Imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach in Thailand with a mango smoothie in your hand whilst scantily-clad locals walk by. The sun is shining and palms are trembling in a light breeze. What would you say if someone approached you and said: “Hey, why don’t you go to Ukraine, it’s -25C° there now?”
Well, I said ‘ok’.
Three years ago, I set off on a journey. Some people spend their savings on cars, fridges or home cinemas. I decided to buy emotions, experiences and sun. I quit my job, passed over my duties to the deputy director and went to Georgia (the country, not the US state) to see my relatives. It was there, whilst drinking my uncle’s homemade wine that I accidentally discovered that Georgia borders with Turkey and that they give visas to anyone in five minutes. I hugged my uncle and left for Turkey.
It was there, whilst I was sampling raki and water, that someone told me that Turkey borders Syria and getting a visa was simple.
In Syria, there was nothing much to drink, and I moved on to Jordan where the social smoking of hookahs is more common than drinking. Then I travelled to India and further East until I rested against the Pacific. I wandered around Asian nooks, tasted local cuisines, chatted with locals, took pictures and wrote about it in my blog. Thus did all those things that most bloggers usually do: tried to write interesting stories; deleted hundreds of photos just to pick one; studied SEO, HTML and CSS; learned to work with Photoshop and my CMS. And had no idea of who in the world would want an employee with such skills.
But one day I found myself sitting at a veranda with a view of Thai jungle, drinking fresh pineapple juice and surfing the net when a vacancy from Skyscanner appeared in my inbox:
“Wanted: person who writes in Russian, has travel experience, familiar with CMS, SEO, HTML, Photoshop. Fluency in other languages would be an advantage. The role is based in Edinburgh”.
– I’ll be damned! – I thought in Ukrainian, and wrote in Russian to my friends, who had been to Scotland.
– Oh, it’s a wonderful city! And the role is just right for you, you must send your CV – my friends said.
– Are you crazy – I answered – I will freeze to death there!
– They make a pretty good whisky there – one friend said.
– I’ll be damned! – I thought and started translating my CV into English.
On the way from Thailand to the UK I had to go to back to Ukraine. It was -25 C° there, but to get my European work permit, I had to apply from my home country. (Which is a rather irritating feature of our state). In fact, it is so irritating that we even started a revolution on the matter – you may have noticed burning tyres in the news.
Visa formalities lasted two months, a long time for me but not long enough for my mom. Then I was saying goodbye in the snow-covered airport in Kiev, buying a sandwich and a coffee at Heathrow (for the price of a week’s worth of food in Laos!), and now I’m sitting in our Edinburgh office, writing my first post for our blog. Surprisingly they told me to write it in English, but I’m getting used to it – everyone in this country speaks English.
I don’t work on a tiny netbook anymore, I have two cinema-sized monitors instead. There are no monitor lizards or palm squirrels around me now, but 250 people from 50 countries. Instead of hearing Thai, I hear English, French, Russian, Italian, German and many other foreign tongues around the office. During my coffee breaks I stare at a castle on the rock, not at rock covered with jungle. And of course I had to throw away my slippers.
But I’m happy. Because they make a pretty good whisky here.