Would you be interested in relocating to California? I was. But the San Diego trip was more than that: it was a heartbreak that got me to the best decision of my life. All wrapped in a work exchange.
The whole month of September, I will share 30 stories with you. One story each day. You will find out how I travelled, what countries I called home and how many times I repeated a travel in the same place. But most importantly, you will get to know my comfort zone stories. Would you share yours?
I made it to California, stayed in San Diego and visited Santa Monica on my way back. While living in Iceland. Excuse me, what kind of life is this? It still feels like a dream at times. Before anything, have you seen all the YouTube vlogs from San Diego? To fully understand my trip, you should watch them all.
So back in 2016, I was looking to move to the US. And since I was working for Hosteling International Iceland, what better idea than trying to get a job in Hostelling International US? And after applying for a couple of months I finally aced an interview for a front desk job. It was for HI San Diego Downtown. But because of visa procedures, I was told they can only hire me the following year. Until then, they invited me to go and meet the rest of my future colleagues, and see how I get along with everyone. But between the interview in August and my actual going in January of 2017, one historic thing happened. The US got a new president and everything became all of a sudden uncertain. And so I went with the hope I will still convince them I am worth the trouble.
I loved the Californian city so much (not more than NYC, of course). I loved the food, the sunsets, all the city tours done by the hostel and especially the skyline. And my hosts were the kindest and most patient I have ever seen in hospitality ever. One thing that was shocking to me was seeing so many homeless people. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of them in Romania too, but somehow San Diego felt differently. Maybe because of the way they were organised, with tents on the sidewalk. I just didn’t know about this side of the city until I encountered it.
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As mentioned, I either explored San Diego by myself or joined a tour. In two weeks I did a lot, even though at the time I actually felt like I haven’t. Outside of visiting different types of beaches, I also went to an open mic night and I met the nicest bus driver out there. We also made it to Coronado Island, and I visited the Museum of Man. I actually saw a marriage proposal as it was happening on the Sunset Cliffs. That was also my first time taking an Uber. I’ve almost got lost visiting the Old Town. You can find all of the adventures on YouTube. I was really getting into vlogging. However, I lost my GoPro in my first week in Uruguay less than a year later, but about that in a future article.
The colours in The Spanish Village tickled my soul in a different way. Being born and raised in Europe, the architecture of some of the buildings in Balboa Park didn’t impress me much. But the exotic plants did. We don’t have native plants like that in Romania, let alone in Iceland. Actually, who knows? Give it a few years and climate change will fix that. This reminds me, the Californian trip also took me to Mexico. One day trip to remember, read the next article to know why. Oh, how can I forget I was almost 31 years old when travelling there and I was carded in a bar. I know it’s a cliche by now, but it HAPPENED TO ME, so once again I felt like in the movies. Haha.
In the end, I was told I cannot get hired because with the new presidency nothing was sure anymore. And so my life was going to change but in a different way. After months of thinking I will move to the US, I finally concluded it won’t happen. So I had to figure out what else is in store for me. And that’s when it hit me: I could save enough money to backpack through South America for about one year. And starting in February 2017 I had one goal in mind: to leave Iceland before winter hits. More about it in future articles.
Have you ever relocated for work? How would you prepare for a work exchange in San Diego? Is California on your travel list? Let me know in the comments below.
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