journal: it takes a village

“There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”



When we moved to Greece my career as a stylist/photographer/content creator changed dramatically. As all of my clientele were based in the U.S., all of my contracts came to an inevitable end. My days have gone from a flooded email inbox and constant projects to a very empty inbox and solely creating content that inspires me. While it took a little while to get used to, these last couple of months have been quite amazing.

The fact that I am currently in a position to create solely out of passion for my readers is an incredible honor, that I enjoy deeply. But the other side to this story is the constant adapting and overcoming that is my new creative life here on the island. You see, our apartment is only 220′ sq. – we do not have an oven and as far as countertop kitchen appliances go, we have yet to acquire things like a blender, mixer or food processor. Working with such limited equipment and props, on a remote island with limited food choices (compared to where we lived in America) has forced me to continuously create from a place of lack.

But there has been a serendipitous solution to all of the challenges I encounter here and that is our village. Every time I find myself wanting to create something that requires something I do not have or can not find, our village comes through. One of the first recipes I shared from Greece was baked in a neighbor’s oven. The last recipe I shared was blended at a local restaurant, where the owners just offered me full use of their prep kitchen if I ever need anything! I am literally in tears as I type this because I am overwhelmed by the endless generosity of our village!

When I walk the rambling stone steps and paths of our village my heart bursts – I am filled with floods of emotion when I contemplate just how sacred this place is to my soul. More than the beautiful homes or picturesque views, it is the people that make this village such a remarkable place. I cannot go anywhere in our village without receiving well wishes and encouragement. Neighbors gift us with home-cooked meals, olive oil from their trees, fresh made jam and flowers from their gardens. No matter how much we may lack, our cups are constantly overflowing.

Little old ladies embrace me and tell me how happy they are that my husband and I moved here, saying that we have brought life to the village. Whenever one of them tells me that, I can’t help but feel like the village has brought life to us. It is such a deep honor to be loved and respected by these people, especially as a foreigner. If you did not already know, I am actually not Greek, I am a blend of 8 different ethnicities (none of which are Greek) – I am American through and through. But the most powerful thing that has earned me the love and respect of the people here is the fact that I speak their language. While my Greek may not be perfect, I am able to carry on a conversation, read and write in their native tongue – which has shocked most of the people here. It is very surprising to them that I have taken the time in my life to learn a language that was not commonly spoken where I lived in America. But in doing so, I have been able to share life with the people of our village in a way that would not have been possible had I not learned the language.

it takes a village

I felt compelled to share this journal entry because I wanted all of you who read this blog to understand just how important our village has been to the journey that I am chronicling here on Ful-filled. Nothing I do would be possible without them and if anything good comes from sharing my thoughts about our village, I hope that it encourages all of you to find a village of your own. Whether that means physically spending time with people who live near you, or virtually spending time through social media and phone conversations – because none of us are self-made, we truly are the product of the influence of thousands of others in our lifetime. And I have found that when you pour yourself into someone’s life, someone else will come along your journey and pour back into you.

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Niko June 20, 2018, 5:33 am

    WOW……..SO TRUE!!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:28 am

      yes indeed!

  • Niko June 20, 2018, 5:34 am

    it REALLY does “take a village” in the general sense of the phrase!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:29 am

      It really does!

  • Niko June 20, 2018, 5:35 am

    i was in tears and weeping the entire time i was reading this post!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:29 am

      awwwww <3

  • Niko June 20, 2018, 5:36 am

    XILIA EUXARISTO for the soul-wrenching and cleansing!!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:29 am

      xilia parakalo!

  • Niko June 20, 2018, 5:37 am

    the photos are BREATHTAKING too by the way, UNBELIEVABLE beauty of the village and talents you been given!!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:29 am

      thank you so much!

  • Cori June 20, 2018, 5:46 am

    Oh man, your words put me in tears.. I felt your joy, and I’m so happy that these places exist in the world.
    I’ll come visit Greece in September, my husband and I will do a small island hopping in the Cyclades. Where are you located?
    Keep inspiring us with these images and great content.

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:26 am

      Oh, that makes me so happy Cori! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, it means so much to me to know that what I share here on Ful-filled makes a positive impact on my readers’ lives! We are in the Sporades Islands! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time when you are here!

