#94 A Possible Key to Longevity — Ikarian Way of Life

Perched above the sprawling hillside lay an old Mediterranean home overlooking the Aegean sea. The inhabiting couple, in their mid 80’s, tend to their land like others in the community. Harvesting honey, raising chickens, and eating by the toils of one’s own hand is commonplace in Ikaria, an island of Greece thirty minutes west of Turkey, by boat.

This is what life is like for many Ikarians. The country is one of five regions in the world given a blue zone classification, where life expectancy is highest. The other four countries are:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, Californ

In Ikaria, about 1/3 of Ikarians live past the age of 90. This is substantially greater in comparison to America, where it’s 1/20.

In an interview with Vox News, Mayor of Ikaria, Nikos Kalambogias was asked what’s the secret to the longevity of its citizens. He said it’s undoubtedly the fact that most people grow their own food.

My wife and I are in the process of selling our home and actively looking for land. Our vision is to be as self-sustainable as possible, live in an environment where the air quality is good, and be away from the hustle and bustle that surround city life.

We always talked about living this way, but due to recent events in our life, the push is coming sooner than expected.

Checkout out this series I wrote, called Homeward Unbound if you care to learn more about some of the struggles and realizations that I’ve had earlier in 2021.

A former friend, turned stranger introduced me to Walden. It’s a beautiful tapestry of infinitely fertile words, woven with wisdom. It’s undoubtedly one of the most important books I own.

Thoreau takes us on a journey, where he deliberately chose to live in the woods, in an effort to see what he could learn about himself and existence at large.

His way of life made an impact on me, and through a series of events that I doubt are of my choosing, I stand today in a place where I can make this vision a possibility.

There is a lot of uncertainty in our future, but after almost losing my wife on multiple occasions and the untimely death of my mother this year, every day is really a toss-up.

The words of D’Smoke from Rhythm + Flow ring in my years, when he said:

“It’s safe to say that growth is an uncomfortable process, and pain is a necessary investment for progress.”

In closing, there is an urge to live amongst the trees, to learn from the mountains, and to jump into a river, and embark on a daily baptism to clean the spirit.

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With love,
Anand

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