HUATULCO: Pacific Ocean Boat Rides, 6 Degrees of Separation & Icy Cold Dos Equis

It was only a few nights ago that I was in a random taco bar in Huatulco, Mexico with my crew. Sometimes flying is like having 2 Dads and some step siblings all crammed together trying to make group decisions. Every now and again you get a group of people that just kind of fit and when you find them – you just need to go with it. 

Our little road family was pretty cute. We banded together for our 48 hours in Mexico – on a mission to experience some things, be out in the sun and remember why working as aircrew can be a super amazing job. 

Huatulco is in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Oaxaca is found on the Pacific side just where the country does a geographical turn on the map and the continent starts to get more narrow. The only reason I actually know where Oaxaca is located is from my younger years as a Barista. I got a job at a Second Cup when I first moved to Calgary some 20 odd years ago. Second Cup was all about coffee but also learning about coffee kinda stuff and being knowledgeable about random things like growing regions and flavors in the soil. Oaxaca is absolutely a coffee growing region in Mexico and they make fine, fine coffee.  

Anyway, after a gong-show of a flight down to Mexico I was feeling pretty spent. In fact – I actually had to take refuge up in the flight deck for a little 15 min break in the last quarter of the flight. I had a chat with the guys about how I thought I might actually bail on the crew for some alone time. 

HUX beer me
Ice Cold Dos Equis

But as every good crew member knows – those decisions can’t be made till you are in your hotel room, out of your uniform and back in the world of normalcy -As soon as I was changed and breathing in that humid Mexican air I was ready for some Dos Equis. 

 

It was that first night – in a little local taco shop just a half block from the square in La Crucecita that I realized that the 6th degree of separation bullshit was actually a thing. I was telling the crew that I had lived on the East Coast of Canada and that I went to university out there. I wasn’t wearing my x-ring so when I mentioned I went to university in Antigonish the Captain leaned over to check my hand  – what do you know; The Captain on my crew just happened to go to the same University as me.  

HUX me
Me – reppin’ my East Coast Lifestyle gear like a motherfucking boss!

Like the typical people from the East Side we went off on a tangent to figure out if we had any commonalities and there you have it- he just so happened to be friends with a professor I held dear to my heart. 

It is crazy to me that everything sort of leads back to that place for me. That place that tried me so much. The place that changed me. The place that took my life in a very different direction. The place where I understood my childhood but hated it all at the same time. The place that I didn’t realize kind of unraveled me until I painstakingly put myself back together some 10 years later.  You get so connected to your own story that it becomes hard to rewrite it. Figuring out a new path, changing your identity, your story – it’s hard work. I have become fixated on trying to figure out who I truly am – understanding, growing. Can I see through that time and that darkness or will I forever be cloaked with that sadness that leaves so much hollowness inside? Are we supposed to spend our entire life searching? I digress.

HUX boatDinner in the Taco bar led to morning plans to spend the following day together. We all met for breakfast and sat in the square in Santa Cruz having Oaxacan coffee and chiliqilies. I opted for a vegetarian version and when those barely cooked eggs showed up on top of  my food I wanted to barf. I guess I am more vegan than I thought. The iced coffee was divine though. After breakfast we headed down to the beach to find a boat for hire. That is when we got linked up with Jamie – our boat guy – for barely $40 CND each we had hired out a private boat named Johanna II  for the day to do some bay hopping, see some secluded beaches, snorkel and of course day drink. 

We headed back to the hotel to grab our gear while Jamie iced our beer and tequila. We set out on a boat on the Pacific Ocean to explore this tiny area in Mexico. Admittedly I felt like the outsider of the group. But even though I was feeling slightly odd after a couple of drinks none of that stuff mattered.  I had a great time drinking tequila and beer and plunging off the side of the boat into the crystal clear waters. I barely thought about the yellow bellied poisonous snakes at all. 

HUX water
Jumping off the side of the boat into a bay after far to much beer and tequila. 

