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            <<  Byron Bay, 10-Feb-2014  >>

Unexpected winds

Poseidon teams up with Jirka and Odysseus is blown somewhere unexpected. Back to businessÖ I'm boarding midnight train to Georgia

Unexpectedly and without any warning, the future of The Odyssey was suddenly completely changed, shuffled and twisted.
It actually started few days before our departure to Tasmania, and the whole thing was decided before I returned to Byron Bay. Jirka, who is actually coming to visit me in few weeks, en route to his vacation in Hawaii, called me and said:
ďHi Marcel!
Ehm, do you maybe want to earn some extra money?
Because we might need you on a project in Georgia.Ē

So Greyson Consulting, the company where I had been working last few years before I left Slovakia, which is owned and managed by my Accenture ex-colleagues and friends has a project in Georgia. I donít mean Georgia in USA. I mean Georgia, ex-Soviet Union. And on this project, which has been actually running for many months already they now need for few weeks/months someone with my qualification. I guess not too many people are excited to be sent on a project to Georgia. Especially those ďnormal onesĒ, with wives and families. And this is when I enter the scene.

To cut the story short: Iím going to Georgia.
I am completely unprepared to go ďhomeĒ or to go back to working in banks, but this project is pretty attractive offer. First and foremost, it should take only 6 weeks to 2 months. Thatís very short, and it means that I will neither get ďstuckĒ in the job, nor I will have the feeling of ďcoming backĒ. In such a short time, the danger of falling into burnout of corporate rat race is almost non-existent. Especially after washing the dishes for 4 months :-) If I could have worked in rubber gloves and apron, surely I can survive 2 months in tie and suit. Second, the money is good, and money I need. Money to continue traveling as long as possible. And to keep up with travelling of my crazy Spanish girlfriend. In those few weeks, I can earn and save more than in any other job I might possibly do in any other country. After all these long months of traveling, Iím pretty much a poor boy, and I was getting near the end of my financial reserves to sustain my traveling greed. Sure, the money I earned here in Australia will help me for some time, but lot of the money earned is now money spent due to expensiveness of living in Australia, and so my funds are limited. Thanks to this project, I can get a quick fix that will keep me going for another half a year. And apart from the short duration of the project and the loads of $$$ to be earned, another great parameter is that itís in Georgia - which, with some tolerance, can be considered exotic destination. Yeah, I did not really plan to go to Georgia, but being in Georgia I can still pretend that Iím traveling, and that itís the part of the journey. If the project was in Bratislava, it would take more determination to fool myself and keep my illusions alive.

Itís not going to be my first time in Georgia. Ironically enough, I had been there shortly before I started The Odyssey, on vacation withÖ Jirka. I donít think that I would have ever gone there myself, but Jirka wanted to go to Georgia and Armenia and persuaded (easily) me to go with him for 8 days and so we did. And I must say that Tbilisi is actually pretty and interesting city. So I donít mind spend there some 2 months. And Georgia as such, especially Caucasus is very beautiful.
Even more ironically, it was exactly during this vacation in Georgia, in June 2012, when I decided to quit my job and go on a long journey in search of different lifestyle. On our way back from Georgia/Armenia, during the waiting time in Yerevan airport and during the flight time I started to read Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, and I almost finished the book by the moment I entered my apartment in Bratislava. And as I opened the door and stepped in, and saw the walls of my corridors covered by extracts from poems and songs, that I had written by a marker few weeks ago, I made the decision: Iíll go.
That day I posted a following status on Facebook:
ďDecided. Danke Herr Hesse!Ē
Next day I told Jirka, my boss, that Iím leaving. And he said that he knew it, that I would go.

And so, by those Godís and Universeís mysterious ways, Iím going to the place, where I had actually made the decision to leave. Now isnít it ironic?

This news about the project in Georgia came after Jirka had already a ticket to and from Australia, and I had a ticket to Japan. Within few days it took many twists and turns, but to cut it short, finally I will stay in Australia until Jirka comes and leaves, and I will even have time to go to Japan. But instead of planned 3 weeks, I will have just 8 days there. Thatís sadly inappropriate timing to see Japan, and I will have to give up most of my plans, but itís better than nothing and I will be able, at least partially, to use my pre-purchased Japan Railways ticket.

There are two tricky parts in all of this:
First, going to Georgia means I will have to go home to Bratislava. Even if just for few days, I need to get my computer, suits, ties and shirts (oh, how horribly it sounds!), process all the formalities of re-employment etc. Iím tragically unprepared to go home. Itís bit scary actually, because no matter how I look at it, there is a certain degree of ďend of the tripĒ feeling in going home. But I will have to cope. At least I will see my family and friends for few days.

Second, and this is the main issue in all of this: how do I persuade Irene that Tbilisi is a cool place to move to? :-)
We didnít have exact plans where we would go after Ireneís visa in Australia expires and I finish my side trip to Japan, but our vague plan was that we meet in Kuala Lumpur and either go to India, or to Philippines to help with recovery of areas destroyed by taiphoon. And in summer (European summer) we were planning to go to Europe. Now, instead of spirituality of India, and honorable volunteering in Philippines, I have to persuade my wild Spanish girlfriend to go to Tbilisi, and spend days waiting at home for me, till I returned from the work late evening. As you can imagine, this is as attractive proposition for Irene as hot iron stick in my ass would be for me.
Honestly, we have no clue what we will do, and what Irene will do. I hope that after her Australian visa expires she spends few weeks doing her thing wherever she wills, being in India, Philippines, New Zealand or Rwanda, and then she comes to spend some time with me in Georgia, from where we can do a bit of traveling in Turkey, or Iran maybe. But thatís all up to her.
Our lives were messy enough before, and now I have created even more mess by this Georgian things, so I will have to respect whatever she will decide to do.

In any case, the future looks like this:
1 more month in Australia.
1.3.2014 Iím leaving Australia, flying to Kuala Lumpur
2.3.2014 - 10.3.2014 Iím going to be in Japan
11.3.2014 Ė 16.3.2014 Iím going to be in Bratislava
17.3.2014 Ė 27.4.2014 (thatís the current plan, but it might take few weeks more) Iím going to be in Tbilisi
After Tbilisi: ??????


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak