Free to Roam About the World

digital-nomad-globe

“Free to Move About the World” Photo via Pixabay

There’s a Southwest Airlines tagline that goes “you’re now free to move about the country.” Ever since my MBA studies in Management of Global Information Technology, I’ve dreamed of being part of a worldwide network of talented professionals. So, when I came across a recommendation by Cup of TJ to check out Toptal, I knew I had to learn more.

If you don’t know them already, Toptal is a marketplace for top talent in different expertise, but they are currently focused around three core areas of expertise – developers, designers and finance experts. That’s no surprise because these are the most portable functions in most companies.

My first taste of remote work was managing projects with AT&T for Sun Microsystems. Often, I would be out of the office at various job sites across the Bay Area, logging in whenever / wherever and jumping on the occasional team conference calls.

Later, I would work as a semi-digital nomad, when I started to do consulting in commercial real estate and buying / selling businesses. Most of the time I bounced up and down the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. While this may sound glamorous, it gets old quick after you realize you spent more time on the road than in your own bed!

As Cup of TJ points out, there are pros and cons to the digital nomad lifestyle. It isn’t all unicorns and working on your laptop at beaches. Clients expect you to be available during certain times and to be professional when you show up on a Skype call.

But the bottomline, of course, is delivering results. They don’t care that you were ziplining on Monday, but you better have that prototype you promised for Tuesday ready.

Speaking of Monday, my next step with joining the Toptal design team is a Skype call with one of their team. Their screening process apparently only lets in the top 3% of applicants – wish me luck!

To learn more about Toptal click here.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

Happy Groundhog Day! If you haven’t watched this classic Bill Murray / Andie McDowell rom-com, it’s a great way to experience the time loop when you cross the international dateline!

Recently, I launched a new website, Thriving Vets, to help veterans to live a fulfilling life. Our men and women make a lot of personal sacrifices in serving our country, so this site is dedicated to serving them.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Heather Morrow of Aspen Tango about the immigration crisis that started when President Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from certain countries from entering this country. One unexpected repercussion was rejecting people with valid green cards. Here’s the replay for more –

On Sunday I will be chatting with Clay Nelson of Portland Tango about why dancers return to Portland year after year like some migratory birds –

Also, I’ve started to do a vlog of sorts to talk about the realities of freelancing and working my way into the digital nomad lifestyle –

Meanwhile, I’ve posted some food recipe videos and plan to write more about this.

Recently, I started to read Eddie Huang’s biography Fresh Off the Boat. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s nothing like the television story, which was watered down quite a bit for mass audiences, of course.eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat

Some of you probably know that I’m a big fan of audio books, especially when the author is the narrator. This is no exception, as Huang tells his own story in a way that no one else can.

Even though I grew up much further north, I can definitely to the harassment and bullying that Huang faced, as well as the identity crisis. Sometimes I felt too Chinese; other times, too American. We first generation immigrants often found ourselves trying to straddle both cultural worlds.

Here’s a videos series of Eddie Huang revisiting Taiwan. You can also check out his book through the links to the Amazon page. Enjoy!

Well, this post is a bit all over the place but thought it was the best way to share some of these! How about you? What are you working on these days?

Where to Find Digital Nomad Work

digital nomad work

Digital Nomad Work

First, my confession – I’m by no means a full-time “digital nomad.” But someone on Quora asked this question, and so I thought I’d answer here since this is longer than your typical Quoran response.

When Life Forces You to Change

Over the last year or so I was forced to switch almost completely to online work because my last car (an old beat up Toyota Corolla) finally died. Before that I would go back and forth between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to do my main work in commercial property inspections. You can see me do a walk-thru in the video. [link]

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different things with varying degrees of success – everything from trying to make money through affiliate commissions to teaching online – both my own field inspection course to Udemy classes, even publishing a couple of Kindle books – Local Business Alchemy and Field Inspection 101 Home Business.

