For those arriving to Ikaria, you might be greeted with a familiar phrase that ‘time does not exist here.’ You hear this echoed proudly by the locals, the visitors that are awe-struck by the seemingly interminable night-life, and now, you’ll hear it from me as well. This adage has felt especially relevant recently, as my phone broke this summer and I was quite literally left ‘without time.’
Getting your phone repaired on any island is not easy. Getting it repaired on Ikaria is even harder. The charming ‘frozen-in-time’ villages that lend Ikaria its lovely lethargic quality is also a slightly frustrating predicament when you’re actually in need of a bit of modern technology.
My trusty iPhone, which has traveled around the world with me for the past 5 years or so, left me high and dry. Inquiring into the possibilities of repair on the island itself, I was not surprised to discover that there were very slim options. So off to Athens my phone went, and what was supposed to be a few days of repair and turn-around, turned into nearly a month of repair time.
With no phone, I was forced to embrace the Ikarian maxim and abandon my notion of time. Not only that, but I was forced to renounce the constant buzzing of my WhatsApp, the relentless pinging of Instagram notifications, and the unabating beeping of incoming emails. I left those behind, alongside my alarm clock function, and instead jumped head-first into Ikarian lifestyle. And it has made me realize that when we don’t actively give our time to mindless scrolling, when we don’t lose ourselves down the internet rabbit hole, we gain so much more time.
Time to walk through the forest and marvel at the green. Time to go to a café and enjoy a frappe. Time to jump in the sea and actually revel in it, instead of worrying about uploading the perfect Instagram story. I’ve stopped using filters to adjust the scene in front of me, and it turns out, it’s even more beautiful just as it is.
I don’t pretend to imply that I’ll never use social media again, or that it isn’t incredibly convenient to own a smartphone, but my forced hiatus has allowed me some beautiful perspective, anyway. The time I’ve lost has actually been time I’ve gained. My days here have somehow blurred together into one dreamy mass, the summer extending into itself moment by moment, unencumbered by our notions of time. I’m feeling especially grateful to still be here on Ikaria, and to listen when the island nudges me towards a much-needed lesson to be learned.