28 January 2014

Fifty Countries

The worst part of life after travelling? Having to get a real job and go through interview processes that quite frankly make you feel more nervous than turning up in a random city at 3am after a delayed flight wondering if you can manage to make it to your accommodation without incident.

I'm lucky enough to have been working full time for a while now but still grimace when I recall some of the interviews I had to attend. I noticed that a particular type of question came up quite a lot, especially in a group setting, and that I wasn't always sure on the best way to answer. Variations of this type of question included "What is your life ambition?", "Discuss your aim for the next five years" or "Tell us what you wish to have achieved by the time you're 50”. Now, clearly they are looking for some kind of ambitious career orientated answer that makes you shine, but how do you answer these questions when you have more than one answer and the honest truth is not really career related? It's not that I have no career ambition, because trust me, I know what I want, how to get there and am happily working my way forward. I just have more interests in life than work - I mean, my career is important and I enjoy working hard but that's because I understand that to do what you want in life, you need to work for it, literally. "Work hard, play hard" is definitely comes to mind and my type of playing happens to consist of checking into airports, exploring new cities and managing language barriers.

So here is my honest non-career related answer - I want to visit fifty countries before I'm fifty. I also want to visit all 7 continents, all 50 US states and as many capital cities as I can. I blame (and thank) my Dad, an ex-geography and history teacher and keen traveller himself.  So far, at the age of 23, I've made it to 21 countries, 5 out of 7 continents, only 7 US states and seriously not enough capital cities.

Countries I've Been To

South Africa
United Kingdom
The Netherlands 
The Vatican City (yes, this really does count!)
China (Hong Kong)
New Zealand

As you can see, I have some serious catching up to do if I want to make it to fifty countries before fifty. South America is 100% on the bucket list, as are all 50 US states, but I don't know if I'll ever make it to the seventh continent that is Antarctica as its very cold, very isolated and quite honestly, a place I'm not sure I could handle! My capital cities need some serious work too, but sometimes it’s best to skip what are usually the busiest cities.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see, and in the mean time, think of some more work appropriate ambitions to mention in interviews!


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