Yannis Andricopoulos writes:
Skyros has welcomed in its resorts more than 20,000 people since it was established in 1979. Whilst there, many of these people have explored new possibilities, pursued new ideas and unearthed talents they didn’t even suspect they possessed. Others have taken the opportunity to re-assess their lives, re-define their needs and re-set their priorities.
Unlike a yoga retreat or a Spa, Skyros is not about one thing or another. It’s about life itself – a life that makes sense in a world that makes sense.
Its values-led approach rests on simplicity, ie a life away from conspicuous consumption and ostentatious living. What we encourage people to go for is being rather than having, creating rather than consuming and belonging rather than withdrawing into the garden of their private world.
This does run, of course, against the grain of our materialistic, consumerist, individualistic culture as manifested itself particularly before the current recession, the time we were obsessed with ‘more’ because what we had was never good enough.
Skyros does subscribe to the culture of ‘more’, but ‘more’ in our context means something entirely different: the continuous development of our potentials as human beings and the pursuit of excellence in all fields of human activity.
This vision, inspired by classical Greece, re-opens the windows to the dream and helps to generate the social capital so much needed in our days. Affirming what is best in ourselves ennobles life. And fulfilling our potentials asserts man’s power over his creations – the market, machines, technology, systems, fashion, ideology or fundamentalist beliefs. It reclaims our future.
Now, in the depth of this long recession, these virtues are of course being re-discovered by many people and hence many tend to forego the superficiality of modern living in favour of simple pleasures and life-enriching experiences.
This has changed the name of the game in our world, the holidays world, as well. Rather than lounging on the sand and drinking away their boredom many opt for learning, while on holiday, something new, growing and developing. And this is what places Skyros once again at the cutting edge of the holidays business and makes it s unique alternative to dated soul-sapping holidays.
Skyros has no gurus to preach the ‘truth’ and does not intend to provide answers to existential problems. But it does question and challenge our culture’s assumptions and, in so doing, helps people to get in touch with their gut feelings and do what they need to do to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
How do we do that? We encourage people to bring forward first and foremost their very best selves in order to re-establish trust in the goodness of human nature we so often tend to forget about. Then we ask them to be themselves without fear of being rejected for what they are because, as it is, we all have something we don’t feel all that happy about, and to give generously to others in terms of time, attention, concern and care. We ask them to re-connect with the playfulness, curiosity and spontaneity of the child within, and, finally, in such a safe environment to take risks and go for the seemingly impossible.
Somehow people do listen. And confidently, they then go for it and to their surprise they make the impossible possible. Stretch their body in a yoga class beyond their expectations, learn to windsurf, sail or abseil, dance to the rhythms of salsa, create their artistic masterpiece, start the novel they always wanted to write, lead a comedy-improvisation event, sing their favourite songs in front of a large audience or take a look at what they really need in life.
The intention, of course, is not to produce windsurfers, singers, actors, comedians or dancers but to demonstrate that there’s no such a thing as "I can’t do it." Once you’ve done what you had always thought of as impossible then you can do many other things in life.
But, whatever our intentions, it’s all great fun made possible by the informal, friendly, relaxed and yet vibrant community which brings people together in a way daily life back home rarely does.
The experience has many other great benefits as well. They include new often life-long friendships and relationships, new interests and skills, renewed self-confidence and optimism, new understandings, a fresh outlook or even a whole new way forward.
It’s because of this that the poet Hugo Williams described Skyros as ‘the holiday you can take home with you’.
Holidays in Greece will take place from 21st July through to 21st September. For a copy of your brochure call + 44 (0)1983 86 55 66, or e-mail The Skyros Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.skyros.com