How Missing a Bus in Spain Got me a Job.
In order to adequately explain how missing a bus in Spain led to me landing a great job, I have to start with our time in Morocco.
Morgan Bernard (Co-Founder of Knowledge on the Run) and I woke up on our final morning at our surf camp in Taghazout, Morocco. Rashid, our surf guide for the week, was loading up the truck with our boards, lunch, and our wetsuits for our final excursion. We tried out a new spot at a reef break that morning, called Mysteries. Morgan and one of the other guests caught some of their best waves of the trip that day, and my novice surfing ability was showcased to the world. I’m sure Rashid had a good laugh watching me struggle.
After the morning surf, Morgan and I made a rash decision. We were going to abandon our already purchased flight from Agadir to Paris. The idea was that flights are boring, and we were on a grand adventure, so why not just figure out a more involved form of transportation. Well, 4 hours later we were on a 16-hour bus ride from Agadir to the northern coast of Morocco to the port city of Tangier.
Once we arrived in Tangier we had to figure out how to get to the ferry from the bus stop, and we ended up taking a Tuk-Tuk from the bus stop, all the way to the ferry docks. We then walked out on the dock and begun asking around to figure out where to purchase our tickets.
Finally, after clearing customs, we were aboard the ferry to Tarifa, Spain. Now, we needed to get to Seville this night in order to check in to the Hostel that we had already booked. Morgan and I speak enough Spanish collectively to be able to read signs and find our way around. We discovered that there was a bus to Seville, but the bus stop was all the way across town. We set off towards the bus stop, navigation system in hand, ready to continue our already close to 30-hour day with another few hours on a bus. Once at the bus stop our worst fears were realized. It was a holiday tomorrow, and the last bus for today had left 15 minutes earlier. We were a few hours from Seville, we had a hostel booked and paid for, and a flight from Seville to Barcelona in the evening the next day.
This was when all of our years working at camp came in to play. We knew we were in a crisis, and there was a huge obstacle in front of us. We were tired, having carried all of our luggage for our two months that we would be in traveling. We were hungry, the last meal that we had were a few snacks on the ferry ride over from Morocco. We were running out of options, and we knew that we needed to act fast.
We knew we needed to tackle this obstacle one piece at a time. The first step was canceling our hostel for the night in Seville and finding a new a place to stay in Tarifa for the night. We didn’t get our money back, but we did find a quaint little place that we could drop off our luggage. We then went to the beach. Tarifa is the kitesurfing capital of the world, and we were lucky to enjoy our dinner at a restaurant right on the beach where we could watch the athletes ride. While we were eating dinner, we found out that no public transportation would be available the entire next day due to the holiday. So, to alleviate this problem we called a cab company and scheduled a pick up for early in the morning to take us to the airport in Seville.
The next day we took the cab all the way to Seville, and made our flight to Barcelona, and were back on track, just had a little adventure along the way.
So how did this travel experience land me a job? Well, that part is easy. First of all, the job search is hard, and it’s going to throw a lot of different variables at you along the way. This experience taught me how to remain calm, even when things weren’t going exactly according to schedule. Secondly, when you are interviewing for a job, all you are doing is trying to show the person on the other side of the table that you can solve the problem they have. Being able to maneuver these obstacles in Spain, gave me the confidence to know that when my interviewer was telling me what problems they were facing, that I would be able to think logically and explain my approach to finding a solution. Finally, the most important thing that missing this bus to Seville prepared me for while I was looking for jobs, was the ability to communicate effectively. Morgan and I were often on a time crunch while trying to get to Seville, and we needed to get information out of many people quickly, most of whom spoke Arabic or Spanish. Learning how to communicate with people who speak English as a second language has proven to be the most valuable experience in my search for employment. I am much better, because of this experience, at knowing how to effectively leverage my non-verbal communication, in the most supportive fashion to the message I am trying to communicate.
On the adventure of a lifetime, I’m happy that Morgan and I always chose to take the road less traveled. There may have been some obstacles, but every obstacle is an opportunity to practice, train, and hone the skills that will help you be capable to conquer any job interview.