Sunday, March 29, 2009

Portable Career

This article that I wrote appeared in this months Oasis.

Portable Career

The hardest adjustment for a trailing spouse is to get used to the idea of giving up ones existing job or to search for a new one in a new location. But what if you did not have to give up your job, identify new clients from scratch or lose your income?

Yes, unbelievable as this may sound, it is possible, especially in this day and age of the internet.

The most common jobs that can be easily done over the internet are writing, editing and proof reading. Most freelance writers, write in the comfort of their homes. Their editors finalize the topic of the article over email and the writer sends it back once it is done. Rarely does an editor meet with their writers even if they are in the same town, so distance doesn’t matter. (This may not hold true for journalists in all cases).

Editors and proof readers also receive their basic material over email and send it back the same way once corrections have been done. Publishing houses, magazines, dissertation students from University all these are always looking out for writers or proof readers.

A couple of friends of mine run successful life coaching/personal coaching businesses online. They speak to their clients via skype or other VOIP software and it makes no difference to the client wherever in the world their counselor is located.

I do know a couple of people who have managed to continue their consulting business from different corners of the globe. With clients in their home country, they visit them occasionally on trips home and continue to work with them online over email, web or video conferencing and VOIP.

With internet banking and global payment services like Paypal, receiving money from different countries is not a problem in this day and age.

If you are computer phobic and internet based businesses are not for you, then there are still a lot of options to earn some money, even in a new country/location.

Giving classes is the easiest option to start up in any new location. If you have a special skill or vocation like cooking, baking, sewing, embroidery, jewelry making, yoga or anything similar, it is easy to start classes in that skill once you get connected in your new home.

If you like cooking and baking, there is the alternate revenue stream of cooking/baking to order in small or large quantities. In Egypt, taking up a stall at the Cooks Day off at the CSA is a good way to get a large cross section of potential customers exposed to your food. People like Kathy have even sold their home made cookies via outlets like Miriam Market.

If you love knitting, embroidery, designing jewelry or anything else which has a sellable end product, you will find a large target audience at the vendor stalls that normally accompany church and other monthly meetings or bazaars.

If you speak a foreign language, you can take language classes in small groups or individually. If you are especially good at explaining subjects like mathematics, economics or the sciences, a lot of parents look for someone who can coach their school going children in such subjects.

Most of these jobs can be done out of the comfort of your own home if you so prefer.

If you are someone who loves shopping, then you can turn that too into a profession. Personal shoppers are in great demand in some countries. If you know where to buy good quality clothes in Egypt, you can make money by using that knowledge coupled with a sense of style to spend other people’s money while building them a tasteful wardrobe.

I know women who have used their eye for buying unusual knick knacks, handicrafts or antiques to buy unique pieces in their home country and then sell them in their adoptive/host country and vice versa. In most cases making a tidy profit, due to the lack of availability of these items. (Please check the local laws for importing & exporting food items and antiques)

It is truly a blessing if you can convert something you enjoy doing into an income generating opportunity and if this opportunity is portable, then you do not have to worry which location your spouse is going to be transferred to next.

Karishma Pais (Kim) is an expat trailing wife in Cairo. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources and Behaviour. She consults on HR projects, delivers intercultural training at the CSA, counsels new and experienced expats, is the editor of DIVA, writes for several magazines – online and offline, she runs and among other activities. Her Social Commentary and blog about life in Egypt can be read at

Baladi Bars / Downtown Dives in Cairo

Melanie pointed me to this quirky yet informational site for watering holes in the downtown area.

Innovatively designed, it takes a little while to get used to its non-traditional browsing method, but it contains a wealth of information. Use the menu window at the bottom right corner for slightly easier browsing.

Check it out, if you want to grab a stella, in a local downtown setting.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Woman's place in the Mosque?

Camel, of PTP brought this article to my attention.

Its from the BBC.

Your thoughts?

Snow in St Katherines (Sinai)

It snowed recently on the highest peaks of the Sinai Peninsula. A very knowledgeable friend explained how snow was more useful and valuable than rain in these areas.

Rain rushes down, causing soil erosion, flash flooding, erosion of top soil, among other problems.

When it snows, and the snow then melts slowly, as it happened this time, the melting snow percolates at a much better rate into the water table.

Baraka Gardens are a mountain and desert garden retreat in this peninsula. They sent out a wonderful mail titled "Snow in Egypt - Blessing for Gardens". I reproduce the text here below:

Blessing for the mountain gardens of Sinai

The previous winter there was very little snow and rain, and many of the trees in the mountains, including one of only 8 ancient mulberry trees, died as a result. The winter of 2008-09 was even worse – there was no precipitation at all, throughout the winter months and we had to think about the worse. Then the mild spring weather turned into what winter should have been like from the beginning; on the morning of 1st March the town of St. Katherine and the mountains were covered in snow, a sight people had not seen for a decade.

The snow in some patches will remain in the high mountains for another week or so, but
most of it started melting right away, forming streams and water falls, soaking into the ground and replenishing the water table. The timing couldn’t be better – it is the beginning of spring and wild plants just as much as fruit trees were literally dying for a little water. Within a few days the dry shrubs came back to life with little flowers appearing and filling the wadis with the scent of mountain herbs, and planting of new crops is under way in the gardens. This
spring will be very special, just like these few winter days were, and there are a number of natural water pools, springs and streams where water will be plentiful throughout the summer till next winter.

See images of this winter:

Learn about the Jabaleya gardening traditions and our garden retreat:

See other mountain garden retreats:

Information about St. Katherine and the region:

Please feel free to forward this email to others.

Thank you,

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cairo Marriott Crow

My attention was brought to this entertaining video on the Cairo Marriott Crow, created by a past guest at the hotel. He uses on scene footage and has created an interesting song around it :)

Take a look:
Related Posts with Thumbnails