of pain kicked in on the 3rd day despite the painkiller. What could I do? It is only the beginning of my 14-day trip across Greece and Santorini is my first stop. There is no return to this…

The physical demand persisted as one would expect during a trip like this. From Santorini, we proceeded to Mykonos, Delos, Delphi, Arachova, Kalambaka, Meteora and Athens. There were lots of walking, hiking, climbing and more climbing. My day starts and ends with functional stretches and constant applications of what I’d learnt from my therapists on posture and movement through the day. I was focused and determined to make it.  It was all worth it though. At the end of each boundary pushing ‘experiment’, I was rewarded with interesting finds and breathtaking sceneries that remind me that the world is much bigger than my own.

Monasteries of Meteora
Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

I survived, or dare I say I overcame myself repeatedly during this trip. I made all the climbs and hit all the places we’d planned to visit. I’d learnt and experienced much this trip and I think I came back with slightly stronger leg mucles and a slightly more flexible hip movement. The boundary was expanded during the trip and I hope it will be the trend setter!

At the back of my mind though, how do I apply that into my current lifestyle without the painkiller? More experiments beckon 🙂

“If you want to walk on water, you gotta get out of the boat!”