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Marina Kiriazis

LocationAtlanta
Experience8 Years
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For Marina, traveling is more than just ticking destinations off a list – it’s about learning to appreciate and love other places, people and cultures.

Marina was fortunate growing up to have family and friends located in different places around the world which gave her the opportunity to travel a lot from a young age. Despite her love for traveling it never occurred to her to pick it as a career path – at least not right away.

She studied communications but quickly decided that it was not the route she wanted to take so after graduation she took the opportunity to go to Greece to stay with her family for 6 months in order to know them better as well as the country, culture and language. She fell in love with her paternal homeland all over again! Plus it was a great base for exploring more of Europe (Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Egypt, Jordan…the list goes on). Needless to say 6 months turned into a year and a year turned into 10.

Still it took some time for her to find tourism as a profession but when she did it was like finding her place in the world! 6 years later, now married and with a kid, she and her family made a tough decision to leave Greece. As they embarked on this new adventure, she decided to continue selling travel, this time as an independent consultant rather than for a local tour operator – of course still focusing on Europe and the Mediterranean which she knows so well and loves so much! Marina believes that the most important thing when planning a trip is knowledge and she takes every opportunity she can to visit the places she recommends and make local connections so as to provide personal insight on the destinations and services. She loves both sharing her own stories and helping others make their own memories. She feels blessed to be able to do this and looks forward to it for years to come.

What is your most memorable travel experience?

I have a lot of very memorable experiences so it is hard to pick just one but there is a day that will definitely stick with me forever and it happened on the Greek island of Crete. The plan was for my husband and I to just ‘pop by’ this village outside Rethymno to quickly look at the ceramics that they were known for and then head off to a nearby monastery followed by the beach. We wandered into one workshop (one of the last in the village because I felt the first few were too ‘touristy’, selling only ancient replications) and were quietly taking a look to see if there was anything we wanted to take home as a souvenir. After a few minutes the owner came out of his workshop and says na sas kerasw (‘can I treat you’ in Greek) and held up a bottle of raki in the typical fashion of Cretan hospitality. ‘Certainly!’ we said. The one glass turned into many and was paired with wonderful conversation. We talked about our travels around the island and learned about his business and his family. Needless to say we never made it to the monastery or to the beach but it was a fabulous day

How do you prepare for trips?

I read a lot! I like to know a few basics about the history and local culture of where I am going and learn a few key words and phrases in the local language – ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘where is the bathroom’.

Favorite Travel Tip

Combine good organization and structure of the travel basics with plenty of time for spontaneity because some of the best memories come from the unexpected.