  • Lori (southerngirleats) June 20, 2018, 5:50 am

    Can we scream this from the rooftops?

    Oh Bella! As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, my heart is so filled with joy reading this, because THIS is what we need more of in this world! THIS is how we foster positive change by realizing that together we are stronger and the sum of our experiences shared makes us all richer.

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience as you create and thrive in your new place.

    As someone who loves quotes- this one speaks to my soul!

    Thank you ❤️

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 6:27 am

      YES! Yes to all of what you wrote Lori! I agree with you wholeheartedly! We are SO much better when we put others before ourselves, because we will always be taken care of in return! You are so welcome and I love quotes as well! Lots of love <3

  • Mary Qvale June 20, 2018, 8:05 am

    Hi Bella. A wonderful post. Thank you. It certainly takes a village to take care of me spiritually, mentally and physically. xoxo

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 1:18 pm

      Thank you so much Mary! I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Olga Messina June 20, 2018, 8:59 am

    Like everyone else’ comments, I’ll add to the tears this post brought to my eyes! The Greek hospitality and “filotimo” one has to really experience to appreciate! I’m a Greek by birth but lived in the USA for the last 44 years, just visited Greece after 24 years and I was in awe of the friendliness and hospitality shown by family and friends and even strangers throughout my stay. You’re doing something that people dream of doing, and I wish you lots of happiness and peace in your little slice of heaven! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and pictures, I eagerly anticipate them every day!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 1:20 pm

      Awwww…thank you so very much Olga! Filotimo is exactly what sets Greece apart from the rest of the world…not everyone has it, but when someone does, they leave such an impact on your soul! It is a deep, deep honor and privilege to live here and I it makes me so happy that I am able to give you a sense of home in what I share here and on IG!

  • Mary June 20, 2018, 10:54 am

    Exactly this has been on my heart today! Thank you so much for sharing this. People really do need people. Much love to you!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 1:21 pm

      I guess this was most definitely meant to be then! That makes me so happy! And I agree with you wholeheartedly! Much love to you!

  • Andonia sova June 20, 2018, 12:02 pm

    I totally understand what you mean, I am 100% Greek and it would be difficult to do what you have done! But one thing I know about my country is that people always have their arms open and will embrace you! Good luck, beautiful journal entry!
    Nostimo kitchen

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 1:21 pm

      Thank you so so much Andonia! It means a lot to us to have your encouragement and support!

  • Artemis June 20, 2018, 1:13 pm

    You know what? Now I’m in tears. Your words touched me so much because I am at a changing state of mind and thought of moving to a village. And you gave me courage to be more into it. Thank you.

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 1:22 pm

      Oh my goodness! That is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing that with me Artemis! I wish you the best on your this new direction you are taking your life! <3

  • Andi H. June 20, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Love this! God has given you the gift of reaching to people in many different ways. I love how this is one of them :) Love you friend and love that you are living the Dream!!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:41 pm

      Thank you so much Andi! He is truly amazing, I am continuously blown away by how He is using this platform to change people’s lives! Love you too, so grateful for your love and support <3

  • Kelly June 20, 2018, 4:49 pm

    Beautiful Bella!!! I am so glad you are on this adventure. Sounds like it had been pretty remarkable so far!!!


    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:42 pm

      Thank you so much Kelly…it has been amazing – not without challenges, but so worth every difficulty for all the good that we have found here!

  • Vy Tran June 20, 2018, 6:29 pm

    Bella it’s amazing to hear how this village has embraced you and your husband and the love and respect you feel for your new community is evident in your work. While it might be hard to not have your inbox filled with work, God will provide for you. You’re living the kind of life that people dream of but don’t dare take that plunge. Time to start on your online photography course? Just saying!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:44 pm

      You are so right Vy…God will most certainly provide for us! Starting an online photography course may be something we do in the future, but for now, we are just taking things one day at a time ;)

  • Judith Wadson June 20, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Everyone is connected, starting with a smile. Thanks 💜

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:44 pm

      so so true! You are so welcome!

  • Tonita June 20, 2018, 8:56 pm

    So beautiful your village and your village of people all of whom pour into you!! Love you sweet friend. Keep sharing!

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:45 pm

      Thank you so much sweet Tonita! I think of you often and can only imagine how important your village is to you! Love you so!

