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So, today I spent about an hour playing in the sand with my friends. It started out as building a little sandcastle, and eventually there was a whole backstory about building a wall out of sand to protect the innocent villagers from the tide. The wall got reinforced with sticks as guards, the villagers got names and a makeshift flag was raised. Finally we decided nature must take its course, and watched as each wave took a little more out of the wall and the stick soldiers collapsed and swept away.

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Oh, by the way I’m in Greece.

A lucky turn of events (thank you so much, mom and dad, you are wonderful) landed me some frequent flier miles that had to be used before June, and since the Great American Parks Trip is starting again this spring I had to use them early. I arranged to meet up with my friends Kasia and Marek in Poland (we met in Prague and celebrated Halloween together last year) and they found a super-cheap flight to Greece. So here I am.

Anyways, the thought occured to me while building the sand wall and cheering on the stick soldiers: I’m in Greece. This might be the only time I ever visit Greece. Shouldn’t I be seeing ancient ruins or visiting historic sites? Why am I wasting my time playing in the sand? I should get up and convince my friends to drive to the next thing on our To Do list!

But here’s the thing: playing in the sand isn’t a waste of time. Playing in the sand in a beautiful coastal town in Greece with Polish and Greek friends definitely isn’t a waste of time. It’s like the Doors song (or, you know, the Bible…) time to live, time to die, time to laugh, time to cry… See, when you’re lucky enough to travel, there is definitely time for visiting ruins. But there’s also time for making new friends and laughing with them. You have to be a certain kind of person to spend 24 hours a day (or the 12-18 you’re awake) absorbing culture and visiting museums and listening to lectures. I’m just not that kind of person. I definitely want to use some time for ruins and culture and museums, but I also need time to relax and play with friends, and sometimes I even need time to sit alone and write a blog post. Even when I’m in Greece.

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So, there will be more posts in the near future about more adventures in Greece and Poland, but I wanted to write this before I forgot how awesome this moment was. When I travel, sometimes there’s this bizarre pressure to see everything and do everything. It’s not possible, and I wouldn’t enjoy trying, to see every ruin in Greece (or even this region) in a week. I will see some, but I will also enjoy the little moments.

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