A World Wonder in Mexico

Week 5 – Valladriod to Bacalar

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A World Wonder in Mexico

Finally, I was about to cross off another world wonder from my list. This time it is the world wonder in Mexico. I was excited. We changed our plans slightly which made it easier to get to ‘Chichen Itza’. This is something I enjoy about being on the road you are able to change plans at the last minute. I feel having fewer plans allows you to keep the freedom that comes with exploring the world that we live in.

We Based Ourselves in Beautiful Valladriod

the main temple ruin of Chichen Itza. The world wonder in Mexico

Valladriod is a cute town a little like Puebla with its colourful buildings. It was hot here. Very hot. Walking around in the midday sun was just a no-go. Therefore, we chose to get the 7 am colectivo to Chichen Itza because the earlier you go the fewer tour groups and less heat. It’s a win-win. We managed to get our pictures without people in and more importantly enjoy the site without the crowds.

I will say that the price they charge for the number of ruins you can actually access is extremely high. It really does feel like a tourist trap. If it wasn’t one of the wonders of the world. I would miss it entirely and find lesser known ruins to visit. Again, we didn’t do a tour because we are budget backpackers. However, there was a lack of information boards. This seemed to be a theme across Mexican tourist attractions. Therefore, online research is a must to understand the sites you are visiting.

Our Second to Last Stop Was Touristy Tulum

Me on a mopped

Okay. Tulum was the first place I was meant to be visiting two years ago. I was excited however quite frankly I wasn’t sold on Tulum once I arrived. Before, we even arrived we heard bad stories involving the local authority against backpackers. This automatically put us on edge.

Therefore, due to the stories, we took out the money we needed in Valladolid. So, we wouldn’t need to use an ATM. Apparently, backpackers were followed home from these. Then, pulled over for a traffic violation. So, just be careful and aware when on the roads.

In My Honest Opinion

I was not too fond of Tulum. I really thought I would be. Maybe a few years ago before the tourist boom, it was a magical place. However, now it is overrun by beach clubs, expensive restaurants, and rip-off taxis. Okay. If you enjoy beach clubs and have a lot of money to burn through then you may have an entirely different opinion from me.

We had so much go wrong during Mexico that the scooter going wrong was the final straw for me. I was ready to get out. Start fresh in a new country at this point in time. These small things always going wrong really did influence the negative feelings I have towards Mexico.

The Amazing Lake Bacalar

A boat perfectly framed by two beams floating on lake bacalar

At least Mexico had one last surprise up her sleeve. This beautiful lake Bacalar was made up of seven different shades of blue water. The massive lake was warm, crystal-clear water, and hosts an impressive sunrise and sunset. It was great to spend the day relaxing heating up in the sun and then cooling in the water, trying to unwind and shake the negative start to this adventure through Central America.

Check out the other journal entries in my travel journal here!

Working a Whistler Ski-Season – Best Resort in the World

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost to you.

I left my heart in Whistler, British Colombia (BC). There is no doubt in my mind about it. Whistler made such an amazing, long-lasting impression on me. I miss living there. It felt like home. You get sucked into the lifestyle and the surroundings which make it impossible to leave it completely behind. I know this feeling was impacted hugely by the friends I made on my incredible journey working a Whistler ski season.

Whistler is known as a small town, a two-hour drive North of Vancouver. It is home to two Mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb), side by side giving you plenty of terrains to explore.

What Whistler Ski-Season Jobs are the best to do?

Working during a Whistler ski season is fun but hard work. If it is your first season and first time away from home then I would recommend a Mountain job. I got a job before I even arrived. I applied on indeed.com and then had an interview over the phone. The only downside to this was I didn’t get staff accommodation. However, it didn’t cost me anything.

The majority of people come through a working holiday program. These companies help you get the visa and then find you a job, for a fee, of course. This option can mean that you will be offered staff accommodation. Everyone I met who used companies had staff accommodation.

A Job on Whistler Mountain

First Day in working a whistler ski-season
Working a Mountain Job in Whistler

These jobs aren’t the most glamorous by far but I feel the perks on offer outweigh this. As a first-timer, you get cheap accommodation, a season pass, and three free ski or snowboard lessons. Also, every department has other perks. Additionally, the company can move you to different departments if you end up injured. Therefore, you aren’t out of work. Result.

