The challenge is simple: Pick a song and write about a memory without stopping.
This is the result.
You’re going to miss landing upon castle walls of ancient history bearing names from old high school curriculums, wandering amongst antiquity, and the morning sunshine with an espresso along an empty corridor getting to know a new friend. You’ll miss that kind of perfect breakfast with your first Greek yogurt to soothe confused stomachs, and beating the heat of a mighty sun while walking to where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. You’ll miss the allure of a small enough city to allow for a free afternoon where you work out for the first time while on a trip, and then meeting for dinner al fresco above a fortified wall and almost ordering the entire menu.
You’re going to miss another morning serenade in Rhodes, reminiscing over life and teenage crushes that carry you within the nooks and crannies of the Athens nightlife. While you may not miss having lost your luggage the past few days, you will miss the synchronicity of walking by the very person calling you about having found your bag. You’ll then miss the surprise of being allowed to jump ahead of the queue for drinks at someone’s favorite rooftop bar, then migrating to another rooftop as your stomach churns with the expectation that more are coming, more are arriving.
You’re going to miss reuniting with your Greek best friend who takes you on a roadtrip north, pleasantly surprised to stop where favorite childhood story had taken place, before driving into what looks like the surface of Mars … This otherworldly land. You’ll miss seeing unspeakable natural columns float above your car window as you settle into your guesthouse right at the base of one, staring back up as if they were once giants that had walked these lands before having become frozen in time, watching eternally over us as humanity slept.
You’re going to miss that Greek dinner that will already make you miss all Greek food long after the trip is over, and the relief of being even warned by a local not to attempt any hike the next day due to the heat wave. So you’ll miss when you slept in, and then after introducing another addition to the group, you’ll miss never skipping leg day climbing up one monastery to another. You’ll miss playing a yacht week playlist you’ll never get to use, and wondering how to tell each monastery apart since there are so many rocks, so many monasteries.
You may not miss the ambient heat of the outdoor lunches here, but you will miss the ethereal sunset colors unraveling over the landscapes of Meteora.
You’re going to miss returning back south to Athens to work out the logistics of rental car, airport, left luggage, marina, different lodgings…so many moving parts. And while you definitely won’t miss the screaming man outside his Airbnb in his sad tragedy of something lost in translation, you will miss how friends still rallied to find another solution within minutes. You’ll then miss tanning at the nearby beach club, the last minute toy-store and supplies run, a Walmart-version of “all you can eat” seafood, washing it down with shisha nearby, and then probably the best sleep you’ll get all week before the reckoning.
You’re going to miss waking up on your own to a beautiful morning overlooking the Aegean, feeling as if you booked the whole surf to yourself as the rest of the hive flew in to join you at the beach club, the old and familiar reunions, and the excitement of stepping onboard luxury catamarans that declare themselves to be your new homes for the week.
You’re going to miss ordering supplies and dinner to your yachts and the first night together afterwards, strolling in as the biggest group of the biggest group of the beach club, partying and parting ways with whatever you thought you knew as “fun” back home, dancing on top of whatever surface you could find and realizing your friends can dance too, the hugs all around with the excitement you finally found your tribe on water.
You’re going to miss waking up to your first home-cooked breakfast served to you by the endless water of the Mediterranean, before jumping into limitless abandon of the Saronic Sea. You’ll miss super soaking soju, floating on floaties, and just feeling like a badass listening to Bad Bunny while on your luxury yacht. You’ll then miss reuniting with the rest of the fleet for the tunnel raft where instead of being on your phone you’d rather just stay in the water instead. While you may not miss the frustration in technology and linking up multiple Soundboks while half-sober, you will miss turning those floating dance floors into your very own wrestling mats because you just have to address unmet childhood needs by playing King of the Castle again. You’ll miss knowing the closest thing those dance floors could be were mosh pits when we’d get involved, but luckily dusk always distracts so you’ll miss wading out into the open water to witness a real Greek island sunset before returning for a home-cooked dinner on the water. You’ll miss the introductions to people on the other yachts, the late night conversations under shooting stars, and determining whether certain narratives would begin to align tonight.
