My experience at Archipelagos was one of those that changes you somehow. It taught me about simplicity, the rooms were not luxurious, but the truth is that we are at a research base, we don’t need much more.
It also taught me about patience. It showed me how important is motivation and the attitude to change things in order to call for action. Sometimes more planning or control doesn’t mean it’s better. So I had to slow down, and I think this is something we should all apply to our stressful fast paced western lives.
On the other hand, the fact of having different bases at different places of the island allowed us to explore and realize the breathtaking opportunities Samos and Lipsi offer nature wise. There are many hikes you can enjoy!
Moreover, I loved the fact they have different teams, so you can always feel welcome. I am a psychologist who has a deep love for nature and specially the ocean. I would have never imagined I could fit in a nature conservation organization. However, I realized about the importance of multidisciplinary as a way to face current problems. Complex problems can only be approached efficiently through an interdisciplinary view. So this experience made me realize I could connect somehow my discipline to nature through a master in Planetary Health, in which I am currently enrolled.
I learnt so much about things you cannot learn academically, that I would push everyone to live an experience like this once in life. Specially for the people. You develop such strong connection because of the fact of living in a small community, that the bonds that remain are very strong and sometimes, forever.
The team there, starting from the cook, which is super sweet and always willing to add new recommendstions or receipes. To Mikalis, the gardener and handy man that fixes everything that stops working. To Anastasia, the face of the organisation, which I consider is a very strong and determined woman, with super good intentions to make a better place, from the people to the ocean. Then we have Bea, a super energetic and determined project manager. She is powerfully devoted for her job, so she will make sure you feel comfortable during your stay and will be there for anything you need, and you can see that from miles. Lastly we have Peri, the captain, one of the most pure human beings I have ever met. He will teach you about how things used to be before we humans came and changed everything for “progress”. He will transmit you the importance of worrying an paying attention to what it’s important in life, and most of the times it comes to spend time with those you love. Try sharing a pita and some wine with friends and fev gatos, you will see what I mean.
Said that, I would like to say that if you decide to come, you should be open minded. You will find people from different backgrounds , from different cultures that do and manage things probably different that you would. And of course many things could be improved, we are not perfect. But you need to be aware of where you are, you are not coming to a hotel, be open to the experience and immerse yourself in an ocean of new lessons, Archipelagos and the ocean, with its values and biodiversity have so much to teach to all of us.