Discover Your Purpose of Life

Do you know yet what is your purpose in life? Are you living your passion?

I think living a life of purpose is a spiritual experience.

I recently revamped the The One Question website that provides spirituality information and helps you discover your purpose in life.

Happy self-discovery!


I'm currently in Austin, Texas - a nice change for hot Panama. Here the weather remind me of autumn in Estonia. There golden leaves on the trees, and it's cold. Didn't think it can get as cold in Texas, but what do you know. Now it's gotten better, but on the weekend it was around 6 degrees.

I'm staying in Austin for almost a month, going back to Panama after Christmas. So I get to experience the Christmas here too. So far the weather is stopping me to feel like Christmas (where's the winter?), but maybe it's too early. At least it's not like Dubai where I spent Christmas during a perfect summer weather.

I participated in my first Thanksgiving last week with Sarah's family. I'm beginning to understand why its so important for Americans. It's the food of course! Just kidding. (Although it was reaaaally good).

It's a strange feeling being back in the US. I spent 3 months here in the springtime and now when coming back it's a familiar feeling. The culture and surroundings here feel closer to home than Panama.

Anyways. Probably I'll report again once back in Panama to share my plans for the next half a year along with some Panama stories.

Illegal Rainforest Deforestation by a real estate developer.

A real estate developer is destroying a highly disputed rare strip of rainforest in Panama City against government 6rders. We can stop them right now, we just need your voice. We need to tell the world what is happening, how unique rainforests are being destroyed in full view of public authorities who are are impotent to act.

Let's tell the world. Read about it here:

What you can do:
- blog about it
- submit to social bookmarking sites like, and so on
- tell the members of press

The more we wait the more forest is being cut down. We can stop it now, we just need more voices on our side

I've been to Paradise

That's a picture I took 2 days ago. I have finally been to Paradise. It's the land of the Kuna people, indigenous tribe living on more than 350 islands off the coast of Panama.

As there was a long weekend here due to Independence Day celebrations, we had an offer to go to the Carribean side of Panama, to spend 3 days in the Kuna Yala territory. I am so glad we took it. I had heard of the beauty of the Carribean so many times before, but had not yet had the chance to see it for myself.

Kuna Yala (territory for Kuna people) is quite isolated - there are no proper roads to the area, no modern development. Internal flights from Panama City go there a few times per week, alternative is to take the dirt road across the mountains. We chose the latter one as that's cheaper.The road took us through rainforest and cloudy mountains. The road was so bad and muddy that sometimes I was astonished we didn't get stuck. Naturally we were driving 4x4 cars. Panama is gorgeous and it was a beautiful drive. Check out the video below that shows you the serenity of the rainforest:

At one point the road ended and the only way to continue the ride was to drive through a river - which we did. Never experienced that before. To my surprise it was easier than I thought, no water what so ever came inside the car. I recorded this as well:

Finally we arrived to a tip of a mountain were we saw the Carribean for the first time. Video:

On the coast there was a boat waiting for us ready to take us to a Paradise island. We passed many little islands and made a short stop to change the boat in one. The whole boat ride was jaw-dropping for me as I all of the islands were amazingly beautiful.This was also my first hands-on contact with indigenous people in Panama. Observing their way of life was a one of a kind experience, one that I am very thankful for. Kunas have managed to maintain the way of life their ancestors were living with only a few modernizations, like motors for the boats, gas cookers and sowing machines. Some of them that were involved with tourism had cell phones. Thats about it. The houses were made out of straw. All the clothes hand-made. Fishing equipment made from whatever resources available on the islands.
Some of the Kuna people make their living by allowing tourists to live on their islands. They have constructed cabanas (huts made out of straw and palm branches) for people to sleep in, offer food and boat trips for a small amount of money. The islands itself are a paradise. We were destined to spend 3 days on one of such islands. This was ours:
Yes, the water really comes in the prettiest colors: teal, light blue, green and white (because of the color of the sand in the bottom). We couldn't get enough of swimming. The water was totally transparent, perfect temperature and full of interesting "animals". Sometimes you could see a swarm of little fish (thousands!) swimming by, or some pre-historic fish-like things.That's me in the water. As you can see, the beach and water are really crowded. Kuna Yala (also known as San Blas) is a true undiscovered gem.

