Amelia Kanan

Writer + Photographer + Producer

Month: September, 2017

“I love everything that’s old, – old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.” (30 of 31)

Stephanie and I were best friends before we even met in person. Two months before we moved into our college dorm, we talked on the phone almost every day and told each other everything.

Steph wanted to experience as much as she could. She wanted to travel, share awkward moments with strangers, write about the things that impacted her, capture life and create the most epic catalog of memories.

As for me, I just wanted to find a husband. Feeling like I had already done everything on her list, my naiveté led me to believe that my next chapter was supposed to involve a minivan, the PTA and a husband who had sex with me in the garage after our kids’ soccer games.

Looking back, it’s funny to see how obvious it was that both of us desired lives that weren’t necessarily true to our natures. For instance, all I wanted was to be a homemaker, yet my nomadic spirit kept me from sleeping in my own bed most nights of the week. And as determined as Steph was to be spontaneous and free, she was quick to nest and root down in our neighborhood.

Gradually and unknowingly, we learned each other’s tricks. Stephanie shared her important tools of dependability and commitment and I exhibited survival skills for living life spontaneously.

For better and for worse, our friendship had no boundaries. We served up reality checks and called out flaws. Yet even with the harshest of fights, our intentions were never to hurt, but to inspire growth within the other. We didn’t just help each other identify the flaws, but examine them. Was it a scar or a wound? A fear? Or was it just a character trait that hadn’t been built yet? She wanted me to embrace the reality of roots, rather than run from it. I wanted her to learn that goodbyes didn’t always mean that you had to lose something, but maybe gain something better or more evolved.

We didn’t just live together, we developed who we were together. We learned our strengths, weaknesses, dislikes and needs vs. wants. She helped me find pride in my independent life and I helped her see how much of nurturer she truly was. Most importantly, we learned that life was not a stark contrast of black and white, but instead the most beautiful array of gray.

16 years later, 1,000 miles apart, we still talk almost every day and tell each other everything. Although I still tease Steph about living in the same neighborhood and frequenting the same businesses, I am in awe of how she has managed to achieve all of the goals from her 18-year-old list and then some. She has not stopped traveling, sharing awkward moments with strangers, writing about the things that impact her, capturing  life and creating the most epic catalog of memories now with her husband Ryan and their son, Ro – both of whom I adore more than words can begin to describe, but that’s a whole other blog.

Stephanie, Ryan and Ro thank you for teaching me that new chapters can begin without having to say goodbye. Here are a few snapshots for that epic catalog.

Not pictured: the nightly strolls, Ryan’s professional driving skills, Nicholi’s story about catching on fire, the woman at Faros Beach, yogurt breakfasts and singing “Be My Baby” a capella – over and over again.



The People of Sifnos

11 or so years ago I first experienced Sifnos, in the Greek Cyclades, through late night Skype chats with my best friend, as well as her blog where she confessed the curious truths about everyone she met. She lived and worked on the island for two summers in a row and has visited regularly ever since – despite everyone finding out about her blog and their curious truths which she had shared with the world. While she is an insanely talented storyteller, who needs to be writing more, I had a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the magic came from the characters themselves.

Sure enough, that was true. Not only did I get to meet the owner of the bar where she had worked and who had hated her for two minutes and then unofficially adopted her as the daughter he never had, but I also got to watch her and her husband introduce their baby to the magical Greek village that has become a second home to them.

While I don’t have much mileage on the island of Sifnos (that’s meant to be a metaphor, but I also literally can’t drive there…), I have never felt more at home. It was the comfort, familiarity, simplicity of living, lifestyle and obviously the aesthetic pleasure. Most of all, it was the people. Most everyone I met in Sifnos was of my favorite variety: funny, argumentative, loyal, hardworking, resilient, kind and a unique pairing of stubborn and humble. They’re nothing like the Italians. Just kidding…kind of.

George (1 of 1)

This was George and his daughter…or maybe his wife. I couldn’t be sure but he kept trying to send her back to LA with me. Neither of us really spoke the same language, but judging by all the hugs, I’m pretty sure George and I shared a bond. My favorite story with George: on my second night, I couldn’t find my passport. After searching through my entire room and googling “losing passport aboard”, I mustered some hope and went down to the front desk – the last place I remembered having it. It was midnight and George was sitting alone on the patio, happily listening to music. Once we greeted each other, I said, “George, I lost my passport.” He then got very anxious and worried about me, “Oh, no! Big trouble. You must go to the Consulate!” My stomach dropped, thinking this surely meant that he did not have my passport. However, due to the communication fog, I had a feeling things might not be completely clear, so I decided to clarify, “George, do you have my passport?” His face immediately changed, as if a light bulb went on, and he hurriedly walked inside to his desk, where he opened a drawer and pulled out my passport. Seeming just as surprised and relieved as I was, he said, “I thought you give to me, for safe keep!” We laughed and hugged each other as he kept saying, “Very good now. Very good.”

Street Boys (1 of 1)

While I was slightly scared of this crew of boys, I also wanted them all to be my sons. My first experience with them happened when I was walking back to my hotel – well after midnight – and found myself in the middle of this rowdy clan arguing. They were divided into two sides, yelling things back and forth to each other – like the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story. For a moment I felt like I should intervene and prevent a possible fight. Instead, I just kept walking. Every day afterwards, I kept seeing them around town – walking around, eating ice cream or just sitting on their phones. As I walked to meet my ferry to leave, I creepily said goodbye by taking this photo.

While some may feel uncomfortable with these photos, I think it’s more important to talk about the fact that we (Americans) don’t let our daughters feel uninhibited or unabashed about their bodies. There is no doubt that there are unfortunate dangers and fears that exist in our society, but how much power do we want to give them? And what is the price we are paying for it?

Boat Boy (1 of 1)

I watched this boy stand still for 15 minutes (I was waiting for Stephanie…not just being a creep). That man in the pink shorts never said a word to him the entire time.


Vathi was my favorite beach. It seemed like the most relaxing, the least crowded (other than Faros, a not-so-great beach) and had the warmest water). There also weren’t a lot of boats in this bay because there wasn’t a marina.

Cool Chicks (1 of 1)

Bike babes #slay in Apollonia.

These two bosses sat in the same spots, making the same faces, every day.