In my last post I talked about settling in beautiful Bariloche, Argentina. With a plethora of hiking trails, ski runs, and lakes all around, I hope to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and make some new friends in this community. What I’m really looking for is a place to get involved. But how do I do that? The obvious answer is to teach English. 

In Spanish, a woodpecker is a “carpintero”, the carpenter of his new home in the forest.

Argentinians are hungry to learn English. The school system and evening English institutes do a pretty good job giving citizens a foundation of the language, but many professionals have dreams of learning more. For example, Bariloche is a very touristy town with visitors from around the world so workers in the hotels, restaurants, resorts and travel agencies are expected to know some English. Additionally, Argentina’s economy is in a tailspin, so many workers seek remote jobs with US and European companies, especially in the technology sector. A good level of English is required for those coveted positions, too. Therefore, being a US native English speaker and a professional teacher is like having a “Golden Ticket”. For me, getting side-gigs is not a problem. I’ve been offered five since I arrived. But getting a school job legally… well, that’s a little more complicated. 

Winter play centers in Bariloche feature chairlifts to the top so enthusiasts can use designated trails for sledding, nordic skiing and snowshoeing – all with a view!

The small problem with my employment plan is that I entered Argentina on a Tourist Visa and the paperwork necessary to convert my status to an official Resident and Work Visa is immense. To do this, I got a new passport (mine was expiring!), and then I had to get an official FBI background check by sending my fingerprints to the US for a report with an international verification “apostille”, or stamp, and a certified translation. I finished other processes and paid various fees here in Argentina, but then I needed to find a school who was willing to complete another mound of paperwork with immigration services to justify why they needed a migrant worker. They would have also needed to help me get an identification card and a bank account, etc. That’s where things got complicated. After two months of negotiations, the school where I was hoping to work pulled out of the arduous process and hired a local teacher instead.

So for now, my status will remain as a “tourist”. This means that I can stay in Argentina for three months at a time, then I have to “border hop”, or cross over into Chile or Uruguay for a few hours to restart my 90-days again. This isn’t ideal, but I am able to stay and work online which, as I’ve discovered, allows me a lot more flexibility and time for fun.

Snowboarding for the first time in over twelve years brought a sore butt, but views all the way into Chile!

To earn some money, I started teaching English online. I have really resisted this career path for the last few years, because I just figured I wouldn’t like it. But I found a company here in Argentina who caters to professional adults, and while I’m designing lessons in business English, I’m learning a lot about Argentina, too. Buoyed by that momentum, I signed up for another international online conversational English platform called Cambly, and now I talk to students from as far away as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Taiwan everyday. My students are all so interesting and it’s igniting dreams of more travels in the future.

I’ve joined two different hiking clubs in Bariloche to meet people and have access to more remote locations- they have cars! On this first trip of the spring season, we headed out for a spectacular day of snowshoeing at Cerro Perito Moreno.

In addition to that, I’ve been writing a lot. Since writing is one of my favorite parts of traveling, I decided to take a travel writing class to improve my prose and learn how to submit articles to various publications. A Peace Corps magazine published my first story, a revised version of a favorite Ecuadorian tale. You can read it here. In this same vein, I’ve been hired as a Contributing Writer for the well-known travel blog It’s a good challenge for me to write in a service-oriented journalistic style. Here are a few of my articles for that publication: Perfect Buenos Aires Itineraries, An Expert Guide to Salta, and An Expert Guide to Traveling Safe in BA.

In Bariloche, it’s easy to make friends with others who like to hike. Spring is here and the snow is starting to melt, so Cecilia and Olga invited me up to Cerro San Martín for some views.

Finally, I found a group of lovely locals who meet at a brewery twice monthly to just practice their English. They welcomed me into their fold immediately and now I’ve started to help coordinate the topics for some of their discussions. It’s great fun, and I’ve made many new friends within this group.

I created a World Travel theme for our last English Club Meeting and they did a great job discussing their past and future travel plans all in English.

With that, I’m settling in, figuring life out for now, opening up my options for the future and enjoying the process along the way. It does seem that Bariloche has opened its arms with a welcome and I’m really enjoying these months to just be here.

If you remember, I was living with a family, but for just a few pesos more, I jumped at the chance to sublet this apartment until December. It’s a wonderful place all to myself to stare at the mountains, teach English on-line, write and dream of what’s next for my future.

Here’s a final look at the mountains and lake I stare at daily out my window: