GR - Koufonisia or bust 2019!

I hadn't actually planned to return to Greece so soon. I'm thinking about how the mountains of Peru sound, what the air may taste like, how the dense trees of the Amazon sound when they breathe. I'm certain this is my next destination. Too much seemed to line up for South America but..

My e-mail alert goes off and I glance down to see that it is Camille of This American Girl sending out a news letter. I'm a fervent reader of hers - she is one of the many inspiring female bloggers that made me dream of leaving the country years ago to see the world. It turns out that she is opening a retreat in Koufonisia, Greece. I really can't pass this up.

While I am a budget traveler that enjoys vacations for cheap, this is an experience apart. Camille is running a women's retreat called "Love Siren". It is about exploring sacred woman and connecting and growing together in a sisterhood. It calls to me and I must answer. Another chance to enjoy the Mediterranean sea while delving into spiritual practice with some amazing ladies? Yes please.

I let her know that I have every intention of attending and I book my place. It is not too long after that I am calculating how much PTO I will need from work, followed by booking my plane tickets. I am looking at my poor bank account and suddenly missing 3800$. I haven't even booked my ferry yet. Ugg, ferries. My body groans and reminds me of that one ferry trip in Thailand.

I book my flights for the shorter ferry trip, knowing that I can have a bad time on an 8 hour ferry trip from Athen's port vs from Santorini..

As I'm writing this up I am filled with joy despite the large cost of this particular trip. Greek food has always had a place in my heart. I associate it with so many wonderful memories and since my trip with my favorite ladies to Athens in 2018, I have become even more fond of the culture and food.

It became more of a passion as I joined a dance/trance group some time after returning from Greece. My teacher and now friend is very knowledgeable of ritual practices and cultural significance in the Mediterranean area. I have been learning chants, drumming rhythms, and history behind so many ethnic groups. It's truly a blessing that I hope to one day be able to share as accurately and respectfully as she does. 

My heart has been called to continue this path and I know it leads to an island in the Cyclades - Koufonisia.

Trip costs: (this will be updated after the trip to show the final numbers)

Retreat: 2850$ (includes lodging, yoga practice, excursions with the women, 3 meals/day + snacks)
Flights: 1062.58$ (roundtrip from my city to Santorini)
Ferry: 109.73$ (roundtrip from Santorini to Koufonisia)
Misc: 400$ (taxis, meals before and after retreat, hostel on Santorini, excursion on Santorini)
Total: 4422.31$

This is far more than I would spend on any of my budgeting trips. This is solely because of the retreat, where it's located, and what I am gaining from it. Many asked about the numbers so I wanted to include them.


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