I was a Southern Californian girl
Not a valley girl, but a 30-year-old married San Diegan who loved living the SD lifestyle filled with gorgeous sunsets, great friends and fish tacos… not to mention an excellent micro brew selection.
I lived in America’s Finest City for over 8 years with my husband, Dan, and our two pups, Ringo and Theodore.
We enjoyed living in our downtown condo where we were accustomed to many amenities that are often taken for granted, like throwing your TP in the actual T instead of a tin can next to you. Just a year ago, you could find us wine tasting in Temecula, brunching along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk or hitting up one of the many San Diego festivals that are drawn to the near-perfect 70 degree weather.
Then, in the blink of an eye, Dan got a job opportunity to move to Greece…
The Island of Crete, actually, and it was completely out of the blue. It was difficult to even think of saying goodbye to our family and friends, but we just couldn’t pass the opportunity up. So, with the blessings of our family, we of course said YES! (Wouldn’t you have, too?!)
It happened all so quickly.
The movers were at our door step two days after Christmas (seriously…) and packed our entire life tightly into a rusty shipping container. In less than 3 months from the time Dan received the job offer, we were packed, loaded, shipped and dumped on an island right smack in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
It was nerve-racking, to say the least. The only other countries I’ve traveled to were the Bahamas and Mexico… which are relatively very close to home.
What a word. Home. The four letter comfort word that everyone is so familiar with. Home is family. friends. life.
I never in my life thought I would have the chance to live in another country. Yet here I am, sitting half way across the world – on another continent – typing along in a hotel business room while Ringo and Theo sit next to me on an Ikea computer chair. (Yes, they have Ikea here)
Life is funny sometimes… actually, all the time. You never know who you’re gonna meet, where you’ll end up and who you’ll become.
Just 5 years ago I was applying for Dental Hygiene school. Something I’ve always wanted to accomplish. It was my dream to become a Dental Hygienist. You know, the job where you actually clean other people’s teeth.
I absolutely loved my patients and my profession. I enjoyed what I did with a passion. I know a lot of people who think I’m crazy for loving what I do, yet they don’t think moving 6,757 miles away from home is crazy.
It’s all relative.
Everyone has their own opinions and life goals. One of my life goals was to build my career and stick with my ‘dental home’ indefinitely while working a 9 to 5 (actually it was 8 to 5, but who’s questioning?). Now I’m living on a Greek Island where I’m surrounded by ancient ruins, olive trees and goats.
Life is funny.
My early years
I was the little girl who played with Barbie’s and Micro Machines, at the same time.
I’m an only child who grew up with many cousins and friends… so I technically never considered myself an “only” child. My parents introduced me to every kind of music genre there was and forced me to wake up numerously at 6 a.m. to go on outdoor adventures – I enjoyed it immensely (not the 6 a.m. part). We never watched sporting events, except for the yearly super bowl. Instead, I was subjected to watching hours of nature documentaries and filmed music concerts.
Tell me… were you raised like me?! Pretty much everyone I grew up with watched TRL… and I honestly didn’t even know what it was until sophmore year.
I could teach you the basics of keeping your pet fish alive, inform you of several secret locations for fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and name off numerous classic rock bands just by hearing the song on the radio.
My parent’s passion for music, nature and family tradition greatly inspired me growing up. It’s hard-wired into my soul.
And it’s now projected into my blog.
I’ve learned how to ski by the age of 4, hook my own live bait by the age of 6 and pitch a tent by the age of 8. Seriously.
My dad was the owner of a high-end aquarium and tropical fish store in the Santa Clarita Valley, CA. The same small town (now huge) where I grew up. Here, I was kindly instructed as a young child to clean all the aquarium tanks, feed the fish with smelly live worms (yuck!) and remove any ‘upside down’ fish with a net and my bare hands. I was a very lucky child growing up and my parents made sure I was grateful for everything I was given.
I love everything to do with nature, I’m not joking. I prefer being surrounded by wildlife over any type of traditional sporting event. I camp (not glamp), fish, hike and snowboard… among other outdoorsy things.
I’m not saying I’m a pro at outdoor activities, though. I once hiked along the dangerous Napali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii where I seriously thought I was going to die every step of the way.
(Ringo obviously felt the same way in Mammoth…)
Whatever you do, do not underestimate the Lilikoi. They’re more lethal than stepping on a banana.
And I’m actually quite horrible at mastering the basics of snowboarding. I mean, getting down the mountain is easy… it’s when I dive off the dreaded chair lift… literally. I feel bad for the people behind me. And the ones after them.
Finding the Silver Lining
In 2011, I was forced to accept the passing of my two grandparents… and my dad. It was a horrible year. Over the last several years, I have come to terms with the pain and heartache. Now, while thinking of them (every single day), I incorporate what I love to do in their memory.
And in my blog, you will find just that.
My dad and grandpa were outdoor adventurers – so I try to follow their footsteps in my exploration, taking one more step further. They were the kind of guys who backpacked in the mountains for weeks while boiling their own drinking water from a stream.
My grandmother was a cook… and an excellent one at that! She always made the delicious grandma food we’re all used to. Because of her, I search for healthy indigenous ingredients and how the locals incorporate them in their mouth-watering dishes. You can find more not-on-the-blog foodie connoisseur info and recipes at It’s all in the Olive.
I also come across a few local treats that, let’s say, aren’t very nutritious… but they’re just too good to not share!
I hope to inspire you to further your own adventures, take some risks and find serenity within the world around you – like my family inspired me to do.
And always remember that life is funny. Never take it too seriously. It throws bizarre opportunities at you. I would say curve balls, but I grew up watching the nature channel – not sports.