A traveler’s blissful recount of weather-related detours and newfound destinations

When traveling, you have to plan for the unexpected. Even with the most carefully prepared itinerary–with every single detail taken into account, things happen.

It can be unnerving if things do not go according to plan, particularly if you own a travel tour company. Or is it?

Most of the time, when the itinerary has a snag, something magically unforeseen and sometimes even better happens – this may even increase the joy of travel.

The recent experience of one of my dearest travel partners taking a group on a small sailing yacht around Greece reminded me that you have to sometimes go with the flow when traveling.

Athens was the first stop on their cruise through Greece. All went as planned, the weather was impeccable, and this first destination did not disappoint.

Ancient ruins dot the landscape at Athena, and the group was mesmerized by them as soon as they arrived. A visit to the Parthenon is a must, and it is one of the most iconic structures in the city with its amazingly preserved sculptures of the goddess Athena.

So far so good. It was smooth sailing and the travelers were already enchanted by this truly unique experience.

However, on the following day, they were supposed to sail the Cyclades Islands (in the Aegean Sea) and visit 9 islands, including Mykonos, Delos, Paros, Folegandros, and Santorini… when the captain chimed in and announced that the weather was “not good” and the planned excursions were canceled. Cue the unexpected.

As a result, despite the crew’s best efforts, the group managed to only visit one island in the Cyclades – Santorini. Later, they visited the Kythira islands, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia, before sailing out of the Ionian Sea via the Corinth canal. It was “the real Greece” off the beaten track, as my friend the tour company owner put it.

When you travel with seasoned professionals, there is no wrong way – just a different way. In spite of the original travel itinerary not going according to plan, the trip continued with a beautiful sail on calm waters.

The journey can still be rewarding even if it takes a detour, according to my professional experience. In fact, you can count on it.

This was no exception.

Santorini was their first stop, which is known for its stunning volcanic landscape and Mediterranean climate. On Santorini, there are many quaint villages, each with its own character that caught their attention.

When it comes to Santorini Greece’s food and wine scene, there are so many options to choose from. A number of world-class wineries and restaurants are located on the island. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, Santorini is the place to be.

Local cuisine on Santorini emphasizes fresh seafood, ranging from sea bream and swordfish to octopus, which results in incredibly flavorful dishes made with simple, locally-sourced ingredients.

White wines from Santorini, most notably Assyrtiko, are among the best in Greece, and they are best enjoyed at outdoor restaurants on the island. Whenever you visit Santorini, don’t leave without trying Koukia, the traditional dish of fava beans!

As part of their whirlwind tour, the group stopped in Kythira, a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Greece. In this area, you will find beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation.

A beautiful island in the Ionian Sea, the island is known for its beaches, traditional cuisine, and wine. The island’s cuisine is based on fresh, local ingredients, and its wines come from its vineyards.

They then detoured toward Zakynthos, one of the Heptanese (or Seven) islands in the Ionian Sea. The region is known for its gorgeous beaches, lush landscapes, delicious food and wine, and shipwreck-strewn coastline. The island has several vineyards that produce red, white, and rosé wines.

They then visited Kefalonia, another island in the Ionian Sea with stunning beaches, mountains, and forests. Kefalonia produces some of the finest olive oil in the world. In this climate, olives, grapes, and other fruits and vegetables thrive.

Red wines from Kefalonia have a particular reputation, including Kefalonia’s Moschato wine, which has been recognized by the European Union as a “Protected Designation of Origin” or PDO wine, meaning that it has been rated to be of exceptionally high quality. If you are wanting a PDO white, then Robola is dry and refreshing.

After crossing the Corinth Canal, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Greece, the travelers enjoyed the Gulf of Corinth.

This is a popular spot for dining and drinking. Restaurants, bars, and cafes line the canal. Typical Greek food is served here, heavy on olives, lemons, tomatoes, and a lot of fresh seafood on the menu. Additionally, the wine selection is excellent, as it features a wide variety of local wines.

In spite of the potential for being frustrating, these detours turned out to offer some of the most memorable experiences.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned over time while traveling and keeping an open mind.
1. Be Open to New Experiences

One of the best things about travel is that it allows you to experience new things. If you find yourself detouring from your original plan, embrace it! You never know what you might discover.

2. Talk to Locals

When in doubt, ask a local. Locals are always the best source of information on where to go and what to do. They can also help you avoid tourist traps and find hidden gems.

3. Go with the Flow

The best way to make the most of a travel detour is to go with the flow. Don’t stress too much about sticking to your plan. Instead, enjoy the spontaneity and see where the detour takes you.

It is always a good idea to rely on your travel professionals to make the final decisions and offer you the best course of action. As in this case, they won’t steer you wrong.

Finally, the people on this particular excursion understood the situation, and that safety comes first, so the crew’s help was much appreciated. They trusted the professionals and had the time of their lives.

So next time you find yourself off course, in both travel and life, try to go with the flow and see where it takes you. You might just end up somewhere amazing – just like they did.

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