The curiosity of the world and the things that surround us is the reason for which we develop not only as the society, but also as well-informed individuals, who have a tremendous influence on the reality which we live our everyday lives in. If not that inner drive, we wouldn’t have had a chance to reach all these amazing things, the ones which make our everyday lives so much easier. However, despite the fact that we create so many useful inventions, it’s good to stop for a moment to rethink our actions and their possible outcomes in the future. They may have a negative influence on the surrounding us nature, but also the mankind, which is a substantial part of it. A human being is an individual, who has undoubtedly been granted a significant privilege to decide about the future of our planet. However, are you sure that the things which seem to be good for us today, will be the same favorable tomorrow?
Luckily, more and more people are trying to take care of the impact we have not only on our closest surroundings, but also on the whole planet earth in a more global way. Small steps that we take can in turn innitiate the snowball effect and it depends only on us whether our actions will occur to be for our well-understood benefit, or not. Nowadays, we are less likely to be afraid of voicing our thoughts in public, and today these are our voices which can shape our future tomorrow. That’s why, I’m truly pleased to introduce you to Pyotr Kurzin – a traveller, dealing with international affairs professionally, an advocate of leading an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. He will tell a little about the reasons why he has partially become a nomad, about the things which absorb him at the moment, as well as about his plans for the future.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Pyotr: Ah these questions are so challenging to answer.
I’m someone who cares about a lot of things; l have always been a very passionate, inquisitive individual, particularly with the natural world and our relationship to it. I have always just been very appreciative of the fact we are here, and lucky to be able to experience such a unique place, but crucially that we take care of it too.
This has motivated me to work in an international field, particularly environments like the UN or World Bank where l can feel l am supporting in making a difference. So, for now that’s me, someone with lots of ideas, but still figuring how to execute them…
Passion Piece: You’re British-Russian who travels the world. What unusual circumstances made your parents be together?
Pyotr: Oh well this is a tremendously long story; parents considering writing a book on it. Essentially, my mother was in Moscow for a 3-day trip in 1982 from Kraków. She and her friend spoke no Russian, stuck out like sore thumbs and were taken pity on by an older woman who introduced them to a young man: my dad. He spoke reasonable English and they explored Moscow together. On the last day, my father came to train station and presented a single red rose to my mum through the carriage window.
Then for 9 years they stayed in secretive contact via 4 embassies, based on some special connections each had. But life carried on, with my mum having my sister and my dad getting married. Then when the big event came in 1989, my father took the opportunity to visit my mum for a week.
He never went back. And 3.5 years later came their greatest challenge: me.
Passion Piece: I’m Polish and I can truly relate to these historical events. They have influenced people all around the globe. What impact did they have on you? Have they shaped you the person you are today?
Pyotr: Indeed they have. Significantly. Had they not happened l wouldn’t be here – so l quickly became fascinated by international affairs, diplomacy and history.
I was fortunate in that my parents wanted to take me places so l could explore and understand the world. Over time this made me want to pursue a career and work in fields related to it, specifically international relations and policy. I didn’t just want to be a politician, but someone who could contribute to improving country’s situations and reducing poverty. It made me very eager to meet people from various backgrounds and experiences, since you do only live once and there is no point in not meeting or learning from as many different people as possible!
Passion Piece: You decided to set up your own blog. Is it possible to link your website to just one niche?
Pyotr: So, related to my previous point somewhat, overtime l decided that l have some interesting but more crucially potentially useful experiences l could share with people. So l wanted to start writing on topics, but in a way it could relate to what l do professionally, as well as personally.
No, l don’t think it is. While l don’t think you should have a blog about any-and-everything, I think having a blog about topics which interconnect makes for a strong blog. So l think my niche of blogging about living and travelling sustainably could be useful, while being an expat just adds another dimension. The case of, if l can do it being partially nomadic, so can others.
Passion Piece: What can your readers find on your site? How can ‘My Global Muse’ change their lives?
Pyotr: Heh, decent question.
Considering my site is only 2 months old, not as much as l would like obviously. That said, l intend for my blog to be a useful resource for making simple changes to your lifestyle without them being major disruptive.
For example, l plan to eventually go vegetarian, but am not ready to yet. I am phasing elements out and so am a flexitarian – l am writing a post on it right now, so want to share my experiences to appeal to more people to try adjusting their diets. Not necessary reverting to veganism immediately, as impressive as those who do it are.
Equally, l want to provide useful information on travelling – it is a travel blog in ways, but to emphasise how you can do it more eco-friendly. Say when you fly, do you consider looking at offsetting your carbon costs? Sounds complex but it really isn’t. So posts and details on places l have been, but also how to ensure your visits leave only positive impacts.
Lastly, l love diving. So a place to share these experiences and increase appreciation for these diverse, vibrant oceans we are lucky to have. It’s not a place to condescend, but to inform, informally.
Passion Piece: You are a keen traveler, who has already visited more than 80 countries located on different continents. What was your favorite place to visit? How do you choose your destinations?