While there isn’t a remote / digital nomad site as comprehensive as Monster.com or networking quite like LinkedIn, here are some ways to find digital nomad work –

Who You Know vs What You Know

Often you can find opportunities through people they know – not so much by saying “do you know of any jobs where I can work remotely?”

No, it’s usually a bit more roundabout..

“Hey, I saw this posting – who should I contact in that company? Are you also looking for [your specialty]? ..would you consider hiring someone who works in [your location]? ”

Of course, although there are more companies today that would consider hiring remote workers, it’s still not the first choice of most businesses.

So, it may / may not be worth the time to “sell” them on the idea. To be honest it’s better to simply look for a company or hiring manager who is open to this.

Either that or your work specialty needs to be unique enough and still be portable, of course. This is why programming and other technical specialties are more common.

Some Recommended Sites for Digital Nomad Work

A few of the most popular freelancer sites include:
(links are to my profiles on these sites)

While it seems nearly impossible to make a living with microjob sites like Fiverr and more recently http://www.konker.io/, don’t write these off. Besides connecting with other sellers, this can be an opportunity (within the site rules) to get higher paying work.

There are specific niche sites like italki – where I teach English online through Skype calls.

You can even find some work on local sites like Craigslist

Be sure to check out social groups like Facebook groups geared towards digital nomads –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalNomadsAroundTheWorld/?fref=ts

People often look for specific tasks to be done or projects to be completed

There are now more and more “digital nomad” job specific sites, but most of the work for technical fields like programmers or other areas of software development. https://remoteok.io/

Like I’ve said, “your results may vary.” What works for one person in one area will probably work differently for someone else.

In general, until you get some ratings, aka “social proof,” are you willing to humble yourself and take a bit of a pay cut? If so, deliver the best work you can each time, and you’ll have no problems earning a solid reputation. Remember, often the best advertisement is a happy customer or client!

How Time is Fluid

Just as we settled into the hypnotic rocking of the gulf waters, the rod snapped to life. As the line whirred out, it was all-hands on deck. The Mexican crew yelled excitedly.

Although I had no idea what we had just snagged, my first thought was to offer my younger brother the chance to reel it in. This fishing trip to Baja was his graduation present from Dad and me for finishing medical school.

I remembered watching him busting his ass studying these past four years, and he had more long, intense hours to come for his residency. Still, my brother waved me off.

Shrugging, I settled into my seat at the rear of the boat. Calling it a “yacht” seems misleading. Seaworthy as it is, comparing this charter to something Trump wouldn’t be caught dead in is like comparing apples to Faberge eggs.

“Easy,” coaxed the deck hand. Alternately, encouragements like “mas” and “keep going” came at me in Spanish and Mandarin.

There! For a second or so the marlin jumped. “Oh, my god,” said dad with a mix of awe and excitement.

Eventually, reeling became easier and easier. Somehow I could tell that the fish was giving up. Slowly, we could finally see the magnificent creature – its brilliant blue and violet sheen breaking the dark gulf waters.

Finally, the 135 pound beast lay on the platform off the boat’s stern. Within minutes the light flashed out of its eyes. My elation at landing such a creature turned to sadness. I felt less like a victor than a murderer of something beautiful.

All in all, what took maybe twenty minutes felt like hours.

Later, we would catch a few blue bronze El Dorado, or what some call Mahi Mahi on their dinner plates. These had quite a bit of fight as well, but we would catch nothing else like that marlin. I was disappointed for my brother because he and my dad were much more fishermen than me.

I had gone on a few trips with them over the years, and only once or twice otherwise. Meanwhile, I know that they had gone on several other trips together and with other friends.

But one other trip we went on together was memorable for very different reasons.

This was a charter off the coast of our home state of New Jersey. Now the Atlantic Ocean is known to have rough seas. But this was summertime. So, usually that’s just a good time to catch bluefish because of weather and water conditions.

The initial chop caused the bow to go up and down like a roller coaster – as it went over its first hump over and over again. What started off as exhilaration soon turned to uneasiness and finally dread for my dad and brother.

At first the two turned quiet and still. Then, they both just turned a sickly pale, as if life had left them.

