I recall being very excited for my friends Dario and Linda, (I met Dario in 2002 at Clarion West Writers’ Workshop and we’ve been buddies ever since), when they decided to chart a tangential course in life, leaving their professional careers in the US to pursue an independent, sustainable life-style on the Greek island of Skopelos. I knew that they had the energy and drive to make it work, if anyone could.
Steve and I had long since taken off in our boat by then – in 2006 we were offline in the Caribbean and fast running out of money ourselves. Nevertheless, we knew something of what Dario and Linda were encountering, not only through our own experience of having cast off lines, but also through their blog postings that I read whenever I could get a decent connection.
The one thing I knew, for a certainty, was that they were discovering the inescapable “3rd Rule” of breaking loose – that EVERYTHING will take three times longer, cost three times more then you expected, and will have to be done at least three times (the last by yourself). On the other hand, what is gained cannot be quantified, as it is not a question of economics, but of spirit: To the Power of.
As Peter Mayle describes in “A year in Provence”, what we have in Dario and Linda’s “Aegean Dream” is a collision between reality and idyll. Google “Skopelos” and the visitor reviews are filled with wonder-struck adjectives: blessed, amazing, magnificent, adorable, pristine, authentic, lovely, friendly … the list goes on.
(As a writer, I’ll remember that if I’m ever at a loss to describe the perfect setting for a romantic story, I’ll just revisit the Skopelos reviews.)
And then there is Greek bureaucracy … in the end, it was all just too hard.
Dario describes their year in Greece as “Comic, tragic … a story of love and friendship”. It is this, and more. “Aegean Dream” is a wonderfully readable account of two people who had the courage to step “out there”.
What I admire most about Dario’s writing is his clarity; there’s no fabrication here. You see, I know the guy, and he’s dangerously honest. Dario loves the Skopelos of his Dreaming with an intensity of the true romantic but his account is not misty-eyed. This is a book that leaves you knowing that you’ve shared an experience of value that will stay with you in anecdotal flashes of recall; Dario has remembered it for us.