Is a Second Job Worth It?

I had a second job like most people in Whistler. My Mountain pay just covered my expenses as I was renting privately. A second job is worth it unless you’re a server. Servers make good tips. Working two jobs over 4 days helped me to save money for Summer. I still had my full three days off. Second jobs are easy to come by and employers are very accommodating as the majority of resort workers do this.

How to Rent Privately in Whistler?

I would say, the housing crisis is the only downside to working a Whistler ski season. Unfortunately, there are too many workers, and not enough rooms. Therefore, it drives up rent prices to extreme levels. Landlords can be bad too. You do have to be very vigilant when room hunting. The main two ways to find a room are on Facebook (Whistlers Housing Crisis) and Craigslist.

Nordic in Working a Whistler Ski-season
Snow Day

I had to find a room to rent. I must have viewed around 10 places. The majority of the rooms are shared. One house I viewed had room for up to 24 people. People do feel pressured to take the first thing that comes along. However, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to say no. Follow your gut feeling.

To be able to find a room the only option is to post an ad on Facebook and Craigslist. This is your chance to show how you can be the best housemate. Yet, don’t forget to include what you are after as well. Also, people post rooms that are available on these sites. So, message as many as you can. The reply rate is low because the person posting will receive hundreds of messages. Therefore, make yours stand out from the crowd.

Also, some landlords don’t post their rooms due to the volume of responses. Therefore, some landlords reach out directly to an advert. This was the case for my room. I got a single private room for $900 which was a steal.

There are scams out there…

When I put my ad up on Craigslist, I did get some very interesting e-mails in return as well as many scams. You will have to shift through some pointless offers from some men (if you’re female) and scams. The scams are pretty obvious and the ones that I came across all had the same storyline. The owner is out of town and can Fed Ex the keys if you deposit money. Be aware of extra-long e-mails. Never hand over any money without seeing a place in person. That is the best advice I can give on that.

What Other Winter Activities Are On Offer?

There are other activities besides skiing and snowboarding. I know people who didn’t ski or snowboard but still enjoyed working a Whistler ski season. I personally got caught up snowboarding on my 3 days off from work, therefore, I didn’t do the other activities. You could say I got a little bit obsessed. The only other activity besides partying I did was tubing.

Me snowboarding on a beginner slope on Blackcomb Mountain
Learning to Snowboard

Other winter activities include but are not limited to: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. However, they all cost money which is something that you won’t have a lot of. If you party hard or save for a summer like I was.

The Culture in a Ski Town

The culture of a ski season is partying hard and consuming whatever you fancy to enjoy your night. Clubbing is available at places like Moe Joe’s and Tommy’s. Each establishment has its own special night of the week, for example, Moe Joe’s on a Sunday. Sunday night is the Mountain staff’s night out, it even has the nickname ‘Church Night’.

I have done many nights at clubs during my late teens and early twenties. Therefore, I did keep the nights at the clubs to a minimum. Après was the place for me. Beers after a good day out on the slopes equals a win-win in my eyes. Again, Whistler had different events on different days. Tuesdays were Swedish After-Ski… by far my favourite.

The Community Feel within a Ski-Season

Sunrise In Whistler up the Mountain
A Regular Morning Sunrise at Work in Whistler

Let’s face it. You don’t do the ski season for the money. It is all about the experience. I made good friends during my time in Whistler plus I learnt to snowboard. I feel this experience is a rite of passage. Also, being in your early 20’s you will find it more enjoyable. Other resort workers are very good at helping each other out.

The community has a Facebook page called Whistler Winter. This is a good source for any questions or queries that you may have. There are enough long-term locals willing to help out newbies. Also, a buy and sell page, which is good for picking up clothes and equipment at cheap prices.

My Overall Thoughts about a Ski-Season

I had an incredible experience in Whistler and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learnt a new sport which I will continue. Furthermore, I managed to jump the small and mediums jumps (all in my first season). In addition, I lived away from home for the first time. This was scary but the majority of people you meet are doing the same. So, before you know it, you have a family made up of friends from all over the world.

My advice is to jump into a Ski-Season and go and have the most entertaining experience possible.

Coming Home from Travelling – The Best and Worst Feelings

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Coming home from travelling but what is all the fuss about?

