Friday, January 14, 2011

The Nomad's Resume

Realization:  I'm fully unemployed--completely without action-oriented verbs to go on a resume--for the first time since I was 14.  At that age, I worked at Alstede Farms in Morris County, New Jersey.  Now they're organic and run a CSA.  Funny how things come full circle, eh?

At some point, I heard that "breaks" in the resume are viewed unfavorably by employers.  But!  I would argue that travel, especially extended, non-vacation travel, is a better preparation for life and work than university.  Personally, I gained perspective and context from my travels that I could not have, indeed, did not gain at a university.  Plus, 10.5 months abroad was far less than 10% of the price of my Ivy League degree.  Which I don't plan to use any longer.  But that's another story.

To demonstrate that travelers can learn very real, very useful skills and abilities, I've prepared...

The Nomad's Resume

Passport Number:  memorized
Permanent Address:  unavailable

Employment History
  • Barber:  Styled men's and women's haircuts with only a Swiss Army knife, hot water, and bravado.
  • Language tutor:  Practiced English conversational skills with beginner through intermediate learners via impromptu interactions.  Focused on phoneme pronunciation via a self-developed lesson plan in a monastic setting.
  • Driver:  Drove on both the left and right sides of the road (not under the influence of anything).
  • Ambassador:  Represented the culture of New York and the United States to individuals who were unfamiliar with Americans who are not in movies or on television.
  • Cook:  Prepared snacks and meals with minimal supplies (a carrot, a package of instant noodles, a Swiss Army knife, and 1/2 teaspoon of imagination).
  • Accountant:  Managed trip finances and delivered an exceptional experience under budget.
  • Nurse:  Treated blisters, toenail afflictions, profuse vomiting, violent diarrhea, and so much more.  Attended Himalayan Rescue Association's altitude sickness seminars; correctly diagnosed AMS in idiot trekkers ascending too fast.
  • Guide:  Knows hiking trails from New Zealand to Malaysia to Nepal, proper method adjust a backpack, and correct trek pole technique.
Technical Skills
  • Diplomacy:  Can tactfully listen to the entire world complain about Dubya and praise Obama without becoming involved in political discussions.
  • Foreign languages:  Familiar with Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Cambodian, Nepali, Turkish, and Hebrew.  Speaks Spanish well enough and English fluently.  Proficient in Globeish (simplified international English) and, when all else fails, pantomime.
  • Negotiation and bargaining:  Adept at getting as close to the "locals' price" as humanly possible without facial plastic surgery, CIA-operative training, or conversion to Islam.  Remember, if you don't want to kill each other by the end, you left money on the table.
  • Mental currency exchange:  Able to convert between multiple currencies on-the-fly while bargaining hard (see above).  
  • Kung fu trip planning:  Expedia is for amateurs.  Who else would travel on Azerbaijan Airlines?
  • Metric system:  the only non-European, non-scientist, non-graduate student person in the U.S.A. to understand that salt should be purchased in grams, while salty snacks should be purchased in kilos.
  • Can sleep anywhere:  I'm sure this is relevant somehow.
Character Skills
  • Active listener:  believes that everyone has a story; even if you don't understand their language, you can still drink tea together.
  • Immune to culture shocktraditional squat toilets, water buffalo milk, riding on the roof of a bus?  Ok! 
  • Master of open-mindedness:  knows the difference between hijab, chador, and burqa, and no longer notices when a woman is wearing one.
  • Practices self-restraint:  spent 313 days within 10 meters (see "Metric system" above) of one person and did not murder him in his sleep.
  • From planner to do-er:  how many people talk about wanting to "travel more" and to "see the world," and how many actually do it?
Rheden in South Jakarta, Indonesia
Ng at Five Brothers Restaurant, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Uğur in Diyarbakir, Turkey

So, uh, anyone wanna give me a job?  (Just kidding!)

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