Mārtiņš Sils – a Latvian entrepreneur, traveller, adventurer and freelance educator. At the moment he divides his time between Latvia and Australia, though not for the usual work or family reasons. Mārtiņš has decided to travel by motorbike from Australia to Latvia. How does he balance his life’s passion with success in business? His recipe – hard work and having a team he can trust.
Wild trips, the freelance educator movement and a successful IT business
Mārtiņš Sils has two passions, which he has successfully combined – his IT solution company and travel. He got the travel bug at an early age, making train journeys far and wide with his mother and now he goes on motorcycle adventures, discovering the world and educating young people. Together with friends, Mārtiņš is nurturing the freelance educator movement in Latvia, helping students to gain a broader perspective on their school subjects and how to apply that knowledge to everyday life. More than 20 Latvian schools participate remotely in Mārtiņš’ expeditions –children set challenges for the travellers, which the latter carry out and then report virtually from the location. Face-to-face meetings with children are particularly rewarding, with the freelance educator rocking up to meet the pupils on their bikes. The kids have a chance to meet the adventurers in person and get a “unique” geography lesson.
Mārtiņš’ company Meditec is Latvia’s leading developer of healthcare IT and has been working successfully for 20 years. How does he do it all? By having a relaxed attitude, trusting his colleagues and building a strong team. He says that travelling nurtures skills which later come in handy in his IT business, by challenging himself, getting out of his comfort zone, completing challenges and meeting new people. Mārtiņš believes that his adventurous side complements his business personality by developing leadership skills, creativity and focus. When you are far away, you can look at business problems from a different perspective, realising what is important and finding solutions.
Expeditions around the world
Expeditions – this is the best word to describe the travels Mārtiņš undertakes, journeying over vast distances on his motorbike and visiting amazing places around the world. Together with friends from the motorcycle club “apPasaule” (Around the World), Mārtiņš has already circumnavigated the globe twice, as well as organising other large-scale biking trips and conquering mountain summits up to 6300m. He has also made films, held photo exhibitions and written a book about his adventures. Currently Mārtiņš is doing an expedition called "2 Wheels 2 Continents", which runs from Melbourne, Australia, back to Riga.
”I love to travel, to learn and to understand. Yes, you can see it all on your TV, but you’ll never enjoy that 7D feeling. My kids call me explorer-dad, as my youngest daughter is proud that her daddy is exploring the world”. Mārtiņš has already been to 110 countries on every continent except Antarctica – the destination of his next expedition.
Breaking stereotypes and Latvia’s image in the world
By taking a step back, you can get a better perspective what is going on in Latvia. Mārtiņš is proud that we too have successes we can tell the world about - Skype in Estonia, Tilde* in Latvia.
Mārtiņš describes his fellow Latvians as follows: “We are hardworking, responsible, creative and innovative. Other economies have more money to make ideas come to life, so it’s hard to compete with countries like USA or Australia, but we strive, and we fight, despite our small size.”
In this period of breath-taking change, Mārtiņš believes we need to forget our stereotypes about countries and their levels of development. He shares his own experience: ”Africa is very diverse – you go to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, and it’s a huge, modern city, but just a few miles away there are Masai with spears running around. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a newer smartphone than mine. I’ve seen so many surprising things when it comes to how available technology is around the world.”
The secret of success – believe in yourself!
Mārtiņš believes the secret of success is combining your passions while staying balanced. ”Don’t smother the drive within you – it’s the key to getting bigger and better!”
* Read more about Tilde in our next newsletter.