If you can hear any traffic now, erase it. Turn off any television or radio, any devices that hum or beep. Replace them with the rhythmic stroke of sea on pebbles, or with the cry of a goat or an owl.
While most of the world rushes to fill spaces to house a growing population, for the last hundred years a cluster of Greek islands at the southeast edge of Europe has been doing the opposite. A century ago, the Dodecanese were thriving; since then, a sequence of calamities at home and opportunities elsewhere has left swathes of the archipelago half-abandoned, reclaimed by the wild.
Walking with her dog and a backpack, Jennifer Barclay journeys through the islands exploring steaming volcanoes and labyrinthine forests, rugged mountains and spectacular beaches. She discovers rare beauty in the ruins, the emptiness and silence, and inspiration in the people she meets. From ghost villages to cave-houses, from the crumbling villa of a Fascist dictator to the simple dwellings of displaced Muslim fishermen, these empty places speak of history and lost knowledge, of people who went to the other side of the world and back, of resilience and hope.
A manifesto in praise of deserted places, Wild Abandon shows us the value of what has been lost and, in paying attention to what is so often forgotten, reveals the enduring human potential for renewal and regeneration.
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