It’s no secret (if for no other reason than my infrequent posting over the last few months) that 2015 got off to a slow start for me. Brent and I were dealing with the fall-out from our house sit in Spain, our resulting abrupt return to Canada, and trying to figure out what was next.
I’m sure we came across as even more erratic than usual as friends, family, and acquaintances continually asked us what was next and our answers varied each time – sometimes it was Germany; other times Guatemala or Ecuador – because the truth was that we didn’t have a real answer.
Brent was ready to settle in Canada for the foreseeable future, I didn’t want to give up traveling, and neither of us wanted the other to feel forced into such a life-changing compromise. We were stuck.
In late December I got an email. It was about a job I barely even remembered applying for – but one that now seemed impossibly wonderful because it solved our entire dilemma. Over the following weeks, I did a writing test, a photo test, and finally went to New York City for an interview.
Oyster.com’s experts visit, photograph, and write unbiased reviews of hotels all over the world. Who are these experts? Well, now I’m one of them.
For the past three months, I’ve been visiting hotels around Toronto and beginning in June I’ll be going on monthly trips to other cities and countries to do the same thing.
I absolutely adore my job.
It allows me continue traveling, while also maintaining a semi-permanent home base with Brent in Toronto. Plus, as odd as it might make me, I’ve always loved hotels. Even as a kid when I went on trips with my family, I used to look forward to the different hotels we’d be staying in almost as much as the vacation itself. I loved noticing the textures of different beds, trying out the free toiletries in the bathrooms, and discovering if there was a pool or hot tub I could lounge in. Now, I’m getting paid to do all of those things.
When Brent and I left Chiang Mai in September 2014 after living in Asia for more than two years, I had no idea how long it would be before I’d find myself in the region again. My return ended up being much sooner than I ever would have expected, because I was invited on a preview trip for the upcoming TBEX conference. I flew back to Thailand for a week at the end of March. In addition to this trip, I still have plenty of stories from our summer in Chiang Mai, so you can expect much more Thailand content here over the next few months.
In June, I’ll be heading to Milwaukee to participate in Navigate Media Group’s BlogHouse. I’ve wanted to be part of BlogHouse for a few years, but the timing and location have never lined up until now. I’ll spend four days working with a group of awesome travel bloggers (many of whom I’ve admired and followed for years), plus have a chance to explore Milwaukee.
From the research I’ve done so far, Milwaukee seems like a criminally-underrated city with a fantastic craft beer scene and some cool museums.
After BlogHouse, I’ll have about a week back at home in Toronto before heading out on my first trip for Oyster.com – to Isla Mujeres! A small island located off the shore of Cancún, Isla Mujeres has a reputation for being a more laid-back alternative to Mexico’s party capital. There are some crazy beautiful beaches, fantastic snorkeling and diving, plus a set of Mayan temple ruins.
It’ll be my first time visiting Mexico and I couldn’t be more pumped! I’ll be busy checking out hotels for Oyster.com, but I’m determined to carve out some time to explore the island as well. If you’ve visited Isla Mujeres, definitely hit me up with any tips!
As I mentioned above, my job with Oyster.com could take me to any number of possible cities and countries. It sounds like Mexico and the Caribbean are going to be a focus over the coming months, but my trip schedule is still in the works and the exact destinations are yet to be determined.
Aside from my trips with Oyster.com, I’m also planning to take advantage of being based in Canada for a while (the east coast has been on my list for a long time!), plus spend some time getting reacquainted with Toronto.
In the past, I’ve volunteered abroad with no home base; worked abroad while living as an expat; and now I’ll be maintaining a home in Canada while traveling for both work and leisure. I’m looking forward to figuring out how to bring my slow travel style to these quick trips, and to showing you how to delve into the culture of a destination even when you only have a short time to explore it.
Where are you going this year?