Many people ask us what we’ve gained from all this travel. What do we offer potential employers? As we sit down and start to identify what it is – exactly – we’ve gotten from all of this, we realize it’s much more than we ever expected.
For starters there is the obvious, our knowledge of history and geography are far deeper than ever before. We’ve seen great new markets for familiar products and can advise on more than one from which to stay away. If given the chance we could probably provide Coca-Cola or any number of car companies with a decade’s worth of advertising material.
We’re now accustomed to the unexpected and can readily come up with somewhat unconventional solutions that get the job done and keep everyone happy. In tough situations we’re used to maintaining our composure, rolling with the punches, and keeping the momentum moving forward…even when driving on the wrong side of the road.
For 5 years we worked and managed our lives toward a specific goal. With that initial – financial – goal achieved, we continued to work inside a very fixed budget and 21 months later returned on schedule and under budget, no small feat when you consider we dealt with 10 intertwined cash accounts, over 40 currencies…and no income. Shall I even mention my new found negotiation skills?
It took intensive dedication to research with an attention to detail to get through Africa and Central Asia over land; what roads were opened and closed, what visas could be obtained in which locations, where we would sleep each night. When it comes to balancing the logistics of multiple multi-day visa waiting periods, adept prioritization and planning is key.
We have a global network of friends, colleagues, confidants and advisors on every continent save for Antarctica. We can turn strangers into friends quicker than most politicians turn handshakes into votes. Small talk is important, that’s how you get to big talk.
Working in a team we once calmed an angry, machine-gun wielding, Ethiopian border agent; an angry client who actually speaks my language should be a cakewalk. It’s not just the words that count, you’d be surprised at just how expressive your gestures and body language can be without you knowing it. Good thing we’ve communicated with people in over 20 languages we don’t speak…let alone English and Spanish.
Above all else, there is one thing that we now trust in far more than either of us ever thought imaginable: that given the right tools, there is no challenge too big to handle.