Updated: May 21
Chance opportunities for new working experiences can help us grow,
become wiser and discover unknown life routes.
Whether these routes prove to be fortunate or futile, new career encounters may lead us on the right, fulfilling path or otherwise help us realize what isn't for us after all.
When I took my first working steps in the Travel-Tourism world of Greece (Aphrodite Beach Hotel - Mykonos) back in 2000, it never crossed my mind back then that I would ever have the opportunity to write my own blog articles, on our very own website in 2023.
It truly amazes me how much the tourism environment & our travelling needs have changed over the last 20 years! The trips we book, the hotel reservations we make & the experiences we are searching for have become so detailed & specific in order to cover our every desire, that we can not really compare these times with the past.
Let's flashback and see how it all began for me two decades ago, how it grew & flourished into eventually co-founding in 2021 the online Travel Agency
Back in 2000, while studying Tourism Business Management & Economics, I was given the chance to work for a few months in a beach hotel & gain working experience during the Summer season, on the Island of Mykonos - or the Island of Winds, as it is better known to the locals. Simply, I couldn't turn this down. When you are young & full of energy, all chances to gain experiences matter, work-related or not, in order to build your personality & discover what attracts you the most & what doesn't.
After all, I had no expectations & all I was looking for was some money in order to have a pleasant Winter time back home in Athens & have fun.
Was there a better place than Mykonos to make a start?
With no working experience or any idea of what I would face there, I left home & headed to the port of Piraeus; destination Mykonos. Feeling strong & ready to dive into the new unknown world, I issued my ferry ticket using my parents' money.
After my arrival & a couple days of rest, the owner-manager of the hotel announced my job to me: beach boy. I had to collect the fee from guests using the Hotel's beach sunchairs at Kalafatis Beach. Epic times!!
With a length of around 500m., the longest beach in Mykonos, I had to walk up & down
every day from 10:00 to 18:00. The sun was blazing hot & the sand felt like walking on charcoal. But still, I had a distinct feeling that this was the best job I could ever ask for:
being on the beach all day and not in an office, able to swim any time I wanted to, meeting people from all over the world, hearing different ideas & collecting nice tips. It felt just great.
I was in the mecca of “anything is possible”, breathing the air of freedom. Unknown
between unknowns, I could be anybody I wanted to. And that's exactly what I did.
Those months woke me from the passive reality I had been in back in Athens: home, studies, weekends off. My eyes & mind opened wide: tourists, travellers, celebrities, a diversity of people, various languages & cultures and a huge mix of money currencies ( no EURO back then ).
The island of Mykonos became my new world.
Slowly, steadily and by watching my colleagues, following my instincts and trying to improve myself day after day, I was sculpting my new personality, open to new adventures.
Finally, self-confidence set in. It was a pleasant & profitable period of my life. An undiscovered world was revealed to me.
This life experience helped me grasp that I would like to continue my journey into the Travel & Tourism world.
Afterwards, my priority became finding the right business environment. I wanted to try more & I was looking for my next step forward. I quickly realized that hotel-oriented
businesses weren't for me & that Travel Agencies & Tour Operators were calling my name.
I immediately grabbed the first chance I was given, in Mykonos again: issuing air-tickets & organizing simple transfers for a local Travel Agency. Adding these skills to my CV, I was able to move forward, handling operations for Cruise Ships' shore excursions, working for a large specialized Agency in 2003.
A whole new side of the travel industry presented itself to me, consisting of tour guides, bus companies, shore excursions management, archaeological sites, museums, etc. My responsibility was orchestrating all these professionals in working together, to achieve the best service with maximum quality & minimal costs. Without question, a job that keeps you awake & helps you create useful networks of businesses & people.
Meanwhile, my University studies faded smaller & smaller into the background until my diploma finally came years later. What I find to be an important achievement is that during my studies, I was also developing my work experience simultaneously.
My journey in Tourism & Travel continued to evolve over the years in
Rethymno 2001 & 2020, Heraklion 2005, Chania 2006-2018, Santorini 2019.
A variety of responsibilities, skills & places. I think that this was the best education I ever had.
Through this journey into the so-called "heavy industry" of Greece (which in my opinion is not a heavy industry at all, as there is not a final product produced but only services) which includes: Cruise ships companies, Travel Agencies, Overseas Tour Operators, Hotel chains & Hoteliers, Transportation companies of all kinds, Charter flights, etc., I soon I realized that we must focus on the individual travellers rather than mass tourism, in order to protect our environment, our culture & grow equally economically in a long term plan.
There are many reasons for this. I'll mention a few briefly, as this will be the topic of a future blogpost (sign up for our newsletter to get it!) :
- Individual travellers, in actuality, spend more money locally than the mass tourists.
- Travellers seek genuine experiences, whereas tourists seek sea, sun & popular spots.
- Mass tourism pressures local economies for lower rates instead of higher quality.
- Mass tourism destinations see landscapes sacrificed in the name of "development".
- Local economies make more money from individual travellers directly, i.e. when there are no agencies dealing between local businesses & visitors.
The above reasons, only the tip of the iceberg, along with unique useful lessons I have learned, led me to my latest enterprise:
Co-founding in April 2021: Bonnie and Clyde Urban Tours.
An online Travel Agency, specialized in non-touristy & delicious tours.
Our philosophy is:
- More people loving Greece, Travel, Life and the Sea. - Paving new roads in the modern travel industry, with eco-responsibility at the core. - Promoting Crete's authentic character through alternative tours.
- Creating life moments, always with a human approach & friendly attitude.
In 2022, we were proudly nominated by the
Travel & Hospitality Awards
Our Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour in Chania is the first ever craft beer tour in Greece!!
Focused in promoting the Craft Beers & Gastronomy of Greece, while guests develop their beer tasting techniques & knowledge in a non-touristy, cultural way.
Soon, our Craft Beer & Gastronomy Tastes in Rethymno followed to introduce our visitors to the local society with food & beer tasting techniques.
Then came The Path to Cretan Beers Tour in Chania, created to welcome all craft beer newcomers or short term visitors of our city to discover the world of Cretan Beer.
At the same time, we present the colourful urban cityscape of Chania to visitors and beyond only the famous Venetian Harbour, by creating the first on the island of Crete
Street Art & Hoods, Culture Tour of Chania; a dive into colour & alternative neighbourhoods.
After over 20 years of experience of welcoming unknown territory, I keep going forward, continuing to embracing new opportunities.
See you out there,