Winter is Coming, and We are Going….

In just 34 days we will arrive in Greece, where we will be housesitting seaside villas on Evia Island. Though it’s only two hours from Athens, it feels like an isolated paradise. Sunrise comes from the right, straight out of the sea and mornings are lit up like fresh orange juice we sip on our breakfast table. Almost daily we breakfast together after feeding all the animals, however, this time I’m looking forward to being the earlier riser and writing with the sun. The silence and tranquility of the place cannot be beaten, and we’re so grateful to be sitting for four months in this staggering spot.

For me, this will be a creative writing retreat where I focus solely on producing work that I love: be it short stories, poems, fiction, or hybrid works. It will come on the heels of my personal writing website launch, so I will have ample incentive and time to publish weekly. Maddy has been expanding his video skillset and has a few short films which he will be filming on site — as I have decided acting is not for me (though I did give it a shot) he will also have to be his own star.  Definitely, keep an eye out for the behind-the-scenes on those videos as they will be hilarious one-man shows of talent.

We’re so excited to see the furbabies again: we miss Publik the dog, Kisette and Carmen the cats, and all three chickens, who we hope have survived to see another winter. I’m especially looking forward to cuddling and walking Kisette while Maddy’s arms are longing for Carmen!  We’re planning to build the chickens a better protection for the cold winter months, but are woefully unprepared in coop creating, so if you’ve got any tips please do let us know. We still have to prepare snow chains for the car, just in case of an emergency during snowy times and are contemplating renting a car in Athens to bring all our gear over. Though, it seems much easier to rent a car in USA than in Athens online!

Winter is tricky in this particular space: the single car road can be easily washed out in high rains or we face the possibility of being snowed in, so for the first time in my life I will have to stock up for winter. I’m actually quite looking forward to it, though, planning, preparing, and a bit of rationed hoarding. There are lots of soups in our future, and I’ll happily take any protein heavy winter recipes you’ve got. We’ve also got to stock up on firewood, drinking water, and coffee and cookies for our respective addictions. Seriously, what good is winter without a nice hot cup of coffee to heat you and keep you warm through the day?

And then, there’s the biggest bonus of being in this remote area: the WiFi comes and goes depending — quite literally — on the wind. So we bring books. We’ve bought forty books to keep ourselves well-read and entertained on those long grey days when outside is a harsh world and we snuggle up with the cats and watch the sea froth itself into a salty latte. On sunny days, we’ll walk farther than before, exploring new parts of the island and landscape, seeing what flora and fauna we can add to our knowledge. Maddy’s already bought amazing boots and thick pants, though soon it’s my turn to shop, but I have a hard time buying winter clothes as they all feel too suffocating and hot when trying them on in the store.

So yes, winter is coming, and we couldn’t be more excited to leave behind the hyper-connectivity and rush of Madrid and swap it for the stillness and peace of Nea Styra. What are your plans for this winter? Do you also have creative ventures up your sleeve?


Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She’s been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.


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