The world is good and belongs to everyone." -- Anton Krotov, Academy of Free Travel
Reading about Russia, I found myself admiring itinerate hitchhiker's Anton's philosophy. He "assumes that most people are kind and happy to give bed and board to a traveller -- you only need to find the key to their heart." -- Lonely Planet, Russia and Belarus
I am now planning a mini-pilot of the extended round-the-world journey to the emerging tech centers of the world that will take me into Europe and Russia this summer. So far my reservations have me arriving into Moscow on May 20 and departing from the British Isles August 11.
I am curious about how people derive meaning and joy in their lives, how people perceive the world differently and how technology affects their world and enhances it. Why are some cultures "naturally" creative and entrepreneurial? What is the role of myth, spiritual traditions and cultural identity in a region's growth and progress?
The intent is to really immerse myself and understand the lifestyles and mindsets of the world. I can read about the Finns' wireless culture or their worship of the spa, but nothing substitutes for first-hand experience. Really deep hanging out.
I will use inquiry, listening, empathy and an open mind as my main tools.
"It is fatal to know too much at the outset: boredom comes quickly to the traveler who knows his route as to the novelist who is overcertain of his plot." - Paul Theroux, To The Ends of the Earth
The cities/places I'll visit include: Moscow, Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki, Stockholm (strong possibility, not definite), London (only as a stopover but I have a feeling an interesting meeting will pop up and I will stay for a day), Cardiff, Dublin, Findhorn, Scotland (an intentional community - interesting in and of itself, but also in comparing and contrasting real-world intentional communities to online communities).
I will be funding the majority of the trip myself, but I really need help in-country to ensure that the interviews, observations, and blogging are valuable to others and not just a fantastic experience for myself. Here's what I need:
- Letter of invitation in order to secure a business visa for Russia. Visas are not an easy thing to secure in Russia and this is crucial. Please contact me at evelyn at korugroup dot com if you can help in this regard.
- Places to stay. The only way to really immerse yourself in a culture and get to know local people. Staying in hotels totally misses the point.
- Personal recommendations. If you have specific recommendations of people I should meet or organizations and centers I should visit, by all means introduce us or fill me in.
- Translators in Moscow, Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm.
- Bonus. I'll give it my best shot, but if there are any folks with real filmmaking skills for videotaping some of the interviews and capturing the essence of deep hanging out in any of the cities, let me know.
I have a gear wish list too, but I'll post that separately. Things like a digital video camera, pan-European cellphone (I'd like to be a participant in the mobile culture first-hand wherever I'm at), and an ultralight PC (that captures handwritten notes and audio is ideal) such as the HP Compaq Tablet PC TC1100. Loaners are fine.
Contact me directly at evelyn at korugroup dot com, or if you have general useful comments, share with all of us - comment!