Organising the paperwork for a sabbatical year abroad is a long and tiring process for anybody wishing to explore a distant country - whether it is arranging visas or applying for temporary asylum, it's a logistical nightmare that can either make or break your trip. Most however are fortunate not to have the US government watching their every move, waiting to detain and prosecute them for allegedly committing major criminal offences. Yes, we're talking about Ed Snowden. It's fair to say that Ed now has a lot of spare time on his hands in Moscow while he applies for full time asylum in any country on the planet that won't turn him over to the Americans. So, we've been kind enough to suggest ways for him to keep busy during stay in Moscow. You're welcome, Ed.
1.Explore the City
Moscow is a city of major political, economic and cultural significance, and is known as the heart of Russia. Ed might find himself at a loose end from day to day with all the waiting around he's going to be doing, but not to worry as Red Square and countless other historic buildings are right on his door step. We would recommend he wears a large hat and may be some big aviators to keep a low profile. On the occasional warm and sunny day Moscow occasionally has, the Moscow Zoo is a top attraction where Ed can check out the animals and also get a feel for what life might be like from behind bars.
2.Take advantage of some down time
While most holiday goers will be investing in the latest chick-lit releases, or delving into Game of Thrones, we suggest that Snowden brushes up on something slightly more helpful. Investing in the James Bond series would be a fine place to start - learn all the tricks and tips from the master of espionage himself. While Bond is less known for his brains and more for brawn, it might make Snowden a bit handier when the FBI inevitably catches up with him. We would also recommend Ed catches up with Bear Grills and Ray Mears adventures.
3.Break Pussy Riot Out of Prison
Ed isn't the only person with worldwide notoriety who is currently residing in Russia and is in hot water with the authorities, no, Ed has a surprising amount in common with feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot. Granted, unlike Pussy Riot Snowden isn't surrounded by iron bars (just yet), but he has a lot of common ground with his Soviet cousins; they both have a problem with authority (Snowden, the CIA, Pussy Riot, the Orthodox Church), there has been public outrage and comment on both of their brushes with the law, and both have at one time been on the run from the Old Bill - two members of Pussy Riot have fled their native Russia, and of course Snowden is still avoiding US authorities. We'd love to see Ed help the detained members of the band escape prison and go on a world tour with them (no Russian or American gigs sadly) - he would make a great front man!
4.Plan the next adventure
Most people get the whole 'leaving-holiday-blues', and resort to booking another quick sharp: but unfortunately Snowden won't be heading to the Caribbean anytime soon. However, with offers of help from countries in South America, it looks like he could be in for a fun time after this year. Ed is clearly a modern traveller of the world that even Last Minute would struggle to find a holiday for.
5.Write a Biography
Many celebrities like to write biographies highlighting key events in their lives and sharing personal stories and secret anecdotes with the readers. Ed has plenty of time to write his biography and can take inspiration from the likes of Barack Obama and Julian Assange's biographies. We even have a title ready for him to use: "From Russia with Love".
6.Learn a language
With unlimited time and plenty of resource around, Snowden can fully use this to his advantage by becoming fluent in Russian. By keeping an eye on the rolling news stations he can fully submerge himself into his new home country's language - as well as being able to keep up with the 'Where's Eddy?' coverage that will undoubtedly follow him round.
7. Plan the escape
If Snowden gets bored of Russian life during his stay, he can always think about making an escape to a country with a low profile. Our first suggestion would be a principality where Ed can set his own rules like The Principality of Sealand. This officially unrecognised 'micronation' sits in the North Sea just 13 kilometres off the coast of Suffolk, England, and has been occupied unofficially by Paddy Roy Bates and his friends and associates since 1967. There you go Ed, just find an abandoned oil rig in the middle of the ocean and set up camp!
8.Do some part time work
Money might be a bit on the tight side after sacrificing his job and life for our human rights, so Snowden could potentially try and make some money while kicking his heels in Moscow. We suggest blogging as his first port of call - he knows his way around a computer and won't have any issues with attracting readers. Ed is already in demand and was recently offered a job at a Russian social media company VK, the company co-founder Pavel Durov said "I think Edward might find it interesting to try and protect the personal data of our millions of users". Durov and Ed would also have a lot in common considering that the former is himself on the run from his native Russia, after cops raided his headquarters in April 2013 on the grounds that he allegedly hit a traffic policeman with his car. Durov, who denies the accusations, is now rumoured to be hiding out in the U.S. and you guessed it, is requesting for political asylum within the U.S. It's like an episode of House Swap.
It's unlikely that Snowden will be short of people to talk to, so he may as well use this to his advantage. From journalists to hotel staff, he can pass the time with inane chatter and perhaps even try to sell his story. If he's looking for something more than 'friends' then why not try for something more: he'll have enough time on his hands to go through every chat-up line ever invented! Start off with the 'I'm-a-foreigner' shtick, and move onto the fact he's famous, a national hero, and wanted by the most powerful country in the world. If all else fails I would suggest he plays some board games or an interactive game like charades; maybe best to avoid truth or dare.
Like most round-the-world travellers, Snowden's chances of getting employment in his new home country will greatly increase if he rewrites his CV to attract employers there. With his credentials, initiative and bravery, it won't be hard for him to find something new to do wherever he ends up, especially if he stays in Russia. Being America's enemy number one will open doors for him in many places around the world - as will his sharp computer skills.