 

My previous experiences with Mexico have been in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Busy party central districts – Huatulco felt nothing like this. I swear to you Huatulco is where all the old hippies go -It might be because we were in the town of Santa Cruz which is part of the Huatulco region and not at a resort. It might be because Huatulco is pretty underdeveloped; you can see where they have made plenty of attempts but never actually finished construction on something – but this is a super chilled out area full of people just wanting to be in Mexico in a different capacity. You can see there are all sorts of great resort type projects on the go that have just been left abandoned. It is sad to see but at the same time it makes this area significantly less busy, less people around. It actually feels like a more authentic type of Mexico – whatever the hell that means. 

Getting up on morning two we had about three quarters of the day to just be. We headed down for a crew breakfast at Itoo – which if you are in town is a must. Fresh squeezed juices, and a menu of authentic Mexican food kinda written in English if you need that sort of thing. We sat around and chatted and made a collective decision for some beach time. 

The beach that was linked with our hotel on the Bahia de Santa Cruz wasn’t the prettiest I saw in my 48 hours. But for some last minute sunshine and some time for reading it did the trick.  I tapped out early to head back to my room to mentally prepare for my flight home. Maybe it was the full moon energy but things have been feeling off and I am definitely one that needs a lot of alone time. Sometimes to much. But preparing for work takes time, mental preparation and sometimes meditation. 

Landing back in Calgary makes the little bubble pop. Your little group just disperses and you go back to your normal life and normal things and cold weather. It’s like it never happened. It’s a crazy life how you weave through people and connections and experiences and end up exactly where you were – some of you cross paths again but it’s never in the same circumstances, people or places. You can’t relive a moment or time – you just carry on with the good parts. 

Life.  It’s interesting like that. 

Thanks Mexico, Onward.

 

My Travel Bucket List

I have been in Edmonton about a year and a half and I am getting dangerously close to that time where I pick up and fly away. I have made lots of financial goal, health goals and a must do list of things in Edmonton – so travel is taking a back seat. Right now I am dreaming of all the places and things I would like to be doing that don’t involve working so much. So I put together a list of my dream travel trips. My currently bucket list of trips  want to do.

 

  • Take the Trans-Siberian from Beijing to Moscow (through Mongolia)
  • Take the train from India (New Delhi) to Turkey
  • Drive from Argentina to Canada
  • Move to Indonesia and live in a hut and write
  • Live in Dubai for a year
  • Backpack the African Countries
  • Visit Greenland
  • Travel to Newfoundland & Labrador, Nunavut and North West Territories (only places let to travel to in Canada)
  • Drive the west Coast of Canada and the USA
  • India (Nepal and Sri Lanka)

 

Where are you dying to get to next?  Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo,

 

Livin’ La Vida Company Trip to Mexico

Sometime back in December I was required to attend a mandatory company trip to Mexico.  It was kind of weird for more reasons than I can safely write on the internet. That being said there was some good moments also. While it is currently what I hope might be the last deep freeze of the Winter – I decided to finally make that video footage into a vlog and dream of warmer days.

 

I hope you giggled at least a little,

Stay Warm, Friends!

XOXO,

C

DO COOL SH*T

Yes the book. Yes Miki. Yes getting out there and creating a life. Yes creating a business. Actually today I wanted to give you a book review of this novel about getting out their as a young entrepreneur and creating a business.

But in light of almost getting canned from BOTH my jobs in one day. I thought I would not talk about entrepreneurial stuff but actually commit to doing some cool shit, right here, right now.

