First things first, 260+ hits on the blog in about a day and a half is awesome (or "Irado"!). I've been requested to ensure I post frequently and include as much detail as possible. If you dont agree with that request or think it takes you too long to read, you can choose to use this 4 minute video on "How to Speed Read"
Today is the big day. Departure in a winged machine that will take me some 5,250 miles (or 8,449.056 Kilometers to be inclusive of my new residence) to the south is set for later today (Columbus to Newark, Newark to Sao Paulo).
It did not really sink in that I would be leaving everything I know behind until today. Despite all of the preparations (mostly the last two days as a result of long hours in the office due to a tax deadline which included an 101 hour work week) it did not really sink in until this morning. I awoke about 330a like a kid on Christmas who could not wait to see what Santa did or did not bring. Luckily for me, Santa is a bearded man who shares an affinty for traveling large distances through the air, especially those paid for by someone else.
This trip has a different feel to it, unlike the other one and two weeks trips Ive taken in the past, this has both the feeling of eagerness but also a bit of anxiety (that I must have inheirieted from my father). Other than a couple of trips to Spain and Italy for basketball and the occassion trip to our neighbor to the north (no not Michigan, Canada) for their casinos Ive not ventured outside the good ole' U.S. In fact, I had not been outside Ohio but a handful of times until I learned I could go to a beach for Spring Break in college. Now that I work for one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, I take just about every opportunity to see new places and try new things as I can. I've realized that the world is a much bigger place than the farms of Williamsport, Ohio (the first 18.5 years) or even the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio (the past 11.1 years). Even if those two places are where my heart is, there is much more to see and do, a bigger place to make a difference. For purposes of an analogy, it would be the equivalent of a kid that had never stayed at a friends house suddenly appearing on MTV's The Real World. I too have not strayed too far from where I grew up, living my entire 29.6 years on this planet within 35 miles of the house I grew up in.
So there I was, the kid on Christmas, not sure who to ask when I could open a present. As I said my goodbyes to coworkers earlier in the week, and my parents last night, it did not sink in until I saw the mascara stream down the face of my girlfriend on her way to work. (Not to put you on blast dear, but its when it really sunk in. I'll send flowers to make up for putting you in my blog). It sudently became surreal that I am in fact headed to a new place, a new country, where being a 6 foot 6 inch (78 inches or 1.9812 meters) 250 pound (113.6 kilograms) white guy with a shaved head makes you stand out more than it does walking down the streets of Columbus, Ohio, or any US city for that matter. I do not fear the unknown, rahter I embrace it. The challenges ahead are more than not understanding the local language, knowing which water is safe to drink (I personally think that people make this a bigger deal than it really is, at least outside of Mexico), or if I can find Ohio State Football on TV. The challenges ahead are understanding a new culture of people, a new business culture, and figuring out which steakhouse to eat at! I'm looking forward to the experience ahead from both a professional and a personal level, and I've yet to determine which apect will benefit most from this E&Y Corporate Responsbility Fellows trip.
The purpose of the blog is to keep coworkers, friends, family, and etc (what I call my "shareholders") in the loop on what I am doing (and the other 11 fellows in the program), where Im traveling, how my experiences are, as well as furthering the greater cause of "Pay it forward" and giving back. The Corporate Responsbility Fellowship and Partnership with Endeavor is not only changing the businesses of Entrepreneurs in emerging markets, but its transforming the Fellows themselves. The hope is at the completion of the program I can bring new insights from both a business and interpersonal perspective, back to my "shareholders". It does take a tremendous amount of faith from my "shareholders" to allow me to step away from client work, and personal obligations to "Pay it Forward", so for that I thank you.
Time to order a Donatos Pizza (I still cant believe they dont have them in every state yet), the last America meal I will eat in nearly two months, and head to the airport with my 100+ pounds of luggage that will share the 5,250 mile (8,449.056 kilometers) journey with me. Next time I post I will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil....
Question: What would be your last American meal if you were traveling outside the US for an extended period of time? Put your answers in the comments section below.