Greetings from Afghanistan!
My name is Jeff Baier, and this is my entry into the “Best Dive Job in the World” contest!
Caption: In Basrah, Iraq with K9 Sultan!
For starters, I’ll tell you a bit about myself…
I’m currently working here in the Middle East, and have been bouncing back and forth between Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly 7 years now.
Of course, it wasn’t always like this – I used to have a normal job and lived a relatively normal life. I worked in a nice office, had a pile of bills to pay every month, and got stuck in traffic commuting to and from work 5 days a week.
Then of course, the economy in Detroit, Michigan (formerly the Automotive Capital of the World) took a nose dive…
Instead of trying to jump back in the Rat Race, I decided to do something different. Way different. In 2004 I ended up with a four-legged partner trying to find bombs and bite Bad Guys out in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
I did this for a year… then another… then three years turned into five, and now it’s coming up on seven years! The adventure would lead me from southern Afghanistan to various parts of Iraq and finally now back to Afghanistan again.
My fiancée wasn’t at all thrilled, and she ended up marrying some guy in Japan. And of course my commute did change a bit – and became, well, a bit more challenging…
Still, the pay wasn’t bad. Aside from a few rockets and mortars during odd hours of the night, things went more or less smoothly. And of course there was plenty of sunshine…
However, the view never really seems to change – everything is just the same plain beige color, and generally looks like this:
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled many places (China, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, Jamaica, Mexico, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, England, Germany, France, Turkey, Netherlands, and Austria) but my favorite part of the world is still SE Asia.
The first place I ever went scuba diving was in the Capones Islands in the Philippines, and I vowed to return and get certified – something that is still on my “To Do” list all these years later! The thing I really miss about being here in the Middle East is that there is no water – no beautiful blue oceans, no beaches, no marine creatures whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the closest thing we get to seeing “water” is this:
Sorry, it was a bad joke… At any rate, I will be finishing my 18-month tour here in Afghanistan this May, completing my MBA degree shortly afterwards, and hope to begin yet another brand new adventure – something better and brighter, definitely not being stuck in an office, and surrounded by TONS of beautiful scenery!
So that’s my story – and that is exactly why I want to change my life and become a PADI Instructor!
Jeffrey K. Baier