A couple weeks from now, I turn twelve months nearer to 30. It’s possible that isn’t sitting well with me.
Thirty. It appears so old.
At the start of the entire year, I decided I’d spend the summertime in Europe, with the majority of my time allocated to the island of Ios in Greece.
Through the summertime, the island becomes a haven for young backpackers wanting to soak up sunlight, water, and the suds. I knew there wouldn’t be another chance to get this done pre-30. It had been time to accomplish it now before I became that “dirty old backpacker.”
But like all of the best-laid plans, that one fell through. I must return to the united states in June to speak at a conference, cutting my summer trip in two. There will be no spending the summertime in Greece enjoying my “pre-30” crisis. My visit to the Greek islands is only going to last only per month before I move to Italy, Hungary, and, finally, Sweden.
So, heavy heart at hand, I found its way to Ios more than fourteen days ago to remain for four nights.
I stayed for seven.
Then, leaving for Santorini, I finished up returning two days later. I missed Ios an excessive amount of. I stayed for another week before I left for Paros and Mykonos.
Now I’m back on Ios.
Pushing off the others of my travels for a few more precious time upon this little rock.
I often discuss what travel is and what this means. What does it mean to visit? To backpack? Is one form much better than the other?
Travel doesn’t match a box.
It’s lots of things.
It’s a lot more than seeing a location or a method of travel.
But a very important factor that permeates all discussions about the type of travel is that, by the end of your day, travel is approximately making connections.
Not merely with places, but with people, too.
Ios is a rocky parcel with a primary town growing just like a vine up a pointy, church-topped hill with quintessential blue and white houses, small cobblestones lanes, and tiny storefronts. The island’s wide, yellow sand beaches are lapped by beckoning azure blue water. Small clusters of houses and terraced cliffs for wine and crops branch right out of the main town. The island all together is a haven for young backpackers wanting to soak up sunlight also to party.
There are more beautiful islands in Greece. (And, really, I favor my islands to have significantly more palm trees, jungle, and tropical fish.)
Ios’ main draw continues to be the partying, beaches, and crowds. I came for that because I needed to party a summer away in Greece, but I stayed as a result of connections I made out of the people here on the island.
And I’m pulled back there due to those connections.
Arriving in-may that year, prior to the crowds, I found almost all of the other backpackers there have been looking for work. Ios’ economy in the summertime runs on backpackers working the bars and restaurants in trade free of charge food, drink, and enough money for an area.
I made friends with the owners of empty bars and restaurants. George at the Greek restaurant the Nest taught me some Greek. Alex from Blue Note Bar introduced me to a number of Greek alcohol. Many nights, Demetri and Nicos from Slammers discussed the sad state of Greek politics with me over ouzo.
You meet lots of people when you travel. Faces and names begin to blur after some time. You feel friends on Facebook, nevertheless, you rarely ever see one another again. I’ve met a large number of people on the highway, but only a small number of people whose weddings I’ll attend and babies I’ll meet. It becomes a rare occurrence when you meet people you interact with on a deeper level.
It just happened if you ask me when I lived on the Thai island of Ko Lipe in 2006, where, four years later, most of us were having Christmas together. It just happened on Haat Rin in 2007, where, 2 yrs later, I attended the marriage of my Australian friends.
It just happened this past year in Valencia, when three Americans, two Australians, and one Malaysian shared a dorm room for weekly and clicked so well that folks asked us how, when, and where we’d became such friends, given our different nationalities. “We just met three days ago,” we’d tell their astonishment.
Therefore again on Ios, several strangers came together and acted as if they’d known one another for years. Some will continue to work the complete season on Ios. Others leave in a couple weeks. Some stay half the summertime. Some left before me.
But most of us impacted each other for some reason, and every day I visit a common update on Facebook from anyone who has already left: “I miss Ios.”
Most travelers stayed a couple nights on Ios. They might party hard, take a seat on the beach, and, after a couple of days, stumble back onto the ferry, having checked Ios off their list.
My friends and I were here for the future — them because they needed their travel plans based on working and me because, having found several people I liked, saw no reason to leave. Staying put allowed us to create roots on a windy island where people blew in and out like leaves.
This is, at least temporarily, my children.
Days and nights together, we chatted little about our life back and the memories there, and we laughed about our shared experiences. We gossiped over hookups, bickered over where you can eat that night, traded book suggestions, and sparred over the politics of the Greek overall economy.
Time differs on the highway. Days feel just like weeks and months like years. Fourteen days on Ios felt as an eternity. When I left, people couldn’t believe I was only there for 14 days. To them, also to me, it felt a lot longer.
I don’t regret only spending two days on Santorini and Mykonos, though, since it gave me additional time with friends on Ios. Now, I’m back and sad again I have to say good-bye while they stay here.
Travel is approximately the people we meet a lot more than the places we see.
And somewhere out there, other travelers are connecting and forming bonds which will last far to their futures, too. Somewhere on the globe, they too are nicknaming themselves “a family group” and just watching the world pass together…
4 Tips for Visiting Ios
Accommodation In terms of accommodation, be prepared to pay at least 30 EUR per night for an exclusive room (and much more in the high-season). This will most likely add a private bathroom, AC, a TV, and a mini-fridge. On Airbnb, shared rooms usually start around 15 EUR per night while entire homes/apartments could be rented for about 40-50 EUR per night.
Food You will discover gyros (meat, cheese, sauce, onions, and tomatoes served on pita bread) and other street food for only under 5 EUR. For a budget restaurant, expect meals to cost between 10-15 EUR, including a glass or two. For a mid-range restaurant meal, be prepared to pay almost double that. If you’re on a budget and want to cook your own meals, be prepared to pay 40-50 EUR weekly for groceries (pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foods).
Transportation To bypass the island, you may take the neighborhood bus. Just remember that the neighborhood bus system only runs in the summertime. Tickets cost 2 EUR and runs along the island’s main road. The neighborhood bus only runs until early evening and you’ll need to have a taxi. More prevalent for transportation are ATVs. You can rent ATVs for approximately 15-40 EUR each day to access the beaches and elements of the island further afield.
To access Ios you’ll have to have a ferry (there is absolutely no airport here). Ios could be reached best from Naxos, Santorini, Crete, and Piraeus (which is near Athens). Be prepared to pay at least 30 EUR for a one-way ticket from Piraeus to Ios for a simple economy seat. The journey will need between 4-8 hours based on which ferry you take (the high-speed ferry will definitely cost more but is a lot faster).
A one-way economy ticket from Santorini to Ios will definitely cost around 13 EUR and takes around one hour.
Book Your Visit to Greece: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. My favorite places to remain are:
- Francesco’s — This family-run hostel includes a pool, terrace, and provides you a free of charge dirnk on arrival. What’s never to love?
- Far Out Beach Club — If you’re searching for a spot to party on a budget, that is it. The hostel includes a pool, bar, space for camping, and a non-stop party that goes until sunrise.
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel — and I believe can help you too!
Want MORE INFO on Greece? Make sure to visit our robust destination guide on Ios for a lot more planning