You’re going to miss sailing onto a delightful port island, and continuing to sail around it on your ATV rentals, taking impromptu hikes to secluded beaches, partying afterwards on another, winning the limbo contest, spraying up a champagne fountain while downing tequila cocktails, returning to your old beer pong habits by showing off a clutch double crossover to end the game, the sunset sail back, walking the pier at dusk to your group family dinner, and then dancing all night on top of the barrels at Malibu before holding hands and each other on your way back to your yachts.
You’re going to miss waking up the next morning for a late morning sail over deep conversations before putting your spirit animal costumes on for a rockside runway contest, dancing your heart out hoping to keep the crown, knowing that you’ve already won when you look around how every. single. monsooner. brought a black swimsuit for the ultimate group photo impressing even the staff who had thought they had seen it all, and then boarding for our private beach BBQ across the bay. While you may not miss being yelled at by another yacht for participating in a cookout underneath the backdrop of a nearby wildfire, you definitely won’t miss the other wildfire raging in your brain as you suddenly lose the appetite for food, sobriety, reality, and untimely conversations (although you might still miss that pet rock or two you thought you were getting attached to). You’ll miss the reprieve in head and back massages — simultaneously even — and being looked out for no matter how much you feel you could be losing control.
You’re going to miss waking up to another beautiful island port town, lazy vibes for a lazy morning as you kick back with even the DJ finding a place to park, enjoying a free morning to yourselves, and then it’s off for a group yoga session together to flush out the poison while looking over blue and white and then changing into blue and white for the signature party of the week without knowing day parties could be so much fun. While you’ll also miss the endless hugs of gratitude, bringing the house down with Jerusalema or the Macarena, and the marathon conversations and massages outside, you’ll definitely miss the climax of Sun is Shining when we valiantly rose from the floor to the roof while another sun bowed outside to kiss the water. Then as Coldplay’s “Yellow” began, you can’t believe they could let a party like this end so soon. While we won’t miss the afterparty at Millennium as much, we will miss looking around that night knowing we just had shared a special afternoon.
You’re going to miss waking up to a debate whether to still go to Hydra, but you go anyway, playing wake up music that the shuttle boat should have played before stumbling upon a unique Greek island that you didn’t know you had signed up for but glad you did. You’ll miss reorienting yourself by walking up and down narrow hillside alleyways built in a time before cars, jumping into the sea from a beach bar platform, cliff diving from another, alternating freddos and espressos, and fittingly for the island’s namesake you’ll either miss the attempts to untangle the multiple tentacular narratives that has been offered to explain the past week, or simply kicking back eating those very same tentacles for lunch as you look into the infinite knowing that none of this matters in the long run anyway.
You may not miss the confusion of the boat rides back from Hydra and trying to figure out how to pay them off fairly, but business is business, and so is getting down to business of the last night when you change into your most shimmering outfits for Siren’s Call. You’ll miss the final group photos during golden hour, rescuing one another from themselves as the night is still young and can’t afford having anyone calling it too early, the joy of your boat name winning Regatta and Rockside Runway a second time in a row, dancing while wearing every accessory you can put on, and watching as the night unraveled into oblivion. You’ll then miss jumping from yacht to yacht on our line raft as if we were leaping over Olympic hurdles to make it back to Malibu, with leftover bottles in hand without a care in the world to make one more party to end all parties.
