Traveling “freelance” way in Central America

I am getting lots of questions regarding my travel, living, working in central America so here are few answers.

About my trip

I left Europe somewhere in November and head to Florida where I joined sail boat and sailed down to Guatemala. I am traveling on land for couple month around central America (Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Cuba,..) and slowly returning back to boat to sail more. Right now I am in the middle trip and I need to extend my return tickets to extra 2-3 months (it is still cold in Europe 🙂

Language

Spanish is the language you want to know here 🙂 I didn’t know anything and starting getting into it 🙂 Google translator, your hands are your best friends 🙂

Security

Many people are afraid of security here (I mean those in EU or USA) but I didn’t had or feel of any security issues. Nothing get stolen, I am not being afraid of walking in the night. I have few rules:

  • Be nice to local people, they will be nice to you
  • Keep general safety rules like:
    • don’t walk in the night where is not light
    • separate your money and keep them in separate places
    • learn by observing – accept their habits and don’t expect your EU or USA standards
    • water only from bottle, but don’t be too much paranoid about it
    • ….
  • Be positive !  even if something bad happens 🙂
  • Be friendly !
  • Be thankful !
  • meditate / talk with God as much as you can – there is reason for what is going on in your life 🙂

Food

I like to eat local food. It is part of the culture you are currently in and it taste so good and most of the time it is cheaper. Some people don’t do it and want theirs restaurant’s food. So it depends on your preferences. You can get local food from $1-$2 USD (Mexico – tacos – something like “Doner Kebab” in EU for 0.5$) up to $30USD in restaurants. It is only up to you, your preferences and your budget.

Internet

Internet is everywhere but the stability is “shaky”. Best internet so far is in Mexico

  • Mexico – wifi 15Mb down / 4Mb up
  • Cuba – only wifi 2-3Mb down / 0.5Mb up
  • Belize – wifi 5Mb down / 0.5Mb up
  • Guatemala – LTE – 15Mb down / 5Mb up, but in peak hours (like evening) it drops to 2Mb / 0.5Mb

Work

This is hard question. I need internet to my work so  some places would not be as suitable as others. My current project doesn’t require reliable internet – so I am set well 🙂  Bigger problem is to find discipline and actually work 🙂 Sometimes I take few days off and work from hotel or bar next to beach or sometimes when I travel in bus I use this time to do my work. I take it easy 🙂

People – tourists

Generally there are 2 types of tourists you meet:

  1. Tourists who come here for few days
  2. BackPackers who are traveling for few months – (I don’t like much word “backpacker” – it sounds to me like you are something less which is not true but I wanted to distinguish those 2 types of tourists somehow)

ad 1) Tourists  – usually throw lots of money around them. They are here for few hours/days and they want the best before they have to return back to work. I understand them – sometimes I want luxury as well 🙂 But for some unknown reason they behave like snobs 🙂 couple examples:

  • If you say “Ola” and greet them, usually they don’t even responds
  • They treat locals kind of like a slaves – locals are here for them just to clean their rooms, to fulfil their needs (maybe word “slave” is too extreme but you get the idea) ,….

ad 2) BackPackers – Usually travel longer (several weeks, months, years). Very open for discussion and share their experiences and tips they have. Maybe just word “Sharing” describes them very well. They are very open. They don’t have to be cheap and going on low budget even though if you are traveling for few month every dollar you save means you can extend your trip 🙂 For few days you become very good friends.

Prices

You are already getting the idea how it works. You can live expensive way or you can live quite low. Really depends on your preferences and your budget. Many people thinks traveling for few months is extremely expensive. If you find place you like you can always try to search for job for month or two and extend your stay 🙂 Anyway here are few numbers to get ideas:

Cuba – seems like most expensive country on my trip:

  • bed – 20-35$
  • food – breakfast 5$, dinner 15$ – average I was spending 25$
  • transport – depends where you go, but in average 30$ if you travel (havana -> vinales -> playa larga -> cienfuegos -> trinidad -> havana)
  • diving – (in Playa Larga) – 2 dives 70$

Mexico – bigger variety of prices – are you where tourists go or where locals go

  • bed – 20$ hotel, airbnb has similar prices
  • food – from 2$ (street food) up to 30$ in restaurants (lobster cca 24$)
  • transport – 30$ (Playa de Carmen to Palenque)
  • diving – cca 85$ (2 dive tank) + 20$ rental

Belize – I stayed in Caye Caulker island

  • bed – from 15$ and up
  • food – from 2 $ (street food) up to 20$ (lobster cca 14$ restaurant)
  • transport – 25$ ferry, 50$ bus to get to Flores / Guatemala
  • diving – 8 dives for cca 500$ (including rentals) – one of the best dives ever

