I have been a traveller since the age of 16 and have so far adventured to over 60 countries! I have always found that the best and most inspiring way to travel and experience a new culture is by being welcomed and guided by locals.

Coming from a Persian background and having studied in Germany, the UK and Spain, I am able to speak multiple languages including German, Spanish, English and Farsi. Knowing multiple languages has been really useful for travelling and for working with foreign guests.

After a motorcycling trip through West Africa, I returned home to Seville, Spain, with a new perspective on the importance of travel for both locals and visitors. Taking a closer look at Seville, I realized that the city I knew and loved was not the same one being packaged to unknowing travelers. The culture that made Seville so special to me was completely inaccessible to tourists. I was determined to find a way to give fellow travelers an authentic experience of Seville and Andalusia. A way for people who do not have the opportunity to invest the time, learn the language, or build the relationships with locals to still experience local Seville. A way to be invited into the culture as a close friend… and 'Not Just a Tourist'. I used this drive to establish my tour company named just that, with the help of my Sevillian friend, David.

Mahsa's best travel experience

I was on a tour, staying with nomadic people in the harsh conditions of Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan. One of the ladies on the tour asked for a cup of tea and then became frustrated when she didn't receive it within a few minutes as expected.

It is strange how something as simple as a cup of tea can highlight drastic differences in cultures. What the lady did not understand was the time and effort it took for the native elderly woman to build a fire in order to boil the water and the elderly man to make the tea with such basic facilities. There were such expectations that everything would be the same as we are used to at home and the lady showed little interest in the process of making her tea, instead, focussing on more interesting landscapes solely through the lens of her camera.

Occurrences like this really stand out to me and remind me that staying humble and open to new experiences, floating on the sea of a life in travel is the best way to really see and understand other cultures and ways of life.

Why is Mahsa the right travel expert

I have travelled the world extensively and have a love for my home city, Seville, meaning that I have a great insight as to what kinds of experiences tourists want when they visit a new place. I stand by the ethics of listening to the people around us to discover great and avoid not so great experiences, caring about the destination's authenticity rather than solely focussing on monetary gain and sharing perspectives whilst learning new ones from others.

Our tours at Not Just a Tourist focus on putting you at the center of every experience we offer. We have a travel-by-doing mentality and believe that the best way to know a place is to personally engage and interact with it. That’s why we offer so many interactive workshops and immersive activities. I make sure that all our guides can offer you the best advice on any questions you have about the local areas we take you to.

You will be in good hands!