Yes, it is true, I’m going to Albania to work as a Law Enforcement Development Officer with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). While there I hope to get lots of motorcycling in too 🙂
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I received an email that created some panic and stress. The email was a job offer from the OSCE. What caused me stress was that they wanted me to start on January 21, only weeks away. Meanwhile, I was home for Christmas until January 10, my motorcycle was in Bogota, Colombia, and I was to be in Vienna, Austria, on January 21! How was I ever going to accomplish that?
Many of you I am sure have not heard of the OSCE before. The following is from their website:
With 57 participating States in North America, Europe and Asia, the OSCE – the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – is the world’s largest regional security organization. The OSCE works for stability, peace and democracy for more than a billion people, through political dialogue about shared values and through practical work that aims to make a lasting difference.
The OSCE is a forum for political dialogue on a wide range of security issues and a platform for joint action to improve the lives of individuals and communities. The organization uses a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses the politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions. Through this approach, and with its inclusive membership, the OSCE helps bridge differences and build trust between states by co-operating on conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.
With its Institutions, expert units and network of field operations, the OSCE addresses issues that have an impact on our common security, including arms control, terrorism, good governance, energy security, human trafficking, democratization, media freedom and national minorities.
Our activities cover a wide range of security issues such as conflict prevention to fostering economic development, ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources & promoting the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
I have worked with the OSCE before in Macedonia as a Police Advisor, and then as an Organized Crime and Transnational Threats Advisor. So I am familiar with the organization and the region.
The OSCE in Albania
The mandate for the OSCE in Albania is, “to assist Albania in developing effective democratic institutions and to promote the rule of law and human rights in the country. It does this through a variety of legal and administrative reform initiatives; activities aimed at fighting corruption and trafficking; and programmes to develop the country’s media, support civil society, and train police and customs officials.”
Law Enforcement Development Officer
As for my position, I will be stationed in Tirana, Albania. I will be responsible for working with all Albanian law enforcement bodies to offer strategic and tactical law enforcement advice and assistance.
So the question that may arise for some of my followers is why would I leave my motorcycle adventure. I can assure you it wasn’t an easy decision.
Motorcycling has given me freedom to come and go as I choose. I rarely set my alarm. I also get to see so many sights and cultures that people only dream of seeing. All this on a motorcycle, where I experience the wind in my face and the freedom of the open road. There is also the identity of being a motorcycle adventurer. All very tough things to give up.
However, like everything in my little mind, there are also down sides. First, there is little socialization on my trip. Part of this is due to the language barrier, traveling by myself, being on the move most of the time, and me not being the most extroverted person in the world. Working in one place satisfies much of this.
Second, the trip has taken a toll on my health. This isn’t entirely the trips fault ha ha. But I don’t eat the best and don’t exercise. This can of course be combated with some discipline. Discipline I don’t seem to have. I need a routine and a stable environment where I can focus on my health.
Third, on the trip I am constantly spending money. Don’t get me wrong, I live a comfortable life on the road, but of course it would be nice to earn money for a change 🙂
Lastly, I get this nagging feeling once in awhile of being “useless” and not contributing to society. Much of life is a quest for meaning greater than oneself. I have a need to contribute … even if it is just to help one person.
International police development, along with motorcycling have been my passions. I worked Namibia as a Capacity Building Advisor, then in Macedonia after which I motorcycled around the US for 6 months. Then worked for a bit more at thee Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in BC, Canada, before doing this year and a half trip from Prudhoe Bay to Bogota Colombia. Now I’m flipping back to international police development.
Having said that, I still plan on riding 🙂 The plan is to buy a motorcycle to explore Albania and neighbouring countries. Also to do motorcycle tours through Italy, Spain and Portugal. So I will continue to blog about my travel experiences 🙂
I look back at all I have accomplished on this trip with satisfaction, and with some sadness that this part is over. But also excitement about what lies ahead.
Making it Happen
Back to the problem at hand, how will I get my motorcycle to Vancouver and me to Albania?
First, I emailed the OSCE and they agreed that I could start February 1, instead of January 21. Phew, that gave me a bit more time to figure things out.
I emailed and phone a bunch or cargo and logistic places. Only one responded. That was Veronica from Cargorider! Veronica was a life saver. She came back with a quote for $3000 US to get my motorcycle from Bogota to Vancouver, leaving Bogota on January 26. I took it. It was going to be tight, but doable. I hope.
It was now back to Bogota to see Veronica and make things happen. Fingers crossed!!
You may remember I have a motto for this trip and life and general. It comes from Helen Keller who said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Here is a similar quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I continue to live an adventurous life and daring greatly.