Besides our own island we also got to see a different island (Isla de Perros) which is supposedly one of the prettiest around here (and it really was beautiful). It had no dogs, but it did have a cat. As it was the Independence Day of Panama, we went to see how it's being celebrated in a bigger Kuna village. There was a little parade and some performances by the school kids (yes, they have schools on the islands). Check this out:

We learned quite a lot about the Kuna people and their traditions. It's fascinating. The women are more important in the society, and families generally want to have more girls than boys. When young couples get married, its the boy who leaves his family and becomes a part of the girls family. When a girl reaches a certain age, she will have a coming of age ceremony that lasts for 3 days. In the process all of her hair are cut off and she never lets them grow long (only up to shoulders). Kuna religion has 2 gods: a man and a woman who are the beginning of all (like in the nature).

Our tour guide called Robinson (a Kuna) was quite knowledgeable of worldly things - he knew exactly where Estonia is on the map and happily showed it to everybody.

Among other things it was the first time I drank coconut water straight from a coco. I also tried to climb the coco palm and found its not as easy as seen on TV.I also discovered how beautiful can Paradise islands be during the sunset. The mix of colors is quite astounding.Anyways, when you come visit me in Panama, we can go there together too. So better start making your travel plans.
Check out all of my pictures from this trip:

Costa Rica and the way ahead

As the Panamanian tourist visa is valid only for 30 days, we had to leave the country and decided to go to Costa Rica. We traveled to Costa Rica bus and the trip lasted for too long - 17 hrs. The only good thing was that we could admire the amazing landscape and cloud forests of Costa Rica rural areas. During the trip the bus stopped several times as the road needed to be fixed - constant rainfall (and the downpour of water from the mountains) had destroyed the road in many places. We had great plans for spending a week at a wonderful beach sipping great cocktails, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way. October and November are the culmination for the rain season which meant that it rained every god damn day. Most of our time was spent in the hotel. The good thing was that internet was available and we could work from the hotel, so time wasn't wasted.

When we looked for opportunities to go outside San Jose (the capital), we were taken aback by the outrageous prices of public transportation. A bus to the Carribean coast was $80 one way (4 hour trip)! So for the 2 of us a trip there and back would have cost $320. This must be the most expensive bus in the world. In Europe I could fly from North Europe to the Mediterranean and back for that money. Only later we discovered that there is another cheap bus company going to all the locations as well, but it seemed to be a well-kept secret that no white man should find out.

Average Costarican (in San Jose) seemed to be somewhat richer than average Panamanian - although appearance might have been deceptive. Prices in San Jose were higher than in Panama City with few exceptions (restaurants). A taxi driver told us that many Costaricans go on shopping trips to Panama City as clothes and other that kind of items are so much more expensive in San Jose.

The city of San Jose was less impressive than Panama City, but seemed more safe. The city lacked the fancy old town that Panama has, although it had its old district with some pretty buildings too. The city itself was considerably smaller and easier to navigate. We saw so much more white people - Costa Rica as a tourist destination is way more popular. What I liked the most about San Jose that it had a proper city center with a walk-only street like most of European cities. Panama City doesn't have a city center (like Dubai) and I miss that.

Costa Rican Spanish was a lot clearer and easier to understand than Panamanian. We picked a difficult country to learn Spanish in :)

Now we've been back in Panama City for a week. Some updates of what's going on with my life:

The ethical company that I was doing some work for turned out to be not that ethical in its business practice. Sarah wrote about that in her blog, so I won't go into details here. As I couldn't rely on income from that company anymore, I decided to go solo. My initial research and talks with local people pointed out to me that there are wonderful business opportunities here in Panama. Right now, this is the place to be as all sorts of things are happening and now is the time to take advantage of this and build something great. I have many plans and I've started to execute them already. I started my own internet marketing company here and the future looks bright.

Some views of San Jose:

Village life in Panama

Sarah just spent a week in Ngobe Bugle, in a village called Soloy. Read about the amazing experience here.

