My daily Instagram piece turned into a lengthy one, so I thought I’d post it here instead. In the wake of yesterday’s horrific shooting in Oregon, I felt obliged to...
Updates from Atlanta: Working, Saving and Missing the Road
Since I knew you were all chomping at the bit to read about how life is going back in the ATL , I thought I’d just write a new post on it. I have to keep this thing relevant somehow, and believe it or not, we do have some updates. For starters, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is, we’re still here. The good news, however, is that it’s because we’re making money to take off again. When I last wrote, we had planned on only being here for a couple of weeks, until our flight to Colombia was scheduled to leave on Halloween day. Well, it’s December now and Colombia didn’t happen. Once we spent a couple of weeks in town and caught up with the bartending network, I realized there was an opportunity to pick up a ton of shifts this time of year. My funds weren’t entirely depleted, but they certainly needed some boosting, and I knew the savings potential bartending held. As a bonus, the bar I previously worked for told us they would be happy to train Ginski as well, allowing him to pick up shifts too. We canceled our tickets to Colombia and decided to suck it up and stay put for a while. Neither of us were thrilled, as our trip had come to this abrupt pause. Our friends thought we would be meeting them again in a few weeks and we were looking forward to sailing from Panama to Colombia with them. Surf lessons, more diving, Bocas del Toro– it was suddenly all on hold. We both knew what we had to do though. It was time to stop and replenish the funds. It would pay off in the long run. I began picking up shifts immediately. For the first time in 5 months I was making it instead of spending it. I had to admit, it felt bizarre….and great. Ginski was trained and ready to go within a week or so, when out of nowhere, another opportunity came to him. While he was traveling in Guatemala, he met loads of fellow travelers, a few of which became close friends he kept in contact with. A couple of these friends told him they were in the states working for a while to reset the funds, like us. After a few e-mails and Skype conversations, they told Ginski they had work for him out in California for a few weeks if he could make it in time. The money was solid and you work 7 days a week, not allowing any time for spending. Perfect. Ginski was sold. Although I’d be staying in Atlanta without him for those weeks, I knew this would pay off. I had quite a few bar shifts lined up when he left, so staying busy wasn’t hard. He was out to make the money in Cali, while I was doing the same on the east coast. It was a plan.
So, here we are in December. I don’t know where the past 7 or 8 weeks have gone, but that’s a good sign. At the moment, I’m down in Florida, enjoying some time with my family, while Ginski finishes up his last few days out west. He’s scheduled to return Saturday or Sunday, making me one happy girl. He has another gig lined up in January in Minnesota (bloody cold, I know) for 2-3 weeks, which will allow him to put away another chunk of change. I will continue to bartend, which has proved itself to be as profitable as I remember. The holiday season is upon us, and here in the states, people love to spend it at bars supporting backpackers (apparently). We also have to do a visa run for Ginski. His 90-days is up in mid January, so it looks like we’ll be dipping out of town for a few days some time soon. We might use it as an opportunity to go meet up with the friends we left in Central America. It all depends on how cheap we can make it. It’s possible that he just goes it alone in an effort to save money. You only have to leave for 3 days and it cannot be to an adjacent country (Mexico or Canada). We’re toying with the idea of a week in Panama right now, but like I said, we have to keep the costs down. My fingers are crossed for Panama where we could reunite with our buddies.
So that’s our next 2 months, roughly. Between February and May, there’s currently a big question mark. We are (absolutely, definitely, scheduled to, etc.) meeting Ginski’s Mum in London by the beginning of May. That trip has been on deck since we got back to the states and is the reason we’re so eager to save, save, save. We’ll be spending the summer over there and cannot wait. I feel lucky to be a part of this, as it’s a really neat family trip his Mum has had planned for quite sometime. We’ll be hitting, Croatia, Italy, Poland, possibly Sweden and many more. After that, we’ll need to boost the funds again, which could include coming back to the states. The good thing about the gig Ginski was able to land in California is that we can probably both go back and work in the summer and fall. In that case, we could save up money twice as fast, allowing us to leave for a longer period of time the next go ’round. It’s also possible that we find bar jobs in the Caribbean instead. No, really, that’s not a pipe dream. That’s how I would like to reset next time, but we’re not sure how profitable it can be. We’re doing some research now so we have a savings plan after Europe. The wheels are always turning here.
We’ve met some amazing people and made some great contacts, which should really help us come late summer and fall. I can always come back to Atlanta and bartend, but the thing is– I don’t really want to. Atlanta has been SO SO SO good to me. I won’t ever sell it short of that. For me though, the Atlanta chapter of my life is closed for now. I left it and found a world of travel and happiness. I don’t have any bitter feelings towards it — none whatsoever. I got nothin’ but love. I’ve just realized that it’s no longer the “home” I remember it being for so long. The spark is gone. I’m so lucky to have the most amazing friends there, not to mention my amazing roommates who allow Ginski and I to stay with them. I know that. My roots are in Atlanta. I know that too. I just feel more at home when I’m living out of a backpack with 5 outfits to choose from, unbrushed hair and foreign money in my pocket. It’s hard leaving that life to come home to the land of luxury. And I know how that sounds, so hear me out. I realize I just spend a summer on an island in the Caribbean, then another few weeks trekking through Nicaragua. I’m not going for the “feel sorry for me because now I have hot showers, clean clothes and a cell phone” thing here. Not at all. I’m saying that when you travel the way we did, and the way most backpackers do, you fall in love with a life of simplicity. I forgot that my shower in Utila was even cold for a while. Or that my room looked like a crack den. Or that I wouldn’t wash clothes for 3 weeks sometimes. Or that I didn’t have a cell phone or a phone number. All of these little things……….we just fell in love with them. I know that I am SO damn lucky to have a roof over my head, heat in the winter, clean water….hell, clean everything (and if you know my roommate, you KNOW the kind of clean I’m talking about). I am fortunate and grateful, to say the least. All of that being said, I want to live simply. I genuinely enjoy it. I got attached to it and being back in the states is certainly a difficult transition. Again, no pity needed. That’s not my point. Things have changed. I have changed. We have changed. That’s it. It’s a positive thing and a beautiful thing. We miss our Utila family like crazy and cannot wait to meet back up with them in various parts of the world throughout the next few years. We know we will. Until then, we will enjoy every second with our Atlanta family and make tons of memories. So far, we’re doing well in that department. I will update again once we have something worth telling (jobs, more travel, visa runs, etc.). Hopefully, that’s sooner than later. Thanks again and again for following! I promise we’ll make up for this down time once we hit the road again. So much love to all! X