About

I find it often rather difficult to answer “Who am I” (any of you ever feel the same?).

Certainly there are some facts that I can freely share with you: I was born in Finland, started my university studies in Helsinki, spent some time learning Russian and drinking vodka on the roofs of Saint Petersburg and finished my studies in London.

I moved to Paris and very soon after, by a coincidence, I found a job that took me literally and geographically around the world during many, many years. In the companies I worked for, I was known as The Person Who Goes Where No One Else Does.

Explore pyramids in Sudan, be harassed by the secret police in a Sharia country, drink camel milk in Kyrgyzstan, eat cow brain in Uzbekistan, fly from Tanzania to Bujumbura while technically all commercial flights were supposed to be banned, swim with a 12-meter whale shark in the Mafia Island, refuse to accept 100 camels as a dowry and marry a nomad living in Kyzyl Kum, eat black caviar with the biggest Ukrainian oligarch, lend my car in a remote corner of Zanzibar for a young boy to be buried, visit the African cradle of civilization where we all come from, get lost in the Algerian Sahara, experience Haitian voodoo, fall in love with Hinduism, etc. I did all this and much more.

Today, I am based in Paris and travel differently. You will read about my daily life in Paris, but also about my past and current travels. Am I a citizen of the world, a globetrotter or a 20th-century product of globalization, I don’t know, but I have amazing experiences in so many corners of the world and I believe they should be shared. These experiences are pearls and this is why the name pearlspotting.

90 thoughts on “About

  1. Married in Marrickville

    Miia, your blog is fantastic and inspirational. I love your stories and pictures. Keep it up.

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      1. Miia Post author

        Thanks, that’s very kind of you!

        Indeed, I would travel 365 days per year if I could πŸ™‚ It is the best school one can have.

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  2. westiedad

    Fantastic photos from the museum in Heraklion! Another place on my list…Sounds like you have loads of great stories to share. Look forward to hearing them!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Mo! Thanks for following my blog. I just checked your blog (very interesting stories, will need to spend more time reading them!) and I see you live in Auckland. I lived in Takapuna for one year πŸ™‚ !! Amazing memories. Beautiful country.

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      1. westiedad

        Hi Miia – I’m glad you enjoyed your time here. I have to admit, I’m a proud kiwi. I love it here. Takapuna’s a nice spot. I get over there quite often. Hopefully you saw a fair bit of the country. Maybe you’ll be sharing some stories from down under? Small world! (with long flights!) Cheers, Mo

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      2. Miia Post author

        Yes I traveled a lot: I went skiing many times, visited South Island twice, spent two weeks sailing during the Christmas time etc.It was my first real contact with the sea and I loved it (I didn’t grow up by the sea in Finland). I discovered Mexican and Chinese food in Auckland πŸ™‚ The print photos are stored at my parents’ place….

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  3. Mari

    Hi Miia! I just discovered your blog and to be honest, your lovely pics made me feel so so homesick, and a bit hungry πŸ™‚ I’m also wondering if should comment in Finnish or English, but let’s go with English β€” it’s nice to find other globetrotting Finns writing in English in the wonderful world of the interwebs.
    Regards from Toronto,
    Mari

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Mari! Thanks for following my blog –I will do the same with yours. I think it is a good idea to write in English. This way other people have more chance of participating in our discussion πŸ˜‰ Take care and hope you have a lovely summer. Best, Miia

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      1. Delish World

        Not so often indeed! πŸ˜‰
        I am going next week to Brasil and next month to Vietnam and maybe Laos and Cambodia.
        I have seen that you have travel a lot around there . Any advice on what to do for two weekends in North Vietnam and plus 10 days of holidays?

        Thank you =)

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  4. Miia Post author

    Hello πŸ™‚ I have never been to Vietnam so cannot comment on that. However, if you are looking for a nice relaxed destination in the region then maybe Luang Prabang? Ten days may be long there, but depends what you are searching for!
    Otherwise Malaysia? Easy and cheap Air Asia connections!

    If you are looking for a place outside the region, then let me know! I love Zanzibar.

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    1. Miia Post author

      Consulting, economic & political research,investment advisory, writing. Focus on emerging markets and economic development πŸ™‚
      Yes, interesting!
      And you?

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      1. Teresa La Maltesa

        I studied law and worked in a law firm for some time, i am now pursuing a career in international relations :D. And I try and spend as much time traveling as I can. lovely meeting you and will follow ure blog πŸ˜€

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      2. Miia Post author

        Thanks, likewise!!

        If you have the desire, find your ways and make it happen. There is no better way to learn than traveling. You learn about yourself, life, values, other ppl, food, history, EVERYTHING. Things you don’t learn otherwise.

