Day 43: What’s Next? Why Not Cuba? No, Really!

by Eli Hodapp

With my last free day in Spain before returning back to the USA coming to a close, I think it’s safe to say that this trip has been a success in every way imaginable. From a personal growth perspective, professionally, and heck, even when it comes to over-all fun factor, Barcelona was everything I had hoped for and more. I’ve been looking back at all the things I’ve done while I’ve been here, and, wow. Not a single day was wasted.

This raises the inevitable question of… What’s next? I mean, I have panels to be on tomorrow at Mobile World Congress, then my flight on Friday, and then I head to San Francisco for GDC. What about after that? Well, I definitely want to stick with learning more Spanish. I sort of feel like I’ve plateaued with what I’m capable of absorbing from Rosetta Stone, and already have some very solid leads for some intensive Spanish classes back in the USA.

From there, who knows. Latin America seems like