Rue du Pourquoi Pas

Parce qu’il y a toujours une route qui, quelque part, m’attend.
Carnets de route, photos de voyages, et pensées vagabondes.

Écrit par : Sébastien ChionMay 1st, 2016
82 English

“Get paid to live for one year on this small paradisiac island, in the middle of the pacific ocean. Your job will consist in bloging your daily life and share with the world the pictures of the island, its animals and its plants. Wage: USD 40,000” 

If I remember correctly, it was more or less what the first “dream job” looks like. The first one to become viral; amazing marketing idea. The island get a huge visibility on Internet, even if Facebook were not here yet! Impacts were by far superior at what you would have expect from a similar investment in an advertising campaign.


Since then, “dream jobs” start to spread around. Sometime a success, sometime a failure as they quickly disappear… I tried once. “Live for a whole year in the city of Richmond, in the suburb of Vancouver. Blog everyday about at least one restaurant of the city. Wage: CAD 50,000“. Had no success. Not so log ago I saw a “travel during six months in a van across Europe; blog about your experience, create multimedia content, meet peoples“. This one was actually aimed to french speaking people. And I had the perfect profile for it. I did hesitate a bit. Before ignoring it. Because it was not that tempting to me. Maybe because I already knew that a dream job was waiting for me?


“During at least for months, leave in a paradisiac hotel, lost in the middle of the jungle in Guatemala. You’ll live by a gorgeous river, in the heart of a National Park, not very far from the impressive canyon of the Rio Dulce. Your daily tasks will consist in managing de hotel; you’ll be the link between the local workers from the Qeqchi culture, international volunteers and travellers from all over the world. Responsibilities will be shared with an other co manager. Main task: make sure that everybody is happy, volunteers, local workers and, of course, guests”. 

It’s when I realize that my “mission” will be to make everybody happy that I understood that this job was a real dream job. All those advertising who become viral, may it be to live on an island, eat at the restaurant everyday, or travel in a van, are over selfish. In a form of selfishness I’ve never noticed before. “We’re going to make you the view point for everyone. People will look at you and envy you”. For me, a dream job definitely doesn’t start by making everyone jealous…


One year ago. Day for day. I quitted my job with Syntagme, after I lived for two years and a half in Lyon. I quitted it to go back on the road. I lived for two years and a half almost as a sedantarian. I had to find again my states of almost nomadic… I left with no specific goal. Except a blurry idea. “Redefine my professional career, make it evolve toward new directions, learn spanish”. One day later, day for day, I’m getting my first wage as a comanager in a hotel. In the middle of the guatemaltec jungle. And I can’t prevent myself to think that life is beautiful, and smiles to audacious people.


In october, I was gathering sea weed on a beach in Mahahual. In november, I was cleaning bathrooms and toilets in an hostel in Tulum. In december I came for the first time at Hotelito Perdido, where I had my first contact with guests. Helping to prepare food, taking care of everyone one… In january, on the lake, I was doing check in and check out, serving food. I was also bar tending some evenings. What was more logical, after that, to take the next step, and to start to work as a comanager in april? After first being a friend visiting, then a volunteer, after coming back as a guest, there was one more option left: I came back to Hotelito Perdido as a co manager !


I’ve been here for a bit more than three weeks now ; three weeks doing this dream job, and sharing responsibilities with Olga, a 22 years old french girl who managed the place on her own, in quite complicate condition, before I arrive to help her. Was there any better colleague possible? I strongly doubt…


I was explaining, in december, what was a day here as a volunteer. As managers, we still do some of the volunteer job. Plus a few tasks, quite diverse. Most important one is to buy food and other stuff. When you live 30 minutes boat ride from the closest shop and when it’s quite expensive to send someone do the grocery for you, you have to be as efficient as possible with the shopping. Qand when you have to plan four days of food, knowing that the number of people will definitely fluctuate because of last minute booking/cancellation, it starts to be really funny. Add to that the aim of reducing waste as much as possible (for me, mainly for ethical reason, but yes, also for economical reason). It’s quite challenging… and definitely interesting and inspiring !


We also have to plan transport and activities for the guest. Because there’s lot of thing to do around here. But also because it’s not easy to find information to go from here to Antigua, to Semuc Champey, to Lago Atitlan, Belize or Honduras… so we optimize, organize, put everyone in the same boat… and it works!

And there’s accounting, buying ice (we’re solar powered only here, fridge only work during day time, in the evening, we put ice in the fridge. But what should we do when it so hot outside that we can’t find any more ice? . And all those other little details… including, obviously, “human resource”. Local workers and international volunteers definitely have to different way of seeing life and work…


[As we’re only three workers here at the moment, Toby is the only slave we can exploit] 

Yes… all that is really inspiring. I do like it so much. Because, indeed, the way I see the job, it can be summed up in only one sentence. “Make sure that everybody is happy”. And in my world, that’s a way to describe a dream job. It’s not about de wage, but about de goal… in this context, working with Olga is just amazing. Because we do see things the same way. We highly trust each other. We got the same expectation. From the job we do, from the job we expect from other people. We share the task with no problem, no compromise. Just talking together. And we share the will of having a “team spirit” (this include a lot of “so… what should we eat”) so important when you are three people, always together, living on a small island. In the middle of nowhere. Loft Story, Kho Lanta, Island of temptation… we can bring them all, I’m ready.

The human relation, in such a small group, is definitely the hardest thing for me to deal with (the only hard thing here, actually). But I’m learning a lot on myself, and the experience is so interesting! Chance that I’ll leave this place grown up, transformed, and stronger are highly high!


And I should not forget the side things… the food, still awesome for example. The place itself, which is just a paradise. Birds singing ways I’ve never heard before, wind in the trees, flowers of every colours, sound of the rain on the leaves roof… and constant laughs from the kitchen. And the river, where we dive at least once a day. With obligation to stay immersed for a while, ’cause when you want to cool down, water over 30 degrees is not the best…


And, for five nights in a raw, water starts to be bioluminescent. Everytime there’s the slightest move in the water, everything starts to shine, to sparkle. Stars, everywhere. How to explain, how to tell this feeling that we become magicians! That any movement become source of amazingness… slow movement becomes sparkle, fast movement become light cloud… getting out of the water so see your body covered with ephemeral stars… or dive in the milky way… do some apnea, swim with this non gravity feeling… in the middle of galaxies… yes, for the last four weeks now, I’ve been living in paradise.


Finally… if there was only one shadow on the overall picture… it’s that this place is so amazing that I would love to share it with the people I love. Family, friends… when are you coming :) ?


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