Guest Post by Dave Seminara
I started this series nine months ago to help people get a better understanding of what life in the U.S. Foreign Service is like. Many of the posts have been about my experiences but I’ve also introduced readers to an intrepid, single female diplomat fresh off of tours in Syria and Pakistan, a diplomatic courier, a USAID Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Afghanistan and others. But spend some time at the sites listed below to get a flavor of what it’s like to represent the U.S. Government in The Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Pakistan and dozens of other exotic locales.
Adventures in Good Countries- Getting Along In The Foreign Service
I love this blog. The author, apparently a single female public diplomacy officer who, “doesn’t date outside the visa waiver program,” blogs with style and passion about life in Japan, Pakistan, Jordan and elsewhere, coping with Multiple Sclerosis and whatever else pops into her head. How can you not like a writer who offers advice to protesters on how to construct a good effigy? (“Don’t just throw something together with the rationale that you’re only going to burn it anyway – take some pride in your work.”)
You might not agree with Peter Van Buren but you will want to read his blog, which is sometimes offensive but never boring.
This blog, which details the lives of a family of five living in Recife, Brazil, La Paz, Bolivia and elsewhere, is one of the very best Foreign Service related sites out there. It’s a particularly good resource for parents who are wondering what the overseas experience will be like for their children.
Amy Gottlieb’s Photography & Blog
Gottlieb is a doctor and a USAID FSO currently serving in Vietnam. Her portraits from Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, South America, Africa and beyond are as good as any you’ll find anywhere.
Adventures Around the World- A Foreign Service Officer’s Tales of Life Abroad
The author of this refreshingly candid and well-written blog is currently in Kabul and has previously served in Iraq and Nepal. Here’s how she described the “honeymoon” period at a new post: “The honeymoon period is the time frame after moving to a foreign country where the excitement of being somewhere new overshadows certain harsh realities of living in a foreign country. People burning piles of trash in the street give the place ‘character’ and bargaining with a taxi driver is part of the ‘adventure.'”
This is a stunning photo blog from an American diplomat who was born on a farm in China and is currently serving in South Korea. Visiting this site is the next best thing to booking a ticket to Seoul. Also, for those who are curious to know how long it takes to join the Foreign Service, take a look at his instructive personal timeline for some clues.
Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic
Anyone who features a photo of themselves (I presume) with a Gambian poached rat on their homepage is all right by me. This is a blog from a FSO posted in Conakry, Guinea, a place where “you tend to find yourself without a really specific reason.”
The Slow Move East- Thoughts on Being an Expatriate
Hannah Draper, a FSO currently serving in Libya, might be a “Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East,” but her writing is compulsively readable.
Where in the World am I? Notes from the Streets of Hyderabad, India
A FSO in Hyderabad who previously served in Burundi blogs about food and life overseas with gusto.
Cross Words- A Blog About Writing and Anything Else That Comes to Mind
Ted Cross, a FSO currently living in Budapest who apparently just signed up for Facebook last week (Friend him!), tells us on his homepage that his “dream is to be a published author.” I like someone who isn’t afraid to tell the world what he wants. He’s into fantasy and science fiction, neither of which interests me, but his blog is unique and his writing is lucid.
Four Globetrotters- The (Most Likely) Incoherent Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Single Mother Living Overseas with her Trio of Kiddos
Anyone who can pull off being a single mom in the Foreign Service is someone I want to meet. This blog, written by a former Foreign Service brat, isn’t nearly as incoherent as advertised.
Beau Geste, Mon Ami- The Chronicle of my Journey to and through The Foreign Service
Even a quick breeze through this visually appealing blog will give you an idea of how varied and interesting life in the Foreign Service can be. If nothing else, do not miss the photos of the tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea.
Zvirdins at Large- Jamie and Andrew’s Excellent Adventures
If you want a slice of life from the Marshall Islands, this is the place to go. I love this blog but I couldn’t bring myself to click into the video entitled “Pig Shooting” in a post on “Pig Butchering.” Yikes.
Let me know in the comments section if you think I’ve missed any great FSO-related blogs and if you’re the author of ones of the sites mentioned above, tell us a bit about yourself.
Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.
(Photos courtesy of Amy Gottlieb)
Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.
This year’s April issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ, April 2012) discussed the Family Member Employment, and the search for meaningful work overseas. Reading through the whole edition, you’ll find great stories about living and working as a Foreign Service spouse. Several FS spouses shared their experiences and impressions regarding working overseas. It’s an honor to be one of the contributors to this edition. Congratulations to all who contributed to that month’s issue. Here’s the link to another FS blogger, also sharing her impressions about family member employment.
A Traveler In The Foreign Service: A ‘Trailing Spouse’ Speaks Out (gadling.com)
Career options overseas (anagentswife.wordpress.com)
7 thoughts on “A Traveler In The Foreign Service: The Best Foreign Service Blogs, by Dave Seminara.”
That cigar was great 🙂
I feel sorry for the diplomat who had to apologise for disparaging remarks about Hillary. Amazing that she had the gall to request one. I mean, she simply begs for disparaging remarks.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts… Anyway, never a dull moment in this life! ;o
Great post, I will visit some of the blogs mentioned here as soon as possible. I travel through your experiences. LOL
Thank you very much, Marcia! I was actually quite surprised to find out our blog was listed as a good one, but especially, because it was mentioned to be a good resource for other traveling families… that’s why I write… and share! 😮 Thanks for checking it out… I’m sure you’ll find great reading through the list presented by Dave’s post… Very enjoyable and entertaining!