When Nicholas and I bought our first boat, a 23 foot wooden ketch called Frolic, back in February 1981, little did we realise that this would eventually lead to a lifestyle that is far from conventional and a long way from our starting point as white middle class South African graduates.
Home is now the small Greek island of Symi in the Dodecanese, about 25 nautical miles north of Rhodes and within spitting distance of the Turkish coast. We have lived off the grid for decades now, experimenting with a permaculture-inspired lifestyle that aims to be as self-sufficient as possible. We try to grow as much of our own food as we can, despite having settled on an island that is famously dry and has more perpendicular surfaces than horizontal ones. Every year brings its challenges, particularly as Symi is seeing the effects of climate change as the summer drought grows ever longer.
I have been blogging Symi since 2001 as part of my work for Symi Visitor Accommodation but I am often asked to write about aspects of living here on a more personal level. This is for those of you who are more interested in how one can live all year round without mains electricity than what life is like for tourists visiting the island.