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Traveling Cheap and Light – A Personal Update

In the hands of God

Our future is in the hands of God, but as the Prophet once said “Trust God, but tie up your camels”

I realize I haven’t been keeping things very up to date in regards to my own adventures in life lately. Suffice to say that I’ve been busily occupied with not much at all. I do plan to start updating some of my adventures with more depth soon, but here is the lowdown on the Vagobond life since the school screwed us back in mid-december.

Since we we not only found ourselves without jobs but also without a home and my wife’s visa ready to expire, we quickly did an inventory of what was necessary and what was not. My wife took the things most important to her back to Morocco and I packed a single bag. We then asked a couple of friends to hold our extra clothes, household goods we’d bought, and our books. All told about enough to fill the backseat of a compact car. Our friends also took our hamster (David Hamster until we found out she was a girl – then Habibi Nina) and our cactus.

I got us both flights to Istanbul where my wife had a flight already booked back to Morocco. She’d only been planning to stay 2 weeks, but since our situation in Turkey had gotten screwed up, we decided she would come back when and if I could create a new and better situation.

I was getting quite a few offers from various schools but they were all about the same as the rather shitty school we had just left. A friend in Antalya called and told me his school was exceptional and looking for a good teacher so I left Istanbul after a few days of wandering around near Christmas and headed to Antalya via Izmir and Manisa. In Manisa I picked up my ‘interview’ clothes and in Izmir got a chance to see why people love this city. Somehow working 6 days a week for the past 5 months I had missed seeing this lovely city. IN the process I was offered yet another job which had significantly better terms but uncertain hours.

So, off to Antalya which is another incredible place, called the Riviera of Turkey, it lives up to it. For the next week, I stayed with my friend there, a blues and jazz musician who has also become a bar man. So, the New Year was a pretty fun time in a gorgeous resort town hanging out with interesting characters, musicians, and some great couch surfers who happened to be there at the same time as me. The bad news was that the school, despite telling me “Hurry up and come here, we’ve got a great job for you” offered me the worst terms of any school I had yet talked to while trying to tell me they were giving me a great deal. I said a firm ‘no thank you’ but about this time I got incredibly sick. I stayed in Antalya another two days and then back to Izmir to check out the school with the good(ish) terms.

In Izmir, I stayed with a very cool couchsurfing host for four days while I found a cheap room to rent and explored the possibilities of finding work here beyond the somewhat vague offer from the school I have already spoken with. During the days I stayed with her, she was working and I had nothing to do but explore the city with long walks and do essential updates on the web. Currently, one of my other sites MoroccoBlogs is running it’s annual contest “The Best of Morocco Blogs” so my internet time was mostly occupied with getting the contest up and running, answering emails, and keeping things here going smoothly at Vagobond.

My host didn’t have internet, so I spent a fair amount of time nursing expensive cups of coffee in Starbucks and other Cafes with wifi. Expensive and not ideal. I did however find a tiny little place to rent with internet and hot water and in the very cool neighborhood of Alsancak right next to the bay of Izmir. It’s very simple and I’m living with two college students for the moment while I figure out whether it will work to bring my pregnant wife back to Turkey or if we have to do something else.

I’ve come to the conclusion that teaching in Turkey for any of the private academies is probably about the equivalent of being a dishwasher in the states. I don’t recommend it but it might be okay to pay the bills if you live very cheap. Since I have the trip to Korea and Malaysia coming up at the end of February, I have also been exploring the possibilities of working in those two countries. Meanwhile, it is comforting to know that my wife is safe and happy in her native Morocco eating lots of couscous and taking an online English Teaching Course sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Izmir reminds me of Seattle, especially because of the ferrys, the laid back atmosphere, and the sense that this is a city that people actually work in and live in. I like it a lot and if I can figure out a way to do it, I have the feeling that living here will be incredible.

By the way, for those wondering — my room costs about $5 a day with internet, kitchen, and hot water but no heat…luckily I have lots of blankets. Food is pretty cheap and the big expense is the obligatory beer or coffee once in a while in the very cool seaside pubs and cafes of Alsancak or Karshiyaka.

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

4 thoughts on “Traveling Cheap and Light – A Personal Update

  • January 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm
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    Sounds like this may be the place for you – lets not forget to check the school system – in 5 years you’ll need one…- glad to hear things are picking up. Cheers

  • January 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm
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    Wow, never a dull moment in your life! I’ll be interested to hear how this unfolds cause Turkey is a country that has always drawn me and my hubby. Good luck and inshallah a great situation will open up for you. As they say in Morocco about babies “kay jeeb rezqo”, the baby brings its material sustenance with it.

  • January 12, 2011 at 8:24 am
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    School? No way. That’s what screwed me up!

  • February 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm
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    I always wanted a life like yours, full of adventures. But my life is now in front of my pc.

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