Six Favorite Cities That Have Nearly Everything I Want and That Are Great Staging Points to Change Your Life

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

Please click on the images below for more detail and a better view.

Anyone who knows me knows that if I am to feel comfortable in a city, the basic requirements are that there be inexpensive books or lots of libraries around, cafes must provide inexpensive coffee, there must be healthy and quick food in abundance, hostels must be numerous, and that the city must be inexpensive in terms of connecting to other cities. All of the cities I will mention here are able to meet these requirements, at least when the US dollar is strong – but none of them are in the US.

Montreal, Quebec

Probably the most beautiful large city in North America, or at least one that gives a flavor of Europe, Montreal is less expensive to an international visitor with the Canadian dollar down the last few years. You can enjoy some original bagels but also the view from Mont Royal is a huge inspiration. This is often a good place to visit going to or coming back from Europe with Air Transat. I lived here for a brief stint in 2012 and love its atmosphere.

 

 

 

Belgrade, Serbia

The secret is out! I think that somehow this is the coolest city I have ever been to that is this nascent. It is very inexpensive if you’re coming from western Europe, Asia, or North America, and it has perhaps the most friendly and accessible people of any large city I know. It has a wonderful cafe scene. I wrote much more extensively about this beloved place in 2017, and I recommend to go to the cute Danube-side city Novi Sad. These two cities are becoming quite good locations and scenes for the digital nomad professional.

 

 

 

Krakow, Poland

I think this is my favorite city at the moment and one of the few I have visited many times. It has this strong academic atmosphere and one which historically many student activists seemed to have held the line to hold the nation together. You can dine very inexpensively here and there is abundant inexpensive accommodation that is also often beautiful. I strongly recommend to visit nearby Zakopane in the mountains and if you want to try hostels, Top Hostel is super and in the center! At the moment, I live in Poland and I can say that it is one of the safest places in the world and you can have a very nice family vacation here with an authentic European experience and not spend so much money.

 

 

 

Athens, Greece

My knowledge of this city is a bit outdated now because I have not been there since 2012. Prices have gone up a bit while the city recovers from the catastrophic economic collapse that was well underway when I was last there. That said, there is an ambience to this city (it is a bit dangerous so do not attract a lot of attention to yourself) and you can feel the intensity of the mystery schools and ancient history there, as well as some connection to western civilization. Nearby Delphi was very intense for me and breathtakingly beautiful. Near Athens you can also go to the port and head out to the islands. I could not get books in English easily here but if you want to give some tourist knick knack gifts to people at home, this is probably the best place I have seen for that.

 

 

London, UK

Many readers will not believe that I have included this city on the list, but I have many reasons and even thought about putting it at the top. This is not a city that needs some extra promotion, however. As the hub of the world, it is often the cheapest place to fly in or out of. With the pound having lost a lot of its exchange value over the last two years, it has not been this inexpensive for tourists in many years. At Pret a Manger, a ubiquitous coffee chain, you can get a very nice white coffee for 99p and there is seating! The numerous supermarket chains all have steep discounts on food near expiration at the end of each day, so I ate very nutritious food when I was astute or lucky – such as sushi rolls for less than 50p. The British Museum and some other locations are free to the public, as well as the extensive green spaces throughout the city. The charity shop network Oxfam stores throughout the UK have wonderful and often recent book titles for very cheap and the profits go toward alleviating poverty. Accommodation is expensive here but if you put London in context with what is free or cheap and how it connects with the rest of the world, I find it an extremely good value, if not the best value.

Rijeka, Croatia

This city seems like a strange one to include because it really is not one of international attraction, but for reasons I have probably explained elsewhere, it was a lifesaver to me. I like it as a place to experience Europe very quietly and to dash off to either the Croatian Riviera in Opatija, or simply just soak in some beautiful architecture and views. I would like to see the country have some lower tax policies, but in this country and in this city, you could set up a business very, very quickly and cheaply and only have to walk a few blocks to do it. The cafe scene is quite nice although you have to watch out for so much smoking everywhere.