Guatemala

  • bed – from 10$ up
  • food – from 3$ (street food) and up (15$ chicken in restaurant)
  • transport – 18$ (bus Rio Dulce -> Guatemala City)
  • no diving 🙂

 

Picture of “street food” – breakfast for $2.5 USD in Cozumel/Mexico

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How is it living on boat

I had opportunity to spend month on Galaxy. Galaxy is 40 foot catamaran.  And during my period Galaxy was operating in Bahamas waters – Great Exumas Islands waters. Not many people realize that boats have to be like small cities, providing fresh water as well as generating enough electricity not only to make water, but to power all our toys (gps, noteboks, satelite phone, several iPads, our small cinema and few more ) as well as engines and many other things.

Galaxy at George Town, Bahamas

Living

So how is living on Galaxy ? I had my own small cabin where I slept. Literally I was only sleeping there. It was much much nicer to be outside and enjoy water and sun 🙂 In the middle of the boat there is “kitchen, dining room, living room” in one place together 🙂 Boat holds 2 another cabins (for kids and their parents) with 2 bathrooms. Don’t think of big luxury yacht with its own pool 🙂 Galaxy is just perfect size, small enough so you can get everywhere and big enough to cross oceans. Just perfect !!!

In the morning you usually wake up at 6:30am (that’s time when is weather forecast transmitted over radio and you don’t want to miss it ) and usually you go to bed after sunset. It’s said that sailor midnight is at 9pm 🙂 I was so surprised how quickly I have get use to is (of course I had jet lag which works very well with this setup).

There is one thing I have to note. Stars at night. It is so nice, so bright, so perfect, so amazing. Just sitting on deck and watching stars and enjoying your drink. Thinking about your past day, your future plans, your being, meditating with God, just enjoying that moment.

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Things to do

Galaxy is perfect, everywhere from sun rise to sunset we had “our own swimming pool” around called ocean. I haven’t seen sea with so great visibility anywhere else. Bahamas has one of nicest waters I have seen.  We spent lots of time in water (swimming, fishing, lobstering – diving & catching lobsters or spear fishes) but also lots of fun on the water (we participated in yacht race, snorkelling, explore several lone islands, including one closed research center). Visited several places so nice that several movies have been filmed there (Thunderbolt – James Bond, and others )  When you come from frozen country to almost summer weather you can imagine that I have enjoyed every minute on sun as well in water 🙂 Many people asks me whether I was bored, honestly I didn’t finish things I wanted to go through. I was working preparing few meals, learned and helped to clean boat bottom with hookah and of course diving, work with sails, when we were moving get everything ready (gps, maps, routes,…) get anchor ready for departure and many more things.

WORK

I like to travel and work in same time. It is kind of Nomad Lifestyle. But being in Bahamas on the boat, I thought that spending time closed in cabin with computer would be insane. I have pushed myself to go through few tutorials and read few books.  So this trip was rather full time vacations.

I mentioned above that usually we would wake early at 6:30pm. Because of jet lag I used to wake up earlier and usually started with doing my own things, reading, meditating and let the rest of crew to sleep. I hate waking up early, but I know how powerful it is specially if you want to be productive that day. So If I would be working that “sailors schedule” would work very much for me.

Internet – we had internet fro time to time. Galaxy is well prepared to receive and transmit internet from long distances, but still you have to have way to “steal” it from somewhere. (by stealing I mean getting closer to some yacht club, laundry office where is internet for free). Internet in marinas is not fast, but good enough. Not for meetings as we moved a lot, but rather tasked where you can work on them alone.

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Conclusion

World is so nice and specially Caribbean islands. If you can, visit them !  It was an incredible time spent with family, relaxing, having lots of fun, learning new things and enjoying beautiful weather and nature.


Exceeding my limits in 2013 -52m –> 4810m :)

Year 2013 was great year where I had opportunity to exceed my limits above but as well at bottom 🙂

Ascent on Mount Blanc  4810 m

Preparations started about 6months ahead. It was tough, what ever I thought it takes in reality it was at least 2x harder. But it is worth it.

When you get there, you are full emotions – happiness, completely tired, feeling freezing cold and at same time enjoying shining sun on your face.

Your biggest enemy is weather and your physical condition. Here are few tips:

  • you can book bed in cottage no earlier than 30 days before ascent. Booking starts at 7:00am and usually ends at 7:10 am – So many people wants to book at same time.
  • To fight against weather good tip is to book whole week (every day) – when it gets closer, and you have better idea about weather for given days, you start cancelling your bookings
  • To fight against  physical condition, high altitude sickness ,…. – there was one thing I was telling to myself for 2 days. One more step , One more step. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but you will get there.

