The Irish Australian Wedding

Who: Ally & Ciaran
Location : Ballybeg House, Tinahely, Wicklow – Ireland
Duration: 3 days
Accommodation: Pod with Communal Kitchen & Showers
Rating: 10/10

Check out my snaps from the wedding I attended. What an amazing kick ass time – the Irish sure do know how to party! Set in the countryside we were treated to 3 days of eating, drinking, laughing and dancing. The whole event was super chill and a wonderful joining together of family and friends. Such magical fairytale!

I had to let go

So I’ve been planning this trip for quite some time. 2 years in fact. Mainly I want to travel and write as a career, so this blog is a major stepping stone in that direction. Everything I have been doing has been for this time, this moment, to get on a plane and write about my experience.

Except I haven’t been feeling so enthusiastic about writing reviews on places or things I’m doing. I feel like that’s been done and dusted. Who cares what I think about the Leaning Tower of Pisa or how I spent my day wandering aimlessly around the city, these are definitely parts of my day which I will write about, however they are not the reason why I write. Google anything right now and you will be able to find someones review or opinion on it. So what makes my blog so special? Well apparently its me. My story, my perspective and what I really want to write about is the human condition and how we find ourselves in the places we are.

Reflecting back on the 2 years it took to get me here – saving, working contract positions, not committing to a full time job because I knew I would be leaving, finding flexible work and more saving, I woke up this morning to find the weight of the world on my shoulders (quite literally) I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. Pressure to perform, pressure to write, pressure to make this time count! And as I was stressing about how I hadn’t felt inspired to write, it hit me. LET THE FUCK GO. Let go of all the made up pressures in your head and just be and let life flow. You see I was so concerned about writing this god damn post I forgot what really matters, being in the moment and just feeling whatever I feel and doing my best to write about it.

I think we all do this in life sometimes, get caught up in our heads and make things 1000 worse than they are, or maybe thats just me 😉

Im currently in the countryside at Ballybeg House in Tinahely, a county near Wexford. Its god damn BEAUTIFUL, I feel like I’m in a fairytale.

Im here for one of my oldest friend’s wedding, Ally. Im staying on site in a cute little glamping pod (which was a steal for only 200euro for 3 nights!) Im going to take a load of pictures and upload them shortly plus update you all on the Irish wedding happenings!

Till then

Santorini Girl

First Day in Ireland

Yesterday I woke up to a sunny mild day in Dublin, Ireland. I am blessed to be staying with one of the most loving amazing friends I have made on my travel journeys, Elaine. We met in Santorini several years ago and she has been kind enough to open her house and her heart to me on this trip to Dublin! It had felt like no time had passed between seeing Elaine a few years ago til now, which only confirms for me that international friends are the best friends!

Although severely jet lagged and being a hypochondriac that I possibly have DVT (deep vein thrombosis) I set out to explore the city of Dublin. From what I can remember (most of the day was a blur due to jet lag and the EXTRA large glass of wine Elaine and I ordered at lunch) Dublin is an amazing place full of culture and history. And mostly, its reallllly green! (I think thats the point)

After meeting Elaine for lunch in the ‘Silicone Valley’ district of the city, I wondered around the streets to thankfully overhear another Aussie telling a bunch of tourists that he was headed to Trinity College. I tactfully followed a few steps behind trying not to look like a stalker and found myself on the beautiful green fields of Trinity College. It was magnificent and grand. I particularly enjoyed the art installation in one of the squares, a large metallic ball with cracks and rips in it (see photo). I highly recommend getting lost in a city, not knowing exactly where you are going because I love seeing things for the first time and really soaking it all in.

I stumbled out of the grounds to find myself on Grafton Street and an array of shops and tourist hot spots. After doing making my obligatory purchases in Victoria’s Secret and H&M I was FEELIN THE LAG yet again and decided to head home. The funny thing is, I was taking more photos walking home from the train station than I did all day at any popular tourist spot. I find beauty in the day to day scenery of a destination, a winding road with a lush green backdrop, discovering a new place for the first time, hearing noises I had no contemplated before, like the sound of seagulls in the distance. (Not like the Australian screechy ones either!) This to me is the true beauty of traveling.

