Sally Jane Smith's New Travel Memoir Takes Us Back to Greece

Author Sally Jane Smith. Image of a woman with long blond hair wearing a black top standing in front of a bush

New book by Australian Author Sally Jane Smith is out now

As revealed in her first book, when Sally Jane Smith packed up her mother’s old travel diary along with trauma and emotional baggage, there was much to unpack. But this time, when she “repacks” for Greece, she not only has her “kefi back”, but she truly blossoms. Her newest book, Repacking for Greece, is out now.

“Greece is the star of this story, but the narrative also follows my personal transformation while I was there,” Smith said. “The first book, Unpacking for Greece, was about letting go of personal baggage, like regrets about my relationship with my mother, who died when I was in my twenties, and a deep fear of buses following a long-ago solo travel accident. The new release, Repacking for Greece, is about replenishment. It is about abandoning anxiety and finding joy.”

COVER Repacking for Greece by Sally Jane Smith 1
Book 2 in the 'Packing for Greece' series is out now.

Repacking for Greece (independently published, 2024) opens with a story about how Smith ended up in Greece—her Canadian visa application was derailed by a long-forgotten arrest record for participating in peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrations as a South African teenager. 

That meant she missed a family vacation, but she sought another way to feed her travel bug. A frequent solo traveler, she didn’t hesitate to plan a jaunt alone. So with her mother’s tiny travel journal from a long-ago trip to Greece, Smith heads there. But she doesn’t simply trace her mother’s footsteps. She takes us along from Athens and Delphi on the mainland; to Nafplio, Mycenae, Epidavros, and Methana on the Peloponnese Peninsula; plus the islands of Hydra, Poros, Kefalonia, and Corfu—with a side trip to Albania. In her adventures, she connects the dots between history and legend, while tying them into contemporary literature.

Along the way the synchronicities she encountered are nothing short of amazing. “I travelled to Greece to find some trace of my late mother, but I wasn’t expecting a serendipitous moment to bring my father back to me, too. It felt like yet another blessing from this country that has come to mean so much to me.”

The book has received high praise. Jeffrey Siger, author of the international bestselling ‘Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Mystery Series’, said, “Fans of Patrick Leigh Fermor will find a kindred spirit in Repacking for Greece.”

Richard Clark, bestselling author of Greek travel memoirs and guides, plus several novels set on Crete, said, “An engaging companion, Sally’s life-affirming book reminds us all to seize the moment.” Peter Barber, author of the award-winning, bestselling Greek travel memoirs in ‘The Parthenon Series’, added, “Sally delves deep into the history and surrounding regions...these facts are like hidden treasures for readers.”

Cover Image Unpacking for Greece by Sally Jane Smith
Tina Hartas, co-founder of TripFiction, called this book, "An inspired Greek odyssey, balm for the soul".

Last year’s Unpacking for Greece (independently published, 2023) was named ‘Reading Greece Book of the Month’ by Greek government website Greek News Agenda and has been a selection in book clubs around the world. Readers have shared that the book encouraged them to take a solo trek, and/or planned their itineraries with her book as a guide. That will no doubt happen again with this book.

Born in South Africa, Smith has lived on five continents and visited 33 countries. “But Greece turned me into a writer.” In 2018, she completed a residency at Varuna, the renowned Writers’ House in Australia’s Blue Mountains. Her story of her great-great-grandmother’s extraordinary life appears in the anthology Itchy Feet: Tales of Travel and Adventure. Her exploration of travel and grief is included in the Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2022.  Smith’s work has also been published in Gulf News, TripFiction, Women’s Ink!, and Brevity Blog.

Greece is never far from her thoughts. She’s now working on her third book in the ‘Packing for Greece’ series. Repacking for Greece is available now wherever books are sold.

Learn more about Smith and her work at

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Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria also contributes to NEO magazine and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on a novel.

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