I have been home for a few days now, I'm still sort of fighting this jet lag, I really had no idea what it was until now. I get it, haha. I've spent the majority of the last two weeks traveling with a company called Journey, we first headed to Athens to volunteer in a refugee camp, the rest of the time was spent traveling to some of the Greek Islands.
Journey is a company that I found thanks to Nicole Mejia, she is a positive body movement fitness guru that I admire very much. I have been a supporter of Nicole for quite some time and we finally were able to do some work together recently, between here and there, she mentioned that she was going on a journey with a company that specialized in Impact Work around the world. I was all ears, I had been looking for something like this for quite a while. Once I did research and found more information, I was certain this was it, I had found what I was looking for.
The way that Journey works is, you join a group of like minded people, donate your time to a good cause, spend a few days doing the impact work, when that part is done, you then move on to the Integration part. During phase 2, you'll be traveling to another area of the country, this is the time to reflect on the work done, create connections with the people around you and explore another part of the world.
Upon arriving to Greece I had really zero expectations, I had never been to Europe and while I had volunteered before, it was in different situations. The next few days were a blank canvas that I was very eager to paint on. We arrived in Athens on a Saturday afternoon, that evening was spent getting to know one another and welcoming all the travelers. We had a lovely dinner at The Cave Of The Acropolis and had what was undoubtedly the best zucchini balls we would have during the whole trip, haha.
I want to show you an overview of the experience and then, in entries to follow, I'd like to share some special moments, a bit more in detail. I will also share more on the second half of the experience a bit later. The integration part was magnificent, we had a really great group of individuals, some which will now be life-long friends.
The images in this blog post pertain to the time we spent in Athens, this includes our time at the refuge camp, which was one of the most humbling, eye-opening experiences of my life. I had little expectations but a bit of concern for safety and acceptance was of course in the back of my head prior to entering the camp. If only I had known, I would meet and share my time with resilient, educated and truly inspiring families. It was my heart's pleasure to be there and to be of service during that time. I keep thinking about each individual we shared our time with and how much I wish I could somehow know their fate. I feel like a great way to honor them is to share their stories, so please come back for that.
Special thanks to Journey and Emfasis for all the work they do, and for making it possible for all of us to lend a hand. As I reach the end of this post and once again look at these photographs, tears fill my eyes as I re-live every moment, my heart is exploding with love and gratitude.
Group cover photo by Perry Grone.