 

 

TURKEY

This is a post about cities, but if we are speaking about countries, the one country I always tell people that everyone absolutely must see at least once in their lifetime is Turkey. If you go there, you do need to see Istanbul and also Antalya is a wonderful base city to see places, but Olympos is the place to hide.

 

I have not been to a lot of Asia and have not made it to Africa or South America, so there may be some notable absences here. These cities are where I felt the most comfortable and like I could get my work done without a lot of hassle but still feel refreshed.

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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We Survived 2008 With Or Without Foreknowledge

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

LinkedIn is asking “Where were you in September 2008 [when Lehman Brothers went under this week that year]?” I was in Christchurch, New Zealand and had taken some kind of cappuccino with a lingzhi mushroom powder from a cafe that proclaimed it had curative powers but it made me sort of strung out. This was still the internet cafe days and I had stopped in an internet cafe to check email and Facebook. All of the headlines were very adamant that this was the start of a very excruciating and dangerous financial period.

I had taken pre-emptive steps in the previous years. While doing a research paper two years earlier, for sociology of all subjects, I had come across some data and commentary that there was a 75% probability that a major, devastating correction would come between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2009. Somehow this statement resonated as true and I decided to go ride it out by teaching English in South Korea for a year as soon as I graduated in the summer of 2007. The markets did start to unravel with the subprime mortgage crisis at about that time and while in Ireland in the summer of 2007, a financial analyst operating out of London told me on a bus ride that the epicenter of devastation would be Ireland, then the US, and then have a global impact. Meanwhile, others in Ireland were manically saying to buy property immediately before it would go up in value any further. It took a full year of a tremendous run up in commodities prices before everything started to unravel. It seems like an almost alien time that this coincided with the US presidential elections and if you hear speeches from around that campaign time, they did not really address the severity of this backdrop. I remember just a week or two prior to this ten-year anniversary being on an airplane from South Korea to Australia and the TVs inside the plane showed John McCain presenting Sarah Palin as his running-mate, and before she began speaking, there was a brief period where people had some high expectations and suspense about her potential.

 

 

Where were you? Did you know how bad it would become? Did it touch you? Strangely enough in terms of net after taxes, 2009 was my best year ever even though it was the worst of the recession (a second teaching tour of South Korea did that). I can say that what “saved” me was to listen to people that were not super flashy or mainstream commentators – the talking heads, so to speak – but those who were a bit discreet and projected quiet confidence in what they were saying. Ten years later, I am not hearing consistent voices of this kind but the general message would be to not get overextended and to diversify so that you don’t sink when the unexpected happens.

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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The Unfairness of Hubs

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

Something that reveals the center of an empire is how strong of a travel connections hub that a place is. In 2017 when I was attempting to get to Romania from Poland by air on short notice I was stunned to find that I could not find any way there for less than $300USD (a year later I would have realized that there are grueling ways to get there via bus for quite cheap). I think it is important to take the following into consideration: you know that you live at the center of an empire if there are many cheap flights in and out of your city to a variety of destinations. If it is expensive or difficult to get out of your city or region, you may find that the area will experience long-term economic decline.

 

There are many implications if you do not live at the center of an empire. You can become out-of-the-loop in supply chains which limit the variety of products you can access or make them expensive to obtain. You can find it difficult to visit relatives or repatriate any resources and ultimately that place gets starved of new capital or population inflows.

Almost always in Europe, the cheapest place to fly will be London. A lot of this price structure is driven by a high number of people flying to London anyway because they emigrated there for work after their respective countries joined the EU, but there may be something of a strategy to concentrate more wealth there. I wound up in London three times in 2017 in part because it was the easiest and cheapest place to connect to somewhere else. In the US, the cheapest place to fly in general will usually probably be Orlando or Las Vegas because these are the most frequented locations for packaged or family vacations.

The key to any city or region’s long-term success in my opinion is that people are able to get in and out very easily and cheaply. Historically speaking, the countries that epitomize this would be the Netherlands or Uruguay, which are both positioned between other powerful countries and have reputations for strong press freedom and ease of doing business. It will be interesting to see what happens to London after leaving the European Union but I suspect that over time there may be a new hub in continental Europe (Amsterdam is going in that direction but is geographically too small and already overwhelmed with the pressure of huge visitor number increases) but London will see increases in visitors and transactions from greater distances. Canada may be more important in the future if the political instability of the US is a long-term situation (similar to the boost they had in 2001-2002 after 9/11).