17 cool things I want to do in the rest of 2017:

  • Grow a salad in my apartment (kale or lettuce, green onion, herbs, tomatoes, and aloe or some other low maintenance plant)
  • Build a YouTube channel
  • Paint my wall pistachio and get my vintage inspired couch
  • Dye my hair like a Peacock
  • Join the rowing club in Edmonton
  • Fully commit to Vegan and not be 90% Vegan
  • Finish my tattoo removal and get my ankle tattoo to cover it
  • Get my arm tattoo-ed
  • Pierce my nose … for the 8th time
  • Travel in India or Indonesia – just go on a vacation
  • Hit up as many of the Provincial Parks in Alberta as I can this summer.
  • Buy a Bicycle
  • Become a Thrift Queen
  • Read all the books on my bookshelf
  • Mediate once a day
  • Learning to be happy just the way I fucking am ❤
  • Make some solid Edmonton Friends

 

In the craziness of life, paying off my debt and doing all sort of things – sometimes I forget to just be and have fun and to love myself. So I decided I needed to make a list and do just that.

What is on your 2017 list that is fun stuff, not about debt or work etc

Leave me some Love,

XOXO,

C

Iceland

Way back in November 2016  I went to Iceland for the Airwaves Festival.  It was a very short trip but full of music, vegan food and rain. Basically, an all around adventure. Just the way I like it.

 

For the most part my music festival experiences have been in a field and not in the downtown of a city. Iceland has been on my radar for years. I finally just had the ability to make it happen. Hard work from two jobs in a crazy oil city made me feel like I earned the fuck outta this trip. Work hard, play harder, right?!

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Nothing makes me feel more at home than chillin’ by the water.  Sea of Greenland!

 

So that’s it Friends, just a little YouTube smash up of some of my Iceland adventures.

Until next time,

XOXO

C

Iceland Airwaves 2016

For as long as I have known I have Icelandic blood I have wanted to visit the Island. I have always been a music junkie with a pretty wide range of taste. The true addiction began when I bought my 3 cd disk changer stereo back in the day. Then I bought my first CD (which if you are wondering was Annie Lennox – the one with Walking on Broken Glass on it) and the collection and obsession started.  Then when I moved to Antigonish and started hearing amazing local bands every weekend (remember the Trews, anybody, when they played for 5 bucks, or Wintersleep) Then onto a hard core passion for the talent that came out of the East Coast. When I started really festivaling – Somewhere on my festival dream list the Airwaves Festival landed a prime slot. After years of begging people to make the trip with me – this year I booked the damn trip and decided to do it alone.  Finally after years and years of pining over wanting to attend – this was the year, the year I made it to Iceland and ran around Reykjavik with blackberry cider in my Hershel backpack like the rest of the bloody hipsters listening to some of the finest, most unique, often Nordic and airy music I have heard in a long ass time.

If you have been to Airwaves you understand that there are so many bands and so many venues it is really hard to keep track of all the amazingness you are hearing. Part of the journey is running all over downtown Reykjavik and exploring all the weird and wonderful bars. The festival brings in such a variety of music – 2 people attending could see completely different bands and it would be like they are at a different festivals.

Anyway – a few of you have ask for some interesting bands/new music from the festival so in no particular order here are a couple that stood out for me:

Gringlombian – These guys were the right mix of folk and indie for me. Pretty young probably are going to be something amazing AND as you might know – I am a sucker for the banjo. So when they brought that out – I was sold.

Of Monsters & Men – these guys don’t really need any introduction. Although surprisingly not as many people knew who they were. I have been a fan since some random hipster introduced me to these guys way back in my China days. They were on my travel through Croatia play list and they totally didn’t disappoint.  The venue was so tiny – I swear there was maybe 100 of us. A dream.

Milkywhale – I loved loved loved these guys. The right mix of electronic and Indie. Super fun show. Lots of dancing by the people that had space – we were literally by the door of the hostel venue they were playing in. Love. Love. Love.

Glowie –  This was a total random show that happened because I wanted us to be in the Nasa venue right early so we could see another show. But she didn’t disappoint. Not my usual go to but still super good. On my playlist now.

Bjork – This was a wonderfully weird show. She literally sang with the philharmonic orchestra behind her. Her take on music has evolved to a weird eclectic place of the years but was worth every extra penny to get to hear Bjork in Iceland. She also ended the show with on of my favorites  – Pluto  <3!

