Footloose and Hands Free: Backpacking in Greece


This is a guest post by Madi Dale @ Odyssean Slipstream.

Back packing was never something I planned on doing.  It simply evolved as an easy option for moving around the Greek Islands – negotiating slippery cobblestones, ferries on turbulent voyages and finding accommodation around harbours and convoluted village lanes.

Being hands free on these occasions was always a bonus, especially for an inexperienced traveller such as I in those first days of travel.


All photographs by Madi Dale


I must be honest.  I have never been a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool backpacker. I’m actually a slacker-packer.  Truth be known, I would much prefer to have three suitcases filled with my entire wardrobe (one especially devoted to shoes) while a well-muscled Greek god toted them.


This would leave me to wander at will with a cute little day pack of my own.


But reality usually bites.  So slacker-packer I remain; a disgrace to the reputation of the hard core backpacker society.  My friend Brian who I met in later travels, always carried a pre-school sized backpack containing his entire repertoire for a two month stint.

I often wondered if he diligently washed socks and jocks each night.  He certainly appeared well-groomed and odour-free each day.



There is no way I could survive so frugally.  One pair of jeans, a dress and two tops for six weeks of fun and adventure on the Greek islands was never an option.  Being frustratingly indecisive, I change my clothes often.


I like to dress up at night.  I also have a serious shoe collection.


So, a vast selection of clothing was stashed into my first brand new backpack, a fine royal blue specimen, sturdy as a Nepal trekker’s tent and fitted out with all manner of pockets, hidden straps, buckles and secret niches – some of which I discovered years later.

Along with my cornucopia of essential garments, it was necessary to include an array of lotions, potions, cosmetics and hair products without which life would be no fun at all.


And a survival pack of tea bags.


When I first arrived in Greece, I soon developed enough muscle power to heave the 22kg bulk onto my back and strap myself in without too much damage to my chassis. Months later after this first foray into backpacking, I suffered severe hip and back pain directly related to the weight and possibly poor distribution of the pack.


On later expeditions, I fine-tuned my packing regimen. With the help of my daughter, a seasoned traveller, who also by the way, confiscated my cache of teabags, backpacking – or packing a backpack became an art form.  A serious challenge.


I chose lighter, multi-functional clothing and packed more prudently –  stuffing socks and g-strings into shoes, wearing the heaviest items in transit, chucking the hairdryer and purchasing many potions and lotions on the road.


Although my pack weight dropped to 15 kg – a mere featherweight -I could still pluck out a selection of fluffy party dresses – topped with my boring all purpose jacket if the nights were chilly.

And – I always managed to smuggle a handful of teabags into one of those secret niches.


About the Author
For 12 years Madi Dale has extensively explored Greece including solo backpacking for two months through the far eastern Aegean islands. She resides in Australia but is often seen wandering through the hills of Greece or sipping Retsina in a waterfront taverna. Madi is currently on a two month trip through the Greek Islands. She is also the author of two fabulous blogs: Odyssean Slipstream and Booked Out

Also by this author:
The Greek Side of March – Poros, Greece



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