Guest post by Victoria Dennis, UC Irvine Class of 2016
As Fall Quarter came to an end with my collegiate athletic career at UC Irvine, I was looking for the next step in my life. Professional volleyball was most definitely an option I considered, and I am happy that I did. My personal story happened very fast. Within a week of engaging Bring It Promotions (BIP), I was on a 3-day journey around the world from California to Surabaya, Indonesia.
I had 3 days to pack and say bye to family and friends then I was off. I had an 18-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan where I took a free tour (provided by the government for travels staying 7- 24 hours) of the city, getting to see the 101 Building (once the tallest in the world), the Lungshan Buddhist temple built in 1738, and Zhongzheng Memorial Hall. My hotel was provided to rest up before my next flight. As soon as I got to Surabaya, everything happened very fast. The Chinese coach had me tryout the day I got there – after traveling 30+ hours! I had been picked up by my translator, Putri, and taken to my house where I had 4 hours to sleep, eat, and get ready for my tryout. Given that my body did not recover fast enough from the travel, and I wasn’t quite used to the climate (90 degrees with 95% humidity!) I wasn’t able to perform to my full potential. Most players have a week to tryout but I only had 2 days, including the day I got there. The coach was understanding but this is a business and it is a job.
Given that I did not make the team, I took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Bali while I was waiting for my flight home. The team was nice enough to give me money for food and let my translator, Putri, go with me as well. The island of Bali is absolutely amazing! It was a $60 flight from Surabaya and in 2 days I went to the Hanging Gardens of Bail, Ubud Market, the Batuan Hindu temple (almost 1,000 years old), a monkey forest sanctuary, and a beautiful rice plantation.
As I returned home I was still eager to find a job. In this business, I’m learning that things happen fast. I was home from Indonesia for 3 days and then told on Friday afternoon I was going to be on a flight the next day for Lima, Peru. Once again I packed up, said bye to friends and family and was off. I got a contract and am now currently now playing for the Universidad de San Martin de Porres Volleyball Club in the capital city of Peru.
It is definitely stressful not knowing where you will be going or if you will get a job – then finding out there is an opportunity and you leave the next day. I was on 3 different continents in one week, and before that, I had never even left the USA. It has been the most amazing adventure thus far and I recommend the experience to anyone thinking about playing overseas. This is a job and you are here to work hard and win; it is not a vacation. If you keep that in mind and hustle, the places you can travel and live, and cultures you can experience, are endless.