For some unknown reason the rocking motion had no effect on me. So, I proceeded to catch bluefish. My brother came up to see my first one, and promptly hit the side rail which only caused him to projectile vomit breakfast like something out of the Exorcist.

Later, we joked that he was chumming – the ritual spreading of bits of bait to attract the hungry fish.

This time hours of sea-sickness seemed to last forever.

 

Time can be elastic. Einstein talks, of course, about relativity in the world of physics. Jung discussed how we both perceive and create perceptions of what is. If God created us in His image, as the Bible says, then this is nowhere else this is more true.

Another way this comes out is how Marc Levy talks about the relative value of time..

“If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

 

When have you had moments that you wished would last forever? or other times that you couldn’t wait to end?

Yellow Bucket of Rust

sunrise-pala-temecula

Sunrise at Pala Near Temecula (Photo credit: pdpolena via Source / CC BY)

Whirrr-eell..WHIRRR-EELLL – WHIRRR-Eeelll.. The variometer squealed in rising & descending tones, alternating between barely audible and a screech as terrifying as crumpling styrofoam.

You might be wondering why I was strapped into a canary yellow rust bucket. Baking under that Southern California sun, as my flight instructor and I waited for our tow plane, I was was wondering the same thing.

Yet, once we were airborne at three thousand feet, where that cool, rarefied air streamed all around our fuselage, it all comes back – I remember what it feels like to almost be a creature of the sky. Not something struggling to get up in the air, but something that really “slipped those surly bonds” and soared.

hawks-soaring

Photo credit: birdsaspoetry via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

“Look over there,” my instructor pointed out. A small circle of red hawks had gathered over a small hilltop. Lift – that sweet warm, rising air which extends our flight time.

Of course, I was still paying for every minute of my instructor. But at the same time, each minute we logged up in the air got me closer to my solo qualification, and the longer we stayed up, the less I needed to spend on another tow fee.

Soaring in a glider also finally forced me to get the feel of flying – something I never had developed in powered aircraft.

yellow-glider

Photo credit: The Library of Congress via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

No, Schweizer 2-33’s aren’t much to look at – they don’t have the sexiness of the Grob, which is what movies typically used. But they do allow student pilots to cheaply fill up flight logs and get their glider certification, aka “ticket” – to take that dream date.

Over time I realized that something was missing – maybe I had numbed myself with one too many roller coaster rides back in college. In any case I didn’t get sea-sick or air-sick like my other buddies, because my inner ear just didn’t work as well.

Seasoned flight instructors tried unsuccessfully to get me sick.

On the one hand it was great to have this tolerance, or whatever it’s called. On the other maybe it made me less sensitive to the bumps and feel of flight that good pilots have.

Years later, I finally developed some sense of “feel” on the mat in aikido and on the dance floor in tango.

Here’s the thing. How we do one thing is how we do everything. And the sad part is that while we would rather not feel sadness, or those emotions we consider “negative,” people like Jenny Lawson, who deal with severe bouts of depression, pay a high price by becoming numb to other feelings like joy and happiness.

As much as I hate to admit it, that old yellow bucket of rust was more than a few cheap thrills. She taught me a thing or two about flying, but most of all, that I still had a lot to learn!

Soaring at Warner Springs

Crunches mix with the sweet juices released with each bite of fresh white corn. This reminds me of the fresh ears I would buy after a day of soaring in Warner Springs. Picking out a few at a crossroad farmstand, I’d get a bag with the avocados just picked off the nearby trees that were also a steal .

corn

Corn – Photo credit: zqf503 via Pixabay

 

Friends make fun of the way that I eat corn. I like to plow through the kernels row by row like a typewriter. No one ever made fun of how Ernest Hemingway ate his corn, I’m sure. Okay, maybe there’s a huge difference between the prolific writer who embodied manliness, and me. But, hey, give a guy a break!

On the drive up, I had noticed the makeshift shack for selling local crops about halfway to the airport. I snapped out of my daydream.

Things had gotten complicated in my life between work and family. I was glad to leave it all behind, if only for a bit.

