Local Mezcal Production in Oaxaca

If you have the privilege of visiting Oaxaca, Mexico and are interested in exploring a bit of the surrounding area, you might consider a mezcal tour for insight into the process of making the agave-based drink. On a sunny Tuesday in June we took a 7-hour mezcal tour with local expert Alvin Starkman, who explained how mezcal is made locally, and taught us a lot about the region in general.

We sampled about 20 mezcales at several palenques (farms or production facilities) along the way, and observed essentially every stage in the making. There are various methods, but these are a few typical local approaches.

Continue reading “Local Mezcal Production in Oaxaca”

How Can I Travel and Earn Money? Working Holiday Programs for U.S. Citizens

It’s a lot easier to get overseas than it once was. Two days or less is all it takes to reach almost any country by air from the United States. U.S. passport holders enjoy the additional privilege of being able to enter some three fourths of those countries without organizing a visa in advance (although the same is not true in reverse). One can travel from the U.S. to dozens of other countries for under five hundred dollars, in mere hours. Not long ago that would have be considered a miracle.

But a day or two of travel and several hundred (or thousand) dollars is a lot for a short visit. It can be hard to justify the time and expense of using vacation days overseas when it’s far cheaper and easier to plan visits to our favorite regional spots. Maybe it’s best to put that overseas trip on hold, until there’s a little more time or money.

Happily, yet unbeknownst to most Americans, there are special visa categories making it possible for U.S. citizens, who are young adults or students, to pick up seasonal jobs abroad. They are widely known as Working Holiday Visas, and typically allow for up to a year of work and travel in countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

Continue reading “How Can I Travel and Earn Money? Working Holiday Programs for U.S. Citizens”