Hamilton Travel Blog

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Ok I started out with the idea of taking the winter off, the recession thing. I would travel to Costa Rica as I had checked that out and it is a pretty neat country to hang out in. Great beaches, warm weather, friendly people. Then I thought why not do something while I am there to fill in some time. So I looked at Volunteering. Then I got this big shock. I found these so called volunteer groups that are a business in disguise in Canada and the USA and they were going to charge me thousands of dollars to volunteer my time, plus my airfare, plus my accomodation and food. The  I then looked deeper and not wanting to keep some CEO in his/her healthy lifestyle (some make$400,000) I found several grassroot volunteer groups that where not going to charge me anything.

Did you know that when a grassroots volunteer group aligns itself with these mega company charities, that less than 9 percent gets to the people where it is needed.

Ok that decided, great. The big but here is/was that I cannot speak any Spanish. So off I go to the library and take out some Berlitz cd's to see what can happen. Well not much. I needed to speak the language as I was not going to be married to my phrase book forever. Cutting this story shorter I then decided to travel down to Central America and take an immersion (brain stretching) Spanish language course there. Learn Latin America Spanish not what is spoken in Spain as the Berlitz course did.

I looked at schools in Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica and finally Guatemala. So why did I choose Guatemala? Well I found this smaller school in Quetzaltenango called Xela (shay-le) by the natives that is set at a cooler (no mosquito's) elevation of 7000 ft.  I always liked living in the mountains when I lived in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, so it will feel maybe the same. Also the pricing was better and they offered one on one classes.

Then I thought that I would like to do part of the trip on the ground, not fly in al the way. Get a feel for the country, see it even, so I am flying into Tuxtla, Mexico and then by shuttle or whatever I will travel over to San Cristbal, Mexico where I will spend some time and then south and into Guatemala and down to Xela. So much planning. When my brain is stretched enough, the plan is to head down to Nicaragua and do some volunteer work with children in either art or theatre or both. Plans always change of course and I am always open to change.

Part of this trip is also to learn about the cultures of the different countries, practice my Spanish, do at least one volcano hike, do some river travel to the Atlantic side, experience those beaches, take lots of photographs, learn and have fun along the way. Meeting people and sharing ideas and ideals is all part of the adventure and of course along the way to help someone experience a better life ghan I have.

I have 7 sleeps to go.




traveller142009 says:
Challenging yourself to do something new is quite courageous. I have also explored the possibility of doing a spanish immersion course and have considered Xela as well as Antigua in Guatemala. It is still on my list of things to do...what school in Xela will you attend?
Posted on: Feb 01, 2010
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