Home Events

Would you like see my 40-minute video of Traversing Spain Twice for free? Or how about getting four chapters of The Hidden Europe? And chapter 2 of Hike Your Own Hike? Get them all when you sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter below! I won't share your email with anyone. I hate spam too, so you can easily unsubscribe.




If you want Francis to present somewhere near you, you just need to make him an offer he can't refuse. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Francis Tapon presenting at the Estonian House in NYC

2012 Events

When What Where

Dec 29, 2011: 9-11am

Michael Krasny interviews Francis Tapon on KQED's Forum. KQED is the most-listened-to public radio station in America, reaching over 745,000 listeners each week. Listen to it now as a podcast.

88.5 FM for Bay Area listeners

January 21, 2012: 2-3pm

Francis presents a lively slideshow about Eastern Europe in Berkeley. More details.

Berkeley's main public library at 2090 Kittredge St.

Feb 15, 2012, 6:30-8:30 pm

GalleyCat highlights three outstanding new books and has picked The Hidden Europe as one of them. You must be a media professional to attend and you must RSVP. Francis will give away 20 free copies of his book!

35 E 13th Street, NYC

March 2-4, 2012

Francis will be at the NYT Travel Show. Also, March 4 is the Russian Presidential Elections and WBAI will interview Francis Tapon for two hours on that evening. Taped session will come out the following week.

WBAI studios in NYC

Sunday, March 18, 2012: 2-4pm

Come meet Francis Tapon: ex-techie executive turned adventurer. He'll be discussing how to add adventure to your daily life. In exploring the book, Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America, Francis Tapon will share his experience of yo-yoing the Continental Divide Trail and what adventure can teach you about life. This true story combines the desire to reorient one's life with an exciting tale of adventure with a bit of humor. Join us in discussion with the author, Francis Tapon as we learn about the CDT, adventures on the path less traveled, and how to live your life with passion and purpose. This presentation is sponsored by Roam Life. In the Roam Life Presenter Series, we'll be bringing you stories about amazing people doing amazing things to help you realize your own adventure story. Learn about the details and how to REGISTER online!

REI in Soho, NYC. 303 Lafayette Street, NY, NY

Tuesday, March 20, 2012: 7-8:30pm

Traversing Spain Twice. Francis takes you across Spain twice. He will show his movie/slideshow that begins on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France. From there, you'll traverse the Pyrenees and end at the Atlantic Ocean - again at the Spain/France border. Along the way, we'll tag the beginning of El Camino Santiago in St. Jean-Pied-du-Port. We'll rejoin El Camino after the Pyrenees traverse is done. We won't finish in Santiago de Compostela, but keep going to Finisterra - the end of the world! With that we'll have traversed Spain twice.

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Soho store, 530 Broadway @ Spring, NYC

Wed, March 21, 2012: 7-9pm

Travel through Eastern Europe. Journey across 25 Eastern European countries in the Francis Tapon's first East Coast presentation about his book, The Hidden Europe. It's free.

Auditorium of the Montclair Public Library at 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 7-8:30pm

Backpacking in Eastern Europe. Francis shows you video and photos from the best hikes in Eastern Europe, including Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Ukraine.

EMS, Upper West Side, 2152 Broadway, NYC

Saturday, March 24, 2012: 5-7pm

Francis Tapon presents at the Estonian House in New York City. Like most Eastern Europeans, Estonians resist being called Eastern European. Francis Tapon will not only explain why he puts Estonia in Eastern Europe, but he will also explain what we can learn from Estonians, as well as other Eastern Europeans. His 90-minute multimedia presentation will cover the Baltic to the Balkans. You will see hundreds of stunning photos taken from 25 Eastern European countries. He will discuss controversial topics like Estonia's Bronze Soldier, as well as what Putin's re-election means to the region. Although the event is free, please make at least a $5 donation to help the Estonian House. Whoever donates will get a $6 discount off an autographed copy of The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us (list price is $26). Come meet other Estonians! RSVP to reserve a seat for you and your guest(s) to get priority seating!