I headed home and fell asleep for 12 hours. #thelagisreal

Until I awaken from my zombie like state

Santorini Girl

Facing my Fears & Flying again after 2 years

So here I am, finally! Im currently flying over Indonesia enroute to Dubai and then onto Ireland, which is particularly exciting as I haven’t been there before. 

Before I get into my upcoming trip I just need to say wow the stress and anxiety in my head this morning was real! My mind was going into over drive about all the things that could go wrong and then trying to manage them from the limited space my brain and skull takes up on this planet. Yeah, not a fun time. 

There is reason for this though,  about 2 years 7 months ago when I was living in Santorini Greece, I got the phone call every traveler dreads, my mum crying on the other end of the phone saying something has happened. I knew it from the second I answered and just demanded to know what happened, she couldn’t say the words fast enough for me. My heart beating and panicking the next words she said would change my life and how I travel forever. “Your dad has been in an accident. He didn’t make it.” My world stood still and I fell to the floor and screamed. He was meant to pick me up from the airport in just 2 short weeks and we had spoken the day before. I Immediately returned to Australia the next day. This was November 2015. I will detail this life changing event in another post soon. 

Since that day its fair to say my life has changed and how I choose to live it. My dad was a coach driver used to love showing tourists our beautiful country. I think I got my love for travel from him, so there’s no way I’m going to stop doing what I love and continue to explore the world, but its been a long and interesting path from that moment to get me back on a plane today.

After a blurry start to 2016 and a trip back to Greece collect my things and tie up loose ends, I made the decision to return to Australia indefinitely and ground myself in the Sydney life. I got a 9-5 job as an executive assistant for the federal government earning good money, I moved out with my best friend to Gladesville, set up a Tinder account to find a man, got a car and started studying acting in the city. I was doing all the things I thought I needed to do as a woman soon approaching 30, setting myself up so to say. 

The only problem was, my heart was still overseas and wanting to travel the world.The first year was the hardest. How could I do to this boring office thing everyday and look at the drab fixtures in this tired old building when they are waterfalls to be seen! When life is happening right now! This was an important period of growth for me, and although I set up all the parameters to be ‘stable and secure’ I felt more and more like I was losing control. Many days and nights were spent inside my room crying, grieving my father and the previous life I had and how I thought it could never go back to it again the way it was. 

I did a lot in that time, I reconnected with old school friends, as mentioned I moved to Gladesville, the suburb where my dad grew up and my mum used to work and where I believe they ultimately met. I was trying desperately to find myself in my exterior surroundings and doing the things that I thought would bring me prescribed happiness. You know? The kind of tick in the box happiness everyone buys into….finish school, get job, get married, buy house etc….which is fine for some! Just definitely not me. 

After finishing my acting school I even got cast on a reality dating tv show! As exciting and fun this was, it still didn’t fill my heart and soul with the fulfilment I craved. Travel was calling my name again. I booked my for August 15 with no real idea where I was going or what I was doing, and as Im sitting on this plane I still only have a rough idea of where Ill be going with no real plans or internal flights booked. All I knew was that I was ready for travel and adventure again and It was going to be over 7 weeks from August to early October. 

Fast forward to this morning where I am an absolute mess, thinking of every possible negative outcome, literally crying my eyes out on the way to the airport. I am so lucky to have the people around me that I do, which made it easier to leave but also harder at the same time. See as soon as I booked my flight and followed my heart, my life changed again. My job at the government ended as it was a contract, I finished acting school and I was filming the last few episodes of the show. I was jobless, clueless but I knew I wanted to travel and I needed to make it happen. 

So I started applying for jobs that would give me the flexibility of acting on the side, but also saving to go overseas. I applied for a job online at a local hotel, I got a phone call soon after from a voice that questioned “Is this Belinda? Is your nickname also BJ?” Turns out the General Manager was a very good friend of mine that I have known since I was 14! Obviously I took the job and started working in hospitality again. Previously I had worked as a flight attendant for Virgin Australia for 5 years and also managed a 5 star hotel in Santorini Greece, so this was returning to familiar territory. The friendships I have made with staff and guests alike are second to none, I am so blessed to have these people in my life. I also met someone! And although our relationship hasn’t always been the smoothest of sailing, I know I have found a friend for life. 

