What do you do, when you come home from your first trip abroad and you feel like you need more of it? Something more than just another 2-week vacation? Well, you figure out how to make that happen. Actually we have been there ourselves as well. After the first trip abroad we felt like we need more, so a year later we went on an open-ended trip to India. And so did Raimonds. No, he didn’t go to India. He booked a one-way ticket and went to Mexico.
But the thing is that it all started with his first trip abroad. In 2007 Raimonds went on a vacation to Mexico, fell in love with its culture immediately and later – figured out how to return for a longer period.
Continue reading to find out what did he do and how he has been living nomadically for 10+ years already.
Apart from the other things we also talk about how he supports this lifestyle financially.
Please, Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself!
Hello, my name is Ray (Raimonds) and I am a traveler from Latvia. This year I celebrate 10 years of my nomad lifestyle and travel. In last 5 – 6 years I have created a positively weird lifestyle pattern, living in a triangle of countries – between Mexico, Latvia and Norway.
Working as a season chef in Norway, helps me to fund my adventures and expeditions in Mexico, Guatemala – where I spend most of my time. And Latvia is my “base camp” for repacking backpack from winter season to summer season.
I have passion for ancient civilizations and indigenous people of Central America. Especially, when it comes to Mayan ancestors. I have lived among them in Lacandon Jungle, have guided several expeditions to remote jungle ruins and many more.
How Did You Start Traveling? Why?
When growing up as a kid in Latvia, we used to go camping, rafting, hiking and doing diferent kind of sport activities wih my family. I believe that’s what made me fall in love with nature and wilderness.
How Long It Took Until You Realized, That You Need More?
As I mentioned earlier – I have had this passion for ancient cultures for a while, even before I really started to travel. At the same time, for example, Mexico was never on my “to do” list. I didn’t really think about going there.
Or maybe I was just looking for signs to show me, when it’s the right time to go.
It was summer of 2007, when I left Latvia for the first time and went on my first trip abroad. It was a short trip to Mexico. And with my very first steps on the land of Moctezuma I started the list of “must do” things for my next return… I was so overwhelmed and “alive” as coming home after long time away… I felt like at home… That was it.
So You Just Booked a Ticket and Went Back to Mexico?
Yes. Not exactly on the next day, but, yes – I just booked the one-way ticket, left my job, sold my car and went to Mexico. Exactly one year after my first trip I returned to Mexico. Actually I gave away or sold everything I had.
While preparing for the trip I signed up for private Spanish language lessons, too.
How Long Time Have You Spent in Mexico and Central America?
I can’t tell exactly, but a lot. When I went to Mexico for the second time, I lived there for a year before going back to Latvia. I have been returning to Mexico and Central America ever since, living in Mexico anything from 2-9 month or sometimes even more every year. There have been several years when I went to Mexico more than few times a year.
That’s because at one point I also started to lead tours. I have been traveling together with people from Latvia, Italy, Germany, Russia and even local Mexicans.
I have done some expeditions on my own or just kept exploring and falling in love with the country more and more.
How Do You Financially Support This Lifestyle?
Couple of years after my first few trips to Mexico, when I was back home in Latvia, one of my friends offered me a good job in Norway.
At first I rejected it. I love Mexico. Why should I go to “winterland”? But then I thought – why not? So I started to work in Norway as season chef or head chef in ski-resorts. Having fun on the slopes snowboarding and working in kitchen, while making decent money worked out pretty well for me. I managed to save good money to fund any adventures I wanted for the next half-year, to simply live, travel and relax until the next winter season in Norway.
So I kept coming back to Norway.
Finding a Ski Bum Job – Your Tips
So far I have this experience only with Norway. There are two seasons in Norway – winter – usually from December till May, and summer season – from the end of June till mid of September. Easiest way to apply for a job is to send your CV to any restaurant or hotel you wish to work.
Surely – it’s great if you know any Scandinavian language, and it will help you to get a job faster. However, without the language skills you can always apply for dishwasher position or even chef in some places. If it’s a resort you can apply for housekeeping position, too – cleaning up the cabins.
If you are lucky – a hotel job may come with perks like free accommodation and food as well.
Working for 5 – 6 months in Norway you can save enough money to travel for 6 months.
Of course – the best offers, the best deals and places to work always are ones recommended by your friends. So keep your eyes and ears open! And ask around, maybe you have friends or acquaintances, who can help you to find that job.
Where Can We Follow Your Adventures?
10 years ago, when I just started to travel I started also a blog. Now, to celebrate 10 year anniversary, I’m publishing my book – “It’s Time: The Tales of My Nomad Soul” – Author Ray Gudrups’ journey along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain acts as the perfect metaphor for the journey each of us must follow to find our true path in life. The insights gained throughout his travels will inspire your own inner pilgrimage.
The book will be published in two languages – English and Latvian, both as an eBook and beautifully printed paperback.
Follow my footsteps!
Photos used in this article have been provided by Raimonds.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.