A Cultural Travel and Expat Blog

New Job, New Home, and Where I’m Going in 2015

Posted By in Mexico, Thailand, The Americas, Travel Musings | 16 comments

New Job, New Home, and Where I’m Going in 2015

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.

Grand Central Terminal New York City

Big Changes

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.

If you’ve been reading my regular posts over on Twenty-Something Travel or following me on Facebook, you already know that I got that job: As a writer/photographer for Oyster.com

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.

2015 Travels


Koh Kradan, Trang, Thailand

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.

Isla Mujeres

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?


  1. Betty May 7, 2015

    Can I just say how jealous I am of your life? Take me with you please!!

  2. Steph (20YH) May 7, 2015

    What great news, Jess! So glad that the perfect job seems to have found you and will allow you and Brent to both have the lifestyles you want without anyone really having to sacrifice for the other. Also, Tony and I are currently in Mexico and plan to be here for the foreseeable future… I don't think we'll be down in the Yucatan when you will be there, but perhaps our paths will cross elsewhere!
    My recent post Where to Eat in La Peñita

    • waysofwanderers May 8, 2015

      Yes! I thought about you guys! Let's keep in touch about it – I think I'll be making a few trips to different parts of Mexico over the coming months.

  3. Joella J May 8, 2015

    Fantastic update! I'd previously seen the news about your job on Twenty Something Travel- congrats! We are leaving Beijing next month and moving to California (had to change my blog name as This Beijing Life wasn't really going to work in the US!). I recently got approved for my green card so I'm super excited! On the hunt for a job now though. Were there any particularly good job websites/databases you found when hunting for your job?
    My recent post I left My Heart In Yanaka

  4. Stef May 8, 2015

    Congratulations on that job. What a great opportunity. I'm currently living in Cancun until June and then come back in October, so if you are here, let me know 😉 Would be great to have a drink together. Until then, enjoy your travels!!
    My recent post Why travel increases your self confidence

    • waysofwanderers May 8, 2015

      That would be super cool! Any chance you could be talked into taking the ferry over to Isla Mujeres, haha?

  5. Jaime May 13, 2015

    Isla Mujeres is a wonderful little island and the polar opposite of Cancun. It's honestly one of my favorite places. You won't find American chain restaurants and high prices. The people are friendly and it's a perfectly safe place to walk around. The north part of the island is where all of the restaurants are bars are. I stayed a week last year on Playa Norte and loved it. There's plenty of good food, including really good Italian food, to be had for not much money. Be sure to go see Floyd at Bally Hoos for a huge margarita :).

    • waysofwanderers May 14, 2015

      Thanks, Jaime! I'm even more excited to go now based on this wonderful description :).

  6. Ceri May 15, 2015

    What a fantastic new job! 😀 That sounds absolutely perfect. And Isla Mujeres is such a beautiful place. Complete opposite of Cancun. So laid back and gorgeous. Can't wait for you to see it.
    My recent post Thoughts From the North of South Korea

  7. ferretingoutthefun May 21, 2015

    How exciting! That really does sound like a dream job in that you get paid to travel while being able to maintain a home base. Win-win! Congrats and good luck with incorporating slow travel!
    My recent post My Favorite Places in Paris

  8. Allan June 17, 2015


    I’ve been reading your posts and absorbing all your knowledge that I can but, I need to talk to the master. I want to live a life the same way you two have, my girlfriend and I wanna travel more than anything and I’d love to chat about the ways you went about planning your trips. And the sites you used I wanna start planning my own life venture around the world.


  9. King Epic August 26, 2015

    Gosh, that seems like an amazing opportunity. I mean, even looking at your picture of Isla Mujeres – who wouldn't want to go?

    By the way, I like the layout of your blog. Large fonts + large pictures go well with each other.
    My recent post Support KingEpic

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