Winter Escape Plan

This is going to sound a bit weird considering it’s a somewhat far off and we’re still reelling from a couple of weeks of hot days and nights, still going through hot days and crazy thunderstorms but, I’ve been thinking about winter. Or, to be more precise, that I don’t want to be here when it’s minus 35° with the windchill.

(It’s a super long post but please at least skim through it, I’d really appreciate pointers)

It’s been a dream of mine for years; escape the snow and cold for a couple of months. I did it for 3 weeks in Australia in 2001, and two weeks at SXSW and in Mexico this year but that’s not good enough, I want to be out of here for January and February, wouldn’t mind a good chunk of March too.

Why am I thinking about it now? For one thing, I want to go to Croatia and Slovenia, have been saying so for a while now and it’s looking like September. I started thinking about the winter thing because I thought I might get a better idea of costs for that before deciding for September but I’m late in figuring winter out and I think I’ll go anyway, don’t want to skip over that trip and then choke on the winter escape route. For another thing, I’ll need to do some research, might as well start early.

Now, knowing myself and realising that it quite possibly costs more than I’m vaguely imagining, chances are those plans will be scaled down or scratched entirely but lets dream. There are a few possible combinations:

  1. Pure vacation. In such a case, it would be stretching it to go more than a month, come on, I’m not making that much.
  2. Keep working but from a different, more human compatible climate (which is where this post comes in), doing little day/weekend trips around the place. Depending on living costs there I should be able to afford a couple of months.
  1. A mix of both, I’m guessing it might end up in that direction, vacation somewhere hot, working for a month, month and a half from somewhere else, come back home.

    Just in case someone has a great idea and this fits in, I’ll mention that I’m planning (80% sure) on attending SXSW in March, might stop there coming back from somewhere else. (That’s a business expense :-D )

    What I’m looking for are ideas of where I could go, what those places offer, costs, etc. I’m even looking for a name for that type of thing so I can look for more info. “Working holiday” is similar and there is some content for that but it’s mostly how to find a job while traveling, I don’t need that, I have my job. “Expat” is also good but that ain’t it either, I’m not looking to move permanently, just a couple of months. Obviously there’s still some info there but I might be missing something just because I don’t know what people call it (except for “you lucky bastard I hate you” which is what I normally use)

    I’m actually surprised that you don’t hear more about such things and that I haven’t (yet?) found ressources for it, just amongst the people I know/ read:

    • Boris was in Japan for 3-4 months, kept his business going as usual.
    • Steven did something similar in Cuba.
    • Maciej was in Argentina for a few months.
    • Marc was also in Argentina for a while and kept working with his same clients.
  • Chris wrote about the cult of the vagabond hacker which led to Can I Crash but that’s a couch for a few days, not what I’m looking for.

    What I’m looking for

  • Noticably warmer than here which, for example, takes out a lot of Europe.
  • For the working option, similar level of amenities. I want to go to Thailand, Vietnam and various other places at some point but somehow (I’d be happy to be proven wrong) I don’t think I can easily setup there and work as I do here.
  • Part of the previous point but important enough to mention separately; high speed and not too expensive access to the internet. (although I guess that depends, if all the rest is cheap, I could splurge on access)
  • Cheaper than here. Ideally I’d be spending less living there since I’ll still be paying for my stuff here and paying double for everything is a bit much.
  • Apartment, cabin, hotel room with kitchenette that offers monthly rates, beach house your parents aren’t using ;).
  • Not in the US. I’m not saying no completely, for example if you have an apartment in San Diego or San Francisco that you’d lend me cheap or free, I’ll listen (duh) but I’m not big on Bush country these days.

    A few options I have in mind so far

  • Victoria and Vancouver. Not the type of weather I’d hope for but warmer than over here and I should be able to stay free (I think, have to email B) in Victoria so that’s the cheapest option. I’d also stay in Vancouver a while and drop by Workspace and maybe attend Northern Voice.
  • I was already aware of Argentina and a friend sent me this article about expats in Buenos Aires so that’s an option.
  • Panama, to my surprise, seems to be offering something similar.
  • Australia and New Zealand fit most requirements but it’s far, the plane ticket is kind of expensive and it’s pretty much as expensive as it is here.

    Ok. Thanks to those who’ve read the whole thing. Now, ideas?


Maciej Ceglowski August 7, 2006

Why not Thailand or Vietnam? What are the amenities that you think you won’t find there? Based on my limited knowledge it should be no problem at all to find a comfortable apartment with good broadband. You may want to take a closer look at those places, as cost of living is also likely to be much lower. The only real drawback, I think, is giant bugs.

andre August 8, 2006

Hvae you thought about Costa Rica? Jan-Feb is the middle of the dry season. There are not too many tropical countries out there where you can safely drink the water straight out of the faucet.

Patrick August 8, 2006

Maciej: I’ll look into it.

Andre: Fits the vacation bit, any idea on the rest?

Chris August 8, 2006

Have you thought of Barcelona. It’s on the Mediteranian (so it’s fairly warm thoughout the year, it is an extremely culturally diverse city, it’s considered to be the Montreal of Europe, Siesta!, Miro, Picasso and Gaudi… , gateway to the rest of Europe…. I could go on for ever…

hmm… maybe I should move there.

