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Elissavet

Travel Designer Photo of Travel Designer Elissavet

I remember when I was about 17, my friend asked me what my plans for life were.Sincerely, I had no clue.

I had some scattered images in my head of how I imagine myself. Like photographs. The only thing in common, I remember, was that all these images were in some far lands, with unusual landscapes and distant cultures. Living abroad was something I use to fantasize a lot as a kid. It was a constant change and an excitement over new things that attracted me.

Not being aware that living abroad doesn’t necessarily involve riding a horse with American Indians, discovering hidden treasures like Indiana Jones or translating for the UN I have (unconsciously) made everything to fulfill this dream of mine: sail away from an overprotected environment widely known as a “family home”. And, just like that, three years after, my life turned upside down: I’ve got exactly what I wanted. A ticket to study abroad.

They say the ignorance is a bliss, and I couldn’t agree more. I had no idea that the years to come would be the happiest and the most difficult. If you have ever left your hometown, childhood friends and the perks of being the youngest of 3, you’d understand me. On one side, I thought: Man, I’m living the time of my life (no matter how corny this sounds it was an absolute truth) but, on the other side, some people I considered important were leaving my life, leaving room for another to come in. And leave again. …  I guess it’s just the way it goes, right?

From my 21st till my 25th, I have changed home in 3 different countries. You’d agree I’ve got more that I wished for. For the last 3 years, I’ve been living here, in Athens. Love brought me to Greece. And it was here, in the land of greatest philosophers, I have come to understand something: the mentality of the immigrants and expats. That unusual feeling when you have to be brave (even if you aren’t), to build your life from the scratch, to present yourself constantly, to understand others lack of understanding, to make new friends, fight for the acceptance, learn to be rejected, make compromises, learn to live with less comfort and be more open-minded. All this mixed up with the feeling of extreme homesickness. …

Sounds lovely, right? Well, no. It doesn’t. Sounds like a life and it's good enough for me.

You know, even if I didn’t bet on all of this at my 17, with my romanticized image of living abroad, at the end of the day I am grateful for all the things I’ve learnt so far. They’ve made me toughen up and push my boundaries. I don’t think I’d change a thing.

Photo of Founder Tina.

Tina

Founder

"In 2010, the Greek crisis hit and the country went into freefall. I was left without a job, a car or even medical insurance, and there was little perspective of finding a new job any time soon."

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Photo of Guide Andreas.

Andreas

Guide

“I grew up in a neighbourhood called Nea Smyrni. The first settlers here were refugees from Asia Minor. People in our neighbourhood are proud of where they come from; they respect history because many of their grandparents or great-grandparents were lost or had to emigrate following the end of the conflict between Greece and Turkey.”

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Photo of Guide Diana.

Diana

Guide

"I am a person who loves colors. Whenever I have to choose between a pair of glasses, new clothes, or a new purse, my choice is always the most brightly-colored. This has become instinctive throughout the years, and it is only recently that I realized it is directly related to my native country."

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Photo of Guide Tania.

Tania

Guide

“I was about five, and I was taking part in a school celebration. Dressed in a traditional costume like all the other members of my “troupe”, I was waiting to recite the lines of the poem I had painstakingly learnt by heart. At last, my turn came. But when I stood behind the microphone, my mind went blank and my mouth went dry. Tears welled up in my eyes. Terrified, I glanced over at my classmates who, grouped behind the wings and dressed in their own slightly silly costumes, were waiting to act their part."

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Photo of Guide Vassia.

Vassia

Guide

"There is a book I like a lot. Its final sentence reads: “It is never too late to have a happy childhood”. I was in my early twenties when I read it and my childhood had been relatively happy. But I tend to take stuff written in books very seriously. Why had the author chosen to end a book about an improbable love story with this sentence?

It was around that time that I started to travel."

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Photo of Travel Designer Lena.

Lena

Travel Designer

“In the induction program for my Master’s degree, I had to join a team and carry out some outdoor activities with them. Naturally, when it came out that I had acrophobia, I was the one assigned to abseil down a cliff. When the time came to step off the edge, I froze in front of everyone. It was the most embarrassing moment, of my life..."

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Photo of Guide Niko a.k.a. Rude.

Niko a.k.a. Rude

Guide

"It must have been at the end of middle school when I discovered graffiti, although my fascination with drawing and the arts had been with me a lot longer. My new hobby began stealing ‘precious’ time I could have used for studying for school. I realised that action had to be taken..."

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Photo of Guide Christina.

Christina

Guide

"Although I loved Greece, when I moved back here after spending so much time away, I didn’t feel that I belonged in the country that I loved. The people confused me – I really didn’t understand them – and I thought about getting out again. I changed jobs over and over before I realized that it wasn’t the right job I was looking for, it was the change itself, the feeling of travelling within my own life."

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"We went to beautiful places, historic places, trendy places. It was a great experience. It was much more then just bar hopping. It was having drinks with your Greek friend."

Edward Q

"My family and I joined Marlene on an unforgettable night in Athens exploring the LGBT nightlife and getting to know the local community, listening to great music music, dancing, laughing and becoming friends."

NNeumann923

"We sampled food and drinks from about 10 different places within an easy walking distance from the central square. Everything we tried was amazing!"

Justin G