How a month in Vienna changed the way I think about life?

Juho Vepsäläinen
5 min readAug 20, 2017


My first touch with Vienna was in April during my first tour of Europe. The idea was to support the launch of my book about webpack and see some new places. I never intended the trip to lead to a cascade that would change my life, but that’s what ended up happening.

Perhaps the biggest reason for that was the fact that I made new friends and began to see myself in a different light. I have an introverted past, and I fit the stereotype of a nerd well. The first trip began a still ongoing change that’s rewriting me as a person.

Me and Vienna

One of those Vienna fountains

I encountered Vienna by chance. I was given an option to give a presentation at React Vienna to conclude the tour. As a curious person, I decided to take the chance. I felt welcomed by the community instantly, and I felt comfortable during the two-hour session.

As I happened to have some free time in Vienna, I explored the city. I’ve learned that one way to get to know the local people is to go to meetups. Even though I am/was an introvert, my curious side tends to win over my natural shyness.

It’s in one of these meetups where I met someone who I consider a true friend now. We connected on an intellectual level and this grew into a deep, personal friendship. The fact that we met is mostly due to chance, but sometimes you have to get lucky to change the direction of your life.

It’s this relationship and the local community that has dragged me to Vienna over and over again. It’s a gift that keeps giving. I keep refining myself and the way I think through the constant interactions I have with the city and its residents.

I believe to get to know a city, you have to spend a long time in it. I decided to try with Vienna as I wanted to see if it’s as good city for me as it felt like the first times I saw it.

A Month in Vienna

Enjoying Danube

You can see that Vienna was a capital of an empire once. It combines high culture with a high-quality of living. It’s a city where you never get bored as there’s always something to do. Most importantly, nature is near.

Not everything is perfect, but it feels like an excellent compromise for me as I could have a lifestyle fitting me here while maintaining valuable personal connections.

The idea behind spending a Summer month in Vienna was simple: recharge batteries, build contacts, develop business, prepare for September presentations at ReactNext and WebExpo. I didn’t intend to change as a person much, but that happened more as a side effect.

Emotional Awakening

Aqueduct in Baden bei Wien

This year has made me realize that I have lived a sheltered albeit safe life. But is that a good way to live? I’m in the best condition of my life in many ways. Excellent health and certain skills allowed me to grow myself a decent business and generate a lot of opportunities, but I always felt perhaps something is missing.

It’s easy to live your life in a bubble as you follow a certain routine without questioning. Technically that works, and it worked for me, but what if there is more to life than that? This is the question I began to ask myself more and more, and it feels like Vienna allowed me to find some answers while giving new questions.

You could say I haven’t felt much since the primary school. You shed your last pieces of emotion while you go through the army indoctrination mandatory to Finnish men. The stereotype of a man is not to show emotion in public unless it’s related to sports. Perhaps it’s not so good stereotype after all.

Strangely enough spending time in Vienna began to make me feel more alive than before. As I saw more and more people, I started to get out of my shell. I am still reserved but far less so and I actually enjoy my life instead of settling for what I have. It’s simply amazing I get to do something I like while getting paid well enough to sustain my lifestyle.

I even began to meet people of my opposite sex only to realize that’s the world I know embarrassingly little about. Doing this has given me life lessons that will stick with me for a long while. You can read all the self-help books you want, but sometimes it’s real life that teaches you the most even if it might be painful at times and might force you to feel new emotions.

I still have a long way to go on this road of discovery. I feel as if I was unchained. For me to achieve this, I had to lose my old environment and go far beyond my comfort zone. It’s a path I chose, and I have no idea where it leads, but I am happy to have chosen it.


I find it interesting that starting to do something humble like writing a book to help other people transformed my entire life. First I grew a small business only to realize there’s more to life. And now I’m living the next stage in which I’m discovering what that more is.

During this stage, I will hopefully learn to balance personal side with business as in personal business these two are interrelated. There is no one without another as I’ve come to understand.

I feel as if I gained years worth of life experience by spending a month in Vienna and by being curious enough. I am more aware than ever that I have to grow and develop personally. Perhaps this was the reboot I needed for future success in both business and on a personal level.

For me the conclusion is clear. There’s life beyond computers and business.