Being Digital Nomads ourselves, we find it really interesting to see how other Digital Nomads see our country and we also believe that these experiences can be really useful to other fellow Digital Nomads who plan to spend some time in Greece.
That’s why we were really happy to talk with Ola from Norway who spent 7 weeks in Athens working on his own start-up business from the ViOS Co-Working space.
G4N: Can you give us some information about what you do?
Ola: I am the founder of barracks.no which is something between an educational and a travel agent company. And even though it is just me, I will refer to it as “we” since we are referring to a company! We develop a series of educational or self improving programs and courses around Europe. We see what sort of thing we want to learn and where, we spend at least 4 weeks at the place, meeting the facilitator of the program, the teacher or expert and we develop the program together. Then we open a marketing window and if the restrictions allow it, which is one of the biggest concerns, we will have these programs.
G4N: So that’s how Athens came up?
Ola: Exactly, I do not just travel randomly. I go where I want to develop the program and where the facilitator of the program is. In Athens we were developing a martial art program about Pagkration, which I guess sounds familiar to you. We also have the “Art of Improv” in Barcelona and currently I am traveling to Malta for a free-diving program.
G4N: That sounds great. How did you find ViOS and how was it working from there?
Ola: When I travel, I first look for an apartment. After I book one I just go to Google maps and I search for the Coworking spaces around and that’s how I found Vios. I am very happy with it, the space was quiet and the staff very helpful and friendly. Great customer experience.
G4N: How about the apartment search? Was that easy?
Ola: I have figured out that the easiest way to find an apartment is Airbnb. I have looked on a lot of platforms and also Facebook but it was always pretty difficult with a lot of back and forth. Especially in Barcelona it was horrible. In Airbnb it might be a bit more expensive but there are normally big monthly discounts that make things better.
G4N: How was life in Athens other than working? Did you enjoy it?
Ola: I mostly worked actually for 7 weeks, I didn’t really do much. Obviously I did some tours, I visited the Acropolis and the museums. Also I visited some locations relevant to the training, but if you ask me like a tourist I did not see much because I was focused at work. I can just make a comment, historically I liked it a lot, there is so much to see, the historical sights are great and very well managed but the city itself to be honest I did not like it that much in terms of beauty. Another thing that can be helpful and that people don’t always know is that Greece actually gets cold in the winter! When I left it was like 8 degrees, I did not know that!
G4N: Yes it’s true, there is real winter even in Greece, even though it doesn’t last for too long! How was it with the language? Did you have any problems with that?
Ola: All the locals spoke very well, I was surprised by that, I did not have any problem really.
G4N: Did the situation with Covid affect your plans anyhow?
Ola: Nothing out of the ordinary, they were required to check the certificate when I was entering restaurants and stuff but other than that it was normal.
G4N: How about safety, did you have any concerns?
Ola: Not that much. There were quite a few political protests, if I am not wrong there were 3 during the 7 weeks I was there. I was warned by some locals in the martial arts class to avoid the center when they were there and also we would leave early these days because I did not want to get caught in the protests’ chaos. Other than that it feels very safe in general.
G4N: Do you plan to come back at some point?
Ola: Yes actually I want to, also because this time was too work focused. If the program sells I am going to be back quite often you know!
G4N: Do you have in mind something that you wish was better?
Ola: I can answer like this: next time I am coming back I will definitely be in a different district. I think it makes a huge difference because many modern parts of the city are not that nice. I will do better research and choose a nicer district, for example around the National Garden or around the Acropolis museum. Maybe you have to pay a bit extra to stay there but I think that there is such a big difference with the other districts that it’s worth it.
G4N: There is a lot of discussion about the internet speed in Greece. Did you have any problems with that?
Ola: Sometimes it was a bit unstable in my apartment but at ViOS it never was. For mobile data I use my Norwegian SIM card all over Europe so I did not really bother to check how it is in Greece.
G4N: And finally, do you have any advice for other digital nomads planning to visit Greece and stay in Athens?
Ola: Yes. First of all accommodation, pick a nice district! Second, if you care about the weather, better avoid winter even though I think it is nicer to avoid the peak of the tourist season as well. And finally one of the most beautiful things about Athens is of course its incredible history, so I think that one should spend time getting to know it. You know this was the birthplace of democracy, the birthplace of higher education, they can argue that it was the birthplace of western culture or science in general. I would encourage other people to kind of look into that and spend some time on that because historically it was such an amazingly important place, I would definitely recommend that.
G4N: That’s great, I don’t want to take more of your time and I know that you have a long trip. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and safe travels!
Ola: Thank you, same to you, it was really nice meeting you!
We thank ViOS Coworking for the help and support in organising this interview.
Vios is the first coworking space in Greece that has turned workplace well-being into a philosophy and has been designed following the WELL Building Standards focusing on 100 features across 11 concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community and Innovation. Interested to know more? Click here