To kick us off, would you mind sharing how you discovered your passion for guiding?
Fortunately for me, I was born into a family that has always been involved with the tourism industry, so one could say working in the field is in my blood! This, plus my love for antiquity and mythology, lead me to guiding, the perfect combination of all. I couldn’t imagine a more suited profession.
Sounds like you’ve got the dream job! How did you manage to turn your passion for heritage and history into a profession?
Well, at University, I elected to study archaeology and art history, but when I learned it was going to be impossible for me to do excavations in the real world, I turned to guiding people around archaeological sites where excavations were ongoing. That is, after all, the next best thing, eh? I just can’t get enough of the incredible energy at those sites– the history is magnetic.
Considering your love for ancient history, Greece is undoubtedly a great fit for you. Are you originally from Greece?
Yes, I sure am a native Greek, and I’m a little tied up with the mythology because of my name, Penelope (Odysseus’s wife according to Homer).
Very true, and very appropriate! Funny how those sorts of things work out. Now to shift gears to talk about your trips. From climbing the unique landscape of Meteora to boating the stunning waters of the Thessaloniki region, I see you offer a huge array of explorations, but which do you prefer and why?
To tell you the truth, no one trip is better than the other; they all come paired with such rich history that makes each so fascinating in its own right. Wherever you go in Greece, you’ll experience something life-changing– the history will impact you in ways you never imagined.
It sounds like you’ve found your calling in guiding, but what would you say has been the biggest highlight of being a professional sightseeing guide?
Why, making my guests happy, of course! Really, though, it’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to teach tourists about Greece, and I find great satisfaction in enriching their lives with my knowledge.
And we are so appreciative knowledge-filled tour guides like you exist! Now, I’m curious to know what a typical day in the life of Pinelopi looks like…
Since everyday is different, I’ll just give you the four basics:
- Meet tour group
- ENJOY COFFEE!
- Lead tour
What’s the best trip you’ve ever lead?
That’s a hard one, and the truth is I don’t have an answer; every tour is different because each group is different, and that’s what makes the job so wonderful. The bottom line is that I learn from all my tours– that’s all I ask for.
Have you ever experienced a bad guided trip?
No, and that’s because I have the mentality that one can learn something, gain something, from any experience, be it good or bad, and with that, one’s always winning.
That’s a great mentality I’m happy you reminded me of, so thank you. However, since we all know no job is perfect, would you mind sharing a downfall of being a sightseeing guide in Greece?
The biggest downfall to being a tour guide is that you’re always on the go, so family takes a backseat. It would be better if I could dedicate more time to my loved ones.
As an experienced guide, can you think of any tips people should know before going on a guided tour?
Oh yes: to go with a willingness to face the unknown, and since the unknown is scary, to remember that your tour guide is there to support you.
Lovely tip! And finally, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
As a matter of fact, next, I’m off to see the pyramids in Egypt, and then I’m going to Iran and New York.