Traveling to Latvia: The Essentials

What’s up guys, Seznam here with another post. It’s been a while since my last post – it’s hard to believe time flies so fast – and while I was packing for my annual summer trip to Latvia, I thought I would make a checklist for first time travelers. While I was fortunate enough to have family in Latvia tell me what to pack and to expect when I first traveled there (and subsequently, as the landscape changed), I understand that backpackers and first time travelers may not have the same luxury.

I’m by no means an expert, but I hope from one traveler to another, this is helpful advice for those who are exploring Latvia for the first time.

My essentials packing list:

  • Solid luggage: After having tried countless luggages, from Away to Tulo I genuinely think that CHESTER is the best carry on luggage. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to want access to your items, and bringing around a bulky luggage around is going to cause unnecessary strain. Also, the CHESTER has compartments with easy access to your items, and is not much heavier than a typical backpack.
  • Comfortable shoes: Latvia is a beautiful country with a lot to see, and if you plan on visiting any of the landmarks, comfortable shoes are a must. Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’ll visit many more places than you imagined, and derail into the beautiful markets, villages, and all of the other beauty that Latvia has to offer. I personally think that Allbirds are the most comfy shoes, as they’re made of premium wool, but I also recommend Timberland Boots as it does get rainy, and wool doesn’t do so well when there’s moisture around.
  • Outfit options: Latvia isn’t too hot or cold, at least not enough to be on the extreme end of either, but it’s worth noting one thing: rain, and lots of it. Subsequently, because of the almost constant rain, there happens to be a lot of humidity. Be diverse in your packing, ensuring that you pack sunglasses, both short and long sleeves, and shorts and long, thicker pants as well. You never know what to expect in Latvia.

I hope this was a helpful guide for travelers to be, and if you have any questions or aren’t sure if what you’re bringing is allowed or socially acceptable in Latvia, just drop a comment. Until next time.

We’re Back! (& the Story Behind the Downtime)

The Chas Daily is finally back after a long period of domain problems. In this post, as the founder and president of Chas Daily News, I hope to give our readers an understanding of the situation before we get back to our regular schedule of publishing news. It’s not something I have to do, but to our loyal readers, I’d rather give a reasoning for the gap in publishing because at the end of the day, if you can’t trust your news network, who can you really trust?

The Chas Daily was a childhood dream of mine. I was publishing newspapers and printing them in high school, selling them to friends and family, who would only buy them out of pity and to support my dreams. Being honest here, they weren’t great, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

This progressed from an ambition to a career, and before I knew it, I launched The Chas Daily. I ran it successfully for more than a decade and it became one of the largest publications providing Latvian news to an English audience. Then, all of a sudden, I was faced with the loss of a family member and the medical bills went through the roof. Before I knew it, my credit score was ruined and I was more than $250,000 in debt. I can write another post on the current state of the American medical system and name 20 suggestions that can be implemented today to make the system more geared towards the people (sound familiar?), but I will save that for another day. I’m currently writing for Montem as a freelance writer for hiking guides and allocating some capital from my pay to my debt. When in Sweden, they helped me repay my låna pengar (basically a Swedish loan) before I came back to Latvia. I couldn’t travel back without having paid back my debt, so I really appreciate their support.

Anyway, now, back to the story again..

Then I received a call from my bank that my credit card was canceled. No reason was given, but I don’t think that it was a coincidence that the medical bills that I was unable to pay on time and had to restructure happened right before I got the call. That call was the one that opened the floodgates. The following three days, I received calls from the other banks and corporations that I had cards open with, and like clockwork, they all told me the same thing. I was now left at a low point in my life, and the Chas-Daily.com domain that was being paid for by my credit card automatically suddenly expired because the card expired. I was forced to fight for it at a domain auction and after paying more than $500 more than the annual renewal for the domain, I was able to get it back. I learned, shortly after these events unfolded, that ChexSystems was the culprit behind the wave of card cancellations. They are a firm that we end users of the cards don’t interact with, but most every bank uses them to get information on the cardholders that they are dealing with to ensure that they are able to pay their debts on time and can remain solvent for their own good. I looked for non ChexSystems banks and was able to find a few resources online, the best one being the one I just linked to, but at the end of the day, there aren’t many banks that don’t participate in the ChexSystems ring. It reminds me of casinos and how they use cameras to gain biometric data to identify everything about anybody who enters their establishment, and this data is shared between casinos to identify fraudsters, card counters, and the like. Although not the best analogy, you can see where I am coming from.

I am glad to say that I am back from this difficult period in my life and have had the domain in my hands for a while, but have not had the chance to post any news yet. Expect some new posts soon on both the online and paper versions of The Chas Daily.

Thanks for all of your love and support messages, they are appreciated.

Until next time!

Chas: Daily Latvian News, in English

Latvia is one of the least covered countries in terms of news production by the major companies. To be fair, we cannot blame them. The Latvian news market is dominated by large corporations, but rather than providing the news in a modern way and distributing it through the internet, these companies use the old fashioned way of printing out the press on the daily, and for good reason: most of Latvia does not have access to high speed internet, and it is in many ways a developing country in terms of the culture and rules adhered to in day to day life.

Chas is a daily newspaper published in Latvia by Petits. Our goal is to make the news available on the daily accessible to those both inside and outside of Latvia. We understand that countries that use the internet as a medium for delivery of information often times do not have an up to date grasp on global news in third world and developing countries, and part of the reason for this is due to the medium of delivery of the news in those countries. There is a gap that needs to be filled: publishing news that occurs in one country through a medium so that it becomes more than just local or national, but rather multi-national news.

Our editor in chief, Pavel Kirillov, has been in the newspaper industry for more than 18 years and is currently a tech entrepreneur, working at the social media startup Buzzoid, starting his career at the young age of 17 working for the New York Times, covering breaking news in developing countries. After realizing that the lack of coverage for smaller countries was a large problem, he went out to found Chas in 1997, originally publishing in Russian, but quickly moving to English to reach a wider audience.