Alithea is derived from the ancient Greek word "ALETHEIA"
ALE·THE·I·A (noun): the substance of reality, truth, and becoming.
As a verb it refers to the process of remembering the truth of things. It is the opposite of the mythical river Lethe, the river of forgetting; it is the 'a-lethe', the experience of remembering.



We embrace a vision of exploration that focuses on the importance of connection and participation. We visit great historic sites and beautiful places with local experts and share in a transformative experience of humanity and belonging. We connect to the stories of everyday people’s lives.

We experience the power of history through great works of art, monuments of civilization, and stories of the great historic figures – not as distant artifacts of an unrelated time, but as an invitation to encounter the wisdom that has shaped the ages and survived the rise and fall of civilizations.

"Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like Moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is the eternity that awaits you”



Jesse Blackwood

Founder and Creative Director

Jesse is a writer, teacher, poet and part-time bon vivant. He has more than fifteen years experience guiding and living in a dozen different European countries.

As a writer and humanist he is deeply committed to building connections across cultures and believes that we often discover what's most beautiful in ourselves by putting ourselves in the positions of others. A former latin teacher and social advocate, when not traveling he is currently working to complete his first novel and collection of poetry. His extensive philosophical knowledge and insistence on simple principles informs the Alithea style. He is fluent in Italian, French, and is currently studying Greek and German.

In addition to his extensive experience guiding for Rick Steves’ Europe, he is working to share transformative experiences of travel and meaning with Alithea.

Ioanna Papakosta

Travel Guide - Greece

Ioanna is a certified local guide with twenty-five years’ experience leading groups and individual travelers through the most important historic sites of Greece. A life-long student of Greek history and culture, Ioanna embraces a vision of travel that celebrates our connections to history, places, and the joy of discovery. A native of Patras, Ioanna has led countless travelers through the ancient sanctuaries of Greece and is as at home among the antiquities as she is among the beautiful views that inspired the ancient muses. While not guiding, Ioanna can often be found living the lessons she shares with others, whether through her love of cooking and sharing/hosting meals, hiking and dancing, leading walks through nature and explaining the Greek mythology behind plants, exploring the traditions, folklore, and handicrafts of Greece, or making her own soaps.

Mert Tanner

Travel Guide - Turkey

Mert Tanner is a certified tour guide with more than twenty-five years’ experience leading thousands of travelers across Turkey and Europe. A native of Izmir, Mert leads early Christian, archeological, historical, and cultural pilgrimage tours across Turkey. He holds an MA in Early Christianity from Trinity College at the University of Dublin and has a wealth of knowledge of Islamic, Christian, and Judea cultures. In addition to being an avid hiker, cook, cultural gourmand, and lover of history and beauty, Mert trains aspiring tour guides at the ministry of culture on the art of his craft.

Elena Zampiron

Travel Guide - Italy

A native of Venice, Elena Zampiron has more than fifteen years guiding experience. She is a certified local guide with a double B.A. in Art Conservation and Languages and Culture from the University of Venice. Her expertise ranges from the winding streets and beautiful museums of Venice to the art, sculpture, culture, and history of Italy. In addition to a love of teaching, Elena is committed to nurturing personal connections between travelers and the places they visit. A master of Italian cuisine, Elena is likewise an outdoor enthusiast. While not kayaking through the canals and lagoon of Venice, or cycling through the Veneto, she can often be found hiking the Dolomites and enjoying a glass of wine with friends and travelers. Her irresistible charm as a guide is only surpassed by her natural ‘joie de vivre’ and the happiness she shares with students, travelers, and friends.

Paolo Gigiliozzi

Travel Guide - Italy

Paolo Gigliozzi is a registered local guide with double certifications in Lazio and Puglia. Of French and Italian origins, Paolo is a polyglot, guiding in French, German, English, and Italian. He holds a PhD in Art History from the Universities of Savoie and Torino with a focus on the Baroque expressions of faith, feeling, and harmony. He has thirty years of in-depth guiding experience for university students and countless thoughtful travelers from all over the world. His expertise as a guide is only exceeded by his love of sharing and deep commitment to experiencing history and culture as living memories that enrich our lives. When he is not guiding through Rome’s ancient sites he can often be found gardening, tending to olive trees, or sharing a glass of wine with others.

Andrea Suárez

Graphic Designer

Andrea is a native to Cali, Colombia where she cut her teeth as a designer in the print and advertising district of San Nicholas. Her background in custom print and packaging design is revealed in her creative approach to digital design. In 2019 she moved her understanding of form and texture to the digital space as a full-time front end web designer. She is passionate about calling the viewer into into living, breathing designs that convey the power and beauty of travel.

Andrea is particularly passionate about Italian culture and cuisine, but holds true to her Colombian roots as a regular dancer of salsa and merengue.

Nate Blackwood

Director of Operations

Nate has experience with start-up and established businesses and is dedicated to ensuring perfection at every level of the travel experience. As a critic of the current form of social-media-crazed, consumer travel he is eager to see Alithea grow as a disruptor in the tour industry. He is especially passionate about connecting travelers with artisans and producers of traditionally-made goods.

As an hispanophile Nate is currently working on developing tours in Spain, Cuba, and Colombia.



An Initiative to Share Travel

Every year Alithea offers trips in partnership with community organizations to offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience for young men and women whose economic circumstances wouldn't normally provide the opportunity to travel.

Travel can reveal opportunities and experiences of the world. It sparks a vision of ourselves that we never dreamed possible. By experiencing beauty, adventure, and wonder, young men and women can discover those qualities in themselves. Alithea is devoted to nurturing this transformation in young people regardless of circumstance and is committed to opening the doors, not only to travel, but to a new vision of life.

A portion of each Alithea tour revenue is allocated to support sharing travel initiatives such as this.