So long, 2010; it’s been nice knowing ya…

Well, hello there 2011. You’ve got a hell of a lot to live up to.

As most people know, I started my whirlwind trip in late summer of 2009 and things haven’t really gone bad yet.

I started 2010 in the remote paradise of the Andaman Islands, far off India’s coast. I had just learned to dive and fell in love with the sport. Fish are friends, not food.

I then returned to Delhi where I spent many hours not working while pursuing my Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status. I now have a lifelong work/residency permit for my adopted second country.

Friends came to visit in March and we toured Rajasthan, rode camels, chewed a lot of paan and otherwise filled our days with shenanigans.

In April, I left India for a two-week spell in Thailand of diving and the best food I’ve ever stuffed in my gullet.

Then I retreated to Sikkim, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where I volunteered for six weeks at a school with dozens of amazing children and did a bit of touring on the side. I also explored Buddhism and became vegetarian.

After Sikkim, came a fantastic few nights in Delhi and then a stop-over visit in the United Kingdom (London, Scotland, Brighton) on the way back to the U.S.

The states came and went in a flurry of friends and festivities.

Then in July, I was off to Ecuador for several weeks of volunteering en la selva and several more weeks of dive training and bumming and conservation reporting and more diving. Oh yeah, and 18 days in the Galapagos Islands.

After yet another visit to the U.S., I returned to India, where I’ve been teaching, engaging in a few shenanigans and enjoying the company of my lovely girlfriend, who shall remain mysterious for now.

I of course decked out my apartment with Christmas decor and listened to copious amounts of holiday tunes.

Also, I continued my healthy streak, learning to jog on misty mountain hills in addition to biking in Delhi and diving everywhere. Since I left the states almost 18 months ago, I’ve lost at least 120 pounds.

I was published several times — one each from Kenya and Madagascar and a few from India. Other stories languished and will likely die. And a couple more were reported by have yet to be edited.

I mostly left front-line journalism behind. I’m teaching almost full-time when my school (a journalism institute) is in session. And during the holiday break at the end of the year, I worked on grad school applications, because…

…in 2011

I will become a student again. Not once, but twice. Later this month, I’ll enter a professional divemaster course and internship back in the Andamans. I’ll be a pro-level diver with more than 120 dives by the time I’m done; I completely intend to use my dive training and passion in my future career.

More importantly, I will be attending graduate school full-time this year. I’ve applied to seven different schools — Yale, American, Denver, Boston U., Monterey, U. California-San Diego and U. Illinois. The degrees would vary, but they’d all be focused on the intersection of the three currents/passions of my life: global poverty, the environment and India. At Yale, for example, I’d pursue a master’s degrees in environmental management and development economics. At Illinois, I’d be in a highly customizable degree focused on (South) Asian Studies.

I’ll continue teaching here in India and hope to do a bit more volunteering and traveling. And I’ll post about those adventures — albeit belatedly — here on the blog.

Then I’ll likely be back stateside before June. And it will have been one hell of a ride.

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2 Responses to “So long, 2010; it’s been nice knowing ya…”

  1. kelly Says:
    January 4th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    quite succinct analysis of your life, me gusta. sorry i was not so coherent when we last spoke. happy 2011 though!

  2. Aparajita Says:
    April 6th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    hmmm, nice…
    I again want to bug you about tips on graduate school application.
    Hope u will extend valuable suggestions……

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