243 East 34th Street @ 2nd Ave, New York City

April 3, 2012: 7-9pm

Discover the Hidden Side of EuropeWhen most people think of Europe, they only think of its western side. Its eastern side remains mysterious despite the fall of the USSR and Yugoslavia 20 years ago. Francis Tapon spent the last three years visiting all 25 countries in Eastern Europe. In his lively slideshow, he reveals surprising facts and sites in Eastern Europe. You'll see hundreds of photos. At the end of the presentation, he will autograph copies of his upcoming book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. See the poster!

Burlingame library

Sat. April 7: 2012, 11am-1pm

Come to Francis Tapon's biggest Bay Area event. He will deliver a fascinating 90-minute multimedia presentation about Europe's hidden side. Discover the side of Europe that few know. See hundreds of photos covering 25 Eastern European countries. Francis will discuss the 20th anniversary of the fall of Yugoslavia and the USSR - and what we can learn from it. He will also discuss the current state of Eastern Europe along with the future opportunities and challenges in the region. He will share personal travel anecdotes that will make you laugh. Planning to travel this summer? Discover why and where you should go to in Eastern Europe. See the flyer.

Post event: Thanks to the 150+ who attended!

San Francisco Main Public LibraryKoret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St. (map)

April 21, 2012: 3:10-3:40pm

Interesting Eastern European Buildings. Francis will have 10 minutes to present in this 30-minute session (there are two other authors sharing the stage). This is part of the annual free "A Company of Authors" event at Stanford that goes from 1-5pm. Feel free to come for the whole 4-hour event! Normally the organizers pick Stanford authors, but Francis was lucky to be an exception. The Stanford Book Store and the Humanities dept work together to highlight promising new books in 2012. Since it's a Saturday, the parking is FREE! Details about "In the Company of Authors" event.

Stanford University Humanities Center

April 28, 2012, 2-4pm

Official Book Launch! It's the 20th anniversary of the fall of Yugoslavia and it's the official launch date for The Hidden Europe. Francis will show many slides from Eastern Europe, share stories, and autograph books. This event is organized by the Bay Area Bucket Listers.

Barefoot Cafe, 15567 Union St., Los Gatos, CA

May 2, 2012, 6:30-7:30: Reception

7:30-8:30: Presentation

8:30-9:00pm: Q&A

The Harvard Club of San Francisco, Harvard Business School's Northern California Club, and the Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley have co-sponsored an event where Francis Tapon speaks about Eastern Europe. April 28, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of Yugoslavia. How are the Balkans today? Where is it going? Is it safe for tourists? If so, where? What about the rest of Eastern Europe? How is it faring 20 years after the fall of the USSR? Join Francis Tapon, HBS '97 grad and author of the new book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us, as he answers these and many other questions about Eastern Europe. He'll take you on colorful journey, exploring 25 Eastern European countries, showing you hundreds of stunning photos. He will argue that while the Berlin Wall collapsed over two decades ago, there's still many myths and mysteries in Eastern Europe. He's been interviewed on KQED's Forum with Michael Kransy. Now is your chance to ask him questions about this hidden region in Europe. He will be autographing copies of his book.

Price: $25 for Harvard members / $35 for non-members. Register! There will be a bar and free appetizers!

University Club, 800 Powell, San Francisco, CA 94108

May 3, 2012, 5:30pm Networking and reception; 6-7pm, presentation.

Francis Tapon "Eastern Europe 20 Years After Communism" at the Commonwealth Club of California. Twenty years ago, as the Soviet Union was losing control of its satellites, Yugoslavia began to disintegrate. It quickly plunged into the only European war since World War II. Francis Tapon spent nearly 3 years traveling and backpacking in 25 Eastern European countries, starting with 5 months in 2004 and returning for 3 years starting in 2008. Now that he's back, hear Tapon's views on the history, the current status and the future of these fascinatingly complex cultures and about how Tapon has turned his wanderlust into WanderLearn.

