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July 10, 2018

The Pro Player Timeline: Overview

OK, I've kept putting off completely writing this post because it is just SO MASSIVE.

Time to chop it up and get it out there!

Instead of a deeply comprehensive and exhausting post that would take way too long to read, I am going to publish The Pro Player Timeline in installments. For both of our sakes.

This overview is going to end up linking to all the individual posts about most of these topics. I will update this post with the links once a month when new posts have been published.

What's the point of all of this?

Most players looking to play professionally overseas don't really have any idea how to do it! This is not your fault; unless you know someone who has done it or have incredible connections already in the pro world of your sport, you try searching Google and barely anything comes up. A few agencies, some club team pages, maybe an incomplete Wikipedia page about a league or two.

The internet - our main source of information on everything - doesn't have the information!

Besides how to actually get a job playing sports and take the leap over the big blue ocean, there does exist a general timeline to when certain things should be happening.

Pro sports are cyclical. What might be a frenzy of hiring in August right before the season starts can occur again in January at mid-season transfer periods. Players coming out of university eligibility are ready to go pro at different times, depending on graduating in December or May. There are also a bunch of short season (3-4 months) professional sports jobs with their own kind of timeline, but I won't cover those very much as I am still learning about them myself.

We'll keep this calendar in order of the main sports seasons (August through May) so it can be used as a general reference year-round.

FIRST STEPS (JANUARY - MAY before you want to go pro)
Do your research as best as you can.
Contact current and previous pro players.
Contact agents and agencies to find the best fit for your goals.
Learn about different leagues, levels, countries.
Read Navigating Sports Abroad blog post.
Read Play Abroad 101 for the most accurate preparation in print.
Create your pro sport brand social media platforms.
Dedicate a Google Drive folder to your documents, photos, and videos, so you can easily attach and link your information to teams.
Build your CV (player resumé) to show your basic data, playing history, accomplishments, and video.

Build social media presence with network and posts.
Download WhatsApp onto your smartphone and activate before leaving your country.
Workout and post what you're doing and progress on social media.
Be in touch with your new team's coach, fitness trainers, and teammates to be as prepared physically and mentally as possible for where you are going.

Detail your Goals & Vision for the next month, year, and five years.
Prepare yourself and your suitcases to "move" your entire life into usually just two bags.
Start packing at least two weeks before flight date.
Continue social media posts and networking! ALWAYS!
Be working out at 100% mid-season condition to be able to start pre-season practices in your top condition.

Create a healthy daily routine for yourself as quickly as possible.
Activate your home internet and get a local cell phone plan (usually way cheaper than international plans).
Work on integrating the local language into your day-to-day activities.
Preseason practices and scrimmages. Every day is a tryout and poor performances this early in the season are cause for being sent home early.
Network locally with sponsors, fans, and new friends.
Find your bank, grocery store, train/bus station, places to eat, etc.
Plan ahead for keeping in touch with loved ones back home.

First impressions are everything right now. First home games, first away games; absolutely be in your best mental, physical, and emotional state to perform at the level you know you are capable of.
Spend time with your teammates outside of your sport.
Bump up social media presence with match schedule invitations, highlights, and photos with fans.
Ask about any local traditions or holidays coming up and plan to spend those with teammates.

Practice the local language in public with people you don't know.
Try a totally different type of food.
Take one off-day to venture to another part of your new country.
Review your Goals & Vision and update a new version, if necessary.

Create a highlight video from the matches you have played so far. Upload to your social media platforms.
Pick 1-2 of your best matches from the first half of season and upload to your Google Drive.
Update your CV to reflect your current team and fresh playing links.
Think of new traditions for the Christmas holiday that you can implement with your new community if you are not returning home. It's a great idea to invite your family and friends to celebrate the holiday in your part of the world, too!
If returning home, take back the things/clothing you haven't used and think about the items you have missed to bring back with you.
Pay attention to your nutrition during the holiday season; enjoy the food, but you are in the middle of your season and your eating choices should show that.
Continue maintenance workouts during any time off you may have.

Integrate your New Year's Resolutions into your Goals & Vision.
Start thinking about whether you will want to return or not for the next season and organize your thoughts for why or why not, what the conditions should be, and so on.
Communicate with your representation these thoughts before talking to anyone at your club.
Discover two more new places or experiences in your country, one on your own and another one shared with someone else.
Share these moments on your social media platforms to show your interest in the culture.

