In this series of articles I will go through selected countries that hold significant financial and cultural to the world.
Whether in the past or the present, the countries selected made great impact on society, for good and bad, from cultural, educational, and financial aspects.
We will explore them in depth and obtain the greatest insights from these countries.
Table of Contents
A brief history of Greece
The first country we will explore is Greece. Greece is an amazing and unique country, with a rich long history and impact on human society throughout the past thousands of years.
Greece has evolved over many periods throughout its history and is considered as one of the first modern civilizations as we know it today.
Greece is the land where philosophy, politics, democracy, and the earliest practice of medicine originated. The culture and society of ancient Greece was very well developed, had trials and rules and some of the greatest minds of human kind.
The great philosophers, teachers, mathematicians and scientists like Appleton, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Socrates, and many more lived at that times and left us with their wisdom to explore.
In Greece you can also find some of the most impressive buildings and structures from ancient times such as the Acropolis, The Theatre and Temple of Apollo, Zeus Olympic Theatre and many more.
A lot of the history involving these buildings is related to the Greek mythology, a set of many beautiful and fantastic stories, of the Greek gods and the tales involving them. Many stories and movies we enjoy today have originated from the Greek mythology.
Greece is also famous for its lively Taverna’s – the local restaurants and pubs, where the people can enjoy beautiful Greek music with bouzouki, eat local food and drink the local’s favorite drink, Ouzo – a dry anise flavored drink.
It’s safe to say that a lot of our modern society and culture is heavily influenced from ancient Greek, the democracy, politics, modern philosophy and universities, science, medicine and much more.
Greece has many beautiful islands with many attractions for tourists, lovely beaches and atmosphere, especially in the summer. It is a very popular destination for a simple, relaxing vacation.
In this article we will go in depth about the history and present state of Greece, its cultural and financial state. After this marvelous short taste of what Greece has to offer and learn from I believe there is a lot we can take from here and implement in our lives.
The financial state of the country
If we jump back to modern days, we can learn more about the state of the Greek economy today.
For many years the Greece was one of the biggest empires throughout the world, and it may come as no surprise that their economy was thriving and strong.
In the last two decades however, the Greek economy has suffered many financial crisis, leading to a bankrupt in 2009 as a result of the world economic crisis at that time and a huge amount of debt.
As a result of bad monetary decisions and failed policies Greek entered a great debt and many people lost their jobs and life savings. That is an example for how loans and credit can spiral out of control – even for a great country such as Greece.
What led to the Greece financial crisis and what can we learn from it?
- Up until 2009 , Greece had high budget deficits. Higher than what was allowed in the EU.
- Greece had lots of tax problems – citizens would not pay the taxes
- Greece had many loans taken out and didn’t work on returning them
- Greece just took more and more credit – and also didn’t work on returning them
- Greece “changed” the numbers in their books in order to get into the EU – which in fact prevented them from printing more money when they got into debt trouble
As a result of these, the high Debt-GDP of Greece, and the creditors pressure, Greece had to take a lifeline from the EU. The EU gave 3 rounds of “bailout” to the Greece country , and until today Greece is working on bringing back all the loans and money it owes.
Whats the lessons we can try and learn from Greece?
Today Greece is not in a very good economical situation, and many of its citizens live in danger of poverty and low job rate. Its hard to believe that such an empire which had a great impact on modern society and innovated so much has come to this state of affairs.
Anyways, we can all take some of the events that led on to the crisis and learn a lesson or two from them.
1. Eliminate debt as much as possible – living debt free is a gift that many people strive to achieve. Living debt free is the first step to gain complete freedom over your life, and not lose your precious money to interest on the loan. As we can learn from Greece we should always try to eliminate debt and take the least amount of loans we can at a given time if we cannot afford to return them.
2. High credit – having credit is wonderful and helps us achieve great things that couldn’t be obtained otherwise. The flip side of having credit is that we can get into impulse buying and spending in a reckless way. This can lead to bankruptcy very fast and we need to be aware to this problem.
