Panigiri Ikaria

Ikaria is a cornucopia of insights and epiphanies. It’s almost as if you go back in time to the way everything was when “life was better” yet also get a glimpse into the future of how life could be. And then, Ikaria reminds you to be truly grateful for the life you have NOW. Here are the next three “nuggets” of gold I picked up recently whilst running the 100 Not Out Longevity Retreat. Click here to read the first four.

5. Any excuse to socialise

My 100 Not Out co-host Damian Kristof is a self-proclaimed golden retriever. He is a social animal and will find any way to be around people. He is very Ikarian in this regard. Most of our society on the other hand, do whatever they can to avoid human contact. These days, it has become socially acceptable to be “too busy” to socialise, which is sad (and mediocre).

No matter how much work is on the table, Ikarians socialise. On my final day in Ikaria (the group had left the day before) I attended a day-time panigiri (local festival honouring the name-day of the Saint the local church is named after). It started at about 1pm and Thea’s husband didn’t return home until 4:30 the next morning!

On an island of 7500, there were over 1000 in attendance. People of all ages were in attendance, and there was an incredible sense of connection, love and fun.

Most remarkably for me was that the day was Wednesday. This was not a “public holiday”, however many people, including Thea, had taken the day off work and attended the panigiri. Most of the island’s 60-odd villages were ghost-towns with so many people in attendance at the panigiri.

Ikarians do almost ANYTHING to socialise and connect with people. And they’re so happy. Personally, as someone who is quite social, I’m determined to have “real human connection” with even more friends and like-minded people in my local area.


Later this week I’m catching up with Bronnie Ware, author of the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, Sam Gowing from Food Health Wealth, Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition and naturopath Jules Galloway. In the past I wouldn’t pack my week with 4 social encounters – generally I might only have one or at a maximum, two.

I find myself really quite excited to be looking forward to so many social engagements, all during “business hours” with the expectation that at the same time they will all help me professionally.

6. More time in the garden

As someone who is currently renting, I have for most of my life been averse to spending much time in “someone else’s” garden. You can already see though how flawed this philosophy is.

If you saw Damian Kristof’s house, a fellow renter with an incredible amount of house pride, you would think it’s his own. And when you look at the thriving vegetable and herb garden he has going you would surely think it’s his forever home!

There’s no doubt that my standards around our garden have risen over the last 12 months (and with Sarah’s folks spending the last 6 weeks at our house you should see how immaculate the garden is!). However it’s time to take it up a notch. Spending time around so many herbs, fruit and nut trees and vegetables in Ikaria has me feeling the therapeutic effects of being in the garden.

The simple act of picking strawberries at Jianni and Ioanna’s property in Ikaria was a profound experience. Simply said, gardening is meditative. The white noise of picking, digging, pruning and so on is just so relaxing.

So enough of the justifying that “we won’t develop a big veggie garden because we’re renting”. Nope. From now on we are creating a plethora of herbs, fruits and vegetables that the whole family and friends can enjoy. Watch this space!

7. Just Do It Tomorrow

The Ikarians abhor laziness. They are a hard-working island, with many of the older generation living through the ravages of war. Not to mention the undulating terrain which makes everything take longer (or happen more slowly). You will not find 50 metres of continuous flat land anywhere on the island (except for maybe a school).

At the same time, what I love about Ikarian culture is that they are not afraid to put something off to tomorrow. In our culture, we have a to-do list longer than our head to toe and get angry that we “didn’t get much done today”, and only after we’ve beat ourselves up and ingested a good dose of guilt do we resentfully add the majority of today’s action items to tomorrow! Crazy, right?!

In Ikaria, a farmer could be working at 6am or 10pm, it doesn’t matter what time it is. If the work needs to be done, it gets done. However if someone has the choice of socialising with friends and family over a meal and some wine versus doing some work, in every instance I observed they chose socialising over work.

“Just do it tomorrow” is a mantra they live by without any guilt, without any fear of being “unproductive”. Their values are weighed highly in favour of connecting with others, knowing that if the sun does NOT come up tomorrow, they spent their final hours having fun with people they love. Not a bad way to live!

I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this special report on my time in Ikaria for the 100 Not Out Longevity Retreat. What one of these 7 nuggets have resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂

Registrations open shortly to our 2017 Greek Island Longevity Retreat to Ikaria. To register your interest click here or go to

Don’t want to wait until next year? The 100 Not Out Lifestyle program encapsulates 10 of the most powerful lessons from Ikaria in an e-course designed to help you truly implement this wisdom. To find out more about how YOU can truly implement this wisdom, click here.