At the hotel, even though I wasn’t the one travelling I got to host the guests and international students who were travelling and offer the best local advice and customer service I could. I love being able to connect people with experiences and enrich their lives in any little way I can.

This was certainly on the path to the feeling I have been looking for. And thats why Im writing this blog – to connect my previous life of travelling carefree to the more grounded and fulfilling experience Im having now. I want other travelers and people to be inspired by my words and to connect to my story. Yeah shit happens, and it hurts bad. But if I can navigate through the expectations and dreams we all have within ourselves and walk through those damn departure gates this morning with tears streaming down my face and a head full of anxiety – you can too. 

Strangely as soon as I got through those gates – I remembered. I remembered who I am, why I am doing what I am doing and a sense of calm filled by body and mind. Its been a long journey to get here, but Im glad Im here and I cant wait for you to share this journey with me. I’m no longer traveling to escape, but rather run towards the life I dream of. I’m not leaving Australia the broken woman I thought I was, but a woman filled with love in her heart who dares to share and keep stepping forward and shaking shit up. The universe must be smiling back at me as I scored the only free row of empty seats on the plane! #basicallybusinessclass 

I hope to bring you all a sense of adventure, share some of the cool shit I’m doing and ultimately know that you can change your life around in one decision. My decision is to get back out there and do this! 

Ill have an update for you soon when I land in Ireland! 

With love 

Santorini Girl

P.S Big shoutout to my girl Natalie Brite, without your guidance and support none of this would be possible. Check her out at nataliebritecoaching.com 

Night Flight Cocktail Bar

Located on the eastern side of the island lies a relatively new cocktail bar called Night Flight. Upon entering you are immediately immersed in the relaxed atmosphere with cool tones of white and beige making it a chic & yummy space to enjoy a cocktail or some food.

When I first walked in I was warmly greeted by the bartender and waiter, who quickly let me know I could be seated anywhere I desire. I chose to sit on the comfy white lounges, which are complimented by wood and rustic chairs & tables. I was presented the menu which includes snack type food such as burgers, souvlaki, pasta, club sandwiches and some seafood.

I chose the Salmon Club Sandwich with an ‘Energy Plus’ mocktail to drink.

Both my drink and food were served in a timely manner, the salmon club sandwich consisted of smoked salmon, rocket, cucumber, olive pate and is served with extra rocket on top (with some delicious sauce I cant figure out what it is!) The ‘Energy Plus’ mocktail is served in a mason jar and is made up from homemade green tea syrup, infused pineapple, passionfruit and guarana with gingseng extracts. They both taste amazing! They are also well priced the sandwich 10 euro and the drink 7 euro.

Night Flight also provides free sunbeds and umbrellas to patrons on the beach front, which is not as common in Santorini with some other beach bars charging up to 7 or 10 euro for a set. There is also a private parking lot for guests and free wifi.

There are always some chilled house beats playing in the background which adds to the allure of Night Flight. In the evening the pace kicks up and a DJ or a live band adds to the already eclectic vibe here.

The most interesting feature of Night Flight would have to be its open air roof which has a direct view to the overhead planes landing and taking off. It is right on the end (or beginning) of the flight path into Santorini. When a plane is taking off first you can hear the roar of the engines, the music cuts out, the lights go down and seconds later the plane passes above your head only what feels like meters above! For any aviation geek (like me!) or plane enthusiast its definitely something you must experience for yourself!

Now I must finish eating my meal….and then hit the beach!

Love Santorini Girl

ABOUT:
Night Flight
Avis Beach – Kamari – Santorini

Facebook.com/nfsantorini

Instagram.com/nightflightsantorini

+30 22860 30066

 

SG of the Month – Katia Babs

Santorini Girl of the Month: Katia Babs 

Originally from: U.S.A 

I met Katia back in 2013 and it’s been fun times ever since. I’m lucky to call her a friend of mine and here she tells her own Santorini Story …

Yasas! My name’s Katia and I’m a 29 year old Greek American from Boston who now lives on the beautiful island of Santorini. My first trip to the island was at the age of 16 when I came with my family. I remember the beautiful view of the caldera but little else. The second trip was something more memorable; a trip that changed my life.

