NEWS

Successful escapees from smog and stress

When Athenians get stuck in a traffic jam after a hard day at work or have to circle endlessly in search of a parking space, many of us think about escaping the city. Routine soon draws us in again and we forget about it, but while we might dream about what we imagine to be an ideal life in the provinces – without noise, traffic jams and dust particles – some people have already made the decision, packed their bags and turned their backs on the city. A small survey reveals that not a few people have given up on Athens and returned to nature. Reasons for departure include the exhaust fumes, traffic, cement, the frantic pace, anxiety, and present inconvenience caused by the dozens of major infrastructure projects now in progress. According to the National Statistics Service, it is not easy to measure the trend, as it is balanced by the inflow to the city from within Greece but mainly from abroad. Athens is not the only city to see such an exodus. Every year about 160,000 people leave Paris to seek the peace of the provinces, and research shows that 60 percent of Parisians dream of moving to the countryside. In Paris, there are dozens of offices that help residents who are thinking of leaving town. Greece is not as as organized so far, but since some people need very little encouragement to take the step, here are some stories of people who have managed to do so.