The field mission dilemma is that you need space to think, relax, eat, shower and socialize within the boundaries of a limiting environment. You have chosen / been chosen to be here, but for how long can you hack it? Is being fit for purpose a way there? Access and Choice are not given under Field ‘lifestyle’ conditions. You have to Act and Choose to get fit here.
This is Part of the Field Dilemma series on The GOODista. Follow the series, and the Field Focus section which is dedicated to wellness for those working under the very special conditions ‘Field Mission life’ presents. You can subscribe to the site to get regular updates, news and information right to your in-box.
The Field Mission Dilemma: Access and Choice
Access to open landscapes, Golf courses, Spas, Gym, Health store, Restaurants, Newspaper agents or McDonald’s is not there. Access to what most people on ‘the outside’ or ‘home’ see as routine, and normal ‘go-to’ places.
You do very much need a level of fitness, stress resistance and level-headedness to remain in balance. You actually need a ‘balanced lifestyle’. At best you laugh out loud when you read about ‘lifestyle change’ — as it seems like utter luxury and even foolish.
Field Mission Dilemma: Your Choice to Choose?
You choose to do this because of the work you do. UN, NGO, Oil, Air crew, Transporters, Medical staff, Missionaries, Security – on the front line of human suffering or natural resource extraction. The Field Mission Base is most of the time located in a region, with a map reference that make those ‘at home’ go: “Where?” and “OH!”.
Idealism and belief that you can make a difference. It is a noble, moral choice that no one can argue with. It’s a choice, that is like an infatuation. You know exactly why this is your calling. You get the satisfaction from the beneficiaries, and feel that you’re ‘doing good’. Like in any ‘love affair’, you ask yourself what the next step is, and how much deeper you want to commit.
Money, Money, Money
Work is scarce, and money attractive. Your belief system is one of priorities – and the ‘aid game’, oil drilling, emergency support on a remote living basis pays well. You look at what this will bring you in the future, and decide that it is worth whatever hardship you may have to go through now. You go do your job, look at job vacancies – and hope you can keep it up until the next good alternative comes along.
Employment, or Profession, calls for more hours (aviation), experience (UN, NGO, Missionary), Procedures (Medical) – and hence this may not be a choice per se. You are duty bound, loyal and see what this will contribute to. You believe in the mission/vision of the organisation you work for and count your blessings, in equal measure to the days you spend on base.
Career Progression is the carrot. You have actively ‘chosen’ to be here because it means a step in the right direction, a rung up the ladder, a possibility to finally get that sought-after promotion. You have probably been in this game for a while, and the initial idealistic infatuation has faded. Maybe you have even become a bit jaded? You count the days on tour, and plan for your R & R – making sure that you are on constant Blackberry mail to your Boss so you are ever noticed.
Field Lifestyle junkie :)! This kind of work suits your situation perfectly. You may not wish to deal with what is ‘at home’, and it allows you to do what you like when you are away. It is an adrenaline rush, an intense sensation of being alive, and a camaraderie that you cannot find anywhere else. You have ceased to look for other options, you are not ‘in love’ anymore — this is a commitment for life, and one that you know gives back every day – your way!
And – it can be a combination of all above – and more…. Comment, share and tell why you ended up here?
The Field Mission Dilemma: Your Choice to Act
The Field Mission Dilemma is one of too few choices and too little access. The word ‘Dilemma’ means to choose between two (or more) equally unattractive choices. Hence, why you have to consider the choice that made you get there in the first place. Once you come to realisation that you will actually stay in said place for days and week on end – you might as well do something about it – right?
Why choose to ‘do something about it’?
-“All I need is ‘Food, a Shower, and a Bed” says ‘Vickers’, an Aircraft engineer based in the desert. To have the combination of all three is a luxury indeed – as anyone who has been in these places knows. You can maybe have one but – rarely the other. You will network endlessly to make sure you get the ‘ best box’ when you return from mission leave – and negotiate with the ‘chef’ to get some extra goodies. A shower is a great relief, when you can get it – and even so the sand gets in everywhere you don’t need it when you dry yourself. You don’t complain, mind you – as a shower is a shower! Ah! So – why ask for more? If you can get good food, a warm shower and a comfortable bed – you’re there!
Question is though if you can get a bit more out of the experience, if you also make a few changes to your ‘lifestyle’? Healthier choices do not necessarily mean an all-out campaign. It can simply be to make more conscious effort to take small and very feasible steps to:
The Action Challenge
To stay the course you can see this as you optimal challenge to get fit. Limitations of compound living aside, let’s look on the bright side:
- There are no outside disturbances such as family, relatives, social obligations.
- Food, Beds, and Showers are provided, and you need not deal with the must-dos of domestic life.
- You will have some sort of routine, even in the midst of an emergency, that will allow you to organise your ‘get-fit’ schedule. Morning, Night, Mid-night.. You decide.
- You are creative enough to get your comforts, so let’s use that to your advantage: any item can become an exercise tool, and food can be dealt with as well as mindfulness. It is all down to your ability to creatively negotiate and fix 🙂
All you need is a bit of inspiration, planning, a few helpful apps, and some items you can get on your next R & R – or why not ask a friend? Follow this series to find great tips, hints, information and get going with your DIY wellness challenge. Are you ready to take this challenge on?
Recommended and Related:
- Online counselling for Aid workers, Expats & World Travellers – Global Wellness Centre
- Health and pre travel advice for Aid workers – CDC, US
- Advice for Travelling to Remote Locations – Patient website, UK.
- Social Network for Humanitarians – AidSource
What Do You Think?
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