Driving between hills covered by remnants of some giants’ boulder wars, I got lost on the rural two-lane that snaked between hordes of avocado trees descending on the surrounding valleys.

Breathing deeper and taking in the warm Southern California sun put me into a zen state of mind. Only the thought of dinner plans broke this trance.

The engine whirl of a climbing white and goldenrod Cessna made it clear that I was getting close to the airfield, where I’d meet my instructor.

When I wanted to forget about budget reports and Powerpoint presentations, these weekend mini-escapes were just the cure. No obsessing about bills or child support payments – just finding lift among the red hawks.

sky-hills

Photo Credit Unsplash via Pixabay

It’s amazing – the things that humans are able to do. Put together an aluminum can with wings, tow it with a rope.. and FLY!

At the same time it’s funny how we have to take lessons, get certified and signed off on what birds do naturally with hardly a thought.

Funnier still was that my instructor was really a kid. Younger than me, he was also much more laid back than the hardcore instructor pilots back in navy flight school. But we still briefed and did our pre-flight checks in much the same routine as the military.

But, unlike the lunchtime patterns of showers in Pensacola, Florida by which you could set your watch, Warner Springs really had only two shades of summer – hot and hotter. So, the trick was to drink more water than what escaped your pores. If you didn’t crumple into a dust heap by the end of the day, then somehow you succeeded!

On the way home I had to stop off for a slice of pie at Julian. In spite of the heat the warm smell from inside the shop still made my mouth water. Fresh out of the oven, the crusty delight of berry goodness easily melted the frosty scoop of vanilla ice cream.

julian-pie-company

Julian Pie Company via Yelp

Racing the sun that was quickly disappearing behind the surrounding hills, I stopped off for my dinner ingredients. At the time I had no idea that what I was really doing was making summer memories of my time in San Diego.

It’s funny how moments like these seem so ordinary at the time, and it’s only later that we polish them off for the gold within.

What summer memories are you making right now?

Best Restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga – Behind the Scenes

Recently, I decided to to make a short video on the best restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga. So, I asked my neighbors on Facebook what their favorites were.

After everyone gave their opinions with “Likes” and comments, I more or less added the most “votes” and compared these with Yelp reviews and comments. That gave me a working “shot list.”

Gathering a few pictures from reviews, I added some music and voila here’s the final result –

1) The Deli (16 likes + 5) – it surprised me with how much people raved about this little place. But it reminds me a bit of a hot dog shack in the New Jersey town, where I grew up. Sometimes we just have fond memories of places, and that’s that!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-deli-rancho-cucamonga

2) Fonda Don Chon (9 likes) – besides their Mexican lunch buffet they’ve got a massive molcajete that, even though I didn’t know what it was, I want to check out!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fonda-don-chon-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://fondadonchon.com/

3) Corky’s (507 reviews) Open 24/7 – they offer breakfast all-day and is known for their fresh-made food.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/corkys-kitchen-and-bakery-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.corkyskitchenandbakery.com/

4) Vince’s Spaghetti (4 likes +3-4?) – popular local favorite from the Route 66 days of the town. Do we really need to talk about what they’re known for..?
https://www.yelp.com/biz/vinces-spaghetti-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.vincesspaghettiroute66.com/

5) Red Hill Coffee Shop – (also located in Fontana) 5 likes for this establishment know for their HUGE portions. Look at the size of that pancake!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hill-coffee-shop-rancho-cucamonga

6) Ken’s Japanese ( – 273 reviews) – you wouldn’t think that an Inland Empire family restaurants would be known for fresh seafood or Japanese, but that’s what you have here.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kens-japanese-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.kensjapanese.com/

7) Salsita’s (5 likes) – if you want a BIG burrito, this is the place to get it. More sit down than fast food this Mexican restaurant has truly adult-sized portions.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/salsitas-mexican-grill-alta-loma
Their website – http://www.salsitasmexican.com/