Tickets: $20 for non-members, $8 for members, and $7 for students with valid ID.

The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club has played host to a diverse and distinctive array of speakers, from Teddy Roosevelt in 1911 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Alec Baldwin and author Christopher Hitchens in recent years. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have all given landmark speeches at The Club.

The Commonwealth Club of California

595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco

Directions and parking

May 6, 2012, 12-2pm

Why you should consider traveling to Eastern Europe this summer. Western Europe is so yesterday. Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and England have their charms, but what about the other side of Europe, Eastern Europe? Francis Tapon will take you on whirlwind tour through 25 Eastern European countries and show you the surprising hidden gems in Europe's eastern half. You won't believe what there's to see (or how much money you'll save) when you go to the Hidden Europe.

Book Passage, Corte Madera, Marin County, CA

May 6, 2012, 4-6pm

Book talk and signing. Francis will read from parts of The Hidden Europe, but he will mostly be there to share stories and answer questions about Eastern Europe, backpacking, and traveling the world. Free event. We'll be in the outdoor seating area. 

Phillz Coffee, 3191 Middlefield Rd at Loma Verde Ave, Palo Alto CA. 

May 23-27, 2012

Amherst College, Class of 1992, 20-year reunion. Francis will be in Amherst to see his classmates after 20 years.

Amherst, Massachusetts

May 31 - June 2, 2012

Harvard Business School, Class of 1997, 15-year reunion. Francis will learn why his classmates have much bigger bank accounts than he does.

Boston, Massachusetts

June 12, 2012, 3-4:30pm

Yo-Yoing the Continental Divide Trail. Francis will show a 77-minute slideshow about doing a 5,600-mile, 7-month round-trip backpacking the CDT. This 5,600-mile, 7-month trip takes you from Mexico to Canada and back. He was the first person to do this feat on the CDT. He will also briefly discuss his latest adventure: 3 years in Eastern Europe, walking across Spain twice, climbing solo up Mont Blanc in trail runners, and his latest book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.

REI, 5757 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA

Tue June 19, 2-3pm

Los Gatos Meadows Presentation. Francis will give a 1-hour presentation to this group of senior citizens. Contact Francis if you are interested in attending this event.

110 Wood Road, Los Gatos, CA 95030 - 4th floor

June 20, 7-8pm

Book reading and Q&A. Francis will do something he rarely does: talk without a slideshow. If you're planning to go to Europe this summer, then you must come to learn more about how Eastern Europeans really are. Learn some language phrases. Discover Europe's hidden side.

Books Inc., 1375 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, CA

June 21, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm

Celebrate the Summer Solstice by seeing "Yo-Yoing the Continental Divide Trail." Francis will show a 77-minute slideshow about doing a 5,600-mile, 7-month round-trip backpacking the CDT. This 5,600-mile, 7-month trip takes you from Mexico to Canada and back. He was the first person to do this feat on the CDT. He will also briefly discuss his latest adventure: 3 years in Eastern Europe, walking across Spain twice, climbing solo up Mont Blanc in trail runners, and his latest book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.

Sports Basement, Presidio, San Francisco, CA

June 28, 6:30-8pm

Backpacking in Europe. What's it like to traverse the Pyrenees in France, hike El Camino Santiago in Spain, climb up Mont Blanc in France, backpack off trail in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains, survive Slovenia's Julian Alps, ascend Norway's glaciers, trek through the bogs of Finland, explore the Balkans mountains, and walk along the Carpathian and Ural mountain ranges? Francis Tapon has done it all and will share photos from his experiences. He'll answer your questions so you can have similar adventures!

Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St., San Francisco, CA

Tue, July 10, 2012, 6-8pm

How to take a sabbatical and travel for months/years! Francis will be on a panel that will discuss how you can take some serious time off to explore the planet. Gogobot is hosting this event. They'll have some food and a drink for just $12 for those who pre-register. It's $15 at the door. Register!