Patrick August 8, 2006

Yes I have and you’re right, would be an excellent location. The “gateway to Europe” bit might be less interesting in winter though and it’s not quite as warm as I would hope. Still pretty good though and I also checked out Vancouver and it’s colder than I thought I remembered.

By the way, where the hell do they get their numbers to say that it’s -9 and -8 in Montréal that time of year???

Chris August 8, 2006

and it rains in the winter in Vancouver… a lot!

Chris Car August 8, 2006

Oh yeah – Barcelona! I have been there many times and it is still one of my fav cities. It has a beach and offers excellent bars, clubs and restaurants.
I checked for apartments a year ago or so, it was quite expensive, although I only checked for the city center (ie. Raval). And people don’t speak english there, spanish and catalan are the main languages.

Miro, Picasso, Gaudi… don’t forget the active Street Art scene there! …and the Sonar music festival in June! ;-)

karl August 9, 2006

I sent you a private email about it.

BUT another topic which might sound strange.
Comme on dit en français, « Vaut mieux prévenir, que guérir »

C’est illégal de travailler dans un autre pays sur un visa de touristes. Je ne dis pas que les autorités en question vont lire ton carnet Web et t’attendent à la frontière, mais il suffit que tu es un problème sans trop d’importance dans un de ces pays, et qu’ils commencent à fouiller un peu plus et là tu pourrais avoir des problèmes.

Exemple Laurent-Embruns avec l’immigration… canadienne.

D’autre part, ton billet ne dévoile pas seulement tes plans, mais ceux d’autres personnes. Si j’avais été nommé je t’aurais demandé de m’enlever. Je préferre être un peu parano en amont et éviter les problèmes éventuels.

Sinon en effet bon voyage touristique ;)

Patrick August 9, 2006

Bon point et je vais garder ça en tête et m’informer. Je ne vais pas travailler sur place cependant, dans le sens de trouver une job localement mais bien faire exactement le même boulot que je fais d’ici. Une distinction importante mais je comprend bien qu’elle risque d’échapper à plusieurs côté gestion des visas.

Pour ce qui est des autres personnes, je ne dévoile pas leurs plans, ce sont des voyages déjà terminés mais surtout, ils avaient tous parlé de leurs déplacements et du fait qu’ils continuaient de travailler à leur destination, aucune nouvelle info dévoilée ici ;).

Boris Anthony August 10, 2006

olala.. mais on s’en fout des visas.

“Lying is an important and useful skill, and one that allows society to function.” – B & K in conversation in Shimokitazawa, march 2006.


andre August 11, 2006

C’est vrai qu’il s’agit la d’une situation ou les loi ne suivent pas la realite. Patrick peut rester a Barcelone a travailler pour des clients canadiens, en echange d’argent canadien qui est transige par des banques canadiennes et il paye des impots au Canada.

Physiquement il est en Espagne mais, virtuellement, il est reste au Canada.

Patrick August 11, 2006

Exactement. En plus, légalement je travail pour ma compagnie basée à Montréal, c’est cette compagnie qui facture les clients, pas moi en tant que personne.

karl August 12, 2006

@Boris: Entierement d’accord. Ce billet est exactement le contraire de mentir. Il revele les projets de Patrick. Mon commentaire est « Attention Danger, ce peut te retomber dessus d’en parler publiquement. »

Mentir serait dire: « Je veux partir me reposer pendant 3 mois dans un pays. »

@Andre, Patrick: Malheureusement, cela ne change pas grand chose à la donnée du problème. Dans de nombreux pays, ce que vous dites est légalement interdit. Exemple typique. Photographe reporter. Faire des photographies dans certains pays par exemple comme le voisin du sud du Canade pour les revendres par Internet ou même une fois rentré est interdit. Même chose pour un/une journaliste qui viendrait faire un reportage .

RS August 13, 2006

I can vouch for Spain, having spent time in Andalucia in January. Also some of the Caribbean islands can be lived in more affordably than you’d think if approached as a local rather than a tourist (ie not renting the beach front place). Broadband can be an issue down there though.

Also keep in mind perhaps taking language courses where ever you go, as student visas oftentimes come with the right to work temporarily OR they care much less about your continuing to work for your own enterprise back home since you’re obviously there temporarily for a legit purpose.

As for me, I will be here…

Patrick August 14, 2006

Yes, Spain is definitely one of the options, including Andalucia (Malaga has been recommended) which would give me a chance to drop by Sevilla and Granada again, see the inside of the Alhambra this time. Taking some spanish classes is an excellent idea.

As a general note, I’ll be looking into the whole work and visa thing, just to make sure everything is in order but I’m also thinking duration must have an effect. I can’t stay in Australia for more than 6 months without paperwork for example but I can’t certainly work there during that time, no problem.

In case someone has additional info, at this time the 3 top choices are (no order):
– New Zealand (Wellington)
– Argentina (Buenos Aires)
– Spain (Barcelona or somewhere in Andalucia)

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