8) China Point (3 likes?) – they have a sign that basically says “quality takes time.” Looks like that’s how they like to differentiate themselves from the typical Chinese food under heat lamps. They make your food when you order it.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/china-point-rancho-cucamonga

9) Kolya Indian Restaurant (3 Likes) – I’ve tried their lunch buffet and enjoyed it as a decent value. There’s also a new “kid in town” Rolls ‘n Wraps that opened a few months ago and now also offers a lunch buffet worth checking out.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/koyla-indian-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://koylarestaurant.com/

10) Juanita’s (4 likes +4?) – your basic “hole in the wall” Mexican fast food that has quite a following, especially for their nachos.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/juanitas-iii-rancho-cucamonga

Honorable Mention:

Wok This Way
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wok-this-way-rancho-cucamonga

Sal’s Pizza (3 Likes +3?)
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sals-pizza-alta-loma

 

How Fear Can Deceive Us

false-fear-illusion

With our fears logs can become alligators (picture by Thomas_G via Pixabay)

Wow, it’s been weeks since I’ve written a post here. If you haven’t been following me on Medium, I recently started writing there more regularly as part of Jeff Goins’ 500 Word Challenge. So far, so good on what was Day 20.

Today my friend Bill Belew wrote on his forum about having an up and down week. My response is that it happens and that besides this being a sign that we’re still alive, it’s also how we’re hard-wired.

For a while the motivational / self-help myth told us that if you place a frog in boiling water it’ll simply jump out. However, if you place it in water that’s room temperature and slowly turn up the heat, the frog won’t notice until it’s too late. There’s plenty written to dispel this, and others trying to prove it..

But the lesson is still valid, I think.

Human beings do tend to worry about things that are more in our face. It’s what sells newspapers, and why the “silent killers” like heart disease and diabetes remain the leading causes of death.

Recently, we lost several celebrities – David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, and Animal. Okay, maybe not the last one..

I have to admit that I can’t remember the last time that I listened to Bowie or Frey.. sometimes life happens, sometimes things surface to the top of our attention and then drift back down.

Don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a sermon about how “life is short.. let’s make each moment count..” However, it’s true that if we’re not careful, neglect is easy but the price we pay down the road can be much more expensive.

Losing my car was painful. For a while there was a $200 or so repair that a local garage suggested. I was always too busy or couldn’t be bothered. Who knows? Maybe it was inevitable that the transmission would fail; maybe not.

Being without a car in southern California is much more painful than, say, the San Francisco Bay Area or other cities like New York. Yes, I do think that it’s also a blessing and curse thing. In the classic cost benefit analysis let’s not forget to look at the price paid in the long run, not just the immediate future.

That’s why sometimes we undervalue the benefit of saving 5 minutes a day and forget how it can lead to creating hours or days of opportunity. It’s easier for us to focus on what in our face and miss the hidden costs / opportunities.

 

Where’s My Little Pony?

I’ve written before about my Navy experiences during the Reagan era.

One of the favorite jokes of Uncle Ronny, aka the Great Communicator, was a joke concerning twin boys. It went something like this..

pony-kid

Photo: erA_Blackout via Pixabay

Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities – one was a total pessimist, the other, a total optimist – their parents took them to a psychiatrist.”

“First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. ‘What’s the matter?’ the psychiatrist asked, baffled. ‘Don’t you want to play with any of the toys?’ ‘Yes,’ the little boy bawled, ‘but if I did I’d only break them.’”

“Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. ‘With all this manure,’ the little boy replied, beaming, ‘there must be a pony in here somewhere!’”

excerpt from How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life by Peter Robinson (source: Got to Be a Pony There Somewhere)

Going without a car in Southern California sucks – there’s no getting around it. This isn’t New York where you can jump on the subway or grab a cab. It’s not Chicago where you can take a bus for anywhere not covered by the Loop. And it’s certainly not San Francisco where you can juggle between BART and Muni to get to just about anywhere you need.

It takes almost an hour to get to Union Station in down LA by Metrolink. Then, if you need to get anywhere significant like Hollywood or Santa Monica.. well, expect significant delay..

