Posted 2012-05-24 cArn
It has been a little more than two months since I retired from professional Counter-Strike, and moved on to the next chapter in the Book of Patrik, a chapter which I kickstarted with a move to Taipei, Taiwan.
I have always had the intention to try out the life in Asia for more than just a few weeks which is the normal duration of a vacation overseas. Why I ended up in Taipei is actually quite random, until 2010 when I visited Computex Taipei, I didn´t know much about Taiwan at all besides a childhood memory that recalls almost every item back then: bikes, electronics, toys etc, had the text: "Made in Taiwan".
Taipei 101 with its majestic height(508m)
When I finally touched down in Taipei international airport after around 20 hours travel from Cebit and IEM, I actually had no idea what to expect from this endeavour. After being relatively certain about my life in general, and comfortable in my position as an in-game leader of a CS1.6 team, I for the first time in a very long time felt a bit uncertain, a sense of not having control of my situation, such a thrill!
Of course I had made some arrangement before by departure by contacting local landlords for a place to stay for these three months. Everything sounded very serious and settled over the phone(thank you Skype), but upon arriving the landlord in question did not pick up the phone, and there I was with tons of luggage, jet lag and a broken Mandarin that at best could take me to an hotel or a nearby McDonalds, which by the way is not a place you want to stay longer than 20 minutes for obvious reasons.
Lucky I was this very Monday that I had been seated next to a Taiwanese guy with similar age to mine who was returning from a two years stay abroad. I have always complained to my teammates that we rarely, in fact never, get seated next to hot girls on flights, something that should be statistically reasonable considering how many flights we take every year. Anyway, the hospitality of this homecoming local son was something extraordinary. Even after a half-day travel with a terrible connection in Beijing, three massive bags that even a mule would complain about carrying, he decided to dedicate the next three hours of his time to help a lost Swede to find a place to stay, arranging a local SIM card, and even taking me from a dinner before eventually getting home to the family he hadnt seen for a long time.
Worth to mention is that I´m still having great contact with this person in question, and I do hope I can repay my hospitality debt to him if he ever makes it to Sweden.
Only a few days after arriving in the capital I got visited by two very familiar faces: dsn and ins, my ex. teammates and friends from our glorious days in Fnatic. Those two had been traveling around Asia for the past months, and randomly or not, we were now sitting enjoying each others companies over a beer(or 10), several years after our ways collided in the gaming world, and as you can imagine there were many walks down the avenue of memories during their stay here.
Three ex progamers
To avoid falling into a post-retirement depression after the decade of professional gaming I just left, I took my girlfriend who was visiting me from London for a trip to Kenting which is pretty much the Hawaii of Taipei – please don´t hate me for this comparison. Thirty degrees celcius and swims were the perfect cure to contemplate about life, and to rejuvenate after the busy times with Oskar and Harley in Taipei.
Working in Taipei
The initial part of this travel log does not really reveal the main purpose of my stay here, which of course is work. I took up the role as Fnatic´s Chief Gaming Officer straight upon my retirement, and this simply means that it´s my job to ensure that Fnatic are close to it´s players and fans. I´m currently working with all our squads in one way or another, as well helping out Fnatic management in various ways by working with sponsors and product and business development. After my two first months in this position I feel I´m at least somewhat integrated in the role, but there are still much to learn and pick up, especially with a eSport world that is spinning faster than many other businesses, and sometimes it feels like it spins even faster than the earth itself - something I can not prove at this point.
What you as a Fnatic.com reader probably know by now is that we have opened up a Gaming House in Seoul, Korea where we have housed our Starcraft 2 and League of Legends players since March 2012. So far I have had the chance to go there three times in only two months, and it has been a great way of picking up my knowledge in these games, as well as bonding with the players who I had only met briefly before.
Interview with SOC Gaming
Me, Sam and the Starcraft 2 team in Fnatic Gaming House Seoul
Only a few weeks ago I had another pair of guests visiting me, this time childhood friends from my hometown in Sweden. This has been quite a dream of me to travel in Asia with my friends who have never had the chance to travel that distant, at least not to Asia. I tried my best to show them the best sides of Taiwan during their two weeks long vacation here, and that meant a lot of bar jumping, shopping and trying local dishes without getting food poison. I also took my mates down to the south coast for some beach exploration for two days, but this was something my skin was not prepared for after last time around, and my skin peeled off more than one week after that.
Me and my childhood friends Martin and Christian
I just love this photo! It catch our chilled days on the Taiwanese south coast in a perfect way. Hello 70ths
Homecoming and future
So as you might understand from this travel log the past two months has been filled until the very final hour of the days. I think it´s fair to say I have really had a blast here now when I´m getting closer to picking up my next flight ticket which is bound for Stockholm, Sweden and Dreamhack Summer, where I will represent Fnatic and hopefully aid my dear CS1.6 team as a manager to protect the title we won at the Winter event.
Beyond Dreamhack Summer my future is yet not written in stone – who´s is anyway?! I´m currently reviewing the possibility of extending my stay in Asia and Taiwan just because I enjoy it so much so far, and I´m sure it has more to give me in terms of experiences and friendships. What I do know is that I will remain black and orange(unless my skin continues to peel), and in Fnatic for a long time to come. I´m really appreciating working with all the players, staff, managers and sponsors of what I would call the Manchester United of Gaming. I hope you liked my lengthy blog, as always you find me on www.facebook.com/cArnCS, if you are curious about my photos from my trips, check them out here: https://picasaweb.google.com/p.sattermon