Maria Iotova

A serial expat and writer, living abroad helps me look at things with fresh eyes and get rid of preconceptions. I find it easier to board a plane and start all over again than deciding what to have for dinner, but putting my life on the scale and hitting the 23 kg target isn’t sorrow-free. From Greece to England, Ghana, South Korea, Mauritius, and Rwanda — the world is my home.

Discover Greece’s wine roads in the finest wine bars of Athens

Let’s take a journey back to ancient Athens when intellectuals’ favorite pastime was sitting around big tables and having heated conversations about ethics, ontology, and aesthetics. Now, can you guess where many of the philosophers’ brilliant ideas and theories emanated from? Maybe this quote from Plato will give you a clue: “No thing more excellent nor valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God”. Today, myths about Dionysus, the ancient god of grape-harvest, are consigned to oblivion, and the latest wine production technologies have replaced worships. But for wine aficionados, the drink is still associated with some of the best things that life has to offer. While modern Greece may not be the wine producer of the scale of South Africa and France, it has exceptional grape varieties that we urge you to try in some of Athens’ most atmospheric wine bars.

4 worth-knowing ventures in Mauritius for mindful travelers

During my two-year stay in Mauritius, I was curious to discover the action besides the lush hospitality industry, the immaculate beaches, and the rum-filled evenings. So, if these holidays you are setting foot on the tropical island of Mauritius for the absolute Christmas-in-shorts experience, take the opportunity to meet four game-changing wanderers, who are instilling their skills, time, and heart in a novel cause.

5 restaurants in Toronto we wouldn’t have discovered without a local

I booked my flight to Canada spontaneously longing for a city break after having spent most of the past three years in rural areas in South Korea, Mauritius, and Greece. Favoured by the travel fairy, who spared me the nuisance of jet lag, I instantly embraced the fast and congestive feel of Toronto. The city’s mosaic of tolerant people, nifty local boutiques, elegant bars, urban parkland, and top-notch restaurants swept me off my feet. Toronto isn’t the type of city that goes all out to impress; it’s a humble achiever awaiting to be unleashed. Having a local friend helped me speed up the discovery process, and it’s a pleasure to share with you the insight I got into five outstanding Toronto restaurants.

Eight habits expats in Greece cannot resist

In spite of Greece’s lingering financial crisis and high levels of unemployment, especially among the youth, the country has remained an attractive destination for expats who are looking for low cost of living, sunshine, and a booming startup ecosystem. The cradle of Western civilisation, Greece is a large source of history and culture. Once you overcome the initial culture shock, you won’t be able to resist Greek people’s passion for introducing you to the Greek way of life; before you know it you will be celebrating name days, and you will be hugging and kissing your friends when you meet them.

Please, don’t ask me these expat-related questions again

Expatriation started as a necessity when I was looking to progress with my academic studies of a Master’s degree in England. However, it was earlier in my life, when I began travelling for leisure, that I figured out moving countries is a lifestyle I would like to revel in. Since 2007, I have lived and worked in five countries in Europe, Africa, and East Asia, and I am currently preparing for my next expatriation project. I may find it easier to board a plane and start all over again than deciding what to have for dinner, but the journey is not anxiety and sorrow-free. So, if you are interested in how a life away from everything you take for granted is, please don’t ask me (or any other like-minded expat for that matter) any of the following questions — here’s why.

Moving countries: Why I am more with less

I have always been very thoughtful about the things I own, and how I organise them in my space — whether it’s the tiny studio in South Korea, the shared-flat in Ghana, or the two-floor house in Mauritius. I love change, and I see moving to a different country as an opportunity to reset my reality and rediscover myself; living abroad helps me look at things with fresh eyes and get rid of preconceptions. Packing is a big part of the whole moving process, and when you have to limit your belongings down to two suitcases, you reconsider the value of possessions. Here’s how I learned to put my life on the scale and hit the 23 kg target.

Έφυγαν από την Ελλάδα της κρίσης και διαπρέπουν στο εξωτερικό

Είναι νέοι, έξυπνοι, μορφωμένοι, που αποφάσισαν να εγκαταλείψουν την Ελλάδα την εποχή της κρίσης και να δοκιμάσουν τις δυνάμεις τους στο εξωτερικό. Τα κατάφεραν με επιτυχία και πλέον, αν και νοσταλγούν την πατρίδα, δε σκέφτονται να επιστρέψουν μόνιμα σε αυτήν.