Yet, it’s forced me to work on my online business of content marketing – to simply sit down & write.

Now when I go somewhere, there’s still a good deal of walking. So I’ve raided the public libraries for plenty of audio books and supplementing this was Audible.com. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks (totally worth it!! check it out and let me know what you think!)

Gratitude is about learning to dance in the rain instead of waiting for the storm to pass. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, it’s harder to remember to be grateful.

Some of the greatest triumphs in history have come out of our darkest hours. Ryan Holiday shares many such stories in The Obstacle is the Way.

One Zen story he shares tells of a king who places a large boulder at the entrance to their city. He watched in disappointment as one citizen after another turn away. Others openly cursed their bad luck or halfheartedly tried to go around before easily giving up.

boulder-road

Photo: missyliner0 via Pixabay

Sure that his kingdom was doomed to be conquered by any invaders with such softness, the king finally saw a lowly peasant struggle. Something made this one subject persist until he finally made a lever out of a large branch.

Moving the boulder, the peasant found a bag of gold and a note from the king which read:

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, with every obstacle comes an opportunity to improve our condition.”

That Holiday in Berlin

When I finally got up late in the morning, it was still pretty dark with such a hint of daylight. Outside snow covered everything in the courtyard of a friend of a friend’s apartment where I stayed.

berlin-christmas-market

Christmas Market Berlin (photo: Asatira via Pixabay)

Having just arrived late that night, I was still a little jet lagged. So I closed my eyes for a bit. When I opened them again a few hours later, it was dark again! How long had I slept?!

I’d forgotten that Berlin was far enough north to get some of the daylight distortion that comes with the seasons. The bleakness of its winter made me imagine why these Teutonic tribes constantly sought sunnier shores to conquer.

Holiday Fun and Games

Yet it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Once I finally met up with my friends Thomas and Erin, we moved my stuff over to their cozy apartment. They were in the middle of assembling a hanging star decoration.

holiday-stars

Lovely Holiday Stars

Later we met up with his brother and a friend to visit the holiday market at Gendarmenmarkt near Friedrichstraße. If you ever go, you can’t miss it. It’s all the best of past Christmases wrapped in a bow.

It brought back memories of ice skating at Rockefeller Center, munching on churros off State Street in Chicago, seeing the Marshall Fields window displays.

The Germans know how to celebrate the holidays. There’s nothing like warm mug of spiced Glühwein to brace against the chill, or munch on some currywurst. But, of course, there’s hot chocolate – and the German people know their chocolate!

A Taste of German Food

Now I know that like the county fair back in the States, this isn’t “real” German food any more than funnel cakes and roasted corn is American fare. But there’s still something uniquely different about their spin on celebrating the holidays.

Eventually, we made it to the countryside where we spent the new year’s eve. I sampled one of the traditional German dishes sauerbraten. Unfortunately for my vegetarian friend, it was like that bit out of Big Fat Greek Wedding. They offered him some boiled vegetables.

So when I finally cooked for my friends who hosted me, I improvised a vegetarian chicken parmesan but substituting tofu in place of the breast meat. It didn’t turn out half bad. When I get a chance, I’ll need to make a video.

A Bit of Dancing Tango in Berlin

While dancing tango in Berlin wasn’t much different than other parts of the world, you still definitely know you’re dancing there. The people there have a certain energy that is unique to them. It’s a combination of warmth and austere calm that’s all at once quick with a restrained laugh and politeness for keeping you at arm’s length until they know you better.

That’s probably one of the main reasons why I love to dance tango. Once you connect with someone on an emotional level that’s tangible as touch, there’s no going back to pretenses. The stereotype of the serious, uptight German gives way to another human being sharing a moment of play and self-expression.

So each Christmas holiday no matter where I am and what I’m doing with family and friends, there’s always a special place in my heart for that one time in Berlin.

Post Note: Here are some other places to check out Christmas markets in Europe.

zagreb-christmas-market-european-best-destinations

Photo: Christmas Market in Zagreb via European Best Destinations