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My name is Mika, and I’m a process.

This process has included so far:

  • a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics from Universidade de Brasília, a Ph.D. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and two years of research as a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen — this made me a mathematician;

  • a series of months long, independent, overland travel experiments cycle touring, hiking, or hitchhiking in Europe and South America; having lived in Brazil, the US, Denmark, Serbia, and Ukraine; having climbed mountains, trees, and rocks in those and many other places around the world — this made me a nomad and adventurer;

    Left: wild camping on a cycle tour (Moldova 2017). Middle: waking up to a fog pool (Ukraine 2020). Right: watching the sunrise at Pico da Bandeira (Brazil 2022).
  • learning, writing, and giving presentations and interviews about opportunity and compromise since 2016; graduating from the YNAB (You Need a Budget) Certified Coaching Program1 in 2022; teaching the method and developing my own practice integrating that with my experience all those years chasing my dreams — this makes me a budgeting coach.

    Left: Ossobuco-Brasília (Brazil 2018). Middle: Training Center Solo (Ternopil', Ukraine 2020). Right: YNAB Certified Budgeting Coach badge (2022)

These are the three threads I want to develop in the mid-term and what this newsletter is about. You can just read on for a little more detail on each of them.

You may read more about what I’m up to at this very moment on my now page, and you are invited to contact me if you would like to talk about any of that.

A bit more about the mathematician

In 2016, after 14 years of mathematical training and research, I left my academic career to travel and see the real world.

In 2020, because of the pandemic, I settled down and started tutoring math online.

In 2021, I rediscovered the joy of doing math — that’s also when I became more selective about the tutoring jobs I accepted and started giving preference to people genuinely interested in learning the subject.

I’m still tutoring math online and enjoying it.

A bit more about the nomad and adventurer

Between 2016 and 2020, I conducted a series of independent, months-long cycle tours, thru-hikes, and backpacking/hitchhiking trips, while maintaining a home base of sorts in Ukraine.

My last big project was a 66 days/1000 km-long solo walk around the Ukrainian Carpathians, executed during the 2020 lockdown.

In my travels, and between them, I iteratively played, contemplated, worried, and fucked up talking to people, taking photos, drawing pictures, and writing chronicles, poems, and short stories. I’ve shared much of that on my previous blog, presentationsinterviews, and beyond.

In 2022, I returned to Brazil because of the war on Ukraine. I spent the rest of the year coping and resettling.

I haven’t traveled much since 2020, except for the occasional short cycle tours or hike on vacation.

I’m still climbing trees, rocks, and mountains and enjoying it.

A bit more about the budgeting coach

For the most of it, the privilege to live a life in pursuit of my dreams comes from a constellation of factors beyond my control — I can do little about that besides be grateful and manage the lot I was cast wisely.

I first learned how to prioritize and budget the hard way — learning how to travel indefinitely and comfortably enough while I was already on the road, before depleting the resources I’d started with.

By 2020, primarily by trial and error, I had a barely functional and coherent array of spreadsheets that I’d often have to rebuild when updating and reconciling.

In 2021 I found the YNAB (You Need a Budget) Method2 and started using the app. It was revolutionary — it was everything I wanted my spreadsheets to do, plus orders of magnitude more and for a fraction of the overhead cost.

In 2022 I started teaching YNAB, and later that year, I joined their Certified Coaching Program. This has given me access to a fruitful network of fellow budgeting geeks and coaches, where I learn something new every week.

To say that I swear by YNAB would be a massive understatement — it’s the top most helpful tool in my inventory, and I also adapt the method to time management.

I’m enjoying teaching YNAB and sharing my money and resource-management philosophy in general.

Budgeting Coach testimonials

“Thanks to Mika's help with YNAB, we’ve started paying down debt while staying within budget, and bonus, we’re saving up towards financing projects in our new home instead of frittering money away. Mika is kind, straightforward, and very supportive.”

Juliet R (Michigan, USA)

Em seis meses, tinha quitado minhas dívidas com cartões de crédito e lojas de departamento, e já estava guardando pequenas quantias. Assim, sem nenhum excedente na minha renda mensal, e sem tampouco me privar de prazeres, pude desengavetar um sonho guardado há anos: uma faculdade! Comecei neste ano o curso de Tecnologia em Gestão Pública no SENAC. Obrigada, Mika!!

Valéria M (São Paulo, Brazil)


Disclaimer: I am a YNAB Certified Budgeting Coach, which means that I have been trained to coach people on using YNAB software and the YNAB budgeting method. I have met select requirements of You Need a Budget LLC in order to receive this certification, which means that I have the ability to competently coach YNAB to others. I am not an employee of YNAB, and all non-YNAB related opinions and recommendations are my own. My views do not reflect the views of YNAB and its employees or its affiliates.


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Mathematics, adventure, and financial sanity for dreamers!


Mathematician, adventurer, and financial mentor for dreamers!
Thanatologist by day and author by night, I write fiction and award winning non-fiction and have lectured about death, dying, and grief across the country. I am also privileged to lead several international writers groups.