13 Places I've Lived or Called Home.

By Josh Wicks @the.vagrant.optimist

A list of the places where I've lived and worked, and hopefully left a little better than when I arrived. I know I'm a better person for having lived in these places.

Places I've Lived or Called Home. Map

Places I've Lived or Called Home. Places

  • Victoria
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      My favorite city in Canada. That's why I live here. It's just the right size, with a supportive arts community, a booming tech industry, and natural getaways to water or woods in every direction. Cost of living is pretty high and the nightlife is nothing like Vancouver, but Victoria is an ideal place to spend a week of self-care before exploring the rest of Vancouver Island.

  • Santiago
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Even if you're not into the hustle & bustle of big cities, Santiago is worth some time to explore. There are so many barrios (neighborhoods) with their own specialty, whether it be different types of gastro experiences, art, music, or street performers. You'll never see it all, but my favorite spots are Bellas Artes for art and boho vibes, Barrio Italia for food and drink, Providencia for shopping, and Cerro Santa Lucia for a majestic 360 view of the city.

  • Earthship Patagonia Hostel
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      This glamping style hostel is owned by some very inspirational friends of mine. I helped them build it along with about 50 other travelers from across the globe in 2015. If you've never heard of an Earthship, watch the film Garbage Warrior for free on Youtube. Earthship Patagonia is a self-sustainable dwelling that runs completely off the grid (aside from wifi of course). What makes it a truly amazing place to live is the sense of community you'll find there.

  • Dresden
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Full disclosure: there's not much here other than a racetrack, but just outside of Dresden is the historic Uncle Tom's Cabin. That's definitely worth a visit for some American History.

  • Hokitika
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      A very close-knit "cool little town" on the south island of New Zealand. A place where one doesn't expect to stay for an extended period of time, but Hokitika, meaning "the place of return" in Maori, has some magnetism to it. There's definitely more than enough things to do and see around Hokitika than one can accomplish in a day. If you're fascinated with NZ jade (pounamu) then you're in the right place. You may even find some while walking on the beach. Learn how to carve and polish jade at Bonz n' Stones- a local jade shop with workstations in the back and the most passionate teachers to show you the techniques. You can explore all of Hokitika on foot. If you don't get taken in by a helpful local, there are a lot of options for accommodation. If you want to treat yourself to something epic, check out the Firestation. And don't leave Hokitika before you visit Hokitika Gorge and do the treetop walk over the bluest water you've ever seen!

  • Millton Vineyards & Winery
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Yep, I lived on a vineyard. And not just any vineyard. Millton Vineyards is New Zealand's first Organic & Biodynamic wine estate. Here's how I lived here, picked grapes, got paid, drank incredible wine way out of my price range, and enjoyed outdoor fire baths overlooking the vineyard every night- and how you can too. The harvest begins around March so contact Millton Vineyards for work in February, then show up on their doorstep and let them know you are for real about working the harvest. If you can play a musical instrument your chances are even better. Picking grapes may not sound that fun but there's something magic about James Millton and his vineyard.

  • Katikati
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      This lesser-known spot on the south island of New Zealand is where a lot of fruit is grown. I lived and worked here for a month on an avocado farm a.k.a. heaven. What's better than an unlimited supply of avocados? Surfing un-crowded waves, that's what. You'll find them at Waihi beach and various other points in the Bay of Plenty. I found the early morning surf was the best to learn on and then spend the rest of your day feeling amazing.

  • Fat Cat Backpackers
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      This place literally changed my life. I came to this hostel to do woofing for a minimum of two weeks and wound up staying for over two months and meeting the woman who would become my wife. I won't hype it up too much, but this place is more than a backpackers, it's a legit traveler's community. If you're flying into Auckland, book with Fat Cat in advance and they can likely pick you up at the airport. I highly recommend this place as a starting point for your NZ adventure. It doesn't take long to feel at home here.

  • Yuendumu
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      The population of Yuendumu is less than 1000 people. The Indigenous Australians of the land say that only three types of people come to live in Yuendumu; missionaries, mercenaries, and misfits. I was a misfit.

  • Alice Springs
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Looking for a truly authentic Australian experience? Alice Springs has got to be on the top of your list. If you've got a working holiday visa you should come here with a plan to stay, make some good money and friends, then carry on with ample savings. Annie's Place is the hostel you're looking for. Many unforgettable stories have started there.

  • Chumphon
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      I lived and worked as an ESL teacher in this humble fishing town for over 2 years. Chumphon is not very touristy, and that's a good thing. It serves as a stopover for travelers arriving from Bangkok and transitioning to one of the many islands in the South of Thailand. If you happen to stop here though, make it worth your while and support my local brother Aeki who has a bar right across from the train station. Aeki is a former Muay-Thai kickboxing champion who knows how to entertain. After one night in Chumphon, you may decide to extend your stay.

  • Vancouver
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Still one of my favorite cities in the world. A perfect blend of culture, creativity, and craziness. Surrounded by a seawall to walk, run, or bike around, with many distinctive neighborhoods, quaint beaches, and parks to walk your dog and get some fresh air. There's always something fun happening here. Active days and indulgent nightlife. If you can't find it in The Georgia Straight (free street magazine), just ask around. People are usually happy to let you in on the fun.

  • London
    • the.vagrant.optimist

      Born and raised here. London, Ontario was named after that better-known place with the bridge in the UK. Also known as the Forest City. If you go to the top of any tall buildings you'll see why. It's a pleasant city with a reputable University Hospital and a decent stretch of nightlife along a street we call Richmond row. It's worth a walk if you're in the mood.

