I started this blog in summer 2014 when I knew I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime – living and teaching in Tišnov, Czech Republic.
It’s possible I sensed something, but I didn’t know yet that this would turn into a lifelong adventure of travel, love, and community.
I didn’t know I’d remain in Czech Republic for 4 years, or move to Denmark with my partner.
I didn’t know I’d catch the permanent travel bug. But has been a pleasure to record many of my adventures on this blog.
And in reviewing the 160+ posts I’ve written over the last five and a half years – mainly for a Czech and American audience but with a healthy international mixture – some of the most popular posts surprised me!
You can click each post photo to go to that post.
I’m still getting comments and likes on this post three years later. It went viral at the time and has over 60,000 views. It brought together Czechs, Czechoslovak descendants, grandchildren of immigrant Czechs, and lovers of Czech culture from all over CZ, the USA, and UK.
And that was fascinating.
Some people told me I hit the nail on the head. Some people added their own things you’d find in a typical Czech home. And some people told me the whole list was WRONG! because they don’t wear slippers in their house. 😉
(Pssh, you do.)
Let me know whether you agree, or you think I should be stripped of my honorary Czech residence-ship!
To my complete surprise, this post – written as a random language observation of mine – gets consistent views every day.
Perhaps that means my observation was not unique and a lot of people are curious about the “ciao” phenomenon! Yes! I’m not alone in the world.
For that reason, I’m planning a post soon about “that one word you hear a million times when visiting a country and have no idea what it means.” For example, allora in Italy. It seems to mean hello, goodbye, um, so, yes, anyway, exactly right, and I love you all at the same time based on how I heard it used.
In any case, it was really fun to do a little linguistic research about the history of “ciao” used as a greeting. Do you say “ciao”? What words have you adopted and use commonly in your language?
This post concerned my shock about the differences between the Czech system of health care and the American one, and it was not without controversy.
As a new Czech resident, it was amazing to me that I could go to the doctor without paying. That common medications were subsidized and much more affordable than in the States. And now, nearly 6 years after moving to Europe, I still don’t understand how it’s possible I don’t have health insurance by virtue of being a citizen in my country of origin.
(I do not currently have health insurance in the U.S., despite still being a permanent resident there. This means I have to buy travel insurance whenever I visit. Really.)
Health care is one of my favorite topics. It should be a right, everywhere, for countries that care about their citizens. I still cry thinking about how people in many European nations pay nothing or next to nothing for childbirth costs. How they are not bankrupted by cancer treatments. How they do not have to decide between having a house and keeping their relative alive.
It’s serious stuff.
One of my favorite parts of traveling and being a serial expat is observing, analyzing, and comparing cultural differences.
I’m used to thinking the U.S. is the center of the planet – our patriotic rhetoric emphasizes this and contributes to a lot of inherited bias that I try to be aware of. The simple fact that people grow up elsewhere, doing other things in different ways, is fascinating to me. Like that Israelis have a universal cleaning tool. Like that Palestinians turn their pilaf upside down. Like that Czech people think a stray draft will murder you if you don’t wear socks. Also, HOW DO DANISH PEOPLE FIT THIS IN THEIR MOUTHS.
This post recorded my original observed differences between Czech and American culture. It’s cool to see how far I’ve come (and how much I still don’t understand).
A lot of people told me how interesting it was to see their country from an outside perspective. What do you think?
How I love a good portmanteau 🙂
Naturally, having come to Czech Republic to work at a school, I did a lot of thinking about the education system. I also spent a lot of time talking with students about the differences, which they need to learn about for their A-levels (prom, anyone?).
Some things I noticed about Czech education are positive, like specialized schools (nursing schools, language high schools) and the strong focus on science and math.
Some could be better, like the lack of emphasis on the arts – Czech schools don’t really have extracurriculars, and many students go to special afterschool programs for art, music, and more, rather than having clubs.
And some are disconcerting, like the sorting of kids into classes based on their test results (there’s a lot of intellectual hierarchy) and the consistent discrimination against Roma students.
How does your schooling experience compare?
Ahh, now it’s time for me to settle down in my armchair and do some reading.
In addition to this travel blog, I regularly do copywriting and ghostwriting projects–even sustainability writing!
If you like my style, you can see what I’ve been up to on my portfolio.
And let me know: What has been your favorite post on the blog and why? ⭐
Great post 😁
Thank you for reading! 🙂
Much to be proud of here, read with interest.
Thank you, Michael! 🙂