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Dimitris's Playground: Making travellers feel like locals


I chat with humans who enjoy their work & play at their job or who feel that they lead balanced lives. While working remotely in Athens, I met Dimitris, who leads bike tours at Athens by Bike! We talked about why he loves his job, how mistakes help us and simple truths about life.

Once upon a time …

...there was a lost student of physics who loved cycling. Then one day he found an ad on Facebook looking for cycling enthusiasts who would lead tours in Athens. He decided not to apply for the ad and instead went to meet Manos the founder in person! Now, six summers later he is cycling around Athens and sharing his passion with the travellers.

What brings a smile when you think about your job?

Many things! Although my job can also be stressful, I work with people who are on vacation, which means that I meet a lot of happy faces and my job in that sense is easy because I get to add to their good time. I also really enjoy learning about their cultures. In doing so, I ask about their daily routine because I want to compare and contrast. For eg. with simple questions like ‘what time do you eat dinner? you can dig deeper and get to the background of how we socialize, what we eat and what we enjoy. I enjoy giving them hits about Athenian daily life so they can feel and do more things like a local. And also I know that I will ride around Athens which means it will be fun and active.

What was your first mistake and how do you see it now?

In the first year, I had a big group and lost a girl while riding through the National Gardens. When we found her she was in tears, so the tour was a disaster, but looking backwards it helped us improve our safety procedure. Now, this past mistake is an integral part of our tours.

What is important to tell to someone who would like to do the same?

There are different ways to do this job. For eg. my tour is about making you feel like a local, but in the company, we also have an archaeologist who likes to talk about the history and a winemaker who likes to share stories. But it’s not as easy as it seems. All my friends who tried couldn't do it. It takes responsibility and a particular level of energy as you need to animate the people for hours. It’s almost like acting and you need to feel comfortable presenting. I would also say that this job is for people who are passionate about their city and who like to share that... And for everyone who likes giving smiles to people.

What do you think the world needs more of?

Perhaps it will sound basic, but we need more happiness. We need to both appreciate the things that we have and demand more. But it is important not to get lost in the pursuit of the next thing.

If I think about it in more depth, we need to recognize living more in the now.

Aesop’s story about the grasshopper and the ant talked about this dilemma too.

What can we do to make the world more like this?

I believe we can live more in the now through travelling and art. Travelling helps because you appreciate the current moments more and art.. art is like travelling 😊 For eg., you see a movie about a story from Alaska and it takes you there. Or you read a book about Japan and you get to live that feeling.

What do you wish I asked but I didn't? 'Do you see yourself doing this in 10 years?'

And the answer is I don't know, and I don't want to know. Where is the fun in knowing your future? And in 10 years you might be someone else.

P.S. Do you want to work on something you love? Playground is an anti-procrastination platform that helps you progress & connect. Check if Playground is for you.


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