Santorini Travel, Likes versus Experience, Beauty versus Heart

No dispute, it’s one of the most beautiful Instagram picture perfect places. But Santorini has another picture many exclude in their social media posts, the circus-like, out of control mass Tourism hysteria. Something that was happening and harming many major Tourist Destinations around the World, until a virus placed Tourism on a 2-year time out.

There is always a story behind every picture, and it’s not always as stunning or perfect as the picture’s exterior. It doesn’t have to be deleted or hidden.

Being true doesn’t have to be embarrassing or scary. Worrying of other people’s opinion and judgement shouldn’t be important. Social Media should make us feel good and inspired, not the opposite.

There was no time to enjoy the beauty and the waters below. We had to hurriedly transfer from one port to the next so we don’t miss the bus that will take us on top of the mountain.

Likes versus Experience. Beauty versus Heart.

I wanted to experience what’s it like to swim in Santorini but sadly, opportunity decided to skip me that day.

4 hours to experience Santorini is not a relaxing getaway, but a stressful race to cram it all.

It looked like a great adventure to a fantasy land where nothing could go wrong and everything feels nice.

3 hours wasted getting to and getting back. More experience lining up than experiencing what’s special. More teasing than indulgence. More brisk walking than stopping to just relax and enjoy.

There were more Selfies happening with the view as mere background rather than the view as the main Star of one’s attention. More instant gratification than new cultural exploration and immersion.

It was repetitive rush, rush, rush, then wait, wait, wait that I lost my cool and enthusiasm halfway the supposedly dream bucket list. I was expecting a combo of Zen and fun, but experienced discomfort and irritability instead.

Better souvenirs, things or memories?

I turned into a Hulk and sabotage my own vacay. If only snapping out of it was as instantaneous as my mood change. I had to walk it off to simmer down the steam.

I am not Mr. Nice Guy. I have my moments that turns me into what I hate or dislike the most. Anger is a curse that comes out when I let my guard down and give in without a fight.

My experience was far from the pristine bluest of blue Mediterranean Sea. It was more of rough, temperamental Seas on a very hot Summer day.

The eyes are drawn to what’s beautiful but without the heart, its memory fades away quickly.

I wasn’t amazed nor amused even if millions have posted “hashtag amazing.” Can’t lie on what I really felt.

I hardly saw anyone enjoying their scenic balconies and emerald pools. A contrast to the streets outside the pretty homes.

But yes, Santorini was very photogenic in every angle that all cameras loves it. My phone camera was so love struck that it was only seeing beauty and perfection. It didn’t see the flaws and the craziness. It didn’t feel unpleasantness. The love spell became its blessing.

A great travel is earned, not assumed or expected.

So today, let me share what Romeo saw in Juliet. Let me describe what he felt in such a very short gift of magic and enchantment. Let me relive the fireworks and euphoria in the short hours he was given. Let me celebrate inside and out his Summer like no other.

They represent Hope for all the Romeos and the Juliets that it’s possible to love freely whoever they want and be happy for as long as they want while still breathing. Hope that they don’t have to choose between Love over Family, Happiness over Tragedy, Living over Eternity.

I am envious of what my camera phone has seen and experienced. I wish I was able to see what it saw, feel what it felt, experience what it experienced.

No matter how bad a day has been, there are still good moments in them. No matter maddening, beauty and amazement do exist, did exist.

Months after our trip, I saw a picture on a magazine cover that looks exactly as the place I took time to discover up close when I was separated from my travel group. I remember walking alone, but not lonely. I remember being lost, but found calm, gladness and solitude.

I would love to travel to a place where I can be happy, doesn’t not matter if it has zero likes or has a million. A place where I can find me and all that are important to me.

Looking back, I did get to have moments where I followed my own adventures and was not rushed nor pressured to enjoy them. I did have moments where I can honestly say, “I was there to experience the beautiful and the amazing pieces of Santorini.” That hashtags amazing are true.

Traveling teaches us lessons not found in travel books. Traveling in itself is a challenge on how we cope with stressful situations that requires patience, flexibility and giving. Definitely I learned mine. Again, I am not Mr. Nice Guy. Impatience is my Kryptonite. Anger is my Demon. But I’ll try being better next time.