You have just lived the last 2-6 months on the road, a constant adventure, a different thing to see every day, and new travellers to share stories with. You don’t know when you last washed your hair or even the day of the week. You have had the good and bad sides of travelling. But it didn’t matter they both carried lessons, they helped shape you into somebody else, somebody better. You aren’t that girl (or boy) who got on that plane, however long ago. But yet you have never been happier.

This is me. This is the new me. In my eyes, I have changed.

Leaving Home – Is It Really That Hard?

A golden hour sunset at a sandy beach at home
Sunset on The Beach

Everyone speaks about leaving but never coming home from travelling. Leaving for me is easy, people assume it’s difficult. Yet, I haven’t found that to be the case… I’ve left 4 times now. Every time its been easy. In the pit of the stomach, the butterflies gather as you start to venture into a world of unknowns. This excites me.

The greatest adventure of your life is awaiting you; this may sound cliché but it’s the truth. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who regrets their trip. Me, I am filled with excitement for new adventures, countries, and cultures. I’m about to invest my time (and money) in the biggest and greatest learning experience that no classroom can provide you or prepare you for.

Whilst You Are Away – Are You Really Missing Out?

The answer is No. You are not missing out. Everyone is a phone call away. Everywhere has internet. Staying ‘connected’ to your loved ones has never been easier. The feeling of missing soon fades and you find yourself deep in writing your own story following your own path. The truth is home will be the same; however, what has changed is you. I for sure have, I am not the same person who hopped on a flight back in 2015.

Changing isn’t negative and shouldn’t be seen as that. You should embrace it. Welcome it. It means you are learning and developing for the better. I have much more empathy, understanding, and kindness to give. All this change doesn’t mean you were a bad person before. Life is a lesson. Lessons are learnt along the way.

The happiest children I have seen were playing cricket with a stick as a bat and stones for their ball. This made me realise that I didn’t need all the materialistic things or the latest trend. You can be happy with so little.

Returning to Your Home – Are You Ready or Planning Your Next Trip?

Coming home from travelling, for me, I dread the last flight; it means one thing… I’m going home. Something I am never ready for because there are just too many places I would rather be. The chances are I have my next trip planned out and it won’t be long before that becomes my reality. I do carry eagerness for the family and friends I will see once again but that’s where it lies.

This is the hardest part of your trip… not the leaving.

I still love my family and friends but I realised I didn’t fit in anymore. I just yearned for the next big adventure.

A place I once called home just feels so alien to me. I no longer belong. I outgrew home.

What Happens Once Your Home?

The boat harbour at home in the south of England
The Harbour

What happens after coming home from travelling? The enthusiasm is there, everyone is happy to see you and vice versa. Sweet. You catch up, they fill you in on what you have missed. But after the first two weeks, no one wants to hear the stories. No one understands the way you feel. The politeness has gone. You’re back to square one but this time feeling like you are in a parallel universe. Home was small and unrelatable. I grew frustrated as I had this fire within me to try new things and visit new places. Home wasn’t where I wanted to do this. I craved the next adventure.

However, I have now returned home four times. This doesn’t get any easier. The last coming home from travelling was unexpected as the world went into a pandemic. Now as I sit here writing about the struggles of being ‘home’; I don’t know when I will next be leaving the country due to the restrictions everywhere. This is the first time I do not have a concrete leaving date. This makes me feel jittery, itchy, and depressed.


Post-Travelling Depression – Real Talk

Me sitting on the beach after coming home awaiting the next adventure
Waiting to Get on The Road Again

Post travelling depression is real. It is tough. No-one speaks about it. You feel like you go from 100-0 in seconds. Before you know you are back into a routine working five days a week at one job whilst balancing an evening one too. Pointless jobs just to take you back on the open road. The plane ticket acts as a comfort blanket. An insurance that you will be once again living life at 100, exploring those new places, meeting those like-minded people, and experiencing a different culture. This makes the routine bearable and the depression easier to cope with.

Here’s to The Next Adventure

In Short, travelling is something so pure and I would say even magical. If you are fortunate enough to experience it first-hand. I would say don’t hold back throw yourself into whatever is on offer and you will surprise yourself with what you can cope with as a person. I sure have.

Here’s to the next adventure!! Whenever that will be!!

On the road is where I belong… but this time around I will write a blog weekly, sharing my personal story with you.