Wanders Miles World Adventurers Series welcomes Konstantina Sakellariou from My Unusual Journeys. After more than 20 years of corporate experience in the fields of professional services, human talent, governmental organizations, NGOs, youth, and personal development, Konstantina decided to make a 180 degree turn and live a more creative and conscious life.
Today, she finds solace in her writing, inspiration in her traveling, and motivation through conversations with people around the world. “I am a global citizen, perpetually exploring the inner and outer realms of my existence.”
What does your perfect adventure consist of?
Meaningful moments: that’s all I am looking for. Sometimes they come through the people I travel with; others, through nature, the path I walk on, the food, or an unexpected experience. Deciphering the messages behind all these signals is what makes every adventure perfect.
Name your top 3 adventures? And why were they so special?
The first was my hike on Kilimanjaro. It was a turning point in my life, the moment I decided to drop everything I had been doing so far and start anew. It always symbolizes in my mind a breakthrough and a “new beginning.”
The second was my recent hike along the Sinai Trail in Egypt. It was unexpectedly profound and spiritual, representing another starting point for a new project on which I am currently working: I plan to hike on the long trails of the Eastern Mediterranean basin, listening to the land and the people alike, focusing on the similarities rather than the differences. In short, it is a personal pilgrimage on a path to knowledge and peace.
The third adventure – although not a “traveling” one according to the traditional definition of the word – was writing my first book. I discovered that writing gives me the opportunity to travel inwards, often while retracing the steps I have physically walked during my trips. It is an adventure as rough, exciting, and unpredictable as any other, and it has ended up defining who I am today.
Do have you have any scary moments or funny stories to tell?
On the night we summited Mt Katherine in the Sinai Peninsula, we pitched our tents against strong winds that felt as if they would throw us off the cliff. The howling was more menacing than the actual vigour of the gale, and it sounded even worse inside the tent. On top of that, our tent was rather tall for such a stormy night. It kept bending and bouncing on our faces, and I feared it would break to pieces, leaving us homeless and exposed to the ferocity of the elements. For a while, I decided to sleep sitting up, still wrapped in my sleeping bag, resisting the gusts with my body! After an hour, though, I just collapsed and fell asleep on the mat, utterly oblivious to what was happening around me or what might happen.
Another night to remember was when we had to camp in the forest on the island of Samothrace, and there was a thunderstorm – with thunderbolts falling on the sea and all: a very spectacular performance altogether. Most of us stayed awake: I, to admire the visual effects; the rest, worrying about the dangerous position we were in. It seems that funny moments usually happen at night!
A third one was in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, when we woke up to a howling sound that seemed coming directly from the pit of hell. It was just the red howling monkeys crossing the forest over our heads.
Have you got any places on your bucket list? If so, where?
Every place I have not yet visited is on the bucket list. However, getting to know in more depth the Mediterranean countries and the Balkans is a priority to me for the next year. Somehow, the region around my home country (Greece) is what is calling me now.
What 3 things have your travels taught you?
There are more than three things that traveling has taught me. Some thoughts are included in my article: Three Years of Conscious Traveling: Thoughts and Understandings. Maybe among the most important are that:
– I travel to discover myself
– I understand that we are all more alike than different
– I learn to find beauty in the small things.
What are your favourite travel apps?
I do not use travel apps. I still discover things the … traditional way. I talk to the locals and get their insights or have them as guides in case of a hiking trip. And I allow the element of surprise to take control over the trip. I believe that the things that come my way – even in the case of something not working out the way I expected – are the ones that will uncover the meaning of the adventure. So, I prefer to go with the flow. So far, I have not been disappointed!
What is your favourite travel quote you live by?
Difficult to choose among the plethora of quotes out there! However, connecting with my thoughts on the previous question, I would select Lao Tzu’s “A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
What advice could you give to aspiring adventurers?
Stand tall like a mountain, flow like a river.
Be courageous to answer the call for adventure. But don’t insist on the outcome: let life show the way.
Tell me about your book The Unusual Journeys of a Girl Like Any Other and what inspired you write it.
The Unusual Journeys of a Girl Like Any Other is my first book, and it was born through me without warning, planning, or expectation. In 2014, I left my job on a sabbatical, feeling that I had reached the end of the road and I had to re-discover myself. My path took me through a series of hiking trips, most of them in Asia, guiding me on a more significant adventure that followed the pattern of the hero’s journey. At the end of the seventh trip (which was in Bhutan), I felt that a cycle has been completed and there was a story that had to be told. It is a story of finding the way back home – the internal home at the core of our psyche.
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