Arriving in Kampala, I met my new host in a popular fried chicken joint in town. Lucky Peter took me from town to the Kazo ward, a poverty stricken pseudo-district north of the city. Bobbing and dodging clotheslines strung up across a labyrinth of narrow alleys, and stepping mistakenly into the thick layers of vile mud which line the bigger streets, we eventually made it to the home of Father Godfrey, where I have been staying for nearly two weeks. The ward somehow feels like home already; by now I am navigating the dusty lanes with impunity, and the novelty of having a white guy in the neighborhood is starting to wear off. Continue reading
Things always work out. That is what I tell myself. It’s probably why I’m not experiencing a complete nervous breakdown right now. A lot has happened in the past couple weeks with the effect of grinding my plans into dust and blowing them into oblivion with a strong gust of wind. Keeps it interesting, anyway. Continue reading
“The Cloud.” It is mysterious. It is useful. It is, perhaps, a bit intimidating to some. But just what is it?
To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure, but I have an idea. It seems that ‘the cloud’ means ‘computing service’, where users (you, me, businesses, etc.) can store, crunch, organize, and monitor their data on the web. For example, a person can store music files on an online database rather than physically storing it on their own hard drive. A business can upload sales data to an online data analysis service and interpret the results, rather than doing it in-house on their own computers.
So why is it such a big deal, and what use do travelers have for such abstract technology? Continue reading
Visa Grant Confirmed. Proceed with PLAN A(ustralia).
Checked my email today and finally found that I was granted my Australian Work and Holiday Visa. This visa application process, being performed electronically in this information age, is supposed to take no more than two weeks, so they say. NO SUCH LUCK during holidays, so keep this in mind if you wish to apply. After sending a document they had requested regarding my legal history, I received an automatic reply email which said, in effect, “Don’t expect us to contact you at all because we’re out on holiday. Got a problem with that?”
So it took a little longer for the papers to be processed, emails to be exchanged, and my nervous upwelling to subside. But hey, everything’s dandy now. Continue reading
I often wonder about what I’m doing with my life. Yes, I am trying to do something I enjoy in traveling the world… But is this… the right thing to do? What about my future, what about my career (what career?), what about bla bla bla? I go through this second-guessing routine all the time, especially now that I am set on working all over the world for kicks. I tell people I’m moving to Fiji and then Australia and then wherever, and I get responses which make me question my choice. Here I am, a recent graduate with an engineering degree, something which I wish not to squander. And so here I go, zooming around from place to place, which is no way to start an engineering career. Of course, the longer I go without having any kind of professional work experience, the harder it will be to find a professional job on down the line, if all I have to show for the past several years is extensive world travels.
But wait. This supposes that the time someone spends traveling for extended periods is wasted (at least from a professional standpoint). I know lots of people who have gone through some study abroad program, or taken a year off from school to travel through South America, who exclude this portion of their lives from job interviews later on, or who pass this time off as nothing more than ‘vacation’. Even I do it. Not a single one of my current resumes mentions anything about travel. Why? Because it seems unprofessional, perhaps, to have bummed around in some wild country with your pals, riding trains and climbing mountains and going to clubs. Sure you had fun and you have lots of pictures, but this is hardly worth mentioning to the hiring manager at company X.
Dead. Wrong. Unless you really did spend your entire time abroad learning nothing about culture and languages and yourself, doing nothing but lounging and having cocktails between gaudy resorts where the only native you met was carrying your luggage up the stairs. There are numerous valuable skills that are built while traveling for long periods. Some skills are more tangible than others, but the point is, time spent on travel is hardly time wasted, even in the professional world. Slap some of these big words on your resume beneath a description of your travels, and be proud of what you gained from your experience! Continue reading
People ask me all the time how I afford to travel like I do. So I’ll tell you. It’s pretty simple:
I don’t spend money or time on much else, and when I do travel, I am as thrifty as I can be.
Everybody has their things that they like to do, and so those things end up being the sappers of money and time. This is totally fine. Better than fine! This is great. If you spend your money and time on things you like, then you are doing well, I’d say. It’s spending your money on things you don’t like which is absurd, but that’s a whole different story. Continue reading
Plans are materializing. After spending an indefinite length of time (max. 4 months) in Fiji mucking about, enjoying beaches and jungles, making friends, and living, I will head to Australia. Why Australia? Because the whole point of this escapade of mine is to go other places and live and work and be merry. Also because there is growing economy, industry, and demand for people who have intellect to offer. It is fact that the country is actively reaching out and recruiting people with technical skills to support this growth and keep it going strong! How do I know? I read about it in some magazines. More on that later.
For now I want to explain Australia’s Working Holiday visa. The Work and Holiday Visa Subclass 462 (Subclass 417 for non-Americans, but I will not bother with that) is designed for those who want to travel around Australia with the option of working to support their travels, and to encourage cultural exchange. The idea is that this gives the traveler a good idea of the country’s aura, culture, way of life, or whatever, while visiting for an extended period. With this visa, like any other, comes limits and regulations. Important such things follow: Continue reading
Interviewer: “Well, it has been nice meeting you! I think you are a good candidate. Do you have anything else to add? Any other questions?”
Me: “Well, you should know that I plan to leave the country in just over two months. In February.”
Interviewer: “Oh, a vacation! For how long?”
Me: “At least a year and a half. Hopefully forever, kinda.”
Interviewer: “Oh, well that’s kind of a deal breaker.”
Me: “Rats.” Continue reading