THE GREAT WALL of LIFE

Have you ever been to the Great Wall of China?  I have been to China a few times to visit factories for footwear and handbags, but I have never been there as a tourist.  I have been to Hong Kong several times but I have never really been there as a tourist.  When you are a tourist you see interesting places, like the Great Wall of China.  When you are in a city or country for business, you just go from office to office to factory.  All the meals are with vendors and factory suppliers, you never really see anything cool.  The last time I went to Hong Kong I just met with suppliers the whole week, the high light of my trip was a massage at the top of the hotel in the spa.  It cost like $200 and was the best massage I have ever had.  The hotel still sends me coupons for the spa via email..even though I will probably never stay there again..it was some hotel in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.

I was thinking about travel today when I was sitting in the Seattle rain/traffic for one hour.  I hate commuting.  It is such a waste of time.  I would rather go to the gym than sit in the car for an hour each night.  It totally is a waste of life..really.  But what can you do, when it rains in Seattle, there are not a lot of options.  My friends keep telling me to get a book on tape, but not sure I could even focus.

I was thinking about the last time I got the idea to move to Asia.  I was working about 50 or 60 hours a week as an Executive Recruiter/head hunter for the athletic footwear industry.  My Rolodex was awesome. I had nice dinners out with Presidents and Vice Presidents of Puma, Adidas, Diadora, etc.  I was dating the nephew of the owner of Diadora, this Italian guy..who always said, "Christo" in Italian when something did not go his way.

I thought my life was almost perfect (sort of).  I was young, busy, had a growing career,  making $1,000 a week plus bonuses from each placement and had a fun social life.   My boss decided that he could make more money if he had me working from home.  So he installed a phone and Internet connection in my apartment.  So after work I had headhunter calls set up with footwear designers from Nike and Puma.  I was on the phone from about 8 pm-11 pm every night.   It was my job to "steal" top designers from Nike and convince them to take jobs at Puma in Boston.  I could convince a designer who was making 50K at Nike to move to Boston for 100K and I could convince a Sr. Executive from Nike to move to Puma for 150K or more.   That was my job.  My boss got about 10-50K per head, depending on the job title and he gave me 1K plus bragging rights for each placement.   Back then we did not have the Internet or glassdoor.com to help us search, it was all done by cold calling.  I was trained to cold call into any company and get to the President or any of the top executives.  That skill was an amazing skill..I was able to use my voice and stories to get past even the most skilled personal assistants and phone systems.   To this day, I can call pretty much anyone and get what I need.

Eventually the round the clock rate race took its toll on me.  I quit sleeping due to stress/anxiety and had to go to a sleep specialist and he put me on Xanax to help with my insomnia. (that is another story)...I wanted off the hamster wheel after about one year.  I did not care anymore about the fancy meals and meeting all the high level executives..I just wanted to breathe again. (oh and the boyfriend moved back to Milan)

So one night I booked a one way ticket to Phuket, Thailand.  Within one month, I sold all my stuff, contacted the resort owner of a 5 star hotel for a job via fax, got the job, parked my car in my 86 year old grandmothers garage and flew to Bangkok.   I remember when I got to Phuket, I went to the resort on the beach where I was supposed to start working as a Sales Executive and I slept for 5 days in a row.  After the fifth day, the owner of the resort, was like, Tara you have to start to come to the office...I already started you on the payroll like 3 days ago.   That job lasted one month, and then I got a job as a travel writers assistant.  I was free..free to roam...I remember riding in the back of a Tuk Tuk through the dusty roads of Southern Thailand, and I was thinking..Wow just a few months ago I was up all night with Nike Executives...I would not trade my new freedom for any desk job in the world...

Now over 10 yrs later..I think it would be cool to visit the Great Wall of China.  I probably won't be selling all my stuff and putting everything else in a garage.  I have two pugs, a husband and a kid and they won't fit in a garage or storage unit. (:   However, it would be great to take a detour and go see the Great Wall of China.  You can take the adventure away for a while, but "all who wander are not lost"...as my friend Joe Cummings from Bangkok.. often quotes on his blog or facebook.  (the quote belongs to someone else but I forgot their name).


The Great Wall
Thai girl

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