How To Make Money As A 15-Year-Old Without A Job Life Over the Horizon

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Life Over the Horizon

Christopher McCandless himself says: “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and therefore there is no greater joy than having an infinitely changing horizon, having a new and different sun every day”.

When I was a teenager, the West, as always, seemed like the epicenter of possibility and opportunity. Through this article I want to share my experiences as a young immigrant in the Western world over the past 20 years. I was only fifteen when my parents decided to move our base from India to the United States of America. As a young teenager, like everyone at that age, I was very excited about immigration and becoming an American citizen, exploring that part of the world that I had read about so much in books. Coming from a military background, my life has always been adventurous and fast moving with exposure to many states, cities, cultures and the beautiful diversity that is India. Like all Fauji (army) children, as they are called, I lived in a very adventurous yet protective environment where we are somehow spoiled to the core with comfort, security, and the joys of down-to-earth life. I loved that life.

I finished my board exams and we traveled first to the UK for a holiday which was wonderful and fascinating being my first international exposure and then we hit the dream destination of all USA. The first few weeks were like a dream where everything was perfect, we vacationed in Washington, Orlando and Seattle. Then slowly we were entering the reality of life and the challenges of the new immigrants. I enrolled in a school where I felt lonely and strange because my accent was different from most of the others and I couldn’t understand the spoken language of many students well and vice versa. My way of thinking and also the concept of my public school education was very different in India, but soon my teachers began to understand the intrinsic strength of my educational knowledge base, including the grammatical correctness of my written English which my class mates . Along with this I started a summer job at the airport where we would have to assist passengers in all ways, language, disability, location guidance etc. $5 tip. I took the money but as soon as I got home, I cried my eyes out with my dad saying that in India we tip the poor and here I am getting tip. I felt small. My father tried to explain to me that here is culture and there is nothing wrong with it, this is the way to show courtesy, but I was too upset to understand then. So this was my first experience with the new western culture. My job continued throughout the summer and I still remember at the end of the summer if I didn’t get a tip I would get angry that I didn’t earn enough pocket money. I met an older gentleman a colleague who I learned had just retired as a senior manager from Boeing.

He told me he didn’t necessarily have to work, he could sit in his big house and just garden. He just came there to have fun. In another case we found a war veteran, a US Navy officer, driving a taxi. He said he did it for pleasure since in no other occupation does he meet so many strangers he enjoys interacting with. There I learned the value of human dignity. No job is small and no job makes you feel bigger than your natural size. The political and business classes here have a lot to learn from them. Then I went back to my school. I was gradually adapting to the new environment, but I missed my life in India to the core. On any occasion I would be ready to rush back to India. Over the next few years I experienced many aspects of the new company, some were good and some made me think. We used to go to Vancouver Canada often, just two hours of a wonderful scenic drive. Another thing I learned is that when Indians live abroad they are more cohesive Indians than in their homeland where they remain rudderless.

My life continued with stays in India and America. People in India envied me where I envied them. Then came a phase in my life where I moved on, got my professional degree and joined Bank of America in Investments. I was doing well professionally and by now I had no conflicts with western life. We usually traveled to India once a year and now I have started to see the positivity in my new country of residence as well. I started realizing the scale of the opportunities there. The quality of life, whether you are rich or poor, is essentially the same as you eat similar food, you get all the basic comforts of life quite easily, there is dignity of work, dignity of any work you do, and most importantly, no corruption at the level of the life of the common man. It took me many years to figure this out, but now I know for a fact that who I am today is due to the multiple exposures I’ve had in my life. I’m not saying that as an immigrant there would be no problems, there would certainly be some because we come from different cultures and upbringings and we go through the pains of transformation. But this is all a phase, like the first time a small child is placed in a boarding school and it cries under a sheet.

Today my family members are well settled in America with the children doing very well and receiving the best education and opportunities. I have lived in the US for 15 years and have had many opportunities to see the world around, the West and the East, both offering a quality lifestyle to the enterprising fortune seeker. I am back in India, equally comfortable and running my own Immigration and Visa company after completing my masters in international business. Myself as an immigrant having seen the best of life in India and then the struggle experience of a new immigrant, a phase of wanting to rush back to home country life, now in a phase today where I love both the worlds alike for what they have given me and my family.

Today I am the Chief Executive Officer of AKKAM Immigration and Allied Services which provides solutions and fulfills all requirements on immigration, student visa and related services to multiple destinations around the world. I feel that all immigration counselors and agents can guide clients with authenticity if they themselves have experienced the realities, challenges and opportunities in immigration initiatives. I would always advise all my clients, friends and family that life is a blessing once in a while, spread your wings and experience movement towards the horizon, a lot awaits you, distant dreams, some dark clouds and beautiful colors beyond the horizon.

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