Hey everyone, so I’m finally back. It’s nice to take a break from real life, but I definitely missed being productive. Things are going to get a little more intense around here.
This posts is made up of two parts. The first is the 1 Year Project, which I’m really excited about. And I hope you guys give me a lot of feedback as I go. The second is a brief story about my trip.
The 1 Year Project
Here’s my present situation. To receive my designation I need to complete another year of professional experience. But I have no idea what I’ll want to do after that year. I could love the new firm I’m at or I might realize accounting just isn’t for me. I don’t know if I want to be a CA forever. With this in mind I’m giving myself 1 year to find out what’s out there. This project is the search for a “cool” job. Something that will mesh with my skills and actually get me excited about heading to work in the morning.
I’ll be contacting anyone who’s doing something I’m passionate about.
I’ll be putting up a new tab on the site listing all the related posts for the project. Likewise, I’ll be tagging items in my delicious account under the title 1YP as I research different opportunities. I’m hoping to document the journey. Show you guys what works and what doesn’t – there will probably be a lot of the latter. And hopefully, in 1 years time I will have learned enough and made enough contacts to have at least a handful of cool options to choose from. I can’t wait to start – I actually already have, but I’ll save that for the next post.
Thoughts on Travel
All and all it was good. There were some highs and lows, which I think added to the overall adventure of the trip – things always can’t be amazing. It gave me an appreciation for the ability to do things by myself. Sometimes it’s tough not being able to rely on anyone. And having to force yourself to have fun. Which is a really strange problem, one that I ran into a few times.
Traveling by yourself is amazing. There’s no question about it. It is scary at first. I was worried about a lot of things. Am I going to meet people? Will I be bored the whole time? What happens if something goes wrong? Unfortunately, well depending on how you look at it, all of these things happened.
Some days I met people and other days I didn’t. There were a few days I got really bored. And things definitely went wrong – I’ll get into that later. As much as they stress me out, I thrive in sink or swim situations. For me they always boil down into a weird game of “how resourceful can I be today?” I ultimately end up wining – because when you’re pushed against a wall the only direction you can really move in is forward – and that bolsters my confidence for similar situations in the future. Here’s what I mean.
I was in Jerusalem on Friday heading to the bus station. I needed to catch the bus to Eilat, where I’d cross the border into Egypt and proceed to Cairo. I forgot that everything shuts down on Friday night because of Shabbat; literally everything – buses, airports, restaurants, stores, etc. Basically I was fucked. Hard. I missed the last bus to the Egyptian border by 15min and I wouldn’t be able to get another one until Sunday. My flight left on Sunday and it’s 10 hours from Jerusalem to Cairo by car. I tried to get creative. After having a little freak out, I called a few tour bus companies in the hopes that one might be open. None were open. My only option was to take a cab. The cab ride cost me $400. That was after I haggled with the driver.
Five hours later I finally got to the border. I went through the customs people, put my bags on the conveyor belt, walked over to the border police and handed the guard my passport. “You’re VISA has expired.” “What are you talking about? The VISA is good for a month and I’ve only been gone 28 days.” “Well you cancelled your VISA the last time you left.”
I was pissed at this point. I had just spend $400 getting to the border and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with another problem. I got sent to a small room with three border police – all carrying m16’s, mind you that’s very normal for the area – and started arguing with everyone. I finally snapped after one guard asked me, “if English was my mother tongue” because apparently I didn’t’ understand what was going on. That led to a lot of f’bombs. And that led to some very angry border policemen. After a very unpleasant exchange, they told me I could get a new VISA immediately through a travel agency. I couldn’t’ use the consulate because it was closed due to Ramadan and wouldn’t be open until Sunday.
The whole thing sounded sketchy, but that’s Egypt in a nutshell. The “travel agency option” turned out to be the “bribe the border police option.” So another $200 later I made my way into Egypt and headed back to Cairo.
The whole process was a mess. I got through it though. And even though I pretty much, actually no, I entirely got screwed I didn’t feel too awful. It’s like the first time I got punched in the face while taking boxing. Yeah, it sucked but it didn’t kill me. I felt similarly about my experience. In the end it’ll probably serve as a litmus test for other situations and give me a little more perspective on how crappy things can get. And when they get that crappy, it’s still not so bad.