Resume of a Drifter

Where are you from?  What do you do?

Whether it be an immigration officer,  tuk-tuk driver, or fellow traveler,  when you are on the road these are the questions that precede all others.   What shape of  jigsaw  piece are you, and where you fit into this puzzling world?  They ought to be the simplest questions,  the basics of any standardized form, but for me an honest answer is complicated.

Address?  Well, that depends on where I lay my head down tonight.  HOME, however, is another story.   More closely linked to heart than hearth,  my home is scattered around the world in the  many places that have taken part in shaping me.

Occupation?  As in how I keep occupied?  I seek new places to continue leaning and growing.  Work is what I do to make it all possible.  The trick is   finding  a balance between earning a living  and making a positive contribution to my own experience and to whatever society  is kind enough to accept me at it’s doorstep.

It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t fit in a box, and some find hard to understand.   If an employer was to take a look at my real life resume, I doubt it would land me  a job, but I would show it off like a state fair blue ribbon if given the chance!


Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Regardless of Sarah Palin’s relentless attempts to embarrass both the state and the country, I am Alaskan born and raised and couldn’t be prouder to say it.  As the saying goes: “You can take an Alaskan out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of an Alaskan.”  You’re Darn-tootin!

Colorado Springs, CO. USA. Not only my introduction to the “Lower 48,” but where I first discovered  ultimate frisbee, tofu, jam bands, and all things trust-afarian.  A liberal Arts school  was just the place to explore rock-climbing,  African dance, and the much sought-after  underwater basket-weaving!  Oh, and the education  was top-notch too.

Firenze, Italia. Just as pilgrims are drawn to Jerusalem or Mecca, so too is the art student yearning for Florence! I painted in the Tuscan wine vineyards, studied Renaissance sculptures  in the flesh, as well as adding a few kilos of pasta and gelato to my own.  Florence was my European home base to museum-hop  and get  first my first taste of grimy hostel beds, crappy exchange rates, and slick-fingered gypsies.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. What’s a broke Uni grad with an art degree to do, but to move in with her parents and turn Montessori School teacher by day, bar-wench by night?  Tobacco road basketball,  family visits on the farm, and sweet iced tea  were the perfect SUH-thun comforts for a Northern girl preparing to head to the far East.

Hat Yai, Thailand. The name in Thai means “Big Beach,”   but  the city where I had accepted a teaching job turned out to be a filthy, beach-less border-town where rich Malaysian tourists could come to enjoy cheap girls… or boys.   I found myself a  teacher of English by day, and a student of transvestites and sex tourism by night (from the sidelines, of course!)  A wretched  city, but a great country in the perfect position to tour around Southeast Asia.  It was the last time I would accept a job over the internet sight unseen though.

Tokyo, Japan. Sushi, Samurai and Sumo.  I figured if I was going to live in a city, I might as well do it properly.  Four years of the biggest, brightest and craziest city around!  I taught  children as young as 1 year old to sing and dance in English, while singing and dancing myself at wild outdoor trance and havoc-reeking evenings in  karaoke bars.  Oh, and I sang silly kiddie songs on the phone for silly amounts of money too.  Only in Japan!

Dahab, Egypt. Magical and moving Sinai became my home for two years while I  put down my backpack mid world tour to become a dive instructor.   As well as plunging into the Red Sea,   I traveled the Middle East and became a  student of  the region’s  language,  culture, religion, media and politics.  I still miss my Egyptian house and garden by the beach, even if camels don’t make for the best of neighbors.

Nablus, West Bank, Palestine. In my search for understanding of Middle Eastern politics, I put myself in the thick of the conflict by volunteering for  a West Bank  NGO that placed me teaching English at the Disability center, a Woman’s center, and to children inside the refugee camps.   I painted murals on walls that had previously only known martyr posters,  used English to connect refugee children to the outside world through American and Japanese pen-pals, and taught young teenage boys to throw acrobatic tricks instead of throwing stones in the Childrens’ Circus.  Heartbreaking and hard as hell, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Hakuba, Japan. Back to Japan! Two winter seasons of managing a  lodge  in the Nagano Alps, while catching up with friends, enjoying great food, and getting my backcountry powder fix.  I guess spending years as a tourist makes you somewhat of an expert in hospitality!

Komodo, Indonesia.  In between winter gigs, why not get tropical?  I found myself  working on various dive boats (tradition wooden Pinisis… like pirate ships!) exotic  island hopping,  and exploring the underwater world.  But don’t get too jealous.  I lived in leaking, cockroach-infested, coffin- sized bunk… when I was lucky enough to have a bed at all.  But what a way to work and travel at the same time!


So there you have it.   Simple questions and long answers.  What will be the next adventure to come?  Stay tuned to find out.

And if you happen to know any employers desperately seeking a professional nomad, please send my resume directly his way!


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