(Not So) High Speed Adventure on Four Wheels

Eleanor Roosevelt recommended that you “Do one thing every day that scares you.” In my opinion, if you can do something that scares you 365 days a year for years on end, then you’re a big baby. I mean, really. Who is scared of that many things? That said, I have recently tackled quite a few scenarios that once struck fear deep in my soul. Some of these involved open water, being strapped to a board and pointed down a mountain, and quitting my job and leaving everything I know and love to travel the world. While my parents seem to think that I’m generally not afraid of enough things, I stand by the decisions I’ve made over the past few years. Especially when it came to walking with a puma in the Bolivian jungle. I only left with one scratch and it wasn’t even permanent. Now there’s a regret.

When Kiera suggested that we rent quads and cruise around Santorini, I wasn’t on board. I’m not a huge fan of unenclosed motorized vehicles, I don’t know the first thing about operating one, and oh… yeah… the drivers here are kind of nuts. But Kiera pressed on, making a solid argument for why it was a good idea: we would get quads that were only 50CCs, all you have to do is push the gas and the breaks, and she would lead the whole time. Ok, fine, whatever… let’s do it. Another fear to check off the list. So we walked into a moto rental shop, signed two contracts, and were on our way. My introduction to the bike went something like this:

“Here is break, here is other break, here is parking break, here is start, here is lights, here is on, here is off, here is reverse, here is neutral, you don’t have to shift… have fun.”

Right. Fears confirmed—I had no idea what I was doing. However, I have played my fair share of Mario Kart and figured this couldn’t be much different.  I pulled on my helmet (which I had to insist on as they do not come standard with the rental), pushed the starter, revved the gas, released the parking break, moved from neutral to drive, pushed the gas, and was OFF! At about 8 miles per hour. I quickly learned that 50CCs is no match for the hills of volcanic Santorini, so my fears of losing control at high-speeds were unfounded. In fact, by the time we reached a downhill straight, I had a need for speed.  So I ducked down, leaned forward, and reached the blistering pace of 30 MPH.

We spent the next 24 hours trolling around the island discovering lesser known black sand beaches, taking pit stops whenever we saw a puppy, and visiting a killer pita place in Fira as many times as is acceptable in one day (twice). The less frequented roads along the ocean provided an amazing backdrop as we cruised along and stopped to take ridiculous photos. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. In fact, when it came time to hand over the keys, I felt a sense of loss as I said goodbye to my road buddy. From fear to potential new hobby—I never would have called that.

We are now heading to the island of Crete to camp on the beach for a week. And guess what one of our first activities will be? Renting quads—maybe even 150CCs this time. But don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’ll always wear a helmet and will obey the rules of the road. I promise. I’ll also let you know if I see a wild puma. That would be so rad.

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