Create another 2-3 minute highlight video on your best skill. Link on CV, upload to social media.
Expect the club to schedule a meeting with you about the next season. Make sure your representation is aware of the time and date and ready to support.
(There will be a post on how to handle these meetings.)
Mid-season update with representation about expectations from both sides for next season.

Work to bump social media presence up another level by connecting with other pro athletes and coaches throughout your league, country, and continent.
Find ways to keep yourself fresh, both mentally and physically.
Finish regular season matches strong, potentially building toward playoffs.
Contact an accountant who can assist you with earned income abroad from fall part of season for upcoming taxes.

Review your Goals & Vision. Are you where you wanted to be? Is it better or worse than you hoped?
Write an end-of-season recap, relating to your Goals & Vision, and have an entire section on things you have learned.
Make sure your connections with the local community and wider volleyball community are secure and you can contact them after you leave the area.
Close any bank accounts, internet/phone plans, forward your mailing address, etc., before leaving the area.
Transfer your locally earned currency back to your home currency via PayPal or bank transfer (pay attention to exchange rates and 3rd party charges).

Upload 1-2 more full match videos from the second half of the season to your CV.
Keep in touch with your new community.
Take a 2-4 week break from your sport and social media, in order to enter June back on track and ready to go.
The next round of brand-building will include seeking out sponsors and really zoning in on the 2-3 strongest social media platforms for you to focus on (both what has been more natural for you and what has garnered the most interaction should go into which ones are "best").

This is it for now!

The goal is to have posts that dig deeper into each month, but also overviews of how each normal week and day should be organized.

If you're looking for any other specific kind of information about sports overseas, please ask in the comments below and I can work your topic into one of the posts!

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July 5, 2018

VLOG: Thoughts in Budapest

I've already delved into what Budapest looks like in Snapshots in Budapest, and what is an awesome way to spend your 3 Days Best in Budapest.

But my totally honest thoughts on the city? They are here in this VLOG!

Snapshots in Budapest

3 Days Best in Budapest

German Swag 101: Dresden Polaroids

Get in on Dresden

Other places mentioned in this VLOG:

ParisNazaré, Milan, Salzburg, Ljubljana...and all of Spain.

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May 1, 2018

Get in on Dresden + Giveaway!

DRESDEN. [Insert 100 heart-eyed emojis here.]

As if I will ever be able to truly capture the spirit and ambiance of a place like Dresden in a single blog post!

I did not know a city like this existed in Germany.

Dresden was so young. I felt like I was walking around a college campus most of the time, what with the laid-back, creative hipster clothing styles, interesting haircuts and colors, and student-aged people relaxing in coffee shops and colorful bars around each corner.

I found my hipster heaven.

It was so inspiring, that I just had to do my photo post from Dresden all in vintage Polaroid format. Not even an option to do it another way. The only other time I felt a photo post deserved a more creative format than the typical 10-15 pictures was for Postcards in Portugal.

But Dresden. Dresden had a vintage and retro tone that splashed on every perspective of the city.

For my French friend, Laura, and me, it all started in the Neustadt.

First of all, make sure you get the train stations straight. Dresden Central Station, or Hauptbahnhof, is located south of the Altstadt and river. Bahnhof Dresden - Neustadt is located north of the river and much closer to the Neustadt. If you're just coming for a day trip, the main Hauptbahnhof will suffice, but most lodging options are in the Neustadt, and you don't want to end up dragging your luggage for an hour!

We stayed at a friendly hostel called Lollis Homestay Hostel Dresden that we found on booking.com. The rooms really feel like you're staying at a friend's house, they offer shared meal times and BBQs, and foster a great community spirit between the travelers.

Some of the super delicious places we ate and drank at were: England, England (a very quaint British tea house, complete with scones and pictures of the Royal Family everywhere); Max Neustadt (great food and music); Schokoladenbar Café Bar Delikatessen (amazing huge window seats and outdoor seating as well); El Cubanito (hilarious Cuban bar with live music); and Planwirtschaft (one of the most pleasant outdoor garden seating arrangements I've ever seen).

There are cute and adorable quirky details all over the Neustadt in the street art, creative restaurant decor, and the buildings. However, the Kunsthofpassage Dresden is perfect for wandering into another world. The buildings are like art projects ("Kunst" means "art" in German), one even complete with rain gutters in the shape of musical instruments that actually play music when it rains!!!

I really appreciated the number of vintage, retro, and thrift stores we kept coming across! My two favorites had to be Lady Yule, a dress shop directly out of the 1950s, and B&B Secondhand, where I found my first and last, perfect-for-me, Dresden-hipster jean jacket souvenir.

