An Open Road Ahead

1999 > Russia

It is time for me to get the hell outta Dodge!

Another cold day in paradise

Another beautiful winter day

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...

Summer sailing

Hail to the mighty russia!

More Moscow

Follow the yellow brick road!
Moscow Nights
The new and the old

I’m leaving the seal for good!

Well I’ve gone and done it now!

I know I’ve said it too many times, that it was about time for a
change, and I’ve tried to change a lot of things in my life, but none
seemed to work. This time I think I’ve made the right change. I hope so
anyway, because at this point there is no turning back.

I am leaving PricewaterhouseCoopers. Yes, on 30 April I am walking
away from my well-paying, recession-immune, Big-Five, desk-jockey
position. I don’t think this will come as a shock to my friends,
especially Ann .
They know that I was never really happy working for The Man, no matter
how much he tried to pay for my soul. I am too much of a hippie kid to
toe the corporate line . The news isn’t going to shock those who were ‘downsized’ when the
Russian market crashed last September, either. They know how much Moscow
has changed since then, and the feeling of frustration and disgust felt
by all those who are here because we love this country, but cannot stop
it from falling back into the mire.

I was surprised by who my news did shock. Those who have been with PW
(or CL) for a long time, and are wedded to this work, cannot understand
why I would want to leave. My housemate, who also works at PwC, just
looks at me and shrugs his shoulders. He is very happy working long
hours for the big paychecks they throw at us. The Russian staff is also
in shock. My assistants are completely confused as to why I would leave
a good job, voluntarily, for nothing (more on that later). They just sat
there and shook their heads in disbelief when I told them I was going.

In this country, a job-hopper is someone who changes jobs more than
once in their lifetime. Most Russians, in Soviet times, expected to stay
at the same profession, if not the same job, most of their lives. There
wasn’t much opportunity to move, and the Soviet State didn’t like
drifters too much, either. Now, there is a lot more movement in the job
scene, but it is mainly confined to the young Russian elite who move
between multinationals.

I guess most of the confusion stems from my next job, after I leave
PwC. I don’t have one. I plan on doing what I came here to do twenty
months ago. If you remember, I came to Russia with the Peace Corps, and
it was my intention to spend two years living like a Russian, learning
Russian and seeing Russia. What have I done since then? I live like an
American (actually a bit better than I did in the States), I speak
English 90% of the time (my Russian has actually worsened at this job!),
and I haven’t seen anything outside of Moscow and St Pete, which any
Russian will tell you, is not the real Russia.

Its time I experienced the real Russia! I’m ahead of my life plans by
two years now, having cleared up all my debts (no more student loans!),
saved a few bucks, and put a big star on my resume, so I’m gonna take a
well-earned vacation. I’m gonna see the world!

I took out a map while I was in America, and I looked at where I was,
where my interests were, and how I could see the most without
backtracking. It took a bit, but now I have a general outline of my
upcoming adventure. I plan on heading down to Kiev and Yalta in May
(yes, I know, in Ukraine) to get warm and relax in a good sanatorium.

Once I am warm, and spring starts to take hold, I plan on wandering
up the Don, then Volga, following the river right back to Moscow. I’ll
pass through some interesting cities, like Volgograd, the site of the
decisive Battle of Stalingrad in WWII, Togliatti, with its massive
AvtoVAZ plant, Kazan, as the last stronghold of the Tartars, and Nizhny
Novogord, the ‘mini-Moscow’.

After the Grand River Tour, I plan on taking the Trans Siberian, like
so many others have done, to slowly make my way, via Lake Bikal and
Mongolia, to China. Once there, I will wander around SE Asia and
Australia over the next several months. I hope to make my way back to
Western Europe, via India and the Middle East, sometime around Spring
2001. A good walk-about, eh?

As you can tell, I am in no hurry, I only have to exit Russia before
my visa expires late this year, so I will have plenty of time to wander
and write for my website. I’m in the process of updating and upgrading
my site, as I hope to keep it going, even after the last Russian Border
stamp dries on my passport. I’m not sure how radical I will change the
site in the coming months, but I am exploring options to make it
self-sufficient (all that server space is not free!), and even
profitable. If you have any comments, ideas, or just want to send me a
brown paper bag full of cash, let me
, I’ll accept all with an open mind or open arms.

_____Epilogue _____

I sent this page out as an email to my family and friends, and I got
an amazing response. So far 100% of the replies are on the same
line as my Aunt Janet and Uncle Bill’s response below. Oh, just to
clarify two things that might be puzzling you:

  1. I am not leaving PwC until the beginning of May 1999 (contract
    encumberments), and

  2. I will continue this website as I travel all over Ukraine, Russia,
    and where ever else I go!

Subject: ‘See the World’
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999
From: ‘Bill & Janet ‘
To: <wayan [at] bellybuttonwindow [dot] com>

Hi Wayan,

Happy Birthday a bit early from your old Uncle Willy & Aunt

We were shocked too when we read your e-mail, until we thought about
it and discussed it for a while.

Yes, I too wanted to work at the same company long hours and try to
make something out of myself. The only problem I had is that they
weren’t ‘throwing big checks my way’. However, I did quit the
‘cushy’ job at Dallas Power & Light Company which
supported my purchasing hand tailored suits from Jas. K. Wilson, hand
stitched shirts from Neiman-Marcus, and driving a new Corvette Sting
Ray. I wanted to work outside and travel around the country. I was tired
of being ‘cooped up’ in a office in a large office building in
downtown Dallas.

I went to work for a much larger company instead, but did get to
travel around the southwest and work outside and around machinery. I
still thought I wanted to stay with a big company until I retired until
Janet’s father talked me into coming to work for him. Little did I know
the pleasure of working for a small company where I could really be my
own boss and still have what you might call a boss.

Janet and I think this an excellent time in your life (young, healthy,
and no responsibilities) for you to start out and see the world. You are
young, out of debt, have a good education in skills everybody is looking
for, and have some money saved up so GO DO IT!!!! Once you have traveled
around and seen what you want, and want to settle down, you have the
skills and background to get a good job. Knowing what I do now, and
under the same circumstances, I would do the same thing.

Have a good time ‘trekking’ around the world and keep us
informed where you are and what you are doing. After all, we won’t be
staying home all the time either!!


Uncle Willy & Aunt Janet