  • Cara June 20, 2018, 10:16 pm

    Your words truly moved me❤️I am 1/2 Greek and 1/2 Grandpa came here from Greece at 11 yrs old. He changed his last name from Michelos to Mitchell. Sad. I am so envious of you. Moving to a wonderful Greek village. I am pulled so strongly towards Greece. I feel her in my heart❤️What drew you to learn to speak/write Greek? I’m very interested…did you learn online? Thank you for your blog—very moving to all of us.

    • bella | ful-filled June 20, 2018, 10:52 pm

      The same thing happened with my husband’s last name…when his dad was drafted into Vietnam, his last name would not fit on the dog tags so it was shortened to Karren from Karragiannidis. But my hubby was determined ever since he was a small boy to change it back to the original Greek and he did! I was determined to learn Greek because when my husband and I met and I knew he was my soulmate, I figured that it was my destiny to align with his culture and first language. Thankfully my mother-in-law was a Greek school teacher back in California, so I was able to use all of her curriculum to learn. Udemy looks pretty comprehensive as it teaches reading and writing as well as speaking. I am so grateful for readers like you and I am honored to be a part of your journey! Sending you love <3

  • Marilena June 21, 2018, 9:00 am

    I so admire you Bella, for everything you do and for your positive attitude! This was such a powerful post ….. Greece is not a rich country, but its people with their big hearts and warm hospitality more than make up for it. As a Greek, I know well how much your effort to speak the language and engage, is appreciated! I love reading your updates and follow your journey. In just one short week I will be in Greece too (possibly to the next island with you) and I can hardly wait :) 😊

    • bella | ful-filled June 21, 2018, 10:21 pm

      Awwww…thank you so so much Marilena! I am so honored that this post meant so much to you! I appreciate your continuous love and support more than you know! And I hope you have an incredible visit! Much love <3

  • Michelle June 21, 2018, 9:30 am


    When I first read this post and saw the photos, it was on my iPhone. Today I’m on my computer and thankfully I’ve signed up for your blog posts under two emails…. The photos are even thousands of times more amazing on a full screen! I am in awe of the beauty and simplicity there. The colors that make everything come alive. The simple dress of the people there is so humble but beautiful. There is no need to worry about fashion or wrinkles because the very way they live and look is so naturally appealing. This life truly fits you in every single way, it has been your destiny all along. I wish you and your hubby every blessing possible. I love these posts and insight to your lives, I hope you keep doing this! xoxo

    • bella | ful-filled June 21, 2018, 10:22 pm

      Thank you so so much Michelle…I never thought of it that way until you said it, but after coming here for the first time, it felt so meant to be for us to live here…but you are right, we most definitely fit right in! I love and appreciate you so much, thank you for all of the encouragement…I do hope to post a journal entry once a month! <3

  • Timothy Pakron June 22, 2018, 10:32 am

    This post is touching and the images are stellar B. Really. They are all stunning. I am so thrilled to see non-food related imagery from you. I can’t wait to see more!

    • bella | ful-filled June 22, 2018, 10:24 pm

      Thank you SO much Timmy! You know how long I have been waiting to take non-food photos and living in Greece has been the perfect opportunity for me to flex some other creative muscles!

  • Carolyn June 22, 2018, 10:37 am

    I always love your blog and IG posts (and this one was truly inspirational), they have such passion behind them. You have a gift with words and telling stories through photographs. Much love to you and your husband as you continue on this incredible journey. Love you!

    • bella | ful-filled June 22, 2018, 10:27 pm

      Thank you so so much Carolyn! That truly means so much to me…especially in this current climate when sometimes I feel like I don’t really know my place in this creative realm, knowing that what I share inspires people really encourages me to keep doing what I am doing <3

  • Karlee Sisler Flores June 26, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Finally read through this post and it’s simply lovely. Nothing makes this heart happier than knowing your well taken care of!

    • bella | ful-filled June 26, 2018, 10:48 pm

      Awww…thank you so much Karlee – love you and miss you! <3

  • Whitney February 9, 2019, 11:26 am

    Bella, your photography is breathtaking! This village is gorgeous! What a beautiful place.

    • bella | ful-filled February 9, 2019, 3:28 pm

      Awwww…thank you so much Whitney, I really appreciate that! This village is our favorite place on earth…it holds such a special place in our hearts <3

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.