Greg Snell is a small groups Adventure Tour Leader in the Southern Cone region of South America. He is a blogger, a photographer, and (the only Canadian) finalist in the 2013 ’Best Jobs in the World’ competition with Tourism Australia. This is a week-in-the-life leading up to the email that would forever change his life. Enjoy!
Nora’s Note: This marks the 100th Week-In-The-Life post published on The Professional Hobo! That’s 100 people, each traveling the world long-term/full-time in their own unique ways. No two days, weeks, or travelers are the same. Hooray for the wonderful world of travel!
This post was originally published in 2013, and has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Thursday May 9th – Day 1
08:00am – I awake in Salta, Argentina and see off my group of 16 people going to visit Cafayate for a day trip of touring the pristine Northern wine district. Normally I would go along with them, however today is different, today I need to focus on marketing myself; something I am still coming to terms with.
12:00noon – After a full morning spent emailing Australian friends I start to create a bit of a timeline for focusing my media efforts on social networking and directing people towards my ‘Wildlife Caretaker’ page on Facebook. I create a table of status updates and links that will help support my shortlisted position and hopefully propel me into the final round of the ‘Best Jobs’ competition.
4:00pm – Having passed a solid 7 hours or so in front of my laptop it is time for a break. I take a walk around downtown Salta thinking about how I can properly say an honest goodbye to my current group. I pass a street stall and pick up the perfect present, times 16.
8:00pm – My group returns from their day trip and I take them out for dinner at a nice restaurant near the central square. We all return early enough in order to get some sleep before the intended 6:00am flight to Buenos Aires the next day.
Friday May 10th – Day 2
4:00am – I awake at stupid time o’clock to catch our transfer to the small domestic Salta airport. The group slowly mutters about eating breakfast and doing some final packing. We leave the hotel on time and head for the tarmac.
5:00am – The plane is delayed due to a ground workers strike. Classic.
5:30am – We leave the airport with no estimated flight time or confirmation that we will even fly to BA today. Not cool with a group of 16 people who are on a set schedule, some with flights out of BA the next day. Plus it is our last night together after a 15 day tour spanning three countries and close to 5,000km travel overland.
1:00pm – I get the call from Aerolinas Argentinas that the strike has lifted and our reservation has been pushed onto the next available flight leaving this afternoon. Nice!
5:00pm – We head back to the airport and try a second time and this time we are successful! Everyone gets checked in, whisked through security and into the departures lounge. We board the plane and, wheels up, we’re off to Buenos Aires and the capitol of Argentina.
9:00pm – We head straight from the airport to a friend’s steak house restaurant for our last night together. Everyone has an amazing time fine dining on Argentina’s best steak and classic side dishes of Empanads, Chorizo, Alfajores, and who could forget the nice assortment of Malbec wines! Perfect.
I present the group with my little thank you token of an amazing tour, I bought them each a post card and wrote a personalized message on each. It is a way more personal way of saying thank you and it goes over better than I could have expected, they absolutely love it!
11:00pm – We head out on the town and dance the night away!
Saturday May 11th – Day 3
9:00am – I wake up for breakfast at the hotel in BA and final goodbyes to the group. It is sad, but I find pleasure knowing that everyone is continuing their travels in South America and are going to love the other few weeks vacation they have left. We exchange emails and say our goodbyes.
11:00am – I pack my stuff (life) back into my pack and transfer to my next hotel. I check in and start going over my welcome details for my next group. Typically, I finish a tour and start the next one on the exact same day. This is not unusual in the life of a tour leader and sometimes I think we thrive best under this sort of pressure. One tour after the other, week after week, month after month.
12:00 noon – Once everything is set for my next group I turn my attention back to my online marketing campaign for the ‘Best Jobs in the World’ contest. Turns out a lot has been happening and I spend the next few hours updating my timeline and answering all of the notifications and messages. It is amazing to see so much international support coming in for my shortlisted status.
7:00pm – After a solid afternoon spent at the computer I am very much looking forward to my group welcome meeting and a nice Argentine dinner. I head down to the lobby to meet the group and talk about our upcoming trip.
11:00pm – After an amazing welcome meeting and great dinner I head back up to my hotel to catch some sleep. I now have a new set of 6 names and nationalities to memorize for the upcoming weeks. Tomorrow is a city tour and walk through the famous San Telmo Antiques market.
Sunday May 12th – Day 4
7:00am – Wake up and head down for breakfast with my new group. I meet the city tour guide and explain what route I think they should take, hitting all of the major highlights and still being able to finish the tour in San Telmo.
8:00am – Group heads off on the city tour and I return to my room to jump back on the ‘Best Jobs’ marketing train. I could not have imagined how much work was going to be involved in making the top 25 shortlisted for the Wildlife Caretaker position. It is amazing to follow the campaigns of my competitors and to show the world what it is like living a day in my life.
