Santiago, Chile (1 Month)

Me & MacaFor those who haven’t been following my blog or posts in Facebook recently, I left Canada September 26th after being home for a little over 3 weeks. I decided I wanted to move to Santiago and be with my girlfriend who I love and who I have been talking with ever since I left the first time in early July. Things have been going very well this first month. I feel at home here with her and we get along very well. We have had the occasional disagreement and miscommunication but I think it’s very natural and they are very infrequent.

Passport2 Days ago I had a job interview for English teaching freelance work and I did well and got the job. I have already been scheduled for 2 classes, each will be 12 hours a month for 1.5 hours each. These will be with KPMG and I get to wear my suit that I bought recently which I like. More good news is that this job will help me get my Work visa which will allow me to legally work and live in Santiago for 1 year. I hope to have 6-8 students at 8,000 CLP ($16 CAD) an hour, 7,200 CLP after taxes. I have some debt ($10,500 CAD) from my previous year of travels that my parents are graciously helping me with which I really appreciate, although I intend to help a lot with the money I make here. During all my travels thus far I have paid for everything myself but my parents really wanted to help me with this and I decided to accept their offer. This year of travels from San Francisco and through South/Central America cost me roughly $16,500 CAD total. If I added up everything over 32 months of travel since March 2011 I have spent roughly $45,000 CAD on travel.

I have been practicing my Spanish slowly and not speaking Spanish as much as I should be but hopefully this will change in time. I’ve organized some contacts through CouchSurfing of people who want to practice Spanish with me but I have been going at a relaxed pace this month so haven’t setup actual meetings yet. My girlfriend and I have tickets for a Halloween party and decided to dress as fancy modern gothic style vampires which should be fun. I have lunch with her almost everyday during her lunch break and walk home with her after work. I plan to be living in Santiago till at least the end of 2015 and if things go really well I would like to move to Vancouver with my girlfriend who could be my wife by this time. Wish me luck and thanks for reading.

Saskatoon, Canada

IMG_20140824_115303135I am back home after 365 days on the road. I have been back in Saskatoon since September 3rd which is also the day I left a year ago. Even though I have only been back for 12 days I have already decided to leave again. I have fallen in love with my (hopefully) future wife who lives in Santiago, Chile. I am going to be moving into her apartment in downtown Santiago within 2 weeks, I am currently waiting for my new passport and my repaired laptop to be shipped back to me. I should have them both by the 24th and will fly out shortly after that. I intend to speak Spanish only with her and fully immerse myself in the language, which will hopefully have me being nearly fluent within 6 months (I hope). I’ve refreshed all my travel gear and will also bring a carry-on bag this time so I can bring more things with me because I will be living with her for at least 15 months (visa restrictions), likely longer.

IMG_20140829_195744After leaving Havana I landed in Montreal and had a great 6 days with my CS host. He showed me around on the weekend and even took me to an electronic music festival that happens in Montreal in the summer. I also went to a fashion show and comic book convention which were very fun to take a peek at. Montreal is a beautiful city and if it wasn’t for all the French I would consider living there. Also had some amazing food like a smoked meat sandwich and poutine. After that I took a bus to Ottawa where I spent an additional 6 days, this time with 2 different hosts. I actually was set to stay with another person for my first few days but this host wasn’t home and although he said I could stay in his bed while he was gone I didn’t really like the state of his house so posted an emergency CS request and had a new host within a few hours. My hosts in Ottawa were cool and we had some nice conversations and they were very helpful. Ottawa a very pretty city and a nice capitol for my home country. I don’t think I needed 6 days there to see everything but it was a nice visit.

Thanks for following my travels throughout this year and I guess in some ways it isn’t over yet because I will be going back to South America for at least another year. I will post updates whenever I have news.

Havana, Cuba (Day 352)

IMG_20140815_141940I’m writing this blog post while still in Havana, Cuba because I’m very bored and hot. The heat here has been crippling the entire time with short reprieves each evening when the A/C in my room is turned on, which was advertised being from 10PM-10AM but is closer to 11PM-9AM because the hostel owners wanna save a few centevos. One of several little money taking techniques my hostel has been pulling on its guests. I haven’t had internet the entire time except for a few minutes given to me by another guest as they were leaving Cuba. It costs anywhere from $4-10/hour for internet here and I am not interested in paying that much.

IMG_20140820_164936I’ve grown quite tired of being asked if I want to buy cigars or take a taxi or just being scammed and lied to in order to “win” a few CUC as a Cuban “friend” told me. CUC is the more expensive of the 2 overlapping currency present in Cuba, the other being CUP. Its an odd way to do currencies and opens the door to another scamming method for the unscrupulous populous of Havana. A week in Havana during the summer is more than enough and I will be happy to be back in Canada in less than 2 days.

IMG_20140816_082632I have had fun though as I was here for the last weekend of Carnival which was 3 evenings, 2 of which I got seat tickets and had a great time. The food that CUP gets you is quite cheap and even the meals you buy with CUC are usually decent quality for average prices. Buses here are cheaper then anywhere I have ever been at 1 CUP which is only $0.04 CAD. Although buses were free in Perth so I’m not counting that. I’ve also done a lot of walking which is the main thing to do in Havana. I’ve seen many old cars from the mid 50’s to early 60’s and taken a taxi ride in a few of them for 1 CUC ($1 CAD). Also had some nice Cuban rum and fake cigars for relatively cheap by Canadian standards.

IMG_20140819_144240As I write this I have exactly 2 weeks left till I land back in Saskatoon which means I’m also on week 50 of my trip. I have CS hosts setup for all of Montreal and Ottawa including an invite to a CS’ers birthday party on the 31st. Hopefully everything is still good to go with that because I have been out of contact with my Gmail, Facebook & CouchSurfing since arriving in Cuba on the 14th.

One last update that could change but as of right now feels like it will happen is that I have decided to move back to Santiago, Chile to be with the same girl that came to visit me in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is very sweet and has invited me to live with her and learn Spanish from her. I hope to find a job there as well and I think it will be an interesting next step in my life. I am very much looking forward to it. I won’t leave Canada though until my debt is paid off and I have some money in my pocket so it will likely happen after the new year in early 2015. Wish me luck. :-D

Sao Paulo, Brazil (Day 342)

Maca & MeMy last few days in Rio were uneventful as I prepared to leave for Sao Paulo. It was a nice short bus trip and the city has been very nice and easy to navigate. It doesn’t have much of a center so I have been going all over the city this past 10 days. I stayed at a really chill hostel on my first night with some cool people. Then spent the next night in the international airport waiting for my amazing friend to arrive so we could have a week here in the city. She rented us an AirBnB apartment in the East side and it was a perfect 8 days with her. Every day was great and she is such an awesome person. I hope to see her again soon but for now I need to make my way back to Canada and pay off some of this debt that has been adding up ever since leaving San Francisco.

Mortadela CompletoDuring our week together we had nice picnics in parks, went to an art museum, walked around many parts of the city and checked out a few nice markets. Also we spent a lot of time hanging out around our apartment, ordering pizza and just enjoying each others company. She has since gone back to Santiago, Chile and I am in a new hostel for my last 3 days here before flying to Havana, Cuba. My flight is actually on the 14th around 3-4 AM so I will spend the night of the 13th at the airport because it’s just much easier. I plan to go to a CS meeting tomorrow that has 60+ people signed up so hopefully at least 15 show up and it will be a fun time. I may not have much internet in Cuba because it’s very lacking there so my next post may be from Montreal which is my next stop after Cuba. I have CouchSurfers setup for my week in Montreal and hope to have the same in Ottawa before I arrive. Goodbye for now. :-)