6th St. and Mission in San Francisco, CA

Wed July 11, 6-8pm

Backpacking and hiking in Europe, especially Eastern Europe. Francis will show you highlights from Slovakia's Tatra Mountains, Slovenia's Julian Alps, Bulgaria's Balkan Mountains, and Romania's and Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains. If we have time, we'll talk about Spain's Trails. Join us in the Peace Cafe! We expect a tiny group to attend, so this will be a super casual event. Just come to socialize. It's free, but please buy drink and/or food at the cafe to help them out!

The Red Victorian,1665 Haight Street @ Cole, San Francisco

Tue July 17, afternoon

Microsoft's Enterprise & Partner Group invites Francis to speak at their worldwide conference. Francis will inspire Microsoft employees to set bold goals and show them how to use creative problem solving to achieve them.  

Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia

August 18, 2012

Rick Steves radio logo

Rick Steves interview. Rick Steves, the famous travel show host, interviews Francis on his national radio show. They discuss The Hidden Europe for 30 minutes. Another 30 minute episode will air a few months later. Come to the after-broadcast party on Sunday August 19 from 2-5pm in San Francisco!

Broadcasting on 170 radio stations in the USA + on Rick Steves radio podcast.

Tue August 21, 12-2pm

Presentation to the Los Gatos Rotary Club. Francis will answer the questions about Eastern Europe that 80 Rotary Club members will ask.

Los Gatos Lodge at Highway 17 and Highway 9

Tue Aug 28, 6:30-8:30pm

Pecha Kucha! 20 slides in 20 minutes for $20 for non-members of SPUR. Free for SPUR members. Francis will have 20 slides on 20 Eastern European countries. He'll share a key lesson from each country. There will be several other presenters. Learn more

SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-4015

Sunday Sept 9, 2-4pm

Eastern European Culture. Francis will focus on describing Eastern Europeans. What makes a Latvian different than a Lithuanian? How is a Slovak different than a Slovenian? Why did Czechoslovakia break up peaceful while Yugoslavia broke up violently? Do the former republics in the USSR like each other today? Francis will try to answer these and other tricky questions that you throw at him.

San Francisco Main Public LibraryKoret Auditorium100 Larkin St. (map)

Monday, Sept 10, noon

Hayard Rotary Club. Francis will share the 15 things he learned from traveling the world. 

Masonic Hall, 1074 B St, Hayward, CA.

Fri Oct 5, 9am-2pm

TEDx FillmoreTEDx Fillmore. Francis Tapon will have 18 minutes to wow the audience. The theme of this TEDx Conference is about passing the baton. Tickets are $25.

Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA, 94115

Tue October 16, 2012

Meet, Plan, Go. Francis will be a speaker in this event that teaches participants how to plan for an epic trip. How do you take a sabbatical? How is it to travel for months (or even years)? What are some of the secrets to pulling it off? Francis will address these and many other questions. 

San Francisco

October 19, 2012

10 Tips for Future Entrepreneurs. Francis presented at the Amherst College Entrepreneurial Society of Amherst College. 

Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Fri Nov 2 @ 7-8pm

10 Things Baltic People Have in Common and 10 Ways They Are Different. Why wasn't there a Soviet republic called Balticstan? It's because Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are different in many ways. Come learn the 10 ways there are different. And also learn the 10 things they have in common. Come to this free event at the Estonian House in New York City.

243 East 34th Street @ 2nd Ave, New York City


Dec, TBA

Rick Steves radio logo

Rick Steves interview: The Bumpy Balkans. Rick Steves, the famous travel show host, interviews Francis on his national radio show. They discuss The Hidden Europe for 30 minutes. Rick will focus the interview on one of Europe's most perplexing regions: the Balkans.

Broadcasting on 170 radio stations in the USA + on Rick Steves radio podcast.

From 2013 to 2016, Francis will have no events unless you pay him 5-figures OR if you're a major national media outlet (Oprah, Stephen Colbert, or Charlie Rose). What will he be doing for those 3 years? Traveling to all 54 African countries. He'll resurface in 2017 to share the adventure!