1 month in Panama

A month has gone by fast (doesn't it always?). Nevertheless, so many experiences fit into this month. To be honest, I already feel quite settled in. I can orientate in the city, have some easy conversations in Spanish and I know what to expect. Panama is kind of easy to learn, I think. Naturally I still know only the tip of the iceberg, but I feel I know much more than I did after my first month in Dubai. Even the city is easier to learn.

What I have also noticed about myself is that I am not as excited and full of emotions about living in a new country as I was the first time (in UAE). Maybe it's because international lifestyle has become sort of a commonplace for me, maybe I've got older and wiser, maybe the local culture is not that different from mine as compared to the Middle East.
Don't get me wrong - I'm loving every minute of it and I do am excited about being here. Just the emotions were more powerful the first time. Maybe its one of those "first time" things... the first trip, the first kiss, the first roller coaster ride, the first.. whatever ...were kind of special and you had very powerful emotions that you still remember. I would be curios to hear comments from my international minded friends about that.

Panama is a cool place. Its lively, up and coming. Lots of opportunities are coming up. Real estate is booming like nothing else. That and the expansion of the canal are brining in lots of investment and creating jobs. I've identified some potentially profitable opportunities for myself as well, let's see how that goes. Job market is really hot. Bilingual people (Spanish+English) get jobs really easily. Getting job interviews is almost effortless. I've tried to find jobs in several countries in the course of my life, and no other country comes even close to Panama right now (or maybe Estonia would be the same at the moment, the job market is hot there too).

I like Panama City too. It has the old town (Casco Viejo, where I live) and the new town. The history and the future. It creates this dynamic, this tension between the old and new which is ... life.

Tonight I am leaving for a city called David, meet up with Sarah there and head towards Costa Rica. We'll stay there for a week at some paradise beach. See you later.

Pictures: some random city views

The Best Cat Site in the World

... is naturally Catpert: The Expert on Cats. Cat health and cat care, pictures of cats and and more.

Anyone who knows me enough knows that I love cats. A while ago I discovered that there were no good cat sites in the world. So I made one. Reminds me of that story how Jack London said he didn't think there were any good books around, so he decided to write some. So I'm like Jack London in a way. That's cool.

Anyways, I have big plans for Catpert. I'm gonna take over the cat industry. If you know of anyone who likes cats, send them the link. Thanks!

Casa Arias

Our new home here in Panama City is called Casa Arias. It was built for one of the founders of the Republic of Panama (president 1903-1904), Tomas Arias. The house is grandiose, in a good condition and still has most of the original pieces. The stair case is made from marble imported from Italy, the banisters are handcarved mahogany. The house itself is big and old enough to make a good location for a horror movie. Every room has a very high ceiling, I would say 3.5 meters which creates a special atmosphere. You really feel like a king living in this house.

Since the building is so big, it is shared - but its not strangers together, but like a big family. It has a small company renting an office on the 3rd floor, office of the non-profit of our landlord (a youth leadership development organization called Earth Train) on the ground floor. We have a small apartment on the 2nd floor (bedroom with a balcony, bathroom, kitchen and a small room between the last 2). Owners' quarter are also on the 2nd floor. There are many common areas which we all share, like the pavilion on the 3rd floor (suitable for parties, BBQ, meetings, chilling out) and a small observatory on the 4th floor. There is also a security guard who lives here.

House is still under renovations in some parts and work on it is going on. There will be an art gallery on the ground floor. The courtyard and 3rd floor open area will be filled with tropical plants everywhere.

The house itself is maybe 40 meters from the sea. We have a gourmet grocery just next to our house and famous Independence Plaza with a beautiful cathedral is just 30 seconds walk away. I wrote about the magic of our neighborhood the last time.