 

Hubs are unfair though because they gradually seize capital from other regions and we must consider how to either create a plurality of hubs or have more transactions take place in a virtual, online environment to save energy and keep people in places where the cost-of-living is lower.

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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It is a Tragedy that Roseanne the Show Has Been Canceled

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

What a missed opportunity and destruction of a legacy. ABC did the absolute correct and necessary thing to take punitive actions against Roseanne Barr for posting something so vile and uncalled for, but I find the gleeful response of swathes of people on social media very disturbing – similarly, I do not agree with people who have started saying that it is only happening because she is a President Trump supporter. I think of so many people impacted in this debacle. First and foremost, Valerie Jarrett, whether she was actually a puppet master to the Obamas as has been claimed at times, is a highly accomplished, multilingual woman who after accumulating experience and by all appearances communicating with finesse and exhibiting model intelligence, and for her to be compared to an ape is devastating. For any person of color I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in such a threatening environment as to be reduced to that any random moment no matter how much one achieves. I also think of Jayden Rey, the little girl playing Roseanne Conner’s mixed ethnicity granddaughter, and how traumatic this must be for – to have trust squashed in this way. However, similarly to the Cosby legacy going down in his sex abuse, rape, and assault cases, there is a lot more on the table than the person who holds together a concept or product.

Roseanne phase I (1988-1997) did a lot to tackle real issues with class and economic

hardship in ways that had not really been addressed on television for about a decade – perhaps since All in the Family. I do not need to cite what was done here. Some feel that it went too far and normalized sexual things too early, while others see it as bringing out into the open what has always been going on. I would like to say that a lot of the initial contempt directed toward her has to do with her body type and not standard Hollywood/entertainment appearance. Much of the comments I have seen following the series cancelation have had remarks such as “she always was a pig.”

Roseanne phase II (2018-?) by all appearances I have seen in the media (I have not gotten to watch a full episode while living in Eastern Europe) seems to have had lofty goals of unity that have not been set or achieved for a long time on television, which audiences in Middle America resoundingly responded to in April and May 2018 with high ratings. I have seen some commentators again reference that this alone should excuse her behavior – it should not. However, a show that has a gender fluid character, blended ethnic family features, all kinds of political spectrum representation (including a Jill Stein supporter), one that addresses fertility issues, class divisions, grandparents that went for a new political movement out of desperation of worsening economic circumstances, and nostalgic combined was just the medicine people needed to reach for the American aspiration of true, authentic unity. Sara Gilbert, someone much more on the left and liberal perspective, apparently spearheaded this project and made it happen, and so it is not like this is Roseanne Barr’s right-wing extravaganza as many have portrayed it.

This project must somehow live without Roseanne. There is a lot at stake to let this kind of disillusionment seep in from every corner in the United States because we are entering very dangerous, uncharted territory to let some dreams be realized for a while and then have a legacy that so many are attached to for varying reasons be ruined.

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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I May Seem Crazy but the Jury is Still Out Which One of Us the Chemtrails Warped More

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

For years and years so many people have asked me to compile a list of all the conspiracy

Poland58

I looked across the room in my Airbnb and wondered whether today would be the day to start this major project.

theory documentaries and sources that have been the material for laughs or fears. After years of having to push it off, it is in southeastern Europe that I started thinking about them more because people in this region are much more pragmatic and awake in this regard. It is a tall order to try to provide links to some great documentaries and I caution anyone that you can’t take any of them as an authority any more than the official news, just like any religion plays by its own rules and pulls in material just to justify its existence. I will say that often things that seem like outlandish claims turn out to be true and any time someone goes out of their way to dismiss something we must be alerted that they are being paid to do so or there is some other conflict of interest and in turn a lot of conspiracy theories can also be very irresponsible speculation or a platform to make money. There is also the belief that sometimes the sources of this information will deliver a great deal of truth to the public but then also be assigned to say or do very marginal things that are not true (such as spreading the flat earth theory) so that everything they have said that is true is dismissed – another manifestation of controlled opposition.

To continue to make this project a success by my measure, I am going about this in a totally different way. First, please click on the pictures to increase our viewcount (and to see their beautiful extent. They are currently from Riga and Sigulda, Latvia, a very high and strange energy point on the planet in my view (this is the story of the cave Gutanmis)). Next…

 

 

 

 

 

at the bottom of this page’s current iteration, you will see the first resource, a documentary I was directed to by an Irish friend in 2009, a mainstream source from the BBC, and we will move on to more controversial ideas in the near future. Century of the Self, by Adam Curtis, opens with “This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy” and includes explanations of how cigarettes were successfully marketed to women (“torches of freedom”) and processed cake mixes were first sold.

Stay tuned for when the next resources/sources arrive!

Katy’s Perry’s video for “Chained to the Rhythm,” with over 500 million views and while wildly popular, may have begun the end her mainstream career. Check the video for symbols of empire and how the system disposes of even the ideal, compliant participants.

 

The following and beyond gets progressively more intense or marginal. The first, The Century of the Self, was produced by the BBC and stays within the confines of the Establishment but reveals a lot of facets that are unknown to the general public.

 

ADDED MAY 13, 2018:

 

ADDED MAY 15:

 

 

ANNUNAKI DON’T WATCH THIS:

 

 

ADDED JUNE 10, 2018:

 

This one is really crazy to think about but this presenter does present things that most people would never think about:

John Lett (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Digital Nomad Diversions in the Balkans

John Lett  (Sessions)

Croatia and Serbia are quite timeless locations that offer a lot of opportunities to keep overhead low while one does their remote work. The tax implications are vague and confusing but if you can navigate that, you have the opportunity to infuse some cash in a region in need of capital but also to enjoy some of the best architecture and landscapes on the planet. I would say that Croatia offers this really relaxed Mediterranean vibe (it is not like that for the population much of the time due to lack of employment opportunities and heavy taxation) and Serbia a really warm hospitality from the people that is hard to find elsewhere. At the moment I am in Belgrade waiting for a friend to arrive and catching up with friends that I met at random last year who have become such wonderful bedrocks. Consider this region to harken back to more artistic and dramatic times and have a feeling of restoration.

 

 

A few scenes around Rijeka but the castle ruins and church are from the historical town Kastav, Croatia. My friend was so generous to take me ’round to some places that were not easy to go via bus or on foot.

I have been to Belgrade before but this time I have noticed the beauty more than ever. It is really tastefully illuminated at night and its location somewhat on the hinterland of Europe from a northwestern Europe power base perspective ensures better prices and bargains.

There are some strange mystical forces to tap into here and I wish to delve into that more in the near future.

John Lett  (Sessions) (Booking Side Hustle Discount)

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My Mother Shipton Obsession

John Lett  (Sessions)

Long before the ardent belief in aliens but long after the ancients looked to the stars for meaning and for prognostication, there was Mother Shipton, the English Nostradamus. Was she a real person? Much an enigma like Jesus, though by any interpretation far less virtuous, she is said to have been born in a cave in Knaresborough, England, and from there to invoke the ire of totalitarian monarch Henry VIII. I first heard of her on a mysteries and legends program in the US (not the same one but a History Channel version here) and occasionally her name would resurface over the years until I finally went to the cave in 2017 – not knowing a friend’s daughter lives in the same town. Incidentally, I find this town to be one of the most beautiful towns, if not the most beautiful town I have visited, conveniently located by rail less than one hour from York.

 

Mother Shipton, or the the posthumous editor of her work, predicted things from smartphone communications to the transgender movement.

Knaresborough has the ruins of an old castle in the center, some beautiful cliffside paths and properties to view, the iconic railway bridge pictured in some of my images, and the site where Mother Shipton’s cave is has the oldest paid attraction in England, the petrifying well. The town handily wins being named my favorite town to visit, probably because I wasn’t expecting anything more than a cave.

I credit Mother Shipton, or the story about her, as part of what made me aware of some divination capacities I have and what led me to tarot nearly ten years ago.

John Lett  (Sessions)

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