The best things about living by the ocean

Research shows that spending time by the ocean is beneficial both for our physical and mental health. Some expats are consciously in search of seaside destinations to fill their life with joy and fresh sea air while others accidentally find themselves on the shore, only to ask how on earth were they living before without the breathtaking sea view. Today, on World Oceans Day, celebrates the future of our oceans with a few points which commemorate the best aspects of expat life by the ocean.

The world's outstanding entrepreneurial ecosystems

Both expat and local entrepreneurs contribute to national economies and the global economy to make the world a better place through unique products and excellent services. But where in the world are the best places to set up your business or join a charismatic team of changemakers? Startup Genome, a solid support system for technology organisations in forward-looking cities, has composed a geographic and sectorial report, which signals the beginning of a new technological era. We present the startup environment in some of the most entrepreneur-friendly cities.

Observing the holy month of Ramadan around the world

There are more than one and a half billion Muslims worldwide, many of whom greeted Ramadan last Thursday as expats in a non-Muslim country. Also, there are many Western expats in the midst of the 30-day fasting in Muslim countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. looks at how both expat groups can enjoy the holy month of Ramadan — whether it is while abstaining from food and water from dawn till dusk or trying to understand the deeper meaning of this experience for the people who engage in it.

Timor-Leste: Where work meets quality of life

Xian, an Australian-Chinese-Filipina, amateur photographer, badminton player, and swimmer among others, moved to the island nation of Timor-Leste three and a half years ago to continue her wonderful work on gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. Xian has absolutely adapted to the unique style of island living, and shares with some tips on making the most of your expat experience in Timor-Leste — spoiler alert: food and snorkelling included.

Four nature experiences to bring out your inner Zen

When it comes to enhancing our clients’ mental and physical well-being by helping them reconnect with the natural world, Heritage Resorts has no equal. It offers immersive nature experiences that will help you disengage from the stress of everyday life while improving your physical and mental health. Heritage Resorts’ health experts invite you to discover the art of eco-therapy, or of healing thanks to contact with nature. Are you ready to rediscover your inner balance?

Rwanda through the eyes of a professional expat

Sila, from Nigeria and Turkey, is now living and working in Rwanda after she agreed to accept a relocation job offer. In the heart of Africa, and home to the continent's largest rainforest with a third of gorillas' world population, Rwanda is one of the proudest nations regarding conservation of natural habitats. When not teaching the principles of leadership to talented, pan-African students, Sila is enjoying the variety of restaurants and the convenience of moto rides, which can take you anywhere in the country's capital city, Kigali. However, there are three things that Sila needs more time to adapt to — living without caring housemates, the lack of spicy food, and the calmness of the city.

How a holiday in Mauritius turned into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Before completing her Master's in Non Profit Administration in San Francisco, Kelly was working in both the corporate and government sectors of Singapore, her home country. Two years ago, what was supposed to be a short-term visit to her husband's mother land, Mauritius, opened their eyes to the flaws of the local food system. Ever since, they have focused on developing a sustainable farming model in Mauritius with international applicability. Kelly speaks to about the unexpected change in the course of her life and how she feels about Mauritius, her new home.

Handy Smartphone: Empowering our guests with the latest technology

Modern travellers are used to managing their trips via their mobile phones, from checking-in on the go and finding their way around with Google maps to taking pictures and rating restaurants. Smartphones are now as indispensable as a good holiday read. Veranda Resorts enthusiastically brings the functionality of a smartphone to all its guests with Handy, the world’s first mobile operating system for the hospitality industry.

Chief characteristics of a serial expat

Whether you become an expat because you crave change, build an international career, or follow your spouse, expatriation comes with certain, and sometimes somewhat unexpected challenges. To find out how likely you are to cherish your new life abroad or how much of a devout expat you are, see how many qualities and skills you can check off our list. But, don’t despair if you are not acing the test because, as long as it does your heart good, you can learn some of these skills.
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