In today’s Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we meet Marissa Tejada of Travel Greece, Travel Europe. Learn how this New Yorker moved to Athens, Greece and started a life of travel. She writers for her blog as well as Fodor’s, CNN Travel, Lonely Planet, and various lifestyle and travel magazines. Meet Marissa Tejada and check out her Top 5 List for Crete and where she is headed to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I’ve always loved traveling. It really took hold when I moved to Greece and was inspired by the beauty of the country. That’s one reason decided to take on travel writing full time and eventually started my blog Travel Greece, Travel Europe.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
I am based in Athens and after living here for eight years, I am still discovering new places around the city and country. Otherwise, I travel much of the year whether it is in Greece or abroad. It just depends on assignments, blog trips and my overall schedule.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work videos and photography?
I want my audience to be inspired to travel Greece. It is such a diverse country beyond the famous Santorini and Mykonos. My blog also focuses on European city breaks. As an American, one of the great things about living in Europe is the access to visiting other countries so easily. Within hours you can immerse yourself in a different cultures, languages and food.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
I suppose I cannot count Athens, because I live here? For three other choices:
Paris. This city has something so special about it. The food, the language, the culture and the city itself.
Italy is an incredible destination and I’ll spend the rest of my life always looking to return to explore more.
Crete. I have been twice so far and like Italy, I can say the same, I’ll spend the rest of my life looking to return to explore more. I love the Cretan culture, history, hospitality, nature, gastronomy and sights. Oh, the beaches! It is really a rich destination in Greece.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
Go explore Knossos Palace, outside of Heraklion. It is an amazing archaeological site.
While in Heraklion, eat at Peskesi.
Go experience the beaches of Crete. They are amazing. My favorite was Elafonissi.
Check out the beautiful towns of Rethymnon and Chania, known for their gorgeous harbors, citadels and the beautifully preserved old towns that are just amazing to get “lost” in.
Visit the Arkadi Monastery in Rethymnon, a beautiful structure that is steeped in dramatic Greek history.
How many countries have you visited so far?
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Greek, Italian, Asian
Favorite restaurant in the world?
Oh, so many! But, this is easy to answer. I love Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina in Athens. The menus are a prime example of just how diverse and storied Greece’s gastronomy is. Seasonal recipes hailing from all over Greece. It’s also located in my favorite district of town, Monastiraki.
Your favorite travel movie?
Midnight in Paris
Favorite international airport?
Orlando. I travel to Orlando to visit my parents, and when I get to this airport I feel like I’ve made it to my American home. While I love New York, I can really relax in Florida.
City with the friendliest people?
I’ll tie it with Crete (not a city but an island) and for a real city with super friendly folks, I’d say Chicago.
Your favorite traveling companion?
I love taking my sister on trips with me. She’s living in New York, so we’re far apart. It’s always a blessing to share the work I love and our limited time together.
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Social media. Kindle. Always something to read or catch up on.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Machu Picchu, Peru
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Your perspective will change about the world.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
iPhone, DSLR Nikon, Laptop, Kindle
I feel like I need to add a non-techy item… I’d say my inflatable neck pillow for any long-haul trips.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
You traveled to so many Greek islands, which is your favorite and why?
I mentioned Crete earlier, so that’s one. But, some say it’s not an island rather a country on its own! LOL.
I’m particularly in love with the Cycladic islands. Within that chain, I’d say Serifos. I love the beaches and untouched beauty of the landscape.
Your favorite travel quote?
“There are no foreign lands, only the traveler who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Where to next?
Off to Malta, Cyprus, and Italy soon. Then there are more Greek islands waiting for me including Hydra, Rhodes, Mykonos and Serifos.
Native New Yorker Marissa Tejada is an author, travel writer and freelance journalist living in Athens, Greece. She writes for top travel media including CNN Travel, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s and various lifestyle and travel magazines. She also keeps busy by regularly posting her food and travel adventures across Europe for her blog called Travel Greece, Travel Europe. Expat life also inspired her acclaimed romantic comedy novel Chasing Athens which is available on Amazon. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.