Reflections on international living and travel



Jeffrey and Ira on bench near Durlassboden reservoir, Austria 

About this bloggish thing

This bloggish web site is a collection of thoughts, observations, reflections and ideas inspired by international living and travel. It is not a travel blog in the usual sense. I offer few if any tips. I don't go into detail about places I visit. And, I don't do the Instagram influencer thing of posing in a bikini in front of  impressive beach resorts. I don't look good in a bikini.

I hope that I might inspire you and, if I don't, that at least I'll give you a laugh or two.

This blog is maintained by me, Jeffrey Baumgartner, and my partner, Iryna Nikolayeva. (bios below)


Once upon a time, not long ago as I write this but possibly a long time ago as you read this, I was talking over Zoom with my friend Stuart. I've never actually met Stuart in the flesh. He lives in Brisbane, Australia and I live in Erps-Kwerps Belgium. Nevertheless, he's a great friend and I look forward to our virtual meetings. One day, soon, I hope to venture out his way and meet him in the flesh. But I digress. Ira and Jeffrey walking in Holten, Netherlands

I was telling Stuart about a mild epiphany I had whilst driving across the Czech - German border. Stuart said, "Jeffrey, you should do a blog about your travels."

"I've thought about it, Stuart," I said. "But there are so many travel blogs out there already. The world doesn't need another one."

"True," replied Stuart. "But most of them are either by young global nomads being glamorous - often with lots of pictures of them wearing little clothing and posing on beaches - or older travellers offering lots of details and travel advice. You should do a blog of your observations and reflections on the road. That would be unique."

Now, Stuart is wise beyond his years and I know this for a fact. He's about my age and he's wiser than me.

I reflected on the idea. I was travelling a lot at the time (as much as periodic pandemic lockdowns permit) and intending to travel more. Moreover, I was mostly travelling solo. My sons were - and still are - in University. My wife left me years ago. A long term partner had left me more recently. And, even my cat died not long after my partner left me. Empty nests do not come much emptier than mine did. So, a project to work on while alone on the road was a good idea. Fortunately, I am a competent author and decent photographer. So, the logistics, of producing a readable, pleasant to look at blog, were doable.

But, then something changed. Ira, who had been on the outskirts of my life for years, became a centre of my life (read about it here, if you'd like). Suddenly it seemed I had a travel companion and an awesome one at that. Fortunately, she loves the idea of a blog, helps out a lot behind the scenes (especially editing, proofreading and talking through ideas) and contributes stuff.

So, many of the stories here are (and will be) about my solo travels. Some stories are about our travels together. Some stories may be Ira's. Most stories will have been edited by her. Some stories will be reflections on international living. Between us, we've lived and worked in nine countries.


Here's who we are...


Jeffrey Baumgartner  is the author of three books, including the science fiction humour novel, The Insane Journey, the businessy Anticonventional Thinking, and the even more businessy The Way of the Innovation Master. Until recently, he gave corporate workshops and keynote speeches on creativity and innovation. However, he's recently decided to stop telling clients how to be creative so he can focus on being more creative himself. Over the years, he's been a writer, entrepreneur, teacher and artist. He's lived and worked in the USA, the UK, Portugal, Germany, Thailand and Belgium.

Jeffrey's current projects include: Jeffosophy - essays on stuff that he has learned over the years; - a collection of his recent artwork; and The Imagination Club - hosting experimental workshops in Brussels.


Iryna (Ira) Nikolayeva is a freelance language and language technology expert. In the past she was a teacher and has probably done other things she hasn't told me about. She is fluent in at least five languages - Ukrainian, Russian, English, Polish and Dutch - and has a grasp of countless others. She has deep interests in philosophy, psychology and strange music. She has lived and worked in Ukraine, Poland and the Netherlands.




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Our latest Stories

The Queues of Paris (April 2023)
A recent visit to Paris involved standing in long queues and battling crowds. Fortunately, I have an idea about reducing crowds at tourist sites. Read it here.


Revisiting Portugal (March 2023)
Ira and I take a road trip to my one time home: Portugal.


Portuguese Memories (September 1985)
On a road trip through Portugal with Ira, I am reminded of my life in Lisbon in the mid 1980s


Fleeing to Cyprus (January 2023)
I decided to visit Cyprus off-season to do some hiking and wandering in ruins. It was a delightful trip.


The Answer Lies Just Around the corner (November 2022)
All my life, I've felt that the answer, some profound purpose in life, has laid just round the corner. Although I have experienced a lot in life, I am still looking for that corner.


All stories
Index of all the stories on this blog.


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My other web projects

My other web projects 100s of articles, videos and cartoons on creativity - possibly useful things I have learned over the years. reflections on international living and travel. - paintings, drawings, photographs and cartoons by Jeffrey


© 2021 - Jeffrey Baumgartner