Humans of the Embassy: David Mandis, Executive Office

“I see the world as a giant plate of food and I want to taste everything on it. I joined the Foreign Service because I wanted to travel and I have now been to every continent except South America and Antarctica. My goal is to visit them all. When I’m done, I’ll start all over again. People ask me how long I plan to do this. I say as long as it’s fun. And it’s definitely still fun. In just a few days, I am off to Mongolia for my next posting.

One of the most profound experiences I’ve had in the Foreign Service was when I was posted in Nigeria and I witnessed people living in abject poverty but still were happy. They had their families and their community. They laughed; they took care of each other. They enjoyed the little things those of us caught up chasing prosperity sometimes take for granted.

Not starting a family of my own is one of my regrets in life. I think I would have made a pretty good and interesting parent. But as a gay man, it just wasn’t an easy thing to do back in the day. I am not one to get lonely though. Wherever I go, I make friends. Leaving good friends behind at the end of an assignment is always difficult, but wherever I go, there are more friends to be made, more new foods to be tasted.”