Going Against the Grain
Home: Sydney, Australia
Favourite activity: Venturing along un-trodden paths in style
Favourite brew: Gin and Tonic
Favourite snack: Classic British afternoon tea fare. Scones, sandwiches, cakes and tea
Connor Dyson is a slightly contradictory traveller. While enjoying the adventures of being on the open road, he enjoys the creature comforts and luxuries of home. It is very common for Connor to take a ‘holiday’ from his holiday and do nothing but relax poolside, sipping cocktails.
He has sailed the coast of Croatia, driven over 11,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico, visited remote tribes in the jungle of Malaysia, dived in the remote Tomini Bay, Indonesia and has been trapped at a 7-star hotel. Next on the agenda is the exploration of Burma and northern India.
If you are anything like me, you’ll think the fashion peaked in about 1960, good music involves putting on a vinyl of ‘The Beach Boys’ and that travel can still be a classy affair. Now, I know what you might be thinking – “this doesn’t sound like the beginning of a very relatable article.” However I hope to change your mind.
It was a European summer in the Mediterranean. You’d certainly be hard pressed not to enjoy such beautiful surrounds, but unfortunately for me, that was my predicament. I was somewhat strong-armed in the first place to come to Mykonos (Greece) for a week of partying with a group of friends. I knew from the onset that it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I endeavoured to keep an open mind. I thoroughly enjoy going off the beaten path, hobnobbing it with the locals and really sampling other ways of life. From everything I had heard and read, Mykonos didn’t offer many opportunities for these undertakings.
Nonetheless I leapt in with both feet, and gave it the old college try. For those who have travelled, you will know that a place has an intrinsic feel, a sort of pulse that can be felt from the moment you set foot in the area. Without going into too much detail, lets just say that Mykonos didn’t tickle my pickle. I didn’t appreciate getting ripped off and extorted with prices three times higher than the more beautiful surrounding Greek islands, the sheer amount of drunken idiots and the loss of Greek culture from the island as a whole. So it was fair to say that after three days the place was wearing a little bit thin.
I was travelling with a group of eight friends, all of whom seemed to be really enjoying themselves in this setting. I proffered the idea of branching out and doing a daytrip to the northern side of the island, which is happily devoid of clubs, but that idea went down like the Hindenburg. I soon realised that in order to rescue my idea of a good time, I had to say “fuck it, I’ll do it alone.” This was one of the best decisions of my travelling life.
I had spied online that on the northern and heavily windswept side of Mykonos, there was a horse-riding outfit that ran rides right down to the beach. Seeking an escape, I ditched my friends who were still recovering from the previous night’s excesses and made my way to the sparsely populated unpopular side of the island.
What followed was an Indiana Jones style adventure. I saddled up with the local Greek guide, and we made our way down through traditional Greek villages, farmland and canyons to a remote and deserted beach. It was here that I could gallop along the sand and in the surf. Having only ever ridden a horse as a child, the experience was both terrifying and exhilarating. I had never met anyone else that has also ridden a horse on the beaches of Mykonos. Usually most people’s memories of this island consist of a blur.
As it turns out however, that was not the highlight of the day. Because I had stepped of the tourist train, I stumbled across a picturesque winery, which actually played classical music to the grapes. Whether or not that did anything to overall taste of the wine I don’t know, but it sure as hell made for some nice ambiance. That in addition to the beautiful wine and cheese tasting.
I suppose what I am driving at is that you are in control of your experiences, and if you don’t like your direction, change course. I could have very easily gone with the flow and done the standard tourist activities on Mykonos. However by branching out and going against the norm, I was rewarded with some of the best memories of my life. You shouldn’t be afraid of strolling along on your own path.