Between the Neustadt and the Altstadt, there is a big gold statue to one of the Dresden kings, August II, called the Goldener Reiter outside of a wide boulevard shopping area. Once you've gotten to here, you know you are on the right path!

Most European cities exist because of their location on a river. Dresden is no exception, laying on both sides of the Elbe River. However, Dresden has created a huge riverbank "beach" area on the Neustadt side with grass and sand that the entire city can come and enjoy on sunny days and warm evenings. Laura and I were in Dresden during really gorgeous spring weather, and the riverbank was happily populated by all those young people I mentioned earlier.

From previous Dresden photo post.

Groups of friends playing soccer, small picnics, large BBQs, couples rollerblading on the paved pathway section, and everyone just soaking up early April sunshine. When we walked down the riverbank in the evening to see the Dresden buildings lit up at night, the grassy area still had pockets of friends spending the time around their campfires, singing songs, and drinking together.

I could have stayed there forever. Which means I will definitely go back!

As far as the real sightseeing in Dresden goes...

It is best to approach the Altstadt by Brühl's Terrace, a nice walkway lifted above the river that drops you right into the heart. The Katholische Hofkirche dominates the riverside, but the Frauenkirche Dresden (first picture in post) a little more inland is the iconic building in the Dresden skyline. The Semperoper Dresdem opera house is quite lovely on the edge of the building collection, along with the Hausmannsturm.

The long and impressive Fürstenzug mosaic of all the rulers of Dresden throughout time is a cool experience if you can take the time to notice the differences between the clothing and hair styles, horse presentation, and facial expressions depicted on the rulers.

The Zwinger area was my favorite, a Baroque palace and garden gracefully set in the middle of the city. There are interesting corners, steps leading to pretty views, and crowns on top of all of the towers and turrets.

The thing about the Altstadt is that most of it's been rebuilt, and you really just keep tumbling into the next gorgeous building. It's easy to walk around, enjoy the different architectural angles, and wonder at how much work went into the construction originally and the reconstruction later.

Dresden feels the way it does because it will never be popular enough to be bogged down by every tourist ever. The average tourist's very first European trip does not include Dresden. Even the average tourist's first Germany trip does not usually include Dresden. Dresden is for those who are deeply drawn to World War II history, and sometimes for visitors to Berlin looking for a day excursion. But for those of you passing through Germany, Poland, or the Czech Republic, Dresden is close by and waiting for you to spend two or three great days together.

*     *     *     *     *

Get in on Dresden on iOS & Android


*Enter to win a full year subscription to GPSmyCity in the comments, below!

*As a reminder, these are my city-specific blog posts that have been converted to GPSmyCity Apps. They are available for download on iTunes and Google Play as walking tours via GPSmyCity.

*And now, app users can purchase annual subscriptions inside the GPSmyCity app at $12.99/year with full access to all travel articles for 900+ cities worldwide OR at $18.99/year with full access to all walking tours + travel articles covering 1,000+ cities.

BUT 10 lucky readers can win the $18.99 subscription by simply commenting on this post below!

How it works: 

1. Comment about Dresden OR another underrated European city that you recommend.

2. June 1st, I will notify and announce the winners on the blog.

3. You will receive your download code worth $18.99 for a full year subscription to ALL of GPSmyCity's travel articles!

This post is also linked up to City Tripping!

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April 22, 2018

Meet Me in Annecy

Registration for the Annecy volleyball tournament opens today!!!

If you don't know what I'm talking about, let's rewind a bit to last year: 

Lac d'Annecy and Why I Will Always Go Back

The Tournoi d'Annecy is always during Pentecost weekend, this year falling on Sunday and Monday, May 20-21, 2018.

It's a 3-on-3 grass tournament, all on the shore of the beautiful Lake Annecy, framed by gorgeous French Alps.

If you like volleyball, being outside, eating, drinking, and hanging out with French and Swiss people, then this is the place to be in May!

The tournament website* is here: http://tournoi.annecy-volleyball.com/

Registration starts on this page: http://tournoi.annecy-volleyball.com/new_site/register.php

It only costs 45 Euros per team (that's 15 Euros per player, if you're counting), and you get a tournament t-shirt and other goodies from the tournament sponsors.

This year, I am bringing two of my German teammates, and even Marc is getting in on the action with some of his basketball players!

Will we see you there?!

*The tournament website is all in French, so if Google Translate doesn't do its thing, let me know and I can help translate what's up and how to register your team!

May 1st update: Registration is currently full until further notice!!!

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