  • Victoria

    My favorite city in Canada. That's why I live here. It's just the right size, with a supportive arts community, a booming tech industry, and natural getaways to water or woods in every direction. Cost of living is pretty high and the nightlife is nothing like Vancouver, but Victoria is an ideal place to spend a week of self-care before exploring the rest of Vancouver Island.

    December 12, 2020
  • Santiago

    Even if you're not into the hustle & bustle of big cities, Santiago is worth some time to explore. There are so many barrios (neighborhoods) with their own specialty, whether it be different types of gastro experiences, art, music, or street performers. You'll never see it all, but my favorite spots are Bellas Artes for art and boho vibes, Barrio Italia for food and drink, Providencia for shopping, and Cerro Santa Lucia for a majestic 360 view of the city.

    December 12, 2020
  • Earthship Patagonia Hostel

    This glamping style hostel is owned by some very inspirational friends of mine. I helped them build it along with about 50 other travelers from across the globe in 2015. If you've never heard of an Earthship, watch the film Garbage Warrior for free on Youtube. Earthship Patagonia is a self-sustainable dwelling that runs completely off the grid (aside from wifi of course). What makes it a truly amazing place to live is the sense of community you'll find there.

    December 12, 2020
  • Dresden

    Full disclosure: there's not much here other than a racetrack, but just outside of Dresden is the historic Uncle Tom's Cabin. That's definitely worth a visit for some American History.

    December 11, 2020
  • Hokitika

    A very close-knit "cool little town" on the south island of New Zealand. A place where one doesn't expect to stay for an extended period of time, but Hokitika, meaning "the place of return" in Maori, has some magnetism to it. There's definitely more than enough things to do and see around Hokitika than one can accomplish in a day. If you're fascinated with NZ jade (pounamu) then you're in the right place. You may even find some while walking on the beach. Learn how to carve and polish jade at Bonz n' Stones- a local jade shop with workstations in the back and the most passionate teachers to show you the techniques. You can explore all of Hokitika on foot. If you don't get taken in by a helpful local, there are a lot of options for accommodation. If you want to treat yourself to something epic, check out the Firestation. And don't leave Hokitika before you visit Hokitika Gorge and do the treetop walk over the bluest water you've ever seen!

    December 11, 2020
  • Millton Vineyards & Winery

    Yep, I lived on a vineyard. And not just any vineyard. Millton Vineyards is New Zealand's first Organic & Biodynamic wine estate. Here's how I lived here, picked grapes, got paid, drank incredible wine way out of my price range, and enjoyed outdoor fire baths overlooking the vineyard every night- and how you can too. The harvest begins around March so contact Millton Vineyards for work in February, then show up on their doorstep and let them know you are for real about working the harvest. If you can play a musical instrument your chances are even better. Picking grapes may not sound that fun but there's something magic about James Millton and his vineyard.

    December 11, 2020
  • Katikati

    This lesser-known spot on the south island of New Zealand is where a lot of fruit is grown. I lived and worked here for a month on an avocado farm a.k.a. heaven. What's better than an unlimited supply of avocados? Surfing un-crowded waves, that's what. You'll find them at Waihi beach and various other points in the Bay of Plenty. I found the early morning surf was the best to learn on and then spend the rest of your day feeling amazing.

    December 11, 2020
  • Fat Cat Backpackers

    This place literally changed my life. I came to this hostel to do woofing for a minimum of two weeks and wound up staying for over two months and meeting the woman who would become my wife. I won't hype it up too much, but this place is more than a backpackers, it's a legit traveler's community. If you're flying into Auckland, book with Fat Cat in advance and they can likely pick you up at the airport. I highly recommend this place as a starting point for your NZ adventure. It doesn't take long to feel at home here.

    December 11, 2020
  • Yuendumu

    The population of Yuendumu is less than 1000 people. The Indigenous Australians of the land say that only three types of people come to live in Yuendumu; missionaries, mercenaries, and misfits. I was a misfit.

    December 11, 2020
  • Alice Springs

    Looking for a truly authentic Australian experience? Alice Springs has got to be on the top of your list. If you've got a working holiday visa you should come here with a plan to stay, make some good money and friends, then carry on with ample savings. Annie's Place is the hostel you're looking for. Many unforgettable stories have started there.

    December 11, 2020
  • Chumphon

    I lived and worked as an ESL teacher in this humble fishing town for over 2 years. Chumphon is not very touristy, and that's a good thing. It serves as a stopover for travelers arriving from Bangkok and transitioning to one of the many islands in the South of Thailand. If you happen to stop here though, make it worth your while and support my local brother Aeki who has a bar right across from the train station. Aeki is a former Muay-Thai kickboxing champion who knows how to entertain. After one night in Chumphon, you may decide to extend your stay.

    December 11, 2020
  • Vancouver

    Still one of my favorite cities in the world. A perfect blend of culture, creativity, and craziness. Surrounded by a seawall to walk, run, or bike around, with many distinctive neighborhoods, quaint beaches, and parks to walk your dog and get some fresh air. There's always something fun happening here. Active days and indulgent nightlife. If you can't find it in The Georgia Straight (free street magazine), just ask around. People are usually happy to let you in on the fun.

    December 9, 2020
  • London

    Born and raised here. London, Ontario was named after that better-known place with the bridge in the UK. Also known as the Forest City. If you go to the top of any tall buildings you'll see why. It's a pleasant city with a reputable University Hospital and a decent stretch of nightlife along a street we call Richmond row. It's worth a walk if you're in the mood.

    December 9, 2020