If I had a million dollars, I’d pack a bag and head off to the airport to acquire a ticket to the most remote island off the coast of Greece. I’d ask the travel agent which islands were undergoing civil war, or had State Department advisories. Whichever place she’d mention in hushed tones would be my destination.
I’d take up fishing in a fishing village, gain the natives’ trust, drink Ouzo in the scorching summer heat, stalk octopi in the dark sapphire seas, and give charitably to anyone in need,. At night I’d involve myself in whatever conceivable intrigue the Mediterranean offered. I’d want to live dangerously.
When I was sure that the minerals of the jagged coast had penetrated my bloodstream – I would buy a farm on the rockiest, most ungovernable soil. Then i would stock the farmhouse with books on Greek philosophy and poetry and spend my nights basking in the afterglow of a campfire surrounded by the dying scents of roasted goat and feta cheese – singing Ionian hymns to pagan gods.
I would guide my sheep across the rugged country, muttering commands in Greek, aided by an old sheepdog. I would find startling mountains to rest by. I would also farm olives, haggle with the village women, and hunt wild boar with the men. At night, when I was alone and all the animals were asleep, I’d sit under the dazzling stars and break out a book on ancient Greek geometry, put a good tape in the stereo next to me, and read. I would marry a young village woman to share this stark and simple beauty. Once my money was exhausted, I would remain a shepherd-farmer-philosopher on my remote island forever.