        It is the best thing that has happened to me (in addition to being married of course πŸ™‚ ).

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      3. Teresa La Maltesa

        I could not agree more. I also spent time living abroad when I was growing up, some rather unusual places. Ever since I am always moving around. I just find life so much more exciting when I travel/living abroad, and yes I agree with you settling is a terrible word (forget I said it πŸ˜‰ ). By the way I love Paris I lived there for a year some time ago, i remember I loved a place called Chez Gladine, not sure if u knw it bt I remember it as one of the best dinner I had. πŸ˜€

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  5. ShethP

    Travelling is truly a joy… I admire your way of life and I look forward to reading more of your posts!! Thanks for sharing your ‘pearls’ with us… πŸ™‚

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    1. Miia Post author

      You just added stress to my quiet Sunday night that I planned to spend with a glass or two of Corsican rose wine πŸ˜‰ (kidding!)

      Thanks a lot, appreciated. Will read the instructions tomorrow. Have a great evening/a good new week.

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      1. SalvaVenia

        Ouch! Didn’t want to intrude. πŸ™‚ Anyway, very happy you take it positively.

        Wishing a happy and successful Sunday evening, nevertheless.
        Salva

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      2. Miia Post author

        Just kidding! Honestly, thanks, that’s nice of you.
        I didn’t yet read all of the instructions but hoping it does not require great technical skills (unfortunately not my strong point) πŸ™‚
        Will respond/participate this week for sure!

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  6. Pingback: A Virtual Blog Tour | Traveller's Tree

    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks a lot for your kind words!!

      Yeah many stories. Crazy, fun, sad, happy, amazing, disturbing, etc. Everything….

      Where is your suitcase travelling next?

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      1. Packing my Suitcase

        Ohh no… I lived in Paris before, for 3 months only and bee there a few times, its an amazing city for tourists but to live I found it a little complicated. In Turkey Im going to Istanbum and Kas (for diving) and in Italy to Milan/Monza for the Formula q Grand Prix πŸ™‚ how about you, where is your next stop?

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      2. Miia Post author

        I like Paris but I only returned on Sat night from holidays so It is too soon… Returns are always dificult!!

        istanbul Is one of my favorite cities in the world. Absolutely fascinating, lovely. I have not returned to Turkey for some time now, but maybe a combination of Greek islands and Turkey in Sep… Let’s see.

        Where did You live in Paris?

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      3. Packing my Suitcase

        hahaha I understand! I also love Munich, but returning from holidays is always hard…then its all right again!

        Im really looking forward to my trip to Turkey, cant wait!!

        When I lived in Paris I was only a poor student so I lived in Aubervilliers, not the best neighborhood 😦 I was working at the Brioche DorΓ©e, the one close to the Gare Saint Lazard πŸ™‚

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      4. Miia Post author

        Having money helps to like places πŸ˜‰

        Kidding. I know what you mean. Being a tourist and actually living somewhere are completely different matters.

        Have you been in Munich for a long time now?

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      5. Miia Post author

        I came here in -99 but very soon after I round a job That took me abroad during almost 10yrs. During this period Paris was Just a base where I returned rarely. But since few years I am back here permanently!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Haha! I have actually spent so many years in former Soviet states that I cannot take a drop of vodka any more! Just wine and champagne for now πŸ™‚

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    1. Miia Post author

      Oh thank you so much, that is so kind of you!!!!!!!

      I am off to the market and meet some ppl, but will look at it tonight.

      Have a great Sunday πŸ™‚

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      1. Miia Post author

        πŸ™‚

        As I did two awards rather recently, I may not do this immediately (unless I have to?), but will definitely do it!!! Appreciated!! Maybe in 2 weeks’ time.

        Have a great week too!!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Oh, thank you for taking time to comment and for your nice words! Well, these days I travel less than I used to. Nowadays I am just stuck in Paris πŸ˜‰ I miss adventures! And I always met very interesting ppl abroad…. it was an other life.

      What about you, where do you live and what do you do? I was looking for your “about” page but didn’t see one (hint) πŸ™‚

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      1. matheusyuhlung

        I live in New Delhi, India. But ethnically I belong to a tribal community that lives in the hilly northeastern part of my country (Hence, I look more Asian than an Indian. haha). And about what I do – I’m a political science graduate trying to earn an MA in philosophy.

        BTW: being stuck in Paris itself might have be an awesome feel. haha! Thats one place I’d really like to visit someday πŸ™‚

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      2. Miia Post author

        Shillong and that area? What is the name of the tribe?

        Maybe we should swap places: I can come and live in Delhi and you in Paris πŸ˜‰ !!

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      3. matheusyuhlung

        A little further Shillong. And wow! I’m amazed! You seem to know a lot. haha! BTW you’ve been there (Shillong)?