The summer of 2011, I arrived in Santorini via ferry with a good friend of mine. We had no plans which is usually the best way to travel. We easily found a small hotel to stay in for the next few days, our only mission was to explore the island and continue on to Mykonos for more adventures. The first night in Fira (the capital city with all the action) was so much fun that we decided we wanted to extend our stay a few extra days. That first night I met a local named Manolis at the Highlander bar and for the remainder of our vacation, he and I were inseparable. He took me all over the island and we explored places that even he had never been to before as a local. Within a matter of days I had fallen in love with this beautiful place and this incredible man. Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave and we vowed that this was not goodbye; he would come visit me in Boston and I would return to Santorini. Manolis arrived in Boston a few months months later and it was magical (pause for a romantic sigh). As I said I would, I returned to Santorini the following summer of 2012. This past Sunday, June 22nd marks our 3 year anniversary and I can honestly say that I love him and his island with all of my heart.

We live in the quiet town of Karterados, just a few minutes from Fira where everyone knows your name and the color of your underwear 🙂 It’s a peaceful, friendly and relaxed lifestyle that only Greece can understand and I have come to love and appreciate. My first summer here I was lucky enough to meet Elly (another Santorini Girl contributer) and we’ve been friends ever since. Last summer I met Belinda (Santorini Girl/Writer) and this summer the three of us girls have already spent so many wonderful days drinking frappe and tanning on the beaches.

I love to explore all that Santorini has to offer with activities, dance, fitness, adventure, and above all…romance ❤

image2

Santorini Girl’s Story

My name is Belinda Johnstone and I’m a 29 year old Australian from Sydney.  It has always been my dream to live in Santorini ever since I took an overseas holiday in 2006.  A short 24 hours is all it took to ignite the dream within me to live on this beautiful island.

I left a little piece of my heart in Santorini and I wouldn’t come back to find it again for another 6 years. I had a picture of the sunset in Oia on my bedroom wall this entire time – reminding me of everyday of my dream to return. I remember feeling so free and uninhibited, maybe it was the frappes, maybe it was the late night dancing and music or maybe it was the free spirited culture of the Greek people, whatever it was I loved it and I wanted it all the time.

Fast forward to 2012 &  I was living in Los Angeles studying acting. After 5 short months I wasn’t really feeling it anymore and I knew I needed to recharge my batteries and get a fresh perspective. Where should I go? The answer was blatantly obvious- the Greek Islands of course! So spontaneously I booked a trip to the Greek Islands, 2 nights in Mykonos and 5 in Santorini. Not knowing anyone there I went by myself with only my heart and faith guiding me that this was the right thing to do.

I remember the ferry from Mykonos to Santorini pulling into the port and looking up to the sheer cliff faces of the Caldera with the backdrop of the colourful Aegean sunset – falling in love all over again and knowing this is the place I was meant to be.

After 3 days in Santorini, knowing I had to leave in 48 hours – I made the decision to stay for another month, I simply could not leave this beautiful island again! One month turned into two months and I had made so many amazing friends and was starting to get used to the Greek way of life. My day consisted of going to the beach mid afternoon, sipping on a freddo cappuccino, coming home taking a nap and then getting ready to go out to dinner and then hit up the bars.

It was October and I had to go home, simply because I had 3 wardrobes internationally! One in Australia, one in America and one in Santorini. I found the simple small suitcase I packed for Greece for one week more than enough and that happiness came from not how much I had but how much I was living. After a very sad goodbye to all my new friends and the island I returned to Los Angeles briefly then home to Australia, to see that same picture of the sunset in Oia hanging on my wall.

After 2 months in Australia I knew I wasn’t happy. So I made the decision to move to Santorini for the upcoming summer season of 2013. I didn’t have much time to plan it all as I made my decision only in January and the season kicked off in May. Miraculously, I had applied for my Italian passport and got it pushed through the system within 4 short months and received it the day of my flight back to Greece! I had to have a lot of faith that everything would fall into place.

