What do you really want from the road?


One morning back in June 2018, on first week after quitting my job, I had a question pop up in my head:

OK, now what? Where do we go from here?

Before quitting I thought that I will do a short trip to a music festival and head to cheap sunny place in Bulgaria or Ukraine to enjoy good weather, warm sea, cheap lodging and food; read psychology books (my new strong interest) and learn something to be more advanced in my future job search. After this, I thought, I’d go to Central and South America to “see places” and escape the cold European winter.

I remembered all of this and I had next question popping up:

why do I want this? where is this coming from? do I REALLY want this?

And you know what? The answer was — I want it it because others do that. Because I see all those shiny and perfect pictures on Instagram every day, because I know some people who went there, working remotely at the time while I was experiencing shitty weather at a job I despised. I was jealous. I was brainwashed.

I imagined how I hike to Machu Picchu, try to make a perfect sunrise picture among hundreds of other tourists like me. At the same time I knew that reality is not like that.

My reaction to this image was: I don’t need it. It’s disappointing. I’ve been to and seen some “paradise” places like this, where behind a perfect picture is a stress of catching a moment onto a picture w/o any people in the view, anger of dissatisfaction with your camera. It’s nothing to enjoy.

It’s tourism in it’s best (worst?) form (as I see it) — you give away money to receive a product, in this case some pictures. And just as many products they fade away with time. It’s ego feeding — “look, me too! me too! Look, I was here!!”.  Happiness is not a place, it’s not a product… happiness is inside you and it’s a state of mind. Instagram-tourism is a bad pill to give meaning to a low meaning life. The effect is short lived, you need more of it, you need more exotic places, you need more money. It’s like a drug.

I must note – I don’t mind conscious tourism driven by curiosity. As for me – after a while most places look the same. We live on beautiful planet and a waterfall in my home Estonia is as beautiful as one in Cambodia. I want to enjoy a waterfall as part of nature, not because they filmed Tomb Raider there. I feel that my journey is really inside of me.


Simple truth was that I wanted to experience location and decision freedom. Quitting a toxic job already felt very liberating.  I wanted to go with the flow, meet new people and enjoy my time at places as if I was living there. Later I learned about a term called slow travel.

To my surprise, having no plans turned out be somewhat cheap too. It’s going easy on my mental state (no pressure, no stress, feeling of freedom and flexibility) and it’s easy on my wallet – I’ve flown 4h+ flights for as low as 20EUR and I flew to Europe to Goa for 270EUR (one way). Few years ago I payed 650EUR (return) for a ticket to Bangkok for my 2 week holiday.

The more time you have, the cheaper it gets, the more you can travel

Something I learned in January 2018 in Cambodia – the more time you have, the cheaper it gets, the more you can travel. Back then I had a 160USD ticket from Phnom Pehn to Luang Prabang. I met some really cool people (hi Henrike and Patrick!) and decided to return my ticket with a 40USD penalty and stay in Cambodia for good. Later I calculated that if I would have an extra week in Asia I could go to Luang Prabang by famous boat cruise, enjoy some local fishermen villages, eat, drink, sleep… and still have some money left from those 160USD. I was mind blown!

I started to see my expenses differently after that – here I paid two nights stay in Cambodia for a coffee with a cookie. This shirt costs a flight from point A to point B in Asia etc.

Most importantly I realized that most expensive resource we have is time. As time goes your opportunities account decreases. As much as I am enjoying my freedom, I also have certain degree of anxiety about my age of 32, about earning money, starting a family etc. It would be easier if I was say 25 🙂

I figured out a superficial non scientific formula: adventure = time³ x opportunity² x money. Getting the same amount of adventure will be harder with time, the amount of money you would need to achieve same level would be bizarre. Paying for kids, insurance, getting more comfortable stay, hiring transportation because you’re getting old to hike a lot etc etc. In some way it resonates with lessons found in 4 Hour Workweek book by Tim Ferris.

May be just don’t postpone your happiness and live a little more fulfilling and conscious life. You have a choice 😉


Going on a long trip ≠ going on a search for one’s self

I quit my job on 22nd of June 2018, 1,5 weeks ahead of my initially agreed last day of 4th of July. I’m going on unplanned-go-with-the-flow – trust-everything-will – turn-out-just-fine trip. No end date, no detailed plans, several dream places to visit, some amount of ad hoc planning.

What bugs me is that when saying “Good bye!” many people wish me to find myself. Continue reading “Going on a long trip ≠ going on a search for one’s self”

От депрессии к просветлению

20 июня 2018 года я выступил на мероприятии формата “психогигиена” серии New Horizons, которые организовывает у нас в Таллине, в своей студии художник, фотограф, дизайнер и путешественник Андрей Кедрин.


Это будет страничкой этого мероприятия с ссылками на матерьялы. И так… Continue reading “От депрессии к просветлению”

Renaming image files based on exif data

I purchased a fully manual Samyang 12 mm f/2.0 NCS CS (review, review) lens for my Sony Alpha 5000. This lens has no electronic interface and so camera doesn’t know what was the aperutre nor focal length. It simply puts 0 for them. (There is an in-camera app for that, but you’ll need to adjust aperture value every time you change it)

I wanted to create two separate albums, one per lens. Select best pics, edit those and then compare the results. Atm I would need to iterate over 200 photos manually and look for F0 aperture.

How do your automate this? Bash (and google) to the rescue!

There is a tool called exiv2. It can show the exif of your file. Eg

Continue reading “Renaming image files based on exif data”

Burning out. Rising up.

tl;dr update

Tired of sharing advice to management only for it to be ignored or shelved. I think too much and that’s hard to change. Career wise leadership position is hard to achieve since road to Team Lead, Head of Delivery and, of course, VP of Engineering and CTO is closed for non-developers (I’m a QA/ScrumMaster person). Even more, those position balance between business/owners/investor requests on how to manage people resources. I’m tired, new job options are scarce (too experienced they say OR process is hell as current, so why bother). Seems like I need a break and switch to consulting or taxi driving?


I don’t quite understand why I want to write this (and about what in particular): to speak up, to find fellow sufferers and understand that we are not alone with our problem, to gain attention and likes, or it’s just Valium removing my shyness and anxiousness. But I know that I want to – so fuck it. It might actually be fun and useful exercise 🙂

Let’s meet first. I’m Sergei, you can read about me here and here.

I’m burnt out, struggling with sleep disorder, anxiety (walking in circles, getting out of bed at 2AM to scribble some work related thoughts to my Moleskine) and fatigue. I’ve took 4 days off during this month, because I couldn’t get up from bed and just said “fuck it”. I work in a good company with good understanding manager (I was always lucky with managers!) and I’m switching to 4 day work week for time being.

Atm I’m inspired by this essay by Pieter Hintjens , this tweet by Kent Beck

and  this video by Greg Bauges I watched a dozen of times.

For last 5 years, especially last 2, I have moments when I’m already in bed trying to fall asleep for hour or two and then some work related thoughts pop up and I scribble them to phone or notepad. Thoughts for possible conference talk or some idea to share/apply at work. I just can’t leave the office and leave work there. Work is everywhere with me.

During last months it got worse as minor thoughts of work (and certain people there) raise my heartbeat to 100 and I start WTFking (there are a dozen great people too! it’s not all bad). It sucks. Insomnia gets worse, I know that other places are no better and here I am prescribed Valium, because this stress and sleep deprivation (supposedly) cause tinnitus which I have now.

And I want to speak about it.

Continue reading “Burning out. Rising up.”