For more and more Europeans, their Greek home is not anymore only a dream of the sun but also a safe place during Covid times. Covid19 strains people’s mental well-being. The sunshine is powerful. The sea water is powerful. They are both therapeutic in a way that is difficult to explain. Can a Greek home feel like a safe haven? Below photos from Agios Nikolaos, beautiful and unspoilt small fishing village where I met my guest.
There are few who can explain and understand people’s mental well-being in this strange times as well as Wynne Tranter, psychotherapist and life coach. Wynne and her partner Andy are our new friends, they bought in 2017 their dream home close to Stoupa and divided their lives between the UK and the Peloponnese.
A Greek home: a safe haven in the Covid times
EK: Hi Wynne, I am happy and grateful that I can publish your thoughts and story on our blog. Can we start with your “why the Peloponnese” history?
WT: We first arrived in the Peleponnese in 1993 with our tandem, our bright blue tent, a change of clothes and not much else other than a love of classical Greece – such madness! We disembarked at Patras, and began the crazy business of cycling around the Peleponnese. Looking back, I see that it was a kind of divine folly. We pushed the tandem (whose name is Pilgrim) slowly up the steep winding hills, and even more slowly down rocky twisty roads and footpaths, while villagers often came to cheer – at least I think that was what was going on. A long story follows, but the end result was a remarkable love affair with this beautiful area.
EK: It took a long time to find your dream home? And what factors were decisive in your case?
WT : I think we were looking for the perfect romantic dream home – and we spent time getting to know this area over the years. In fact the choice of our current home was a mixture of practicality and a dash of madness; just as we chose our home in England. And neither were at all what we had envisaged in the dream home scenario. Sometimes, for us at least, some things just feel right, even if they are a bit off-plan.
EK: What is your experience of Greek culture when it comes to meeting foreigners?
WT: It has mainly been rich and deep, interesting and fun, – and tolerant, and I have a great respect for the Greek way of plain speaking. There have been a very few exceptions, but where is the country of saints?
EK: 2020/2021 have been difficult years. When did you both come to your home during this time?
WT: We have come back and forward amid a plethora of tests, confusion, vaccinations, more tests etc, and initially not always sure when we could leave the UK or return. It does put life on hold to some extent, but we have relished the peace and beauty of this area and the therapeutic effect of the sea and mountains.
EK: Do you and Andy find it easier to manage lockdown and stress here in Greece?
WT: Yes, I think so. It is easier here to feel farther away from the stress and fear around Covid; and from the confining, and often very confusing, rules that we had to live with for some time in the UK. For us, there was a peace and a sense of space despite all the local restrictions.
EK: You both are working with your project in the UK? How do you both think it works to work remotely? What is good and what is bad?
WT: For me, as a psychotherapist and coach, there is little that is positive in remote working in psychotherapy unless I have met my client previously; so much is dependent on the relationship’ in the room.’
With coaching I do believe there can be great benefits for individual clients, but eventually something is lost. I do not see new clients remotely; I see only those who are well known to me. Not all would agree with this, but that is my view. I do miss my work, but I am fortunate that I have so much else to engage me.
For Andy, it is simpler as so much of his work can be done alone, and practical meetings are fairly easy. He misses friendly lunches etc but he can always find a way to have cheerful post meeting chats.
EK: To sum up: can you describe in just three words how your and Andy’s lives have changed since you bought the house in the Peloponnese?
WT: Connectedness, Freedom, Rejuvenescence and an extra one – smiles.
Thank you Wynne for your time and your story. Extra smiles? O, yes! Me and my Nikon have a really nice time with you:)