Pyotr: Indeed, l have been fortunate, part of this from my parents, but most recently me when l visited everywhere in Europe alone and solidified my love for solo travel. l don’t have one sole favourite place but in different categories:
Italy – my favourite to return and stay long in;
Maurituis – fav tropical place;
South Africa – fav place for natural scenery / wildlife;
Australia – fav for easy, touristy life.
I choose my destinations by trying to time them with where l am in the world at the moment. But also just by pointing at a map. Never just gone to the airport and gone somewhere without knowing? Try it!
Passion Piece: While being on the way, one cannot predict everything. Have you ever experienced anything unusual while visiting a new place?
Pyotr: Interesting question.
One example was when l came back from Cuba in 2019 to Washington DC. I am half Russian, coming from Cuba to the US capital and l study International Security. Essentially, l was held at customs and ‘questioned’ because they were concerned l was security risk or trying to share secrets to Russia…
Alternatively, l was on the Bosnian-Serbian border in 2016. Due to the Yugoslav Wars, where tens of thousands of Bosnians were killed by hardline Serbian forces, the border remains very tense at times. Serbia is also aligned with Russia, while Bosnia aligns to the EU making things tense when crossing. I was on a coach of travellers and we had to give our passports to be collectively assessed. Essentially, they came back and took me off the coach to ‘question’ me. Basically, it turned out the head immigration officer had served in the Wars and wanted to know how someone with a British passport had a Russian name… so l told them story l mentioned above.
Both times l was fine, but it was some weird stuff.
Passion Piece: What should one remember to do before setting off to the place one doesn’t know much about? What rules do you usually follow?
Pyotr: Weirdly l wrote a piece on this last week – be sure to check it out!
But l would summarise this in one way – do your research. Do you really want to go to a location without knowing anything about it? Sure, don’t do so much research you might as well not visit it because you have taken away all the surprises away. But enough you know how things like the transport, the ease of getting money, cultural norms and so on work.
So when l went to Puerto Rico – which l also recommend you read on my blog – l did research on the best place to stay as there were loads and glad l did as l got a stellar Airbnb flat for the same price as friends who l made out there were paying for group dorm rooms.
It pays to plan.
Passion Piece: You love diving and the marine life. How did your adventure with this kind of activity start?
Pyotr: l do, a tonne. It started because l am naturally aquatic. By this l mean l love the water – l was a competitive swimmer and doing adventurous things. I started it in 2003, before than taking my qualifications and becoming semi-professional in 2012. Now l do it whenever l can and in as many places as possible.
Passion Piece: Being eco-friendly and promoting sustainability is quite important to you. What tips would you give to my readers to change their actions and help the planet?
Pyotr: Well read and sub to my blog for start. That’s where l shall be sharing my insights and experiences.
Otherwise, it comes down to being more conscious – you have to question what you are doing or consuming and considering what is it doing beyond to benefit you. This isn’t something particularly difficult to do, just means being a bit more thoughtful. You don’t have to become a treehugger – though it’s actually quite therapeutic – just simple easy choices make a difference. Finally, support initiatives or groups that look to reduce waste, environmental damage or nature conservation – like the WWF, 4Ocean or Rainforest Alliance.
That’s what l am to provide with my blog.
Passion Piece: What are you passionate about? What do you love doing in your free time?
Pyotr: Well this is similar to what l have mentioned before. That we care for the planet we are lucky to inhabit – so blogging is genuinely a passion beyond a cool way to make additional money. But l also enjoy exercise and yoga, doing mental exercises and learning
Can never stop learning – so l try to learn a bit about lots of topics so l can engage with people on stuff at least a little. I also like gaming, so may take a day out to just shoot stupid stuff on the television – guilty pleasure l guess. Socialising and a decent glass of wine for sure – disagree not drinking somehow means you are exempt from experiencing difficulties.
I also love singing, acting and being a performer – was my childhood pleasure as l was choirboy, but the chance of ever making a livelihood pushed towards more policy-related areas.
Check out my Insta if you want to get more of a taste.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? What projects are you currently working on?
Pyotr: 10 years? I struggle with 10 mins sometimes.
Jokes aside, working in international affairs properly, while having a cool blog or space to share my experiences. Potentially living in Australia long-term, but depends how my careers prospects turn out.
Project-wise, l wish to learn Italian conversationally by end of 2020 and advance my Spanish to be fully proficient too. And the other main project is this website – l have big ideas for it and want to make it succeed for myself.
Join me on the journey.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
There are several l find pertinent but: You are the choices you make.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope that when we meet in 10 years’ time, we will be able to celebrate your successes, as well as to hear about your new plans for the future.
It doesn’t matter which place on the earth you live in, you can still have an enormous influence on it, even if you are not really aware of this fact. Travelling can not only broaden your mind, but it also allows you to gain some practical knowledge and skills which you can introduce in your neighbourhood, in a way to make a difference. And you? Do you take care of our common home, which we are lucky to live in?
See you around!
Photos by: Pyotr Kurzin