I just finished reading “On The Other Guy’s Dime – A Professional’s Guide To Traveling Without Paying”. The book is based on university professor G. Michael Schneider’s three decades of living and working abroad as a temporary worker on what he calls, ‘working vacations’.
I was sent a review copy of Other Guy’s Dime. I actually get more books to review than I review for the Amateur Traveler because I don’t want to review a book I have not read and frankly some of the books I get are not worth taking the time to finish. So first off, I should say that Schneider’s book is worth finishing. If you are an academic looking to work abroad it should be required reading, but even though some of the topics in the book are geared more towards academia, I still found the story telling and the advice to be interesting.
30 year journey
Schneider starts his story more than 30 years ago when he did not even know that opportunities to make money while you travel, especially as a visiting Computer Science professor, even existed. He guides us through what he learned in 3 decades of cold calling, applying for government grants and networking to find or create opportunities around the globe.
For example, Schneider applied for an received Fulbright awards to teach in Mauritius, Malaysia, Nepal, and Mongolia (and has friends and colleagues have received grants to live and work in Iceland, Sri Lanka, Malta, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe). He did this through both the traditional Fulbright award as well as the new Senior Specialist program which was created to help the Fulbright Office fill difficult positions in certain critical high-demand areas.
Schneider also describes numerous strategies for how to spend the grant money to make it go further such as purchasing inexpensive tours from local travel agents at a fraction the cost of what you might expect to pay overseas.
In response to friends that think that Schneider has been lucky to teach overseas he says this:
It was not luck that got me to Israel but my dedication to turn a small, relatively insignificant newspaper article into a no-cost overseas experience. It was not luck that sent me to Kenya, Turkey, and Zimbabwe, but a willingness to make cold calls to department chairs offering my services as a visiting professor. It was not luck that allowed me to live in Mauritius and Malaysia, but my readiness to spend time searching the Fulbright Catalog of Awards and filling out the Fulbright application form. It was not luck that took me to Nepal or Mongolia, but my commitment to contact the dean or computer science head at overseas schools, explain the Senior Specialist program, and convince him to apply for a grant to support my visit. And it was not luck that finally got me to Bhutan but my perseverance in planting dozens of “travel seeds” in countries around the world in the hope that someday one of them would sprout into a fascinating, no-cost working vacation, which is exactly what happened.