On the picket fence

I am 21 years old and I have some important decisions coming up in my life. I study Engineering in Mumbai and I will be graduating in June. I have a job already but that doesn’t make me feel proud about myself, for some reason.

In the 4 years of my engineering studies, I have pursued 4 different projects pertaining to social and environmental causes. The thing that I have stumbled upon is that I am passionate about studying renewable energy and taking it up as a career. And the job I have does not thrill me because there is no renewable energy involved.

I have also discovered that I love travelling. It gives me a high like no other. It feels great to go to a new place, eat new food, meet new people and take ever-lasting photographs.

So what I would love to do is travel from one place to another teaching, working on small environmental and sustainable energy projects(or big ones :wink:  )

What I am not able to do is figure out a way of doing that. Should I study? If yes, where and what should I study? Should I take up the job that has been offered to me?

Why am I not able to travel? How should I do what I want to do?


Hey Waterfall, thank you for sharing this. I recognise the dilemma, althought I didn’t know what I was passionate about until I was older than you are now…congratulations, it’s a gift having something you are so passionate about. I’m curious, what is it about working with renewable energy that you’re obsessed about- what do you want to make possible and for whom? // Nadia

Hello Nadia, Initially I want to do some hard research, in a university or a renewable energy company, in which I hope there will be site visits (Travel!).

But my yltimate aim is to be able to go from village to village (in Asia or Africa) and help people augment their energy requirements through inexpensive methods. :slight_smile:

The wandering energy expert?

Hey Waterfall, that’s a great story, mostly because you ask a clear question. Listen, I have been thinking along lines similar to yours. Here are my two cents: you could try spamming. It is very cheap, and works for people who sell v!4gr4 and heirs of deceased Nigerian bankers. Here is what I would do.

  1. create a narrative. For example "Waterfall, the wandering energy data cruncher. He (or she?) comes riding her solar-powered bicycle, pores through your municipality's consumption patterns and can suggest ways to decrease bills by 20%". Or "Waterfall, the energy hacker. He comes to town and teaches the kids to build and install simple DIY solar panels: a true hackerlab is contained in his old VW van". Stuff which has the ingredients renewable energy, wandering, and a little crazy.
  2. acquire a list of municipalities. A comprehensive one. 
  3. write a careful email with your pitch, then shoot it out. 
I would bet you'd get a few gigs. So you get to travel, and you get to work on the stuff you want. It is so crazy it might actually work! Some day I want to try it myself.

Thanks Alberto, for reading this and sharing. :slight_smile:

Well, I’ve just started phantom mails out there, with my resume, list of interests etc.

I hope it yeilds some result!

Any results yet?

I would be quite interested, you know? :slight_smile:

Would you?

Local authorities here have no work, sadly. :frowning:

And I’m getting no responses. I put out 5-6 mails to various companies.

You say you’re interested. May I know, in what? :slight_smile:

I like the idea myself

I am interested in emulating you. I would like to spend a year being a wandering troubleshooter, in my case in public policies. I have this fantasy of sending out emails to all of 8000 local authorities in Italy; getting perhaps 20 responses; getting on my motorcycle and going to see if I can help a little and make some friends!

You definitely should!

What a wonderful idea, Alberto! You should go ahead and do it! :slight_smile:

Any results yet?

I would be quite interested, you know? :slight_smile:


No, Alberto, none. :frowning:

A matter of numbers

But just how many mails did you send? You know, spamming works because you shoot very broadly, targeting millions of people. In your case, you could perhaps try to  shoot for thousands or tens of thousands of local authorities. Sending out ten emails, or fifty, is not going to cut it!

Also, I am curious: how did you present yourself? A little creativity might help you stand out a bit more. If I were somebody in a local authority’s office I would be hard pressed even to look at unsolicited CVs. But a 1 minute video with a clear proposal… who knows?

The problem is I’m not sending out anything to the local authority. The thing in India is that the local authorities are slow, corrupt and there is hardly any challenge to do new work. I have been sending out mails to a select group of companies and/or agencies here. Also, some outside India.

As to how I am presenting myself, its not very creative, I am afraid to say. Its the usual cover letter- resume format. But that is how I can apply as there was no forwarding e-mail; just an icon on the web page that says ‘Upload your resume here’.


I see. Well, what you actually upload is a PDF file: you could easily make that into a fully interactive document and use it to convey your message.

But of course, companies are a less interesting terrain to do that kind of stuff than local communities (see this example from Denmark).

Living Proof for you…

I read your story and i thought to a Springsteen song…i dedicate to you waterfall…

"Well now on a summer night in a dusky room

Come a little piece of the Lord undying light

Crying like he swallowed the fiery moon

In this mother’s arms it was all the beauty i could take

like the missing words to some prayer that i could never make

In a world so hard and dirty so fouled and confused

searching for a little bit of God’s mercy

i found living proof.

I put my hearth and soul i put 'em high upon a shelf

right next to the faith that i lost in myself

i went down in to the desert city

just trying so hard to shed my skin

i crawled deep into some kind of darkness

lookin to burn out every trace of who i’ve been

you do some sad things baby

when it’s you you’re tryin to lose

you do some sad and hurtfult things

i’ve seen living proof

You shot trough my anger and rage

to show me my prison was just an open cage

there wer no keys no guards

just one frightened man and some old shadows for bars

Well now all that’s sure on the boulevards

is that life is just a house of cards

as fragile as each and every breath

of this boy sleeping in our bed

Tonight let’s lie beneath the eaves

just a close band of happy thieves

and when that train comes we’ll get on board

and steal what we can from the treasures of the Lord

It’s been a long drought baby

tonight the rain’s pourin down on our root

Looking for a little bit of God’s mercy

I found living proof…"




Dear Renato, that is my predicament, right there. :slight_smile:

Thank You.

PS: The song is beyond amazing.

Hey Waterfall!

I read your story. I can relate on may ways. Instead of renewable energy, I’m passionate about collaborative development, and especially around peace and conflict issues

Hope you haven’t given up on your dreams. Never do!!! Perhaps this video my serve as some inspiration. I wish you the bes in your endeavours


here’s the link. sorry, the embed function doesn’t work.

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement