Thursday, 2 July 2015

Leaving for Norway Dream Job!

I am moments away from leaving for my dream job in Norway and I feel like it hasn’t really hit me yet. These past four-and-a-half months have been such a crazy ride. There were moments of excitement, confidence, fear, and anxiety. If someone were to tell me five months ago that I would be going on my dream job in the summer, I would have laughed and said “That’s sweet, but let’s be real...” (okay I probably wouldn’t have laughed).

The original Facebook event that my friend Josh To created for me, thank you all!

Mere hours before I found out that I had won, I was hanging out with my dear friend Alex in London being ugly.

For as long as I can remember, “passion” was always the word that drove my life. My go-to icebreaker question when I met a new person was not “what is your favourite ice cream flavor?”, but “what are you passionate about?” I constantly wanted to pursue the things that I loved, whether it was theatre, ultimate frisbee, people, or God. I always had concrete answers for questions regarding my passions in life, my dream jobs, if I could only do/eat/see/drink/be/say one thing in my life. I knew what I wanted and those were the things I would tell people, but regarding how realistic I believed my own dreams were, that was debatable. When photography/videography entered my life a year ago, my dream job changed from actor to traveling photographer/videographer. The answer seemed obvious because I was doing school abroad (the best decisions/experiences are often made during a semester abroad, and I bet everyone who has been abroad for work/study/missions will agree to some degree) in Hong Kong, followed by a backpacking trip in China. I had my newly-bought entry-level DSLR with me EVERY single day because I never wanted to miss capturing a moment. Being abroad with new sights and experiences, plus having my camera, combined with a random goal of making a new friend every single day of my trip fueled by my love for people, naturally molded my dream job.

Meeting with the wonderful Visit Norway team in NYC before heading out! The sweetest people!

I don't usually take selfies but having my dear cameraman/friend/trip dad, John, with me is already quite amazing.

When my friend Jasmine ( first told me about DreamJobbing (, it was for a videography position in Africa with World Vision. I quickly signed up only to find out the opportunity was only for American citizens. So when the dream job to be a photojournalist in Norway came out and I found out that it was open internationally, I knew I had to have it. Throughout the process I got to see the portfolios of many great photographers, seasoned travelers who have seen the ends of the earth, and people who were already knowledgeable in the field of photojournalism. Many of my competitors were more qualified than me, but this was also a realistic shot at my dream job so I pressed on. In the two-and-a-half months that followed, many of my friends seemed to believe in me more than I believed in myself. I was given the opportunity to catch up with high school friends whom I haven’t spoken to in five years because they were curious about why I was being so obnoxious about asking them to vote. Some of my friends told me about how they set alarms on their phones, bookmarked the voting page, or even put sticky notes on their monitors so that they would remember to vote for me daily. I am not eloquent enough to express in words the amount of love and support I received, but holy moly thank you guys. The day I received the news that I had won, I was so incredibly overwhelmed that I loudly exclaimed in Starbucks “OH MY GOSH I GOT THE JOB!!” (also because I had earphones on and could not hear myself). The funniest thing was what my mom told me when I told her I had won. She said, “Arnold, even though I voted for you every single day with multiple emails, I am actually quite surprised that you won.” But to be honest, I really didn’t believe I could win either, I knew I just wanted it so badly that if I didn’t at least try, then I would forever be jealous of the person who did win. So by the grace of God, and the love of my family and friends, I can tell you guys that I AM LEAVING FOR NORWAY IN A FEW HOURS! I quite literally could not have done it without you guys, and every step of the contest has been won by you guys!

So thank you.

P.S. I will be posting regularly (in much smaller doses) on so if you want to follow my trip, you can do so there! You can also see my pictures on Instagram, @arnoldlan. 


  1. I have watched you grow and mature in the last few years. You are always humble and kind....but you sure ARE deserving of this dream job! I voted, cheered and now I am following your footsteps to Norway. Travel safe. You are SO loved, Arnold! Auntie V.

    1. Auntie you actually have one of the kindest souls I've ever met. Thank you so much for your support and love for all these years, you don't know how much it's meant to me! I still remember the first day I met you at Steph's convocation and you hadn't met me yet, but asked Steph if I wanted to come to dinner amongst all her other friends! That moment was so warm! So thank you for everything auntie!! <3