Feeling ever so grateful, I boarded my Virgin flight and left Australia once more to return to my island of Santorini.

I lived in Santorini for 3 years and it’s been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Living in Santorini allowed me the lifestyle to work but also to see my friends everyday and go to the beach, coffee or to dinner. I have worked in a couple of tourist bars as a waitress and an MC. Most recently I was working as a Receptionist/On Duty Manager at one of the prestigious Imerovigli hotels on the caldera.

I got to meet new and interesting people everyday from all over the world. From a local perspective I enjoyed walking down the street and knowing most people and being greeted with a friendly “Kalimera!” (Good Morning) even though it might be 3 in the afternoon. I lived a very relaxed and slower paced life which is very different to Sydney.

I’ve always said Santorini picks and chooses its ‘victims’ as in – you know if you have been chosen and will be back, its almost as if you don’t have a choice! Stay tuned as I write more about my experiences in Santorini!

Kisses

Santorini Girl

Bars & Nightclubs in Santorini

Santorini Girl’s Guide to Nightlife

The main town is called Fira, where you will find the most popular clubs and bars. Most places don’t start to get busy until around 12am when most people go out. So if you’re looking for a casual drink after dinner head out at around 10pm, but stick around til midnight when things really start to heat up.

Most bars/clubs do not charge a cover entry fee. In peak season some rarely may incur a 5, 10 or 15 euro cover charge. Reservations are not required however most do offer table service if you get there early enough or book ahead. Cocktail waitresses are usually waiting upon your arrival to take your order and get your drinks. Unless otherwise stated the dress code is usually smart casual. Most tourists wear flats and sandals and this is acceptable in the venues.

BARS 

2 BROTHERS BAR

2 Brothers Bar is one of the first bars you will find walking around the streets of Fira. Its located next to Obelix Souvlakis and Gyros. This is one of the most fun bars you will visit on the island. From around 8pm you can expect to find fellow travellers starting to arrive and sit and watch the sports coverage on the various TVs in the bar. Happy Hour starts at 10pm where you can enjoy 2-4-1 Cocktails and 4euro beer all night. At around midnight the DJ kicks off his set and the lights go down and the music goes up. The bar turns into a mini club and the vibe is like that of a festival. The music is second to none with resident DJ Haris playing an eclectic mix of EDM (electronic dance music), house and RNB. One of my favourite bars on the island. If you’re keen enough…ask the bartender for a head shot!

www.facebook.com/2brothersbarsantorini

THE HIGHLANDER BAR 

The Highlander Bar is a Scottish bar located up and around the corner from 2 Brothers Bar. There you will find a great friendly atmosphere with lots of young travelers and also romantic couples alike. Rich in its Scottish feel, the walls are plastered with memorabilia from Scotland and other places from all around the world. The DJ delights tourists with his mix of commercial top 40, deep progressive house and funk. If you dare play Russian Roulette or take part in their Cocktail Challenge. Expect to have a fun night at The Highlander Bar Santorini.

www.facebook.com/thehighlandersantorini

TOWN CLUB 

A few paces up from The Highlander Bar you will find Town Club. Town Club has a european feel to its interior with its white decor and flashing laser lights to compliment. The DJ plays a modern mix of Top 40, dance and funky favourites. This bar is a little bigger inside compared to the others and has visitors from all over the world. Often girls dancing on the bar!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Town-Club-Amnesia-Cafe/592387900790300

CALDERAKI

A brand new fixture to Santorini’s Caldera this ultra sexy bar provides deep house music and tunes to move your soul. Amazing cocktails and a nice and cosy feeling not the inside. Tastefully decorated with a minimalist approach. A personal fav. Located on the Caldera underneath Tropical Bar.

www.calderaki.gr

CASABLANCA SOUL

Casablanca is one of a kind. On any night you can expect to find either a DJ playing some chilled beats or a live band rockin’ the dance floor. Located in the heart of Fira – you will be greeted with the checkerboard dance floor and lush lounges on the side. A seriously cool place to go – their cocktails are out of this world.

www.facebook.com/casablancasoul

MURPHYS BAR 

Right next door to Town Club, there is Murphy’s Bar. An Irish pub with interesting decor all over the walls including road signs, international flags and posters from all over the world giving this bar a great feel. Music is top 40, electro, house and bangin’!! A great place for young tourists to go party.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Murphys-bar-fira-Santorini/195870477117710

MURPHYS SALOON

Underneath Murphy’s is Saloon – one of the newest bars on the island. A western feel with waitresses in cowboy hats and wooden interior a great place to go chill and relax with friends over a drink or two. A more relaxed atmosphere with a pool table in the back. Plays classic rock!

https://www.facebook.com/murphyssaloon

TROPICAL BAR

The only Australian bar on the island! This bar offers amazing views of the Caldera so you can party from when the sun is setting and into the night. Resident DJ Yiorgos plays a great mix of relaxed tunes building up to old time classics and new tunes. Happy Hour specials available and a popular spot for everyone to visit.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/30026163811/

TANGO BAR

I love going to Tango Bar because it’s got a very classy and sophisticated vibe. I love to dress up when I go to this venue so heels might be an option. This bar attracts a bit of a more stylish mature crowd where you can go enjoy yourself with one of their many signature cocktails. You must try their Cucumber Martini – it’s delicious! Also on the Caldera,  Tango bar plays a great mix of music including funky soul and old school and is a great place to visit with a group of friends.

https://www.facebook.com/tangobarsantorini

NIGHT FLIGHT (Kamari) 

Night Flight is another new addition to the island located on Avis Beach, about a 10 minute taxi ride from Fira approx 20 euros one way. A brand new cocktail bar with a lounge setting outdoors, providing a stage for live bands and acts to perform. The unique thing about this bar is that its right under the flight path of aircraft landing into Santorini, hence where it gets its name from. It makes for an exciting evening with friends.

www.facebook.com/nfsantorini

JOJOS SUMMER BEACH BAR (Perivolos) 

If there’s one bar that goes off its this one! JoJo’s Summer Beach Bar is one not to be missed attracting International and Local DJ’s alike such as Bang La Decks and CJ Jeff. Expect a party every Sunday in the season that is going to be wild and crazy! It’s a bar surrounded by a pool with lounges and cabanas for hire. JoJo’s also serves a variety of food and snacks and of course cocktails! This crazy party place is located in Perivolos on the beach on the other side of the island. It would take approximately 30 minutes from Fira in taxi which will be around 30 euros one way.

https://www.facebook.com/JOJO-Summer-Beach-Bar-Santorini-

 

CLUBS

 ENIGMA

Enigma is currently closed. Please check their Facebook page below for updates.

https://www.facebook.com/EnigmaClubSantorini

KOO CLUB

The largest club in Fira, starts to warm up at around 1am with a huge outdoor area so you can party under the stars! The music is a great mix of house, commercial, RNB, classics and Greek music. Reasonably priced drinks and cocktails we highly recommend you visit Koo Club when you come to Santorini.

http://www.kooclub.gr/

MAMOUNIA 

The most popular Greek club on the island, playing Greek music a great place for anyone visiting the island to visit to get caught up in the amazing vibe! Indoor and outdoor areas cater for everyones taste.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mamounia-Club-Fira-ThiraSantorini/407780402612424

How I Moved from Sydney to Santorini & Made it Work

Moving out of home when I was 24 years old seemed like the scariest thing I could do at that age. A short 2 years later I would find myself moving to another country entirely!

I have been in love with the Greek Islands, specifically Santorini since I was 20 years old after I went on a holiday in 2006. I instantly fell in love with the place and hoped one day I could live there. Years passed, I got caught up with life and work and then…

In 2012, I visited the island again for 5 days and simply decided I didn’t want to leave! So 6 months after that decision my original dream became a reality and I found myself boarding a plane with a one way ticket to Santorini Greece.

This is a short run down of how I logistically moved from Sydney to Santorini, found a job, a house and made a new life.

1. Getting your Papers in Order

So this step will only be applicable for those with a European or British heritage (sorry!) I myself am half Italian and decided to see264276_10151512062078366_1138272370_n if I was eligible for dual citizenship. This involved visiting the Italian Embassy in Sydney, arranging a meeting and finally being granted my Italian Citizenship. As Greece is a part of the European Union this allows for anyone from countries in that Union to live and work within those areas.

