What are our plans for 2014?

2014 has just started so what are our plans?

2013 was the year that our travels really started, more than three years have passed since we decided together to travel around the world, and in October of last year it finally began.

How did it all started?

It all started three years ago with our decision of work and travel, which meant that we needed to find the type of jobs compatible with the lifestyle we chose: wanderlust always on the move.

For that we read millions of travel blogs and travel experts to find out what jobs should we be looking at and this list is what we found out:

Hospitality – probably the easiest to find and sometimes very profitable as we realised in the Cayman Islands.

Ad from the course we did @ matadoru.com

Ad from the course we are doing (www.matadoru.com)

Teaching English – not available in many countries but quite rewarding and maybe profitable enough in the countries it exists. We will soon find out by ourselves.

Travel Writing – the less profitable, if profitable at all, and hardest to get, but in the successful cases it does provide a valuable extra income. We have a dream.

Volunteering – no money-maker but money saver and the best to immerse yourself in the visiting country. We’ve done it and will definitively continue doing it.

Other – there are some travel related jobs like tour guides which are also interesting, or just some admin work in a hostel, anything that can provide some quick income and you find when on the road. Haven’t tried yet but not from the lack of options.

Time to go back to school

With this list in mind, we decided to prepare ourselves for the first three jobs in the list, as for the last two no preparation was needed other than be in the right moment at the right time. First stop, London, hospitality capital of Europe and a close second to New York in terms of world domination. If we had to find a place to learn about the hospitality industry world, we felt that London had to be it. For almost two years we lived and worked in London, either studying in a Bartending school or trying to get work experience in restaurants and bars.

Joao doing his examination at Shaker Bartending Scholl

João doing his examination at Shaker Bartending School (www.shaker-uk.com)

We ended up working in two fancy places where cocktails were the main menu and we fell in love. Nothing like a well done concoction prepared with all the charm and class surrounded by a glamorous atmosphere, what a delight!

Entering the world of Spirits

While working in London we decided that, during our travels, we would study as much as possible the history of the Spirits and Cocktails as countries have experienced different alcohol evolutions since destillation was brought to them. We will probably also talk about the world beers that we encounter, but our focus is the Spirits. What a lovely word, Spirits! Funny to discover that alcohol, being used initially for medicinal proposes, made the people drinking it behave as possessed, hence the “Spirits” word used to describe a distilled drink.

Sara training to become a TEFL teacher (www.i-to-i.com)

Sara training to become a TEFL teacher (www.i-to-i.com)

Unfortunately, work life is never like dream life so we had to work hard for almost two years without saving enough for the trip we wanted, and the beautiful Cocktails and Spirits world showing up in front of us was very difficult to reach. We did get the work experience we wanted, giving us a reasonable hospitality CV to start to travel. While we were in London, we also did a TEFL diploma, (stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language) that will give us access to the teaching world in countries who don’t have English as the main language. We are also doing an online Travel Writing/Travel Photography course to give us tools to enter the publishing world. So, for the first three jobs in the list, we had already something, it was time to put it in practice.


Ready, set … Go!

After the London experience, we launched ourselves in our quest to explore the world of work and travel, but unfortunately we had to start with the work part to have money enough to move to the travel part. One of my co-workers was Jamaican but had worked in the Cayman Islands before, so after some pretty amazing descriptions about the easiness to find work and the abundance of money, almost falling from trees, we decided to target the tax haven island: Cayman Islands.

In our way there, we did a stopover in Jamaica but, perhaps because we were new at travelling outside Europe, we did not feel comfortable exploring the country, so we left after five days. When we arrived at the Enchanted Land of the Cayman Islands, it was probably the most enthusiastic arrival we’ve ever had to a place, honestly it does look like paradise, specially coming from the grey city of London.

We had no big plan, just find jobs and save money to continue travelling, and so we did and in some weeks, after going to Cuba while waiting for the permit, we started to work in hospitality.  We stayed almost eighteen months in the Cayman Islands, partially explained by the expensive trip to Miami and New York in our holidays some months after we landed. Not that we were tortured with the extra time spent in the islands, on the contrary, we had a brilliant life over there and we met great people, it’s very hard to leave a place like that, but we had to continue our travels.

Sara relaxing by the beach

Sara relaxing by the beach, OUR beach in front of our small studio

And so 2013 started in paradise

That brings us to our year of 2013, the one just finished, we were in our second year of paradise, living in a dream world white sand beach. Our small studio was on the beach and all the life in the islands was made with enjoyment: boat parties, scuba diving, restaurants and bars for every taste and lots of sports. Yes, it was a very small place with fifty thousand people, but we couldn’t complain when we were living on a pristine beach, having bright sun all year and seeing an aquarium every time we put our heads in the water. Most of our last year was lived in this fashion, saving money and enjoying life as some can only do two weeks a year, with the only downside being the distance to our family and friends.

And the big Trek begins

In October of 2013, we decided to move to the travel part of our project and Belize, as our first stop, was conquered. Actually, we were conquered by Belize, probably the country we knew less of Central America.

Joao doing some digging as volunteer in Belize

Joao doing some digging as volunteer in Belize

Since that day, we’ve been on the road until now, first day of the year 2014, enjoying it with new Nicaraguan friends, in a retired Pacific beach. In the last months, we’ve been discovering a region and culture we did not know much: the Mayans. They were a lost civilization, we thought, let’s go and see their ruins. We couldn’t be more mistaken, they are alive and its people are everywhere you go. We tried different food with all the rice and beans and corn-based cuisine, we spoke a different language everyday, Spanish, English, Creole and most of the time Portunish (blend of Portuguese and Spanish). We’ve finally done what we always wanted, to immerse ourselves in different cultures and understand how these people evolved thru time.

Followed by the big Spirits

Visiting Appleton State in Jamaica

Visiting Appleton Estate in Jamaica

This is a Rum region influenced by the historically available sugar cane, brought by Columbus in the end of the 15th century.  Because of our interest in Spirits, we visited all the distilleries of Rum we could: Appleton in Jamaica, Governor’s in Cayman Islands, Travellers in Belize, even tried, unsuccessfully ,Zacapa in Guatemala and now Flor de Caña in Nicaragua. We tasted them, we learned their story and we even developed a taste for it, as for Rum in Portugal is only to mix in Cuba Libres with the low quality Bacardis and Havana Clubs available.

So, our plans for 2014?

2013 can be described as a half of paradise life and the other half, starting to fulfil our life dream of free travel as free spirits. For 2014, we don’t want anything different but the continuation of this path, to keep living our dream together and to boldly drink where no one has drank before.


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