I also really love the show by Reykjavíkurdætur and my friend Mel raved over the úlfur úlfur show.  The one show I wanted to see and missed was FM Belfast – I guess they will be on the list for next year.

So there you have it friends – some new to me, some not so new, maybe some new to you. A lot of Icelandic artists and a whole lot of lovely. This is not a exhaustive list by any means – just some of the shows that I really liked. If you want to find more – download the Airwaves app on your phone – lets you get into all the great show that were at the festival.

Let me know if you take a listen – what you like, what you didn’t … Did you go to the Airwaves – what was your favorite show?

 

Seoul Train.

So you want to live & work in Korea?

Or … you want to fuck off abroad but don’t have the cash to do it … teaching ESL – it’s a thing.

I have a had a lot of adventures abroad. Of all my adventures;  one of the most common questions I am asked is about teaching English abroad – in particular in South Korea. Even though that adventure took place some years ago I’m still asked how I did it?!

 How did I managed to take my small town Canadian white girl arse and land a teaching gig in Seoul!?!?

Actually, getting a job in Korea might be the easiest, hardest part of the process. My first trinket of advice is: GET A RECRUITER! They are essential. You DO NOT need to pay a recruiter. If they are charging you – find another company. I used Footprints Recruiting.   (if it is your first trip abroad teaching English – they will help you with EVERYTHING!!)  A good school will pay for your visa, flight (upfront – they just send the flight information), airport pick up and apartment.

DO YOUR RESEARCH! Recruiters are great but they are also there to fill positions at schools. Look up on a map where the school is located. Are you close to the metro? close to downtown? Are you in the city you want to live in? There are A LOT of Western people teaching in Korea – English speakers are everywhere but the last thing you want is for someone to tell you your area is close to city center and then find out when you get there – it isn’t. Be firm. But also don’t expect your rookie contract to be next to Namsung Tower.

There are two types of schools you will likely get a job at:

HAGWON: This is a privately run school. It is usually an after school program for kids. As you will learn most Korean kids are in hagwons for EVERYTHING. Small classes, guaranteed. It also means that you will be working after normal school hours (like till 8 or 10pm). Sometimes they are shady as shit. I worked at a hagwon – just ask to speak to one of the teachers from the school before you sign a contract.

Hagwon (Korean: 학원; also hagweon or hakwon) is the Korean-language word for a for-profit private institute, academy or cram school prevalent in South Korea.

PUBLIC SCHOOL: Exactly what it sounds like. You will have a full class of students in a normal school. If you can get in (hard to get on with the Public schools – it is dependent on the time of year you want to go to Korea) – the pay is better structured. Usually there are less foreign staff at these school. Everyone I know that work for the public system stayed longer in Korea.

ACTUALLY TEACHING ENGLISH: Teaching is not overly hard. I worked at a hagwon so there were lesson plans created and lists of teaching games and resources. Other staff shared tricks; I had co-teachers that taught the same kids. I learned more about English teaching English then I ever thought possible. English is a difficult language. There are a lot of irregular verbs, words and there is mostly no logic. Teaching makes you think about punctuation like you never have and ALL the things that you just know because you are a speaker and it sounds right. Korean kids all have cell phones with translators. They drop vocabulary words that are not wrong but totally out of context. The great thing about teaching in Korea is most kids have a vested interest in learning because they want to get into a super good University. Therefore they need English.

You do not need a teaching degree to teach English in Korea – but you do need a degree – in any subject. 4 years from a University.

