The Russian AbroadHi, I’m Olga.

That’s what I usually say to people when I introduce myself.

So I thought, if you’ve somehow landed on my blog, and you’re probably wondering who I am, I should introduce myself to you too. So hi there — I’m Olga! I am 25 years old and I currently live in Berlin.

I was born in April 1991 — just few months after the collapse of the Soviet Union — in a city called Riga, in a country called Latvia. That’s where I spent the first 21 years of my life.

And as it often happens when you’re raised by two post-Soviet grandparents (which was my case), I was growing up with a mindset that the world was very big and I was very little. I wasn’t dreaming of travelling the world one day, let alone living in other countries. That seemed absolutely unreachable. Me? Oh, stop it, please! But somehow, the idea of spending my whole life in tiny Latvia was making me feel a bit sad. I’ve been having a huge FOMO for the things I haven’t seen, for the places I’ve never heard of, for the people I’ve never met.

My grandparents, however, tried to show me the world, as much as they could.

When I was 7, my grannie and I went to Crimea. That was my first ever trip abroad.

When I was 10, my dad took me to Turkey.

At the age of 12 and 13, I visited St. Petersburg — the only two times I’ve been to Russia.

When I turned 15, I visited UK for the first time. Later, I travelled there again at the age of 19.

Before I hit my 20s, I already knew that I wanted OUT.

my grannie and I in CrimeaBut HOW? I didn’t come from money, so I could forget about getting a degree abroad. At that time, my best shot was to get into a local university, work hard on my grades, obtain a scholarship and go for an exchange semester abroad, having all my expenses paid by the government and hoping that somehow, I’ll find my way to stay abroad.

Which is exactly what I did! I first came to Leipzig in September 2012 as an ERASMUS student. Meant to stay there for 4 months only, I managed to extend my scholarship and stay for another semester. After a full academic year abroad, coming back to Riga seemed ridiculous — so I just exmatriculated from University of Latvia (or got myself expelled… depends on how you see it) and transferred to University of Leipzig for a higher semester.

This, by the way, may or may not have involved a C1 German language certification that I had to obtain within two and a half months before applying.

So either I’m just very, very lucky, or very, very stubborn. You choose.

It’s when I moved to Germany when I really got the travel bug.

In 2014, I moved to Ecuador, following my first serious boyfriend across the Atlantic ocean. Oh, Ecuador.. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But it is then when I decided to start blogging and capture my expat life. That’s how The Russian Abroad was finally born.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Learn how to appreciate nature.

In six months, I moved back to Europe, spending two weeks in London before I came back home. In that short time frame, one of my posts got some serious fraction on Facebook. And then another one.. and another one. And then my blog crashed because it couldn’t deal with the amount of traffic it was getting. Crazy, right? When I first hit the publish button, I had no idea anybody would EVER read any of my articles, let alone share them on social media, leave comments, and even come back for more content. So I’m saying warm and huge THANK YOU to all my readers out there! You really have no idea how much help you’ve given me back in the day!

Right now, I live in Berlin, having a full-time content marketing job in one of Berlin’s SaaS start-ups. I still do heaps of travelling, discovering foreign countries and my own Self in the meantime. My goal is to show that you CAN build your own life the way you want, even if it seems that all the odds are against you. After all, I’ve learned that life never gives you lemons — it just depends on your lemonade-making skills.

With ♥

PS. If you want to work with me and make lemonade together, check out this page.
PPS. If you want to subscribe to my blog and share a cup of lemonade with the fellow travellers, check out this page.

Olga aka The Russian Abroad

  • Privet Olga very nice to “meet you” thru your nice travel blog. I wish you happy travels! Greetings from Ouarzazate!

  • It’s interesting to me that you’re Latvian (beautiful country) but call yourself Russian. I know other people from Eastern Europe/post USSR and also consider themselves Russian and speak Russian easier and maybe even better than their county’s language. Is it the same for you?

    • Yes, it is! I was born in Latvia, lived there my whole life, I have a Latvian passport, but I’m not a Latvian. My mother tongue is Russian, and even though I speak Latvian, I don’t even know the Latvian culture that well, to be honest. But I’m working on it :)

      It’s a good question that you asked, though – there’s A LOT of people like me, who were born in the post-Soviet countries and consider themselves Russians…. Even though Russia, as a country, doesn’t really care about us as people. But oh well!

  • Grant Dunlop

    Hi there, love your site it’s awesome your inspiring and amazing so thank you and all the best.

    Your fan in New Zealand

  • Looking forward to follow your adventures :)

  • Cristina

    Ok, I see you are now back in Europe. Thanks, I really enjoyed your blog. I would love to learn Russian, by the way. And since you are a Latvian, I can tell you that I was a bit of a fan of Prata vetra…

    • Finally!! So great meeting somebody who knows and loves Prata Vetra!!!
      Thanks for complimenting my blog, Cristina, I’m happy you’ve enjoyed reading it :)

  • Just found your site. I’m diggin the clean and classic design of your site. Keep it up

    • Olga Rabo

      Thank you Dan! I’m happy you like it!

  • Great blog, Olga! Happy travels!

    • Olga Rabo

      Thanks a lot and welcome to the blog! :)
      Happy travels to you too! Cheers from Berlin! xoxo

  • So glad to have come across your blog! I’m an American that was an expat in Germany for over 2 years. I have also lived in Croatia and Bulgaria, and love everything about Central/Eastern Europe. I’m now living in Scotland but hope to move back to Germany. So glad to have found you xo

    • Olga Rabo

      Wow, that’s an impressive expat list! Keep up with your travels, Jordan, and welcome to my blog :)

  • sanjeev kumar sanju

    pleasure to be in touch with you….very inspirational

  • Adi Moto Foto

    Nice blog. I have a similar story about life. Born in India, lived in Australia for 8 years, lived in London for 2 years and now married to a German living in West Germany. It’s a small world indeed!

  • Carlos

    I recognize that photo! it is in Schwerin! By the way I ready your introduction and you have an amazing story Olga. Best regards from a Spanish Guy