Paula Hagiefremidis has inspired countless creatives to get ‘unstuck’ and trust their voice through her workshops, retreats, mentoring and writing, as featured in the much-loved blog Mediterranean Wanderer and other lifestyle publications. Paula has kindly agreed to share with Everly, her love of the idyllic Greek islands and how time after time this part of the world continues to enrich her soul and satiate her creativity.
WORDS & IMAGES: PAULA HAGIEFREMIDIS
(Top photo by Loc Boyle)
When life was about to set me on a major change in trajectory a few years back, I remember a very distinct moment, walking along the foreshore of beautiful Byron Bay, a place that had at the time become home for the last 8 years of my life, and exchanging with my then-partner about taking women on retreats to the Greek islands. “A creative escape,” I’d explained to him excitedly. “Where women have the opportunity to come and be nurtured by the beauty and magic of the islands. A chance to restore, be nourished, feel inspired and connect with other like-minded women.”
“Paula,” he’d responded at the time, “don’t you think it would be best if you start off doing something small first? You know, somewhere a little more local, here in Australia instead of a huge overseas trip like that?” he asked.
“No,” I replied firmly, thinking about his words for a good 10 seconds. “I want to take them to Greece. I want to show them my Greece. I want to introduce them to a Greece they’ve never seen before. Not the Greece they think they know, like the picture-perfect postcard images of Mykonos and Santorini.”
In that moment, the seed for Mediterranean Wanderer had well and truly been planted and in the coming months, the idea would be ready to be born.
Not long after that conversation, life had forced me to change direction and taken me on a very different course in one full sweep. In the space of a couple of months I’d said goodbye to an 11-year relationship, packed up eight years of a successful life in Byron Bay, returned to my hometown of Melbourne and started from scratch.
The pitfall was the very place I needed to arrive at, in order to begin again.
Less than six months later I’d launched my business and sold out my very first retreat to the Greek islands. It was the beginning of a new journey, and travels to Greece would be a major feature in providing both the inspiration, foundation and direction in how that journey was going to unfold.
There’s no other country that stirs my passion, challenges my learning and pushes me outside my comfort zone in the same way Greece does. The minute I set foot there, something happens. There is a switch that goes off and my insides are suddenly activated. My heart sings loudly and every cell in my entire being completely comes alive. It is where I’m encouraged to be my most uninhibited self and invites complete surrender, and in return, I take a leap and dive into the beauty of this amazing place wholeheartedly…
To continue reading our travel feature on the Greek Islands, please visit the Everly Mag Shop where you’ll find Issue 3 (available in print or digital).
And… to find out more about Paula’s work that empowers and transforms those who are feeling stuck and facing a crossroads of change, visit Mediterranean Wanderer and you can also find her on Instagram.