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Elissavet

Head of Travel Design Photo of Head of Travel Design 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 Pavlina.

Pavlina

guide

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain

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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 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 Elizabeth.

Elizabeth

Guide

The French poet Arthur Rimbaud once wrote that "Eternity is the sea mingled with the sun " and I guess there' s a little bit of truth of that in me.

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Photo of travel designer Penny.

Penny

travel designer

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

It all started during the period when the Greek crisis reached its zenith. A combination of many fruitless attempts in the Athenian job market as well as a huge loss in my family pushed me to search for a new start point; I was dreaming of my future in an island, so I took a job in one.

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Photo of guide maria.

maria

guide

Growing up, I had always thought that life, as if by magic, always puts us on the right path. As I got older, however, I discovered that sometimes you have to grab the steering wheel yourself, and turn your life in the right direction.

 

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Photo of Guide katerina.

katerina

Guide

I am a fan of poetry. Poems have the ability to paint a picture in just a few words. But what I find remarkable is that I often find my life painted in poems…especially while traveling.

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Photo of guide antigoni.

antigoni

guide

There is a theory that claims that your name determines who you are. Antigone was the heroine of a Greek tragedy written by Sofocles in 441 BC. She defied the rules and for that she faced death.

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Photo of Guide Tania.

Tania

Guide

I was about five, and I was taking part in a school celebration. But when I sears 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 Laura.

Laura

Guide

I started performing on the streets in Rome and realized very early what the audience wants to see on the streets of a city. It is not the best juggling trick or acrobatic skill. What they really wanted to see was me smiling and looking  them into their eyes - sharing playfulness.

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Awards & Accolades

Testimonials

"Our tour guide was perfect. She knew how to gage the group, she gave us enough information for it to be enjoyable without turning this into a university class. It was simply pitched perfectly. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it 100%.It made the Acropolis and all of the ruins come alive, make sense and really enjoyable."

Njaire1, TripAdvisor

"Amazing Tour! It exceeded my expectations. Our guide Demetra was wonderful and had an amazing knowledge of history, archaeology and culture; she did a great job highlighting things of importance and interest, while not bogging us down with too much detail. Our tour included a number of cultural stops (wine tasting, icon painting, Greek lesson, tanner and bellmaker visits, stops for local sweets and food, etc.) and every stop added to the richness of our trip. I honestly cannot say enough good things about Alternative Athens and Demetra!!"

Elizabeth B, TripAdvisor

"Wonderful day with top guide Vassia. Incredible lunch at a local restaurant. Mycenae was amazing too with great guide Jenny showing us around. Luxury air-con transport with the best driver. Worth every cent we paid"

Craig P., New Zealand