 Here are few pictures and video from Mont Blanc

Descent to -52m in ocean

I love to dive. Very soon I figure out that normal diving  is “not enough” for me 🙂  In 2013 I have spent week on safari in Egypt. Everyday up to 4 dives. Last day I asked my friends I wanted to go down, deeper then usual 30m. I have to say, that my friends are technical divers (sometimes they do over -100m dives). So I did -52m in Egypt. 52m is not much, anyway when you so deep it takes you almost half hour to get properly in surface – that’s why maximum for non technical divers is recommended around -20m

 

It was very good year with many good things and few bad things as well, but these 2 shows that you can do always more than you thought. With good preparation you can manage many things, you can overcome fear, achieve more.


Tieto, tieto where are you going

Jako byvaly zamestnanec Tieta jsem se musel pousmat nad touhle fotkou

Tieto kam kracis ? Jsou ty mrize potrebne, aby jste zamezili lidem odchazet z firmy  🙂 ? Stavas se aliasem pro vezeni ?

Kdyz jsem te mel za zamestnavatele tak nas bylo kolem 20-40 lidi (v te dobe TietoEnator potazmo Sykora) velmi prijemna firma, musim priznat jako zelenac jsem pracoval (dovolim si rict) s elitou v programovani v dane dobe a lokalite. Odesel jsem kdyz Tieto prerostlo v 700-steho obra, ktery poziral nove zamestnance po desitkach denne.

Me pocity asi byly nasledne –  z firmy kde panoval kamradsky duch se stal bobtnajici monstrum procesu, narizeni a ruznych direktiv. Slo to jinak ?  (google, facebook jsou toho dukazem ze ano ;(

Par hlasek z kancelare:

“mrize jsou potreba jen v prvnim patre. Skokem z okna se jen zmrzacis a jako pracovni uraz budes dostavat dozivotni rentu”

“Tieto ma stejne problemy jako FoxConn a snazi se jim predchazet”


psani cesky bez chyb? Zaden problem !

Potrebujete napsat nejaky dokument spravne cesky bez zbytecnych chyb ? Mate problem s cestinou ?

Podivejte se tady. Pisete bez hacku a carek a ono vam vas text prelozi do spravne cestiny. Pry je uspesnost na 95%. Skoda ze jsem tohle nemel kdyz jsem psal diktaty ve skole 🙂


Economic Crisis and small cars

It was interesting talking with Americans about czech company producing cars called Skoda.
Basically they smiled to me and told me that these cars cann’t be sold in usa as their engine power is too light.

Just read article that GM is going really down. Without any other help they are/will be dead.

Skoda is fully producing cars to the market and they can’t fulfill demand by supplying new cars.


motorbike crash

20 April I have been visiting family. During my way back motor biker had take me in area where city limit is 50 km/h and comparing to my speed (which was already above the limit) I have to say he (motor biker) was driving about 130 to 150 km/h.

Few seconds after he took me about 200 meters affront of me crashed to the car going in opposite direction. Biker didn’t even tried to stop bike. Car was completely destroyed from the front. Biker end up few meters behind car and his bike was completely destroyed. My beloved half run to check how is doing biker I have called 112.

It looks like biker for a while just blackout. And I guess he didn’t even know that he had any accident. Anyway interested thing was that first think he started worry about were his biker’s gloves.

Biker was in shock and it looks like had internal injuries. It is hard for me to describe how terrible it was. It took few min before paramedics and firemans arrived and I hope he will survive.

It was interested to look on people how they behave in this situations. Some of them were confused and very chaotic. From about 30 people I can say there were 5 with clear thinking and helpful ideas. There was a man looks like business man who was very common to solve different situation and lead people. He took care of couple from that car. At home we have agreed that people who are involved in everyday decision making are much more suitable in this situations then other people which are used to get just orders.

Some pin points about me and my beloved half and our reactions:

  • as I wrote it happened cca 200m a front of us, so before we arrived I have called emergency (I was surprised that some people started thinking to call emergency after several minutes, I guess this is the time which decides if injured will live or not)
  • it was interested to watch my love in stressed situation. Big thanks to her and good that she has so great medical knowledge. I guess she did the best of what she could do before paramedics arrived.

Tips for these situations:

  • be calm, think straight, do not panic
  • try to do things as usually don’t let panic and stress from other people to influence you

Anyway this gives you good ideas what is life about. (some time in next post)