I took some pictures today, but its hard to capture the house with pictures. Perhaps I need to walk around with a video camera if I want you to really see the place. Anyways, pictures with comments:

The fascade
Yep, thats our home. The main entrance is the big door on the left.
The view from the open area on the 3rd floor. Bridge of Americas on the right
View from the observatory. The flag of Panama is on top of the hill
Marble stairs
The courtyard. This will be redesigned/re-landscaped and turned into a piece of tropical paradise
Going down towards the main entrance
Open air pavilion. As I mentioned, it is used for meetings, parties, drinking wine and so on. Notice the grill on the right and don't forget the hammock (haven't used either of them yet, but I will a lot).
View to the causeway. That causeway leads up to 4 islands which are filled with restaurants. Popular sightseeing destinations.
View to the sea from the Pavilion
View from the Pavilion. Notice the ships queuing for the canal. The abandoned house you see will be turned into a boutique hotel. Casco Viejo has a lot of houses like this which are now being bought and renovated. If you happen to have cash lying around, this might be your best investment ever.
More view to the sea
View to the street in front of our house. The house with the white balcony has the gourmet grocery where I shop once a day.
More neighbours.
3rd level open area. This will be filled with plants as well.
View towards the city center. The skyscrapers in downtown city are well visible. Nice contrast with the old tower.
A walkway on the 2nd level
Behind the blue wall is the small company I mentioned and the level below is our apartment
More views from the roof
Pavilion area
This is the house thats is turned into a hotel again
View from our balcony (other side of the house)
View from our balcony towards the street
Our kitchen. We haven't been able to fully furnish and decorate it yet. We love the wine rack.
Our bedroom. The room is too big for the camera to capture it well, so here's one part of it.

Here are 2 videos I took. One has the view from the top floor of our house and the other one shows views from the French Plaza in Casco Viejo (close to our house).

Casco Viejo

On August 15, 1519, Panama City was formally established. It was built on the location of an Indian village on the shores of the Pacific. The city survived several disastrous fires, but finally was destroyed by pirates led by Sir Henry Morgan (know the 'Captain Morgan' rum?) in 1671.

Founded in 1673, Casco Viejo is the second Panama City, built after the famous pirate attacked and destroyed the first city center, Panama La Vieja, forcing its inhabitants to move to a new location 2 kilometers west-southeast of the original city.

Nowadays Casco Viejo is the most colorful part of Panama City. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1997. It’s a city within the city, and one from a different age. Romantic, bohemian and cozy. Its also the main tourist destination in the city. Even the presidential palace is here.

The architecture is a combination of ruins from the days of Spanish Explorers and Pirates, and French Colonial from the first attempt made on the Panama Canal by the French. To walk through Casco Viejo is definitely to walk through history. Buildings sitting side by side can be over three hundred years apart in age. Balconies are filled with flowers wrapped around sculpted wrought iron crafted in another century, The streets are brick, and no matter which way they run, they run to the sea, because Casco Viejo is surrounded by sea.

Casco Viejo is not your typical touristic old town. Its a place with its own vibe. You see newly renovated expensive boutique hotels next to houses about to fall down inhabited by squatters. The district is extremely diverse, a mix between rich and poor, beauty and decay.

Since the 1920s however, Casco Viejo has gradually become to all intents and purposes, a semi-elegant slum. The inner city syndrome gripped the area. Maintenance and development stagnated and it was basically forgotten, except by those tourists wishing to see some of the historical landmarks that are interspersed throughout. Squatters took control of the buildings as landlords left due to rental control disputes. This means there are very many houses until this day that are in a very poor condition and inhabited by very poor people - and many of them. Most have lived there for very many years and consider it as their home, even though their legal status is questionable.

As one walks the streets of today’s Casco Viejo, it becomes obvious that things are changing. One building is being renovated after another. The long-awaited revamp of Casco Viejo is happening. It already has the fanciest nightclubs, cool cafes and trendy sidewalk restaurants all over the place.

Why am I writing about this place? Because we're moving here. Yup, we're gonna live in the prettiest part of town in the middle of this rich history, beauty and diversity. Soon more about our house.


View to the Casco Viejo from afar
View from the Casco Viejo itself (yes, its on the coast). The bridge on the right is Bridge of Americas - the bridge connecting North and South America

Downtown Panama City is also clearly visible from Casco Viejo

View to the canal from Casco Viejo. Ships queuing for the canal.