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Let’s Go Exploring! Estonia: The Silicon Valley of Europe

If you’ve ever used Skype before,you need to thank Estonia.   Long before it became a global success with 300 million users, it was a tiny start-up in Tallinn. The coders, who also happened to be schoolmates, Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn (yup. Apparently a real name), had no idea how far their code would go. They first called it “Skyper” which was short for “Sky peer-to-peer” on account of that fact that it used peer-to-peer sharing protocols and it was passing the information through the air/sky. But then it turns out the name was also taken, so […]

How Much Are You Paying to Work?

“Can you write about how much you’re paying to work?’” We got this e-mail from a reader recently. Apparently, once-upon-a-time I’d mentioned in a post how we don’t realize how much we PAY to work. I said I’d be writing about this in a future post, but then forgot to, you know, write it. Oops. In my defense, there are a lot of saunas and spas in Europe and they’re not going to visit themselves. Anyway…without any more excuses, here’s my better-late-than-never post on how much you’re paying to work: When we’re working, we love focusing on the fatness of […]

Let’s Go Exploring! Riga: A Hidden Foodie Paradise

“Why would I ever buy a house? I pay 380 Euros a month for rent in central Riga and my landlord is basically my slave.” I liked our tour guide, Kaspar, right away. We were on a Riga Free Walking Tour (they don’t have Sandemann’s walking tours in Riga) and a traveller had asked about the cost of housing in Latvia. Then in response to another person asking him about why the cost of living is so low, he launched into a segment called “the miserable and depressing lives of the Latvian people”. Having been on many walking tours, one […]

Quit Like a Millionaire: First Draft Done!

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”–John Wayne I accomplish the most when I’m scared. Like the time I got my Scuba Diving Certification in Thailand, conquering my life-long fear of water. Or retiring from my job at 31 to travel the world, shedding the “computer engineer” identity I’d built up for the past 14 years. And now, sending our first draft to our Penguin editor. For every single one of those experiences, I felt the fear but did it anyway, proving the saying “bliss is on the other side of fear”. After 9 months inside the […]

Let’s Go Exploring! Vilnius: The G-Spot of Europe?

“Vilnius: The G-spot of Europe. You don’t know where it is but once you find it, it’s amazing!”   This is not a joke. This is a real ad from the tourism board of Lithuania, and it was even featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, so you KNOW it’s legit.     I wasn’t even thinking of going to Vilnius, but after seeing this, I just had to. Before we came to Lithuania, we knew nothing about it. I couldn’t find it on a map and I never heard of its capital, Vilnius, either. We decided to go find […]

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