I know some of you reading this won’t be eligible for this however late in December 2015 there was a Work & Holiday Visa agreement reached between Greece and Australia for people to travel and work abroad in these respective countries for up to 12 months.

See http://www.wyseworkandvolunteer.org/2015/12/18/australia-greece-work-holiday-visa-approved-by-greek-parliament/ And also visit the Greek Embassy’s website to find out more information.

For those of you with Italian or European heritage I urge you to find out if you’re eligible too as it does open many doors for you.

2. Renting out my Car

I’ve since sold my Toyota Yaris but back in 2012 I found a friend to rent it for $100 a week, which covered my monthly repayments. Renting to a friend I knew and trusted helped me hand the keys over, also having NRMA Comprehensive Insurance was a plus because they cover anyone driving the car aged over 25 years old without them being listed on the policy.

A simple post on Facebook will allow you to see if this too is an option for you.

3. Have your Network of Friends

Even though I only knew a handful of people in Santorini at this stage I was lucky to be supported by them when moving over. For the first week I stayed with a friend I had met there the season before. I also had another friend put in a very good word for me at one of the local bars. Having this support system when I arrived was crucial to my success in Santorini. I value friendship and family above everything else so having these kind people in my life made all the difference. I had only met them 6 months prior and that was because I made myself available to talk and get amongst the community, so when you’re travelling always be friendly and open – you could make some friendships that last a lifetime!

If you don’t know anyone and you’re heading to Santorini – message me! I’ll be happy to help out.

4. Finding a House

This one was pretty funny. I made an appointment to go and see the local real estate agent, the houses on offer weren’t exactly what I was looking for or too pricey. So I got one of my Greek friends to teach me how 1452245_10151900988308366_1538914344_nto ask “Do you know any houses for Rent?” in Greek. I then went to the village I wanted to live in and basically walked around the small roads and asked anyone on the street that walked past. I was shown a handful of properties and I got to know people in the community I was wanting to live in. One lady invited me in for a coffee, she couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Greek but we somehow got along like a house on fire! A coffee I will never forget! Basically I learnt you need to let everyone know you’re looking for a house and usually something will come through. I found a room at Hotel Nicolas and moved in a day later. These days houses or rooms for rent will be around 300 – 400 euro a month & some are inclusive of electricity and water.

5. Finding a Job

As mentioned previously I had a beautiful friend of mine put a good word in at the local bar he worked at too. I started as a cocktail waitress for the summer season where we worked together. In subsequent years and sourcing other jobs for myself and friends I have found networking and talking the best thing you can do for yourself. Really put yourself out there and just tell everyone what kind of work you are looking for. My second year in Santorini I worked at another bar – unknown to me the waitress had already put in a good word for me, so when I went in to have an interview with the boss it went very well! Always be on the lookout for something that interests you and that you would enjoy.10400819_10152253571538366_8097141225496997906_n

6. Register with the local Police Station

When you move to another country its always a good idea to register yourself with the local police department if you plan on residing and working there for longer than 6 months. This process can be lengthy and full of paperwork but I recommend doing things the right way if in case something were to happen to you whist you are abroad.

Also list yourself with http://smartraveller.gov.au if you are an Australian Citizen too – even if you don’t know when exactly you are returning its a really smart move.

7.Let your Local bank know you’re leaving

This is just so they don’t freeze your bank account when you go to pull out cash when you’re overseas. Advise them of when and where you are travelling to and they will make a note to ensure this doesn’t happen.

8. Renting a Bike or Quad706310_10151266053003366_1027399730_o

After I had been on the island for 2 months with my job I had enough income to afford a quad bike (ATV). I spoke with one of the local bike dealerships and he agreed to rent one to me for the season. It was only a 50cc bike but it was a lifesaver when it came to getting a
round the island – and it allowed me to see things I wouldn’t of otherwise. The other option is buying a quad bike which can range anywhere from 500 – 1000 euros depending on if it is new or used. A valid drivers license from your country of origin is necessary to do this, if you wanted a scooter or motorbike this would need a valid bike license too.