        Also, swapping places would be a great idea πŸ˜›

        PS: If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of a job did you actually had/have ? I’m curious. lol

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      4. Miia Post author

        I like geography and I’ve been around πŸ˜‰
        But no, I don’t know your region. Maybe one day!

        I am specialized in emerging markets and spent almost ten years analyzing economies and investment opportunities. These days I am based in Paris and travel much less professionally, but I write about economic development. My two last projects before returning to Paris were managing consultancy projects in Ukraine and Algeria.

        And you, what is your dream job πŸ™‚ ?

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      5. matheusyuhlung

        Economics – oh! thats a tough job. I studied commerce for two years in my high school years and I struggled a lot. Twas a nightmare πŸ˜›

        And dream job? My dream job would be not to have a job at all – haha! I’d like to earn my living through writing books and occasionally teach maybe.

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      6. Miia Post author

        I do more political economy so I am definitely not a hard core economics person!! In addition, I studied Russian and Eastern European Studies, political history and sociology in my under graduate,

        If you want to write books or teach –those are real jobs too πŸ˜‰ And you have to learn the stuff you are teaching or writing about πŸ™‚ So you are studying now –where are you with it?

        Have a great WE!

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      7. matheusyuhlung

        Yea yea it is it is… But considering the field of subject (philosophy) that I’m in – the prospects of landing a job such as that is really hard in India (I don’t know how is the situation there).

        And as far as my studies go (I’ve finished my graduation) – hopefully I’ll be completing my masters next year. After which I’ll be writing a test that would make me eligible to take up a job in a university but then again as I’ve said before the prospects are really low here. haha! so lets see.

        PS: You too! Have a great WE! πŸ™‚

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      8. Miia Post author

        Yeah philosophy rarely pays off…. it is tough everywhere. Will you major in philosophy? If you aim at the academic milieu, then go for it, but if you have hesitations, combine it with something more down to earth I would say….But you know, so much these days depend on the luck, being at the right place at the right time, and unfortunately on the connections… Good luck!!

        Have a nice week πŸ™‚

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  7. Indah Susanti

    Hahaha..what a great introduction! The dowry of 100 camels stucks in my head now..I think I will remember you as the blogger who get offer of 100 camels πŸ˜‰ Nice to find your blog. I am sure I will enjoy reading more of your post on Paris and travels!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Haha. I should rework on the ABOUT and add some photos. I don’t remember if I explained this, but I jokingly asked my father and at first he said “well, let me start emptying the garage” but then he changed his mind and continued “actually the garage is not big enough so say no” πŸ˜‰

      Are there dowries in your culture?

      I am also aware that I should write more about Paris but (shame on me) I am so “oh this same old Paris” πŸ˜‰ I have lived in such interesting locations that I just find life in Paris a bit –well, predictable! SORRY! Of course there are things happening and my life is here now, but one cannot compare memories from Uzbekistan and Sudan to Paris πŸ˜‰ Maybe only ppl who have traveled very extensively get this?

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Indah Susanti

        πŸ˜€ I was grown up in multi-ethnic family and we lived in big city – Jakarta, so my parents did not care much about such thing. But in general, in Indonesian Islamic weddings in Indonesia, they have dowries system – more on money (usually the amount is a symbol of the wedding date or the first date they met/dating) or simply a praying set…and certainly no animals involved πŸ˜€

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      2. Miia Post author

        Much more simple with money than animals πŸ˜‰

        Is it very expensive to get married in Indonesia? I know a little bit about Indian weddings and they seem sooooooooo costly.

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  8. Jane

    Hi, there!

    I’m Jane and am an avid reader and blogger, a passion which I think we share. I’ve been writing contents on the web professionally since 2010. I share my experience through articles on Travel, Culture, History, Lifestyle and many more.

    Your blog β€œpearlspotting.com” is probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen recently and with due reason. I was wondering if I could do a guest post for your blog.

    I would like to write on β€œAustralia A Dream Land for Tourists” or any other suggested topic for your blog.

    It would be an honor to see my article published on your site.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,
    Jane Roberts.

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Jane, thank you for your kind request but my blog really is a recollection of personal stories and I don’t really see where guest writers fit in…. What is you blog so that I can have a look?

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  9. Pingback: Monochrome Monday: Muay Thai | indahs: travel story & photography

  10. Joyce

    Dear Miia,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Paris, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Joyce, thank you for your msg and sorry for the belated response but I have been traveling.

      Could you please send me the questions to my email miia_niskanen at hotmail.com (I don’t see them enclosed)? Do you have a DL for this?

      Thank you and have a great week!

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  11. Pingback: The Whale Sharks and Oslob’s Controversy | indahs: travel story & photography

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