LIVING IN KOREA:  It is not exactly like life in North America. But let’s be real – you didn’t move half way around the world for it to be similar. It takes some time to get accustom to Korean culture and way of life. Different religious influence. Utmost respect for Elders. Beautiful language. Busy, busy Asian life. Eating with chopsticks. Never understanding anything anyone says. Drinking excessively.  Only having 2 English TV channels for down time. Korean food. Korean beer. Korean people. Skype life. Time change to anything familiar.  Drunk Skyping friends at home. Maybe being taller than everyone. Only drinking bottled water. Guessing at food in restaurants. Being pointed at.  Drinking. Matching couple outfits. Plastic surgery. Being University educated yet completely illiterate. Living in a xenophobic culture where you are on the losing end. People being racist fucks to you for being a different color. Being told to go back to your own Country. Being touched – by strangers- on the metro. So so so so so many people.  There is so much more!  Did I mention the drinking? South Korea is an experience that you embrace at whatever level you want. The more you dive in and learn the more you benefit from your experience.

After a lot of teaching contracts, in lots of Countries I have learned there are two types of foreigners: those that embraces it, tried the food, learned some of the language, explored the country, took in everything they could and those that fucking hated it.If you hate it – fucking leave. No one wants to hear you bitch endlessly about how much you hate it. No one will want to be friends or hang out with you. Don’t be a dick. If you hate it, don’t spread your negative energy to all the people having a time. Figure out a way to be less scared of things you don’t know and become a better person for living the experience.

Korea was one of my favorite teaching experiences. I have  an overwhelming love for the friends I made, the deliciousness of Korean food, booze and culture.  I have more friends roaming the globe than I have in my current city from traveling so much. There is so much to talk about when it comes to the experience of embracing a new culture.  Friendships made in an experience that changes your life tend to be people you bond with for life.

I am not the ‘be all end all’ of Korean experiences and this post just barely scratches the surface of my time there – Different people had different co-teachers and different areas to live, different experiences. That being said – Korea was worth every tear drop of fear, every weekend of yellow liver failure diarrhea from drinking too much and every delicious bite of bipimbop. So if you are thinking you might want to do it – you should!

If you have more questions comment below, and I will answer as best a girl can.

Until laters, Chingu!

 

The Skinny.

It had been a SUPER CRAZY BUSY last month!

So my posting or lack there of … was not intentional and not the way I wanted to kick start this blog. That being said – we get busy, right?!

I thought it most fitting that I just give you the skinny on all the crazy amazing things that are in the works:

Way back in April I met a new friend/business partner at an event I attended. We are both creative balls of amazing and started work right away on this amazing conference. Back in early August I went to Richmond, Virginia to plan. The Alternative Housing Summit has taken a life of it’s own and it is turning into everything we want it to be. You should totally check us out on all the cool places – Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Follow, Share and love!

I moved! Since moving to Edmonton this is my third home. I stared out in the north with my sister, which was totally a transition into a central roommate situation. But – this time came ….and here we are – I finally moved into my own studio. Moving when you own a FIAT is just as difficult as it sounds. It was a journey, lots of trips and because I am crazy independent. A lot of trips. Then begins the setting up, buying IKEA, the hell of setting up IKEA and life in general.

As none of my side project make money  – they are passions products, I need to work full time and then some. It is trade show season and work has been crazy. Stressful. And full tilt ahead till Christmas.

I jumped right into a weight loss journey and am trying to conquer 25lbs by December 25th … So this requires, meal prep and planning and meticulous life of food-centric craziness. And cooking, lots and lots of home cooking.

I have been daunted and excited by an over dose of social media … for everything! Personal life, work life, 3 Instagrams, 2 Facebooks, 2 Twitters, plus Snapchat, Etsy, Pinterest. So many things to manage and yet so much love.

But seriously, things are starting to settle, life is getting back into swing and I have lots of cool things up my sleeve. I am currently working on a series about teaching English abroad (so if you have any questions – comment below so I can cover them) and also how I managed all the travel being broke as fuck. Plus a series of some sort on creating a massive event. Creative living. And living the travel dream. I have book reviews on entrepreneurs and travel trips coming down the line.

GET EXCITED!

 

Stay Tuned, Stay Connected, Stay Sassy!