I am Australian and grew up on beaches that were quiet, clean and stunning. In fact, I swam all my youth in the ocean, East Gippsland Australia. I know how powerful sand and water can be when it comes to mental health. The ocean can wash away our negative thoughts. It can cleanse the body, soul and mind. Before I left for this trip, I had a terrible cough for months. I don’t know if it’s due to covid or menopause. Let’s assume it is a combination of both.

Gracie Opulanza


What I do know the effects of this cough got me in a real poor mental state of mind. I could not walk, exercise and ate out of depression. I had to get to the sea asap.  My swimming history has taken me to all parts of the world over the years and healed my body and mind.

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Global Swimming Destinations

I have swum in South East Asia which is stunning but much more polluted both on the sand and in the water. I have swum in the famous remote, Cook islands which is a nation in the South Pacific, with political links to New Zealand.  It’s stunning and very pure as a lifestyle goes.

My worse beach experiences have been in Italy in the last three years. They are packed with people, dirty, and very expensive to lounge around in. I was swimming in the water with plastic all the time. I am referring to luxury beaches such as Forte Dei Marmi. 

Italian beaches actually stress me out and I find their way too packed, especially in the Summer time. Deep within me, my soul was giving messages to head to Greece.

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I has no idea what to expect when I headed to Greece. I visited Greece for two weeks just now. I have not explored Greece for over 25 years. I could not believe when I turned up to a very busy beach how clean and pristine the water was. I will be honest cigarette butts are everywhere on the beaches. Which is a real shame.

But regarding the water, I have not swum in water in Europe ever like this. Due to Greece having so many tourists this year. In fact, it’s the best tourism the Greeks have ever seen in history. I decided to venture to  Khalkidhiki, where I never encountered any Americans,s Australians or other people from Western Europe, only tourists from Macedonia or Romania.

This was refreshing and I felt I was in a special place where I could really tap into an authentic population of kind people. That was the case.

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Peninsula North Western Aegean Sea

I swam for ten days on this peninsula that the Greeks call, three fingers. Kassandra, Sani beach, Siviri, Kallithea and Posidi beach are the beaches. I swam in this peninsula which had many rural spots. August is the peak season for Greece and therefore is not easy to lie on a sandy beach without anyone else. But I found places that were quiet, and clean and the water was magical.

I could drive to many locations for a healing and tranquil swim. I didn’t understand the power of the healing water until I left Greece.

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Cough From Hell

This unrelenting cough from the deep dark change of life at fifty. I have had this cough for over 8mths. It made me leak in all parts of the body. it was exhausting.

I have to condition my mind to tell the body and soul that turning fifty is all in the mindset. I have been ill with fever and cough three times this year. which is a lot for me. I rarely get ill. So the effects of these pandemics naturally take their toll on me. But I am a character of prayer and also tapping into natural mother earth and what she gives to me. I am a Christian so I know where my healing guide comes from.

So what was causing this cough that made me vomit and woke me up from my sleep? I really have no idea but I was determined to tap into the local resources of Greece to cure it.

Mount Athos Greece

Swimming in salt underwater is brilliant for cleansing the sinus and all the muck in one’s body. It was horrible, to begin with as I kept coming up and coughing like no tomorrow. People were not comfortable because of Covid. I also floated in the water as my body is aching too. They say these two symptoms are all about premenopause. I am always feeling stiff, aching and coughing. It really is exhausting over the months.

When I was in Vietnam, I noticed women early in the morning. Digging a hole in the sand and sitting in it. They explained that the sand had healing power and the minerals were good for aching muscles. God created so many natural affordable remedies for us to take the time and explore.

So I walked barefoot as much as I could in Greece. As a result, my feet looked terrible. The skin was peeling. This means the body is unwell too. I scrubbed for days but it was not helping yet.

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Healing Mountains

Whilst swimming I noticed Mount Athos. Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. I don’t pray to mountains but I do recognize that healing resources come into the water from them. This trip was a combination of good food, swimming and visiting monasteries. I know through all of this my body was letting go of that cough.

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I have been told coughing is a sign of unhappiness deep within. That makes sense as in the last three years, I lost many job opportunities, gave up my home, and moved to places of new destinations which is very taxing on the body.

I lost family and friends to cancer in Australia my birth home. I have not been home for three years which I know is taking its toll. This is just what life throws at you. As a digital nomad, it is important no matter what to notice when it’s time to reconnect with family, that time is here.

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Herbal Tea

Once I left the sea I was still coughing and I thought it may be mould from air conditioning and other factors from many Airbnbs I have stayed in the last three years. So I visited a herbal shop in Greece and explained my condition. I insisted on tea from Greek soils. I have no idea what is in this tea she gave me.  After three days this cough left me. I do believe it was a combination of prayer, swimming, and making peace with my past.

The irritation of life and the past regrets of missed opportunities have finally left my throat.  My comfort eating is much more controlled and balanced. I also made sure that I told this cough to let go as I have new opportunities to embrace as a mother, wife and woman.

Can a road trip to Greece have so much power? Yes, it can and it did for me.

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Live In The Present Moment

Life is short, one has no idea what can happen on a daily bases. My last day of travel was brutally halted when a dog bit my husband whilst checking into an Airbnb. Recognise when it’s time to leave a place. Dogs and I have had a love-hate relationship throughout my life. I live a Digital Nomad lifestyle which can be very taxing on the body, soul and mind. In a few weeks, I am uprooting again to a new place. All my stuff will be placed in storage and I will be setting off to South East Asia and Australia.

That is the plan but in this current world be flexible for last-minute changes. Be in tune with your body and what it is telling you.

God guided me to Greece as it was an unplanned trip. That tea I prayed for has been such a blessing. I can’t drink it anymore as it makes me feel ill. The reason this is so, it’s a clear message from my body that its healing remedies have done the job. The best doctor for your own body is you. Be intuned to what your body is telling you. Less sugar, less booze and more snooze, that is my issue. Also to stop living in the past regrets. New opportunities for business are awaiting me.

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