You won’t miss the festivities cut short because of an irritable water taxi that couldn’t wait any longer, but you will miss spicy ramen, and staying up to watch the sunrise one last time together from a yacht. Catching feelings is hard, but if you’re not yet an emotional train wreck at this point, you still need to get it together because you’ll gonna miss the sad steady sail back to Alimos back across bumpy shipping lanes as if you were tumbling through wormholes into another reality. You may not miss the cheesy music goodbye, the farewell hugs, the crazy dash to airports and city hotels, but you will miss a real bed under 20 foot ceilings, your first long warm shower without time limits, and getting to have another chance at conversation with the rest of your group over rooftop dinners and drinks while being looked after by the Parthenon. And you’ll miss the figurative last dance, from trying to finish the last of your bottles (unsuccessfully) in your hotel room to trying to finish your brunch (unsuccessfully) before another and last goodbye becomes one final lingering afterthought when alleys of Athens melt into a highway home or to another island that generations have called home.
You’re going to miss the sobering wake up call to suddenly be surrounded by so few people for the first time in a week, the success of navigating through foreign languages to rent a car facing a sunset for a trip now in the rear-view mirror. You’ll miss ending this month with how you began it: the backpacks that saunter down sonder and memory, roses and cobblestones framed by Greek towns older than millennia.
You’re going to miss the morning reunion and lazy sleeping into the afternoon, starting your day late because you deserve the sleep, and whether it’s jet lag or yacht lag, it will be a beautiful late breakfast (do they still call it brunch here?) and running into a monsooner from 7 years ago of all places and times. You’ll then miss the stroll around a tiny old city, using the heat wave that has dogged you all week as an excuse for more gelato or to visit a Starbucks, the off the beaten path detour to visit a war memorial you wouldn’t usually think about visiting, al fresco dinner under fort walls at sunset, getting to walk off the dinner back home, and the joy in innocence of sleeping in early.
You’re going to miss the quick road trip to a destination Greek city that beats to the rhythm of the coast, eating the meatiest freshly steamed fish, running into friends on a monsoon a third time in a row without expecting it (now you’re getting suspicious), and then meeting even more friends at your last stop of the day who changed their plans just to meet again. You’ll miss the sunset city tour by melting into the crowds of a hot summer night, the drinks, hookah and morning after brunch to feel like a local, perplexed to feel how a legendary palace home to numerous Greek myths would feel so normal and relatively unheard of, the subsequent museum that helps to give some backstory to the palace, the dicey walks back and forth to your AirBnB on the hill, the unexpected and heavenly olive oil feast that could shower the whole world in liquid gold, taking a wrong turn to find the right sunset, and the impromptu dessert by having a second dinner in food court cafes before sleeping in for one final day together in a paradise sauna.
You’re going to miss the last road trip around the island, crowding into a passenger ferry that makes it feel like a scene out of Dunkirk, the sweaty hike circumnavigating and then up to the ruins of a leper commit at the summit without caring for the sun that tries to beat you back down, the lunch by the seaside with natural air conditioning, gazing over the Libyan Sea with a gelato in your hand, the detour back through the mountains for a final drive together home and the subsequent sunrise goodbye at the airport, dropping off the car, and moving onto the last detour’dventure.
You’re going to miss seeing a sunrise on the runway, the airport gate goodbyes and flying into one of the biggest music festivals in the world where it’s not just a new country you’re arriving to but a concept, one the dares you to live beyond the realities you’ve been accustomed to at home. You’re going to miss missing the people with whom you had spent the past month across more than 15 cities and 7 islands but that will be tempered where some of those very people will once again change their plans to rejoin you so you won’t miss them as hard anymore. But alas you’re going to miss the month of never-ending friendships new and old. A month of encountering run-ins, serendipities, and small world moments. You’ll miss the month of enjoying both the cardinal and the weird. A month of laughing, dancing, and exploring with eyes and hearts wide open. You’ll miss the month of constant turning corners to find new things to stimulate your childlike wandering hearts of wonder, before the denouement when your inner Kerouac imbues you with the madness built up over a month, encapsulating itself into a single moment with roman candles that burn burn burn in the sky like spiders exploding across the stars.
And therefore you will long for most of all, the memories of youth that you will miss amidst the mist of passing joyous storm and thunder; the type of shared dance you will remember better than entire years…
… a month long dance you will never have again.
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