I have just come back from Rhodes, a Greek island and life there seemed so much simpler than what we have in the UK.
Rhodes – a Greek island, but nearer Turkey
The jobs seem to mostly relate to tourism (or are a byproduct created because of tourism) and as a result the people who live there work so hard in the tourist season and presumably in the off season get a chance to rest.
Getting a brief idea of the culture (as much as a tourist at a holiday resort can get an idea of someones culture in seven days) seem to revolve around religion and family.
The cars mostly look old, with only the new models being available as rentals for tourists and the only iPhones I saw were seen sat round the poolside.
How happy were the locals? With the amount of friendliness, good humour and smiles I am going to assume that they are very happy!
Talking to a waiter he didn’t seem to have the same pressure that people like me put on themselves. He didn’t have a desire to own things, or feel the need for a better job or worry about meeting ‘the one’. He just took it all relaxed while telling us that ‘he may’ (not has to) visit England someday.
Observing the Rhodians made me think more about myself – how to be happy and grateful for what I have and not feel bad for what I don’t have.
If I had to define some rules for living a happy life like someone from Rhodes I would say:
Work hard and rest when needed
As mentioned the Rhodian Islanders work very hard – while we sat around the pool we would often see staff working morning through to late at night. But the opportunity for them to make money for their family iswhen the tourists were there. Rest when the opportunities are less.
Enjoy the natural things
Rhodes is an island of great beauty – it contains some amazing views and has a lot of history attached to it. As I had the benefit of a balcony I spent many evenings watching the sun go down – admiring how the colours would change, taking pictures and drawing this natural beauty.
Although it was hot Rhodes was also a great place to jog, cycle or embrace many of the water sports. As a gym lover I can say it beat being inside lifting weights anyday!
Have a good diet
The Greek diet was said by the chef Jamie Olivier to be one of the healthiest in the world. I enjoyed numerous refreshing salads with olive oil and feta cheese.
The food I had was some of the tastiest that I have enjoyed abroad and upon my return I didn’t feel as fat and bloated as I would normally, most of my weight gain was probably from the drinking in the evening – Yamas!
Smile and greet everyone like they are a long lost friend
We soon found a bar that we enjoyed having a few relaxing drinks in – the atmosphere was great and the waiters were really friendly. Normally I have found that there is a bit of fakeness in customer service just to get a good tip.
I got the impression that they didn’t feel they were automatically entitled to tips and were grateful when given one. Upon leaving I received a harty handshake from the owner.
Because we liked the place we returned and the staff remembered us, they smiled and shook our hands saying how grateful they were to see us back. The waiters would make time to talk to us like long lost friends and not going through the numbers of what they had learnt on a customer service course.
Be patient and take your time
On the first night we were itching to get the bill for our drinks. We naturally thought that the waiters were just being slow.
We soon realised that it was normal to just be left long after we finished our drinks. I think the waiters were happy for us to enjoy the bar atmosphere and conversation.
I am used tobeing rushe out of places in the UK it was nice to not feel we were being forced out for the next paying customer.
We soon became familiar with this relaxed way of doing things, the buses never ran on time but we didn’t let that bother us, we enjoyed waiting round in the sun – it’s not like we had an appointment and we had all day to enjoy Rhodes Town.
Some tourists people didn’t get this and we saw on numerous occasions people getting all impatient and wound up at having to wait around. Just take your time, be patient and enjoy yourself!
Returning home I felt reinvigorated, the things that bothered me before didn’t matter so much, I felt relaxed, more layed back and less prone to stress.
I also felt a renewed level of determination inspired by the healthy diet to get my nutrition and fitness goals back on track.
It’s quick to get back to that stressed out mindset. When I do I think back to Rhodes.