3. Budget deficits – Managing a good and healthy budget can be hard and time consuming. When we do manage our budget right, we will see growth and prospering in the long term. But if we close our eyes on every budget deficit we will realize we are tricking no one but ourselves. The same thing happened to Greece and if they would manage their budget strictly they would be in a much better place today.
4. Strive for innovation – in order to survive and thrive in an everchanging world we need to always be on the move and improve ourselves. If we stay in our place we will lose our advantage and it will be harder for us to improve and prosper. If Greece had come up with innovating ways to save its economy maybe they would have less debt today and better opportunities for their people.
The Economy of Greece from ancient to modern
Ancient Greece’s economy in the past revolved mainly around importing and exporting goods, as the soil of the Greece land was hard to grow food on.
Ancient Greece mainly exported goods such as olive oil, wine, pottery and metal work.
Most of Greece’s agriculture revolved around their colonies as their soil was not considered good to growing anything other than olive trees (mainly for olive oil) and some herbs. They also had mainly sheep and goats as livestock, and bees for the honey – a very common Greek ingredient to this very day.
Today greece’s economy is a capitalist economy, 80% of it is based on services, in it around 18% in tourism , and 16% in the industrial sector with the agricultural sector completing the remaining 4%.
The Greece tourism industry is one of the best in the world, and proves to be one of the main pillars of Greece economy and worldwide name. The beautiful beaches, atmosphere, and views of the Greece country, combined with the great temperament of the Greece people makes many people feel welcome and at home.
The mentality of the Greece people
As we stated earlier, Greece people have a warm welcoming atmosphere to tourists, and have a very warm middle eastern temperament. Traveling to Greece offers a great taste of the local traditions and lifestyle.
Greece is located on the Mediterranean Sea and has a wonderful weather almost throughout the whole year. The small Picturesque towns near the sea are marvelous to live for a few days or weeks and spend your time by the sea.
The Greek people are known for their great hospitality, great restaurants and Taverna’s at night.
Generally the Greek people are very laid back people, living for the day itself and don’t rush around too much. Personally I admire this mentality and the relaxed outlook on life.
The costs of living Greece
Living in Greece can happen to be quite affordable to most people in comparison to other countries. We will go through the costs of living through rent, groceries, Dining out, transportation and medicine. Mind you, the local currency is the Euro but I will state the prices in Dollars.
- Rent- On average in Greece you can rent an apartment for prices that are up to 70% less than in the US. You can rent apartments in the main cities for around 650$, and in smaller villages for around 350$. Pretty cheap! I would definitely consider going for a nice small village to experience the local life there.
- Groceries – Food Costs in Greece feel quite similar to the rest of Europe, and similar to the US as well. The budget for food is quite individual from person to person, but you can get by with relatively cheap food if you go ahead and buy from the local markets.
- Dining Out – Dining out in Greece can be very fun and affordable. You can go to Taverna’s or restaurants . The Taverna’s by their nature are more affordable places where you can dine and enjoy traditional foods and music for around 20-30$ for a couple. Greece’s restaurants are diverse and the costs vary as much as you are willing to spend. Greece have great street food for very cheap prices – 5-6$ – Gyros, Souvlaki and more.
- Medicine – Greece has both public and private healthcare available to anyone, regarding nationality or employment. You can get high quality medical care for free through the public care, and it is of a very high quality.
If you want you can also get a private insurance, and pay about 50% of what it costs in the US. That is still relatively cheap and worthwhile.
- Transportation – Public transportation in Greece is usually much cheaper than owning a car due to high gas prices (about 6$ a gallon). The public transport in Greece is pretty good and allows you to arrive everywhere in a timely manner. You can also consider taxis if you are in a hurry – as they are relatively cheap and affordable.
As it seems, living in Greece is very affordable and cheap. You can have a modest lifestyle with only around 1000-1500 $ a month , and even cheaper if you are on a tight budget. Living in Greece for financial reasons can be very rewarding – though you might want to consider having a remote job.
