Shitluck in Eastern Europe

Friend/cohort/colleague Leland Thurman was asked to participate in a travel-based TV pilot currently winding its way through Eastern Europe. Prior to his departure, he needed to ask for a leave of absence at his job at UPS. The leave of absence request was to be either approved or denied by his superiors according to the following letter, which I carefully crafted about a month ago now. I stole the Eleanor Roosevelt quote from my favorite coffee mug. It made me laugh. And last I heard from Leland, he was in Bulgaria….

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this proposal to request a leave of absence from my position at United Parcel Service. A unique opportunity has presented itself to me and I am under the impression that it would be in my best interest to take advantage of it.

Please let me explain. Aside from my long-standing, loyal employment with UPS, I have also, on occasion, been involved with video production in regards to the extreme spot of bicycle motocross (BMX). In recent history, I have been called on to commentate and host BMX events and videos throughout the world, including Europe and most of North America. I have appeared on the Fuel Network in the U.S., and The Extreme Channel in the U.K. The sport of BMX bicycle riding has been a passion of mine for over ten years now, and it has taught me inherent values in life, including the importance of hard work and dedication, which I have also applied to my position as Ramp Employee at UPS over the past 13 years. Chasing this passion of mine has also resulted in the start of a small at-home business venture for myself, a boutique style line of clothing aimed at people that ride BMX bikes. Currently, I manufacture t-shirts, hats, belts, pants and other assorted in-demand items. The clothing line (dubbed ‘Shitluck’) has blossomed into a line of clothing that is now available throughout North America and Europe.

I am requesting a leave of absence to pursue an opportunity that seems much too compelling to pass on. The Extreme Channel, the U.K.’s premiere extreme sports television network, recently contacted me regarding a new television show entitled ‘Vagabondz.’ Essentially, ‘Vagabondz’ is a travel-based television show which winds through eight countries in Eastern Europe. I have been contacted in the hopes that I would be available to be a part of the travel team, which would consist of myself as a U.S. representative, a London-based musician, a professional BMX rider, a professional photographer, and the production crew. According to the Extreme Channel, the following blurb animates the premise of the ‘Vagabondz.’

“The premise is simple; drive from Germany to Georgia and get involved in all sorts of randomness along the way, anything that provokes a laugh on the long road ahead. ‘Vagabondz’ hits the road on a 3000 mile journey through 8 countries, with an ensemble cast of characters that are sure to be entertaining. The journey guarantees hilarious dialogue and quotes, culture shock, dangerous and challenging situations, plenty of conflict, BMX riding, awesome diverse landscapes, crazy locals, wild scenes and all the great stuff you never plan for on the road. The end result will be a fun, inspiring and hilarious 48-minute journey for the viewer.”

The show would be broadcast on the Extreme Channel in the U.K. The Extreme Channel is the U.K.’s premiere extreme sports channel, enjoying 1.4 million viewers each month. The Extreme Channel is also broadcast to an additional 52 countries throughout the world, with a worldwide reach of 20 million homes. The producers of ‘Vagabondz’ also wish to pitch the completed ‘Vagabondz’ show to MTV in the near future. As of now, the producers (Grain Media & STF) have a contract with the Extreme Channel, guaranteeing broadcast in September. The producers have also secured airtime on Chilli TV, a mobile TV channel broadcast in 14 countries by Vodaphone. Basically, if I am allowed a leave of absence, this opportunity would present me with a great chance to promote my clothing line to a huge audience, and also expand my talents as an on-air personality in the extreme sports market. This is not a paying position. I am not making any money from ‘Vagabondz.’ I am simply interested in the opportunity because it is a new challenge in life.
As I stated previously, I have worked as a part-time Ramp Employee with UPS for 13 years. I am a loyal employee, hard-working and dedicated to my job at UPS. I do not wish to permanently leave my position with UPS. I enjoy the challenge I endure daily at UPS, and I additionally enjoy the many friendships I have garnered as a result of working with UPS. I am only asking for one month’s leave of absence before I return to my position.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing each day that scares you,” and I often try to adhere to that principle. This opportunity scares me, but there are very few times in life when one has the chance to do something great, and I do not wish to pass on that chance. I hope that this request finds you well and thank you in advance for your time.
Leland Thurman

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