I may not have another chance to walk the streets of Santorini and watch its incredible beauty and Sunrises, but perhaps imagining the phone camera is me will do the trick whether real or imagined. More heart, less aesthetic superficiality.

About Island Traveler

Just a Man too curious where his dreams will take him.
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11 Responses to Santorini Travel, Likes versus Experience, Beauty versus Heart

  1. judithhb says:

    I was in Venice in about 1997. Beautiful, wonderful and all that I had expected. Then I went again in 2014. The change was truly abhorrent. Huge vessels arriving at the same time each carrying in excess of 2,000 travellers, crowds everywhere and I pitied the locals who had to live with this I am still waiting for Santorini, but fear your experience will be mine.


  2. Never the less dear friend, you were able to point your phone camera towards the incredible beauty of Santorini and that still speaks to you.


  3. I hope you can make it back one day and have the amazing experience you are looking for. I went here in 2017 with my family before all the madness of the perfect instagram picture and tik Tok, and this trip opened my eyes to travel and really changed my life.


  4. Santorini looks breathtaking and your pictures are stunning. Dealing with the crowds and waiting in line can be a stressful experience and feel like a waste of time sometimes. It can definitely take away from the whole experience.


  5. gjef2871 says:

    Oh my friend. It’s so tough when you’re surrounded by beauty but in a terrible mood. I find that happens to me often in the heat, especially when I’m dehydrated. I hope your heart gets to experience what your camera experiences in future. And I hope you get a 2 day trip to Santorini on a sunny day in winter 🙂 Hugs.


  6. ourcrossings says:

    Since its inception, tourism has been considered a benign activity. This is hardly surprising; the holiday industry’s USP is leisure, enjoyment, and a break from all responsibility. It has brought wealth to forgotten rural communities, cushioned the blow of financial crashes, conserved critically endangered species and restored crumbling historic cities. Tourism’s potential benefits are clear. However, the mistake is to think that it can only bring good. Many of us do not believe this myth and have been speaking out against it for decades.

    I was very happy when finally, in the summer of 2017, the media and the travel industry began to turn their gaze to the negative impacts of the holiday industry. It’s appalling to see such things as rent prices pushing out local tenants to make way for holiday rentals or when narrow roads become jammed with tourist vehicles or when wildlife is scared away and when tourists cannot view landmarks because of the dense crowds. Not to mention when fragile environments become degraded. Thanks for sharing your experience and have a good day. I hope all is well with you and your family 🙂 Aiva xx


  7. Jo says:

    I am sorry that your dream vacation hasn’t turned out the way you wanted.
    More people can afford travel, and most of those picturesque places are very, very crowded. And often not so pretty just outside the tourist area. It is great that more people can enjoy those beautiful places, but it comes with the price.


  8. We took a cruise in the Caribbean once. It was wonderful and we had a beautiful time. But I did not like feeling rushed at the stops. Although, what I felt wasn’t like what you are describing above. It just felt rushed, and we had to watch our time. I love to explore. So, we went back to one of our favorite stops and stayed for several days. It was wonderful. I so agree with you, having to rush and not miss something steels some of the joy. However, you do have unbelievable photos, and I hope they bring back the goodness of your trip. Leave the craziness behind in your mind and focus on these amazing sites! … I for one appreciate your sharing! 😊


  9. Ab says:

    That’s too bad what happened with your time at Santorini. I’ve seen photos of the crowds, mad with taking selfies, that you often don’t see on social media – and yes, it’s a chaotic circus zoo and I would’ve felt very irritated too.

    But your photos are lovely and beautiful and hopefully they show you that you did see something beautiful, even if the memory doesn’t match it. I’m glad you did get some moments of peace and enjoyment outside of the zoo.


  10. It appears that traveling with a tour group is not the way to go in truly enjoying and experiencing the beauty and culture of one’s destination. Judging from your photos, Santorini is, indeed, a place of dreams. Yet, the emptiness of the pristine mountainside/seaside dwellings gives me an impression of an external beauty with no soul or heart.


  11. I’m sorry that the experience didn’t match the beauty coming through the camera lens, but it sounds like you came away with something more valuable: perspective. What a great lesson. Thanks so much for sharing.


Thank you for the visit. Have an awesome day!

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