Other Guy's Dime
Professional's Guide to Traveling Without Paying
What do London,
Nairobi, Kathmandu and Jerusalem all have in common?
These are just some of
the places around the world where author Schneider, his
wife, and sometimes his children too have traveled on paid
Who among us doesn't enjoy
traveling? And who among us wouldn't love to do more, but
can't due to a shortage of both time off work and spare money to
fund our travel passion?
What if there was a way you
could be paid to travel? Would that help? Of course
This new book lifts the veil
on some of the little understand opportunities to get good
temporary assignments in far away lands; temporary assignments
that may pay your travel costs, your living costs, and give you
a salary on top of it all, too.
As such, On the Other Guy's
Dime is a fascinating book that many of us may be able to
About the Book
The paperback book
measures 8 1/4" x 5 1/2", and is 5/8" in
thickness. It has 218 pages and comprises about 78,000 words, with
moderately sized and well spaced type. It was published in
The book is printed onto
lower grade off-white paper, and has maybe a handful of low
quality black and white photos sprinkled throughout it. It is printed in black
The book lists for $18.95,
but can be purchased on Amazon
for currently $14.21, and is also
available in Kindle format for $7.99, and due to its black text
only (and black and white low resolution picture) format, it is well suited for reading on a Kindle.
The book has fourteen
chapters, plus a Preface. It loosely follows more or less
chronographically the author's travels over a 30+ year period.
About the Author
Professor G Michael
Schneider is these days a visiting Professor at Columbia
University (which is itself an interesting concept he explains
in his book).
He retired from 25 years teaching IT at
Macalester College in St Paul in 2007, and had spent eight years at the
University of Minnesota prior to that.
During more than 30 years, he reports :
My wife, children, and I had
the good fortune to live and work overseas fourteen
times - Australia to Zimbabwe, Mauritius to Mongolia - for periods
of 1 to 8 months.
We have gazed at Everest, ridden camels in the
Gobi, walked with elephants in the Serengeti, visited the
indigenous tribes in Borneo, and lived on a tropical island
paradise, all without ever reaching into my own wallet and
without ever once giving up my regular day job.
And that is pretty much what
his book is all about - how he transitioned from a neophyte who
had never even been far into Canada or Mexico, to taking his
first international assignment - three months in London,
complete with his wife and two young children - to continuing to
travel subsequently with increasing competence, skill and
comfort, to places that were increasingly exotic.
But, and here is where the
book becomes truly captivating. The focus of the book is
not on himself and his family. It is on you and your
family, and how you can now emulate his own past travels.
What the Book Contains
On the Other Guy's Dime
is a book about how to get and enjoy short term (paid) working
vacations, running in length from perhaps one month minimum (but
more commonly two) up to perhaps 12 months maximum (but more
This is very different to
volunteer tourism (where oftentimes you'll actually have to pay for the privilege of working for free) and is also very
different to the concept of a student style working holiday
where you take low paying jobs with dubious immigration status
as you backpack your way around a region.
If you've ever wondered
about how some people go on working holidays around the world,
getting a job in some exotic foreign locale for anywhere from a
few weeks to the better part of the year; and - more to the
point - if you've ever thought that it might be something you'd
like too, then this is the book for you.
The book is very well
written, with good clear content and an easy to follow logic and
flow to it. Perhaps this is the result of his 30+ years
teaching (and of the other books he's written, although they are
scholarly text books rather than generally pitched travel
books, as in this case).
Two Parts to the Book
interwoven for the most part, this book has two main parts to
it. The first part encourages and equips you to find
overseas postings, giving you a series of both obvious and
far-from-obvious suggestions as to how to go about pursuing this
The second part applies to
you after you've succeeded at the first part and have secured
yourself an international assignment. Now you can turn to
the book for practical help on everything from what to do with
your home back in the US (or wherever else in the world you are)
to how and where to locate suitable accommodation overseas.
Want advice on how to get
the best value rental car for an extended period of time?
He offers some good ideas, although doesn't mention the popular
concept adopted by some travelers - buying a car outright with a
pre-arranged buy-back at the end of a period of time.
Want to see twice as many
countries for the same overall cost as one? He tells you
how to do that?
And should you travel first
class or coach on your way to and from your assignment? He
has an excellent reason for the choice he advocates, and with
which I completely concur.
And so on and so on, through
218 excellent pages.
A Bonus Third Part Too
In addition to being an
excellent reference/resource for people planning and preparing
for overseas postings, the book is an enjoyable read as a
'travel yarn' too, recounting some of the experiences and
impressions of the author, his wife, and their family on their
travels around the world.
There is also a theme
running through everything he says - staying in an area for more
than the typical tourist timetable of a couple of days will
vastly enrichen your experience, allowing you to see and
experience a great deal more, and to eventually move on with a
true understanding and affinity for the region you visited.
As such, you have surely become a Traveler rather than merely a
Not For Everyone
main focus is on how academics such as himself can get short
term paid postings in foreign countries.
And, for sure, it is
particularly easy for academics to take advantage of such
opportunities, what with extended summer breaks, sabbaticals,
and a fairly generous approach by many faculties to allowing
their staff to participate in such activities.
The other enabling part of
such activities is the flip side of the coin - a welcoming
attitude by many other educational institutions to having short
term staff members, and it is easy to understand how such
cross-pollination of people can enrichen both the host
institution and the visiting professor.
People who are not firmly
ensconced in the academic world do not have so many advantages
or opportunities; instead, they have much greater constraints.
For example, if you're an attorney, you may have work
commitments and clients stretching forward months or longer into
the future. If you're eg a marketing manager, you may have
new product launches. And if you're an accountant (or any
other professional) your skills may not translate directly into
those needed in a foreign country (tax laws are very different
everywhere, but so too are legal systems, medical practices,
building codes for architects, and so on).
If you're more a tradesman
or 'blue collar laborer' there may be good news and bad news for
you. Your skills are probably more portable than those of
the professional, and/or there would be less time in
cross-training you in the unique variances in a host company and
country. But, the downside is that there are very much
fewer opportunities for tradesmen to be assigned international
On the other hand, never say
never, and nothing is impossible. Particularly in some of
the more arduous and rapidly developing nations, some trades
skills may be even more valuable than 'book learning' - most
countries first want to feed and house their people before they
want to then pay for them to study the humanities at
His underlying advice -
network and be creatively pro-active - holds good in all cases,
and when you do get any type of international assignment, the
balance of his advice, on how to make the most of your posting,
is fully relevant.
The book is good, and
there's little in it I disagree with.
But it is not a
complete coverage of every possible aspect and little known way
of finding paid work overseas, and in particular, the reference
section at the end is, as he says himself 'far from complete'
and his cop-out excuse for not giving a more exhaustive listing
of resources is, alas, pretty much exactly that
would have loved to end this book with hundreds of web sites
containing working-vacation prospects neatly sorted by
country and field of specialization - one click and you are
on your way - but that scenario is not a possibility since
each specialization will have its own unique assortment of
foundations, grants, agencies and programs.
One of the most significant
omissions is the
International Executive Service Corps. I know people
who have enjoyed assignments through this organization, and you
should be sure to include this as part of your researches.
A word of advice, too which
is also absent but important.
If you're seeking a paid job as a cornerstone of your travels,
be extremely wary of websites claiming to be able to find you
wonderful and lucrative assignments in glamorous locations, but
which seek some type of fee from you up front.
Not all of such
organizations are fraudulent, but some most definitely may be.
As always, and particularly on the internet, be very careful
before parting with your money up front in exchange for vague
promises somewhere down the line.
Visit Schneider's Blog, Too
If you'd like a further taste of
some of the material in the book, and additional information as
well, you can also visit
the author's blog. In February 2011 he posted three
interesting articles on the topic 'What the Heck is a Working
Vacation' that gives you a quick overview; and most of his other
recent posts are based on content in his book too.
I'm not saying
there's no need to buy the book if you read the blog, though!
The book is much more complete and well ordered.
On the Other Guy's Dime
is an excellent book, suitable for three types of reader.
First, it is an enjoyable travel yarn about the experiences of
author G Michael Schneider and his family as they travel around
the world and learn from their experiences.
Second, it is an excellent
(but not fully encyclopedic) 'how to' resource for how to find
overseas postings yourself.
Third, it is a very useful
book to help you prepare for and then get maximum benefit from
your posting and your time in your host country.
With a list price of $18.95,
and available on Amazon
for currently $14.21, or in Kindle format for $7.99, this is a good value good
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1 Mar 2011, last update
19 Dec 2013
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