Okay, okay, Remote Year isn’t really a vacation since I’ll be working full time throughout the year, but it is a huge change from my day to day life so it’s a vacation of sorts.
The program officially launches February 1st in Montevideo, Uruguay and I’ve been “working” for myself from home since January 1st. If you know me, you know I have trouble sitting still and waiting in anticipation for big events in my life to happen. That, plus a steal-of-a-deal flight, has brought me to the Southern hemisphere one week early. So what is the best way to kill a week in a foreign country? The beach, of course!
I’m staying in a cute little beach town called Punta del Diablo, which translates to “Tip of the Devil.” It’s about 4 hours North of Montevideo and the airport I flew into and easily is accessible by bus. The beach is gorgeous and filled with local vacationers. This is the busy season so the city swells to 10x the population of the off season.
I’m staying at Vente al Diablo Hostel, about 5 blocks from the beach. The owner is light-hearted and welcoming and the staff go out of their way to include everyone in activities (even non-Spanish speakers…). Every morning there is group breakfast of rolls, butter, and jam and in the evening they host a movie night (with subtitles!) on a projector in the common area. They do a great job creating a community from a group of strangers.
Similarities to Home
- Street vendors and business owners don’t hawk their products to every foreign passerby – if you want to see what they are selling, you ask them like we would at home. This is NOT the case everywhere in the world.
- Transportation systems are very modern – busses run on schedules and are on time, most citizens own a car for personal use, and
- This cat that loves me – do cats speak different languages?
Differences from Home
- Hardly anyone speaks English – I definitely overestimated the number of people I would be able to communicate with. The hostel owner and workers speak limited English but not one of the guests do. My favorite phrase while staring creepily at others’ conversations is “estoy aprendiendo” or “I’m learning.”
- Limited access to cash – there is one ATM in the city that works when it wants to. Maybe 3 restaurants in total take Visa. The system is manageable but requires more planning ahead than I’m used to at home.
Big shout out to my travelmate Jo Sprague for 1. knowing Spanish and being patient with me and 2. planning ahead for cash only situations much better than I.
All in all, it’s currently 70 degrees with a light breeze and I’m writing this from a hammock. I’m doin’ alright, y’all 🙂