9. Get a Local Mobile/Cell Number

Getting a local number in Greece was one of the first things I did. Visit the local Vodafone or Germanos store in Fira to organise this. They only cost 5 euro each for the sim card and then your preferred prepaid or plan costs. I chose to go with Cosmote on prepaid as most people I knew on the island at that time used their free minutes service to each other. I spend around 10 euro a month on buying credit which pretty much lasts me the whole time.

10. Make Friends and Talk Talk Talk!

My number one piece of advice is to get out of your comfort zone and talk to everyone! Locals, tourists – whoever will listen just to increase your confidence once you’ve arrived because you are starting in a new community and your friends really do become your family there12191288_10153277320818366_9061255503039545872_o. I have been blessed with the friends I have made in Santorini, ones who were on holiday, ones who live there….it is my number one favourite thing about that island. Had I not taken the leap into uncertainty and not moved there I never would of met these special souls. So I encourage you to get out there and follow your heart because you will experience things and meet people you never would’ve before.

Kisses

Santorini Girl

Infinity Collection Fira – Discover and Get 15% off

Every once in a while something special happens in Santorini. This time it’s the Grand Opening of the brand new hotel Infinity Collection based in the heart of the island Thira.

If you’re visiting Santorini this upcoming season and if you’re lucky enough to secure a booking there – I would definitely take the opportunity to stay at Infinity Collection in Fira.


Infinity Collection is a rare find in Santorini – a beautiful property of villas located very centrally in Fira, reasonably priced and exclusive as there are only 5 private villas available. Because this property is so brand new I can only imagine the secret will get out soon!

I had the pleasure of being invited to their soft opening late last year. The rooms are ultra modern and chic yet still keeping within the traditional whitewashed Santorini style.

Large spacious cave rooms – the property offers guests Deluxe or Superior Cave Villa experiences. All villas are fitted out with brand new flat screen TVs with access to satellite channels.


The Deluxe Villa is 30 square metres and can comfortably sleep up to 3 guests in the double size bed and single sofa lounge. Perfect for a couple that enjoy a luxurious spacious setting.

The Superior Villa is 46 square metres and a much larger living area to feel at peace and relax. It can accommodate up to 3 guests in the king size bed and single sofa lounge. These rooms also have the option of interconnecting with the room next door – which is perfect for families or groups traveling together.

Being brand new the Infinity Collection is lusciously decorated with soft furnishings that are contemporary and stylish. Fresh vibrant bougainvillea’s exploding with pinks and purples surround the property giving it its unique atmosphere.

Infinity Collection also boasts a large outdoor swimming pool (optional to be heated) with sunbeds and lounges. The property is also quite private and isolated away from the crowds of Fira yet also close enough to access via the cobblestone paths – which is only a short 3-minute walk.

The views are of the eastern side of the island that are far reaching and breathtaking. It’s also located very centrally to restaurants, bars, museums, shops and the bus and taxi station. The closest beach can be accessed via bus, scooter or ATV and is only 10 minutes away.

I was delighted to find out that all the bathrooms are stocked with complimentary products from Korres – a local Greek brand that uses mostly natural ingredients and produces some of my favourite body washes too. (The jasmine body wash is divine.)


Of course Infinity Collection also offers the following as standard inclusions;

  • Free Wifi in all rooms and outdoor areas
  • Free Transfers to and from the Airport or Port
  • Daily Breakfast for all guests
  • Patio for each Villa
  • Kitchenette with Toaster, Microwave, Refrigerator and Electric Kettle
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Air Conditioning
  • Hairdryer
  • Concierge Services – ATV, Scooter Hire etc..
  • Private bathroom, shower, bathrobes, and designer toiletries

Overall I highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for chic, affordable accommodation this season.

As a special deal for all Santorini Girl readers – Infinity Collection Fira is offering 15% off the room rate for all new bookings made before 31st March 2016*

To book in your luxurious villa for your stay in Santorini email info@infinitycollectionsantorini.com and mention Santorini Girl to receive 15% off!

Kisses

Santorini Girl

*discount is based on their non-refundable room rate.