Greece’s job opportunities is not big, and if you are not in the tourist industry it might be hard to get a job without a specific skill set.
If you are working and traveling you can always work in the place you are staying, or in a local restaurant for a while for a nice sum of money.
Greece’s Culture, Music, Food, History
As we already elaborated in many points of the article, the Greek culture is vast and colorful. From great ancient history, outstanding building and architecture, lively music and a great cuisine. Greece has many great qualities and richness of culture to explore.
Greece’s connection to the Mediterranean Sea is one of the key elements in it’s culture. The beach life, the Taverna’s music and celebrations and the general atmosphere in the country is wonderful.
Its hard to describe a nice cool summer evening on a Greek restaurant on the beach, before sundown comes. The Greek food served to your table and the bouzuki – a Greek guitarlike instrument playing.
It’s such an enjoyable experience to be in Greece with family and friends and just live in the moment of now like the locals suggest.
The food in Greece –
The Greek food is always fresh and colorful , filled with fresh vegetables, spices and lots of olive oil.
A few of the main dishes that are always a joy to eat when in Greece-
1. Greek salad – this one is a must, a Greek classic it is so simple but incredibly fresh and tasty. The Greek salad consists of cucumber tomato peppers olives and feta cheese, with olive oil lemon salt and pepper. It sounds so simple and plain, but its just Greece in a plate and is a wonderful side dish for every meal.
2. Gyros- Gyros is one of the best dishes around Greece and a pleasure to eat while you are there. It’s a flat pita bread with meat and vegetables inside. Some eat it with Greek yogurt and it’s a pleasure!
3. Mousaka – these are stuffed eggplants with meat. They are cooked in red tomato sauce and has rich and tasty flavors. Yum.
4. Baklava and Greek coffee – if you want a nice sweet treat after having a large meal, you would enjoy a nice baklava and Greek coffee which is known to be a great coffee. The baklava is a Greek pastry filled with sweet roasted nuts with sugar syrup on top. Believe me when I say it’s delicious.
Greece has a very distinct and special musical background and sounds. Greece’s music is very rich and diverse as the whole history of the country itself. It is most recognized by the bouzoki – a 4 stringed lute like instrument with a distinctive Greek sound.
Greek music is often dramatic and full of emotion , with classic songs like Zorba the Greek, and many more songs led by the bouzuki. Here’s a link for a beautiful greek music playlist on spotify.
Greece’s culture history and architecture
Greece’s culture is very warm, welcoming and high in hospitality. They are considered the pillars of modern western civilization and brought great innovation to our world.
The Mediterranean Sea dictates the pace of life near the beach towns, the local kitchen that consist of lot’s of sea food and fish, and of course the beautiful summer evenings in front of the sunset.
Greece is divided into many big and small islands – the main of them are Crete, Rhodes and Euboea.
Each having it’s own unique characteristics and special monuments. The Greek architecture is stunning and awe striking – both the ancient and modern.
There are the giant architecture creations of the roman empire, which are characterized with big poles, intricate details symmetry, harmony and great balance.
There is also the modern architecture of houses near the sea – white houses with blue doors. It is a very unique building style and makes the Greek scenery in these small towns special and magical.
The islands all have beautiful mountains in them to explore and capture the view from a high spot and it’s recommended to take a hike on the mountains in the area.
As we have covered a great amount of the Greece country, the economy , culture and history of this marvelous country there is still so much to discover. The Greece country and people is so unique and special, with lots of things to learn and do there.
I enjoyed my stay in Greece and will definitely visit there again whenever I can, and maybe even live there in the future. As we have saw we can learn from Greece many things- to safeguard our funds and manage debt and credit correctly. We can also learn from the Greek people to live life to its fullest, enjoy every moment and celebrate our lives.
Living in Greece is very affordable, and can cost around 1000$ for an individual including everything. So if you are a digital nomad, or have a job you can do from anywhere it’s highly recommended checking out Greece for that matter.
Hope you enjoyed reading my article! I would love hearing from you in the comment’s section on which country you would like to read next.
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Until next time!