My Traveling Job: Foreign Service Specialist

The very first time I walked through an international terminal, boarded an airplane, and ended up on the opposite side of the world, I didn’t realize it would be the beginning of a lifestyle. My first experience with traveling out of the US was in 1999 on a trip to Poland.

After coming to my senses after 2 to 3 days of traveling (airport strike in Brussels), I woke up my first morning in Zielona Gora, Poland experiencing uncertainty and a little anxiety. As I looked out the window of the hostel at the Soviet era apartment buildings, it dawned on me that things were very different here than in rural Georgia.

I distinctly remember coming to a crossroads and giving myself a decision. I could either stay nervous, cautious, and withdrawn throughout the next three weeks or I could approach this new, strange experience in a different manner.  I had the option to open my arms wide, drink in the differences, and trust God to take care of every uncertainty. I chose the later and began an adventure that hasn’t stopped for 13 years.

Kabul, Afghanistan

For the last 9 years my travel has been subsidized by the US Department of State via the Foreign Service.  Most people think that to join the Foreign Service, you have to be a stuffy diplomat at a large, oak table bargaining deals with other countries, however there are other options. Enter the Foreign Service Specialist.

Baker Street, London, England

In order to accomplish its main purpose of diplomacy, the Department of State needs people to support embassies and missions with specialized skills. Foreign Service Specialists provide a number of auxiliary services at missions abroad: medical care, clerical work, computer support, radio and telephone support, security, etc…

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and are looking for a great way to get around the world, I would highly recommend checking out:


For specialist vacancy announcements:

Check the above link regularly as openings become available from month to month.

Memory Box Monday: The Extraordinary Uses of Polish Vodka

“What’s she screaming about this time?” This was a common thought I had every time I heard my sister’s voice bounce around our domicile at the Grady Johnson Trailer Park (and Luxury Resort) in Statesboro, Ga.

“What is it?” I responded.

“I cut myself shaving,” she responded.

I got up and walked halfway to her room where she met me in the kitchen.  She had gashed herself enough that a small stream of blood was running down her leg.  We quickly thought through our selection of first aid supplies.

“Do we have any peroxide?” she asked.

“Nope.” I said.

“What about cotton balls?”


This exchange continued for band-aids, gauze, tape, and rubbing alcohol.  “Alcohol?” I thought to myself.

“Wait, I’ve got something that might…,” I broke off mid-sentence and ran back to my room.

In college I did some overseas traveling.  On the first of those adventures I went to Poland and made some wonderful friends that I’ll never forget.  I kept in contact writing letters all through college and sent over stuff from the US from time to time.  One of my friends, Natalia, had returned the favor on several occasions and once sent over a small bottle of 40% Polish vodka.

“I know it’s not the real stuff, but I think it might work.”  How could it not.  I surmised rubbing alcohol had far more of the real thing in it anyway, so what could a mere 40% distilled do.

I doused a paper towel, bent over, stretched out my hand and …..

[Insert High-Pitched Scream Here]

Thanks for vodka Natalia (it was definitely worth every penny), and thanks for the memory Sis.