Archive for the year 2013

Ah, San Francisco…

OIt’s been a while since my last post and a lot has happened. In my last post I was happily working at USA hostels with the plan to stay for a while because it was a good setup. That didn’t pan out as I got told I “wasn’t a good fit” and had to leave. That sucked but it was for the best because that kind of work was making me unhappy and the staff changed far too often. After that I moved to a hostel called Adelaide which I attempted to get a job at but after 3-4 weeks of trying I have given up on that idea. The delay in getting a job at Adelaide may have been a good thing because it’s allowed me to pursue my own business as a computer service technician, posting my services online and then doing on-site/in-home service. So far I’ve only had 4 customers in 2 weeks, but I’ve got some business cards coming and I plan on doing a lot more advertising work in the future, also I am banking on word of mouth catching on once I have 10-20 jobs done.

BI’ve still been exploring San Francisco on a regular basis. I also still do side jobs like research studies. In mid-October I did a video for a watch company where they took live scorpions, snakes, cockroaches & tarantulas and put them all over my body while measuring my heart rate. Sadly my video wasn’t picked to be in there main promotion, but I still got paid and it was a new experience. I finished my UCSF study and had my MRI done, they will mail me a full DVD of pictures of my brain in late December I was told. My new job has given me much more free time in the city so I am trying to decide how best to use it. I don’t have many plans for the next little while, there is so many things going on in the city that just being here can keep me busy. I’ve now lived at 3 different addresses on Post Street which is nice because now when I walk from my current residents in the 800 block down to Union Square via Post I always run into people I know from the 700 and 600 blocks where I lived before.

First month in SF

SIt feels good to have a month of “travel” under my belt again. It’s not like the 20 months I had last trip, but it feels similar. Getting back to the travelers life has been a smooth and happy transition. I’ve had a cold this week which has slowed down everything I’ve done recently but still it’s been a good week. Last time I posted I was still living with my awesome friend/host in SF, she has since moved away and I have moved into my hostel job nicely. It’s my 2nd week working at the hostel and I’ve been having a good time and fitting in well I feel. Living in a hostel is interesting, although my staff dorm room with only me in it hardly feels like a hostel, maybe more like a college dorm (I assume). I work 24 hours a week in 4 hour shifts and for that I get to stay at the hostel with free internet, laundry, accommodations, breakfast, food, alchohol, etc. which is a good deal I think, especially seeing as hostels in SF are easily $45-50/night.

RI’ve done a lot of little outings to things like America’s Cup, Folsom Street Fair and Sumo Wrestling. San Francisco always has something going on it seems. I’ve also kept up with those focus group and study jobs that I’ve been finding on Craigslist. They are at legitimate places like UCSF or Nielsen. I did one today that paid $150 for less than 30 minutes of work. The UCSF one will hopefully have me doing an MRI, genetic testing and a meeting with a psychiatrist for which they will pay me $260, hopefully. I don’t like to get my hopes up on these side jobs as they are never a guarantee and I do them mostly for fun, although the money helps.

DMy plans for the near future are to stay with my job at the hostel. I am handing out brochures this week in exchange for some time in a sensory deprivation tank which could be a very interesting experience. I really am undecided on what to do next but I may leave sooner than January for a new city. I’d like to move to LA and work at a hostel there for a while before moving onto South America. It will depend how my money is by then, I have money coming in and going out always so it can be hard to keep track of all that with no consistent money coming in, but that’s fine with me, keeps things open/free. For anyone interested, I have spent $978.23 CAD in my 30 days in San Francisco. In those 30 days I haven’t skimped at all. I hope to get this down to $600-800 in October as I bought things often that I did not need but I budget well so wasn’t worried. I would like to show on this trip that the world can be traveled for under $15,000 CAD / year. If I can show that and if people like the way I travel and feel safe with it, then hopefully they can realize there dreams of traveling.

Hello San Francisco!

GI’m back on the road! This time I have gone West to San Francisco, California. Also I took a plane this time instead of that horrifying 60 hour bus trek East on my last trip. My friend Jessy picked me up at the airport on the 3rd and showed me around the town right away before dropping me off with my Couch Surfing host for the first 2 days. Adam was a friendly host and we had a good time together, I got to check out a programming event right away and had some amazing Chicago style pizza for free. The next day was a Couch Surfing meeting with over 150 people which again was a lot of fun, although a bit too loud for a CS meeting I felt. After those 2 days and up until the 23rd I will be staying with my friend Jessy who picked me up at the airport. She lives in a great part of SF and I have had an amazing time hanging out with her.

Within the first week I had already done a job which had me getting paid $75 for 15 minutes of looking at a screen and pressing a button while wearing an EEG cap. I’ve also managed to arrange a great monthly phone plan and setup my hostel job to start on the 23rd which is the most amazing thing. That job will see me through December with a free place to stay in exchange for a few hours helping out each day around the hostel. I’ve always enjoyed living in hostels so I think this will work amazingly. It’s rated #1 in SF and is also in a great location within the city. I’ve been doing a lot of walking around as well which is slowly getting me familiarized with the city.

GJessy has been an amazing host and friend and has been great at showing me around her city. We have done so many things it’s hard to keep track of them all. We’ve gone to the beach, checked out a red wood forest, gone to a baseball game which was a lot of fun and we even went to the golf driving range yesterday. She will be leaving for school on the 19th so I will be back on my own for a bit before I move into the hostel and start meeting tons of people. Also I have hung out with Adam again since our CS meeting and I hope to hang out more as I consider him a friend in the city now.

I’ve been having a great time and this city has treated me very very well so far. I’ll keep everyone posted on news and how the hostel job goes in the next few weeks.

Finding Happiness

TThis is by no means a how-to on the subject of becoming happy as anyone who has known me long enough can attest that I’m not the picture of a stable happy person. I am happy and most of the times it even looks that way. But the idea of sustained happiness with whatever circumstances I happen to be in has never been my reality. I’m not sure if some people are meant to be seekers of happiness while others find it under every rock, I think I’m somewhere in the middle which is fine with me. I just have to remind myself when things go the other way that I can always change my circumstances in life.

Now talking about all this happiness fulfillment can be quite depressing if we picture that those without are unhappy, but the happiness I’m talking about is a kind of contentment with the situation at hand. And maybe that’s a foolish happiness for a person like me to even be searching for. Maybe that feeling of wanting to “move on” so to speak is something to be embraced and not fought. I’ve decided recently to embrace it again and will be changing my situation in life over the coming few weeks. I had got back into a “comfortable rut” as I call it. Perfectly sustainable and boring. I have a job working 1-3 hours a day making good money, a car and gas paid for me, a nice place with a great location and nice weather in my hometown. But like most situations in my life it eventually turns into a gilded cage in my eyes and that leads to an uncomfortable feeling of being “trapped”.

I’m not sure if my situation is a not unfamiliar look into a nomadic mindset, or if it’s something more sinister that needs to be dealt with head on rather than by what some would call “running away”. Whichever it is, travel has never let me down and I’d rather build up the bricks of a life I want then cement in the bricks of a life of convenience and comfort.