2:00pm – I head out for lunch and to meet with the group returning from their morning cruising the city. Everyone is in good spirits and we set some plans for the evening. Some of the group are going to head to a Tango show and others not. All good. I make the Tango reservation and we all make final plans to meet the next morning for our flight to Iguazu Falls and the border with Brazil.
I call a couple of friends in BA and explain that I am leaving the next morning and may not be coming back for awhile; this being said we should meet up for a final goodbye dinner. They are free and agree to get a crew together at one of my favourite pizza restaurants later that night.
8:00pm – After a chill afternoon, I take off for Recoleta to meet 4 friends from various backgrounds all living in Buenos Aires. It is a bit of a sad goodbye because I have become strangely close to this mismatched group of travellers all searching for something in this world, ending up in the Paris of Latin America. We have an awesome night, sharing laughs, stories, pizza and beers, nothing better!
Monday May 13th – Day 5
7:00am – Flight to Iguazu with new group goes as smoothly as it can in Latin America and we make it on time.
11:00am – We cross the border in Brazil and check into our hotel in Foz do Iguazu. I set a time with our local operator to visit the falls that afternoon. There is a slight fear of rain in the sky but it holds off for us and we’re off.
4:00pm – We return from an awesome first introduction to Iguazu and the group is on a high. There is nothing like visiting one of the Natural Wonders of the World. I make a reservation for a typical Brazilian Churrascaria that night and jump back on my computer. In only two days Tourism Australia will announce the top three finalists for the ‘Best Jobs’ in the world competition and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.
8:00pm – We head out for dinner and I absolutely stuff my face with glorious Brazilian cuisine. Happy guy!
11:00pm – The group heads back to restaurant to get an early night before a long day touring the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls tomorrow.
Tuesday May 14th – Day 6
7:00am – I’m up and eating breakfast with the group. The excitement about visiting the Argentine side of the falls is palpable.
9:00am – We have re-crossed the border and entered the Iguazu National Park. The Argentine side takes about 6 hours to navigate properly and this is my 17th time doing it, so I am pretty well-versed at where to go first avoiding the bigger crowds.
4:00pm – After an awesome day touring the park we leave destined for Brazil. After an hour in transit we re-re-cross the border and we’re back at the hotel.
The group makes plans for a light dinner because we have a super early flight leaving tomorrow for Sao Paulo. I want to be out of the hotel at 5:30am sharp heading for the airport.
Funny enough this is also the exact time (13 hours difference) that Tourism Australia will be announcing the final 18 people selected for the six job posting available in the ‘Best Jobs in the World’ competition.
6:00pm – The group goes out for a light dinner and we’re back in the hotel ready for sleep by 8pm.
Wednesday May 15th – Day 7
4:00am – I wake up after a fitful sleep and slowly transfer my ‘stuff’ down to the lobby and help myself to some old drip coffee which had probably been sitting in its pot for over 12 hours. I sit and chat nervously with my group.This is a day that will change my life.
5:00am – I check and re check my email: nothing. Ahhh, okay think about something else…where are we going, Sao Paulo, okay pull up my Sao Paulo info…what are the next steps for the day, what do I need to do to make sure we make our destination without any major setbacks? The life of a tour leader is often revolved around double and triple checking transport reservations, accommodations, and just generally managing the logistics of the tour and the experience of the passengers (which truly is the most important).
5:30am – The transport is in the driveway and it is time to go. I check my email one last time and see this:
“Congratulations you have made it to the final three candidates for the role of Wildlife Caretaker on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.”
Whoaa!! I am absolutely elated, a feeling of pure happiness and excitement washes over me. I am stunned and cannot believe what I am reading. I re-re read the short email and run out to the van to tell the group. Amazing! Such an incredible feeling to see all of your efforts and something you worked so hard for becoming a reality.
I have made the final round for one of the ‘Best Jobs in the World’ with Tourism Australia. I am the only Canadian left in the competition. From 330,000 individual applications, 46,000 video applications, I have been picked in the top 18; I’m going to Australia to compete in the final round this June.
All of this information is swimming through my head in a jumbled form of half-conscious thoughts. I settle my brain and focus on the task at hand. It is still 5:30am and the flight to Sao Paulo is not going to wait for me. Time to go!!
Next up for Greg Snell is Australia and the final round of the ‘Best Jobs’ competition. He flies to Sydney on the 10th of June to participate in a week-long interview process before the final decision is made on June 21st. You can follow his story here on Facebook and also here on Twitter.
Greg Snell is also an avid travel Blogger and Photographer; check out his blog and his photos.
Good luck, Greg!