Philip and Jennifer Russell (BS IE ’97, M.Eng ’12) showed their Tiger Pride as they celebrated their 5th anniversary at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in April 2017.
After graduating from Clemson in 2013, I took an engineer position at a medical device company in Pendleton, SC. After one year, I entered the PhD program at Clemson for Materials Science and Engineering. I was working full time, doing research, and taking classes for almost two years.
In 2016 I felt a different calling in life. I could no longer ignore the voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t where I needed to be. So, to the confusion of my parents, I left my company in October of 2016 and began remotely consulting for online businesses.
You could call it a pivot.
Since I could work anywhere there was WiFi, I went all in and bought a two-month ticket to Vietnam. I had no friends that lived there and no one to travel with. I didn’t even make travel plans until I got to Asia, I just loaded my stuff into a backpack and climbed on a plane.
Hiroshima, Japan was absolutely moving. You see buildings that survived the atomic blast in 1945. When you stand next to them, inside the rebuilt city, it is a very powerful experience.
Singapore was great, too. I say it is perfect for those who don’t want to get culture shocked too hard. It is very high tech, modern, clean, safe, with excellent transportation, and enough Indian and Asian culture to satisfy the junior traveler.
Chiang Mai, Thailand is the Asian hub for people working remotely (called Digital Nomads) and it’s clear why. It’s a really fun, smaller city at the foot of the mountains. I miss the night time food markets and weaving a moped through aggressive traffic.
In Hanoi, I found a bar with an open mic night and got to play a short concert.
In Thailand, I signed up for a 2-day retreat through a monk university. We spent 2 days in near-total silence learning about Buddhism, the life of a monk, and spent hours each day meditating using the methods they taught to us.
My advice to future travelers would be:
Pack and repack your bag several times so you know where to trim down your belongings. I had to ship half my stuff home midway through the trip. Although it was expensive, having a lighter backpack made a huge difference.
Don’t be intimidated by the local language or culture. Almost anywhere you go in the world, you will find friendly people willing to help you. If you learn about 5 basic phrases in each language you can survive a few weeks. Be polite, respectful, and get comfortable communicating with your hands.
Finally, don’t overthink it. The world is basically one big back yard with really good food everywhere. Do some basic research on where you’re going and just… go!
In the picture above, I’m on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. More photographs at www.instagram.com/jarrettlucero
Chris ’04 and Nicolette ’04 Daleske brave 38 degree glacial water in March of 2017 to prove that Clemsonites can conquer not only the National Championship, but ice cold waters as well! The Clemson couple are floating in “No Man’s Land” in the continental rift between the North American and European tectonic plates in Silfra, Iceland.
Clay Addison ’82 and Nancy Addison ’82 on vacation in Reykjavik, Iceland in front of a Viking Funeral ship sculpture. Notice the old school Tiger Rag with the purple paw. That same Tiger Rag was with us at the Orange Bowl in 1981 when we won our first national championship. Go Tigers!
Ron Moore at the Tomb of David, during his six days of travel in Israel.
Our daughter Rebekah is spending a year in Hungary serving with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission. Recently we were able to visit her and spend some time together in Budapest. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of our lives! (Another one just happened to occur weeks earlier…in Tampa, watching our Tigers bring home a 2nd National Championship!)
Lora Bryant ’96 Pfohl and daughter , Josie Pfohl (future class of 2033) at the top of the Peisey Resort, Rhône Alpes, France. Lora is married to Mike Pfohl (’94, MBA 2001) who is working with Michelin Tire headquartered in France. The family has expatriated to France for two years.
It all started at Clemson: Jeff ’91 M ’96 and Laurianne Proctor Matheson ’92 celebrate twenty years of marriage in Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
“But tonight, at the top of the mountain that Clemson flag is flying.”
I took my Tiger Rag to the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world……9 days later, Dabo Swinney said that after Clemson won the national championship!
We, just a group of Clemson students studying abroad, were taking a day trip to Geneva, Switzerland when we had our first overseas Clemson moment. We were hiking to the top of Mt. Salève, which is just across the border from Geneva into France. The weather was beautiful, the snow was melting, and we had a picture-perfect view of the Alps from the top of the mountain. So, of course, we had to take a picture with our Tiger Rag. While we were posing, a voice called out, “Are y’all holding a Clemson flag?” We responded yes indeed, surprised that we had run into a fellow Southerner who knew about Clemson at the top of a European mountain. He asked us if he could take a picture of us holding the Tiger Rag because one of his friends is a Clemson alumni and would love to see that he had run into some Clemson students. We posed for him, happy to show off our tiger pride. So, Clemson alumni, wherever you are, I hope you enjoyed the picture of us on top of Mt. Salève, and I am so happy that our small, Clemson worlds were able to collide.