Lexi's Summer in Greece

Home / The Sunday Papers / Issue Seven: June / Lexi's Summer in Greece

Discover how Lexi transformed her post-graduation creative burnout into four months honing her business and creative potential on the idyllic island of Ios, Greece, all while living in an actual goat shed.

For me, Summer has always been sun-soaked with a heady sense of freedom. It probably harks back to school holidays as a teenager where my time was no longer bound by school routine, early starts or homework and was replaced with summer days lakeside with my cousins in Michigan or hanging out with friends at their houses.

Like many university graduates at this time of year, after I completed my fine arts degree in Baltimore in the summer of 2003 the odd jobs I worked dried up and I became hyper aware of the intense creative burnout I'd been left with. It was coupled with the realisation that imminent adulthood meant working on someone else’s time again and I became overwhelmed by this desperate urge to capitalise on my one final summer of freedom.

Ios, Greece

And so I crammed a duffle bag with all of the bikinis and board shorts I owned and headed to the idyllic Greek Island of Ios. In the off season, Ios is a serene landscape of whitewashed architecture, cragged hills, aegean blue roofs and a local population outnumbered by goats. But thanks to its reputation for being a party destination, a hangover from nineties' rave culture, the beach parties always started early and the island in the summer months swelled.

After a few days there, I picked up a job as a deckchair girl which meant that every morning for four months, I laid out 115 chairs across Manganari beach, charging 5 euros a chair and then stacking them all back up again to head home to the only rental I could afford; an actual run down goat shed with one light bulb, no running water and a thatch roof wriggling with critters. It wasn’t quite the freedom I had hoped for; the work was monotonous and the hours were relentless (7am to 7pm every day, 7 days a week) but I embraced the opportunity to immerse myself in an environment, a culture and most importantly a community that welcomed me. While my family back home were hedging their bets on when I’d give up my new ‘luxury’ lifestyle and return to modern comforts, I worked hard, met new people and felt my creativity begin to unfurl again despite the monotony and the lack of indoor plumbing.

Ios, Greece

By the end of that Summer I was running a well established water sports business; renting out equipment and beach toys and organising guided tours on a little boat. I’d gone from tunnel vision and overwhelming burnout to actively seeking out new opportunities in a matter of months. It wasn’t quite the summer holiday of freedom and restoration I was expecting but it came with the realization that what I was doing was probably what I had hoped my degree had provided. It became clear that achieving creative and business potential is what makes me tick. If i’d gone straight into a career working for someone else, I may never have worked that out and my company Always Sunday might not have even come into being. 

Greek Islands to Visit

This year, as I look to expand the Always Sunday brand, adding our new Boltholes to the success of the store and Town+House pub in Bath, I find myself increasingly saying yes to opportunities knowing I can probably handle it. There’s nothing that can compete with the sweetness of coming home after travel or a holiday, meeting someone new or a bold career move to make you feel mentally engaged and energised by your experiences. My summer in Greece shaped my identity, honed my creative potential and my god am I good at stacking chairs now!

Loved reading about Lexi's Summer in Greece? If you're looking to find out more about the Always Sunday founder, read about her childhood in Michigan or follow on instagram @always_sunday_house for more recent updates!

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