There is something to be said about the merits of physical labor and the satisfaction it yields—so says author Christopher Bakken in Honey, Olives, Octopus. As Wall Street Journal reviewer David Mason explains, “on Kythera, [Bakken] meets an Australian-Greek named Michalis who has returned to end his days in the old country: ‘My dream was to trade the long hours of work in Australia for even longer hours here on Kythera,’ he jokes.”
To be honest, I work harder now than I ever have, but this is the kind of work that makes you live forever. There’s no time card to punch and there’s no boss to answer to. I take my dog out to the vineyard in the morning and boil myself a coffee under a wild olive tree and admire what I’ve accomplished with these old hands. I’m a lucky man, finishing out my life this way.
Okay, so maybe not ditch-digging physical labor, but you get the point. The book, says Mason, “is about the oldest kinds of work—how food is grown, caught or gathered; how it is prepared and eaten; how it tastes and what it reveals about a remarkable people.” But what if you don’t like Greek food? And how far is the nearest Starbucks? I can’t fathom my life without my daily dose of Soy Chai Latté!
I’m joking. But there is WiFi on the island, isn’t there?
Photo of olives from Thasos courtesy of Marcel and Ullrich Korthals