In 2013, I returned to live in Riga after six years of studying and working abroad. As well as lots of baggage – physical and emotional – I brought with me a partner. Together, we founded the blog as a platform for documenting our journey of settling into what was a new country for him and an underappreciated or neglected culture for me.
With time, not only did we get bored of writing about the practical stuff, but of each other too! So, since 2016, I’ve been running the blog alone and writing less from an expat’s point of view and more through the eyes of a curious local, exploring not just Riga as a physical place, but also the “Latvian identity”.
This has proven to be very therapeutic for me, strengthening my own sense of belonging to Latvia, which has, historically, been a bit shaky – I grew up in a Latvian family and diaspora in Australia, moved here with my family in the mid-90s and gradually developed a serious travelling habit, feeling more connected to international environments and communities. Questions of identity and belonging have always been there.
Now, however, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that there’s nowhere I’d rather be than where I am right now. Physically, that’s mostly Riga with weekends in Madona region with my husband’s family and Cēsis where my dad lives and the rest of us hang out a lot.
I’m also sure that Life in Riga has existed for so long because it means a lot to me. The 10 year anniversary got me thinking about where to take it from here and whether maybe, finally, I should “take it to another level” – whatever that means. Until now, I’ve been adamant to call it a hobby and passion project, always prioritising my other commitments. Today, however, I’m back to full-on freelancing again after trying and not lasting long before, so I can’t use the excuse of “no time”.
This reflecting has resulted in a few ideas that I’ll be exploring in the near future:
Meetups to share our experiences of living in Riga
Informal gatherings for people seeking community in Riga and space to share our experiences of living here. Follow Life in Riga on Instagram and Facebook for news of these! Sorry, I don’t have the mental bandwidth for TikTok, Telegram etc. just yet.
Accompanied expeditions in Riga
I don’t want to use the term “guided tours” because I envisage more interactivity and more focus on getting to know the place with the intention of living here, not just visiting. But, in any case, I plan to take a course in tour guiding next year. This is still very much at the ideation stage right now, but would combine so many of my interests, life and work experience until now, drawing from my years of working for the national tourist board, being a “buddy” for international students and people on probation, and facilitating groups a long, long time ago as a member of the European Youth Parliament – all things that I’ve really loved.
I’m currently part of the latest cohort of MicroTAIGA programme participants, learning together with inspiring cultural practitioners from around Europe, with the idea of nurturing these and other ideas.
Your thoughts and feedback are always very welcome but particularly so at this stage of my journey with Life in Riga. Are these ideas relevant to you? What type of content do you enjoy and benefit from the most? Is there anything you feel is missing on the blog? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, via social media or email at hello(at)lifeinriga.com.
Thank you very much for reading and following!