An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Covet Thy Job

OK, this is probably revealing more about my personality than I care to admit, but since I have been in PNG I have come across quite a few people, with really cool jobs, that I would love to do.

It is certainly the type of country that draws these types here. Firstly you have to be pretty game to start with. Also I am sure a sense of adventure is needed, not to mention that this is a country that breeds difficulty and therefore that translates into difficult jobs. All qualities that I would subscribe to.

So as to the types that have made me a tad jealous, well at the moment I can think of four people who have I have met, whose jobs I would seriously like to poach - persuming of course I had the skills to be able to do them in first place.

Leatherback Turtle Counter
OK, the list starts with these guys, who are also from the most recent meeting, in fact just last Friday - well something had to give me the idea for this post. These two guys who work for the U.S. Govt. Fisheries department. They get to travel the world, checking out the numbers of Leatherback Turtles and their nest at the various nestings sites.

They called themselves Marineologists or something like that, and obviously do the job because of the love of ecology. If you have worked me out, you would gather that I would be in this job for the travel and certainly not for being a public servant of the U.S. Government. One of the guys, Scott, has been all over for his work, Australia, South Africa, etc. It must be tough.

Counting turtles though would be a pretty cool thing to do, let alone the travel. On this trip out here (this is the fourth time in a row for Scott) they are chartering a plane and flying at 200 feet above the coast of Madang, Morobe, Northern, New Britain and Bougainville provinces to count nests. Even the pilot, Chris, said it was a blast, afterwards.

Lonely Planet Writer
The reason for this one is pretty obvious if you have just read the above. Except this time you get to stay longer than a few weeks in the country - although according to Andrew, who we met back in August, not by much. The downsides would be that you have to actually write something and not just go in awe of all the culture you have to absorb. Still if getting paid to go anywhere is happening I would take it, especially exotic places.

Bush Pilot
Travel doesn't take a starring role in this profession, not like the others above. In this case it is more of the thrill. I have spoken to quite a few of these guys and they get up to all sorts while working up here. There is the professional related fun as described by Chris, and there is not so professional related antics, some of which I have collated from some Column 8 snippets in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Where else in the world would you get to have so much fun being a pilot, especially from a technical point of view (unless of course if you are a jet-fighter pilot, landing on aircraft carrier decks in the middle of the pacific). Not many places throw up as many challengers like PNG does. Steep grassy slope landings of 17°, 14000 foot mountains, tropical storms, celebrity status from the locals when arriving at a small village. Good fun all round in my books. The downside I guess would be that it would be a case of fly in and fly out, no time to take in scenery, although you get to do that from the air before and after anyway.

A job similiar to this is the helicopter pilot. There are a few of them here, but strangely I haven't met any of them. It would be a good toss up between a copter and fixed wing pilot over which would be better. Just to be on the safe side I would take them both.

National Geographic Photographer
Of the jobs listed above, all of them are ones that I would enjoy for a limited time perhaps a year or two at the most, although a Lonely Planet job, I might stretch it out to about 5 years before I got sick of the rush and write. This one though is one that I could not see myself getting sick of in a hurry.

I actually lied at the top when I said I have met all the people who have these jobs while being here. I haven't met a National Geographic photographer. It would be cool if I have but, but I have certainly met a freelance photographer with all the gear (including assistant) at the Goroka show in September.

A NG photographer in my eyes would be the ultimate job. Go on assignment for a couple of months, to photograph a place. Get time to absorb all the details, and be expected to. Have all the gear at your finger tips. It would be pretty good.

Surprisingly enough it is probably the job that for me would take the least amount of training to be able to achieve. I am currently pretty handy with a camera, all it takes is a lot of experience. Something I will have to work at - I just can't see myself setting up computers for ever now can I.

In case anyone from NG is reading this ... here is a pic I took at the Unitech Cultural show, way back in March. And yes this is from the bunch of films I had processed while back in Oz, so you will see a few more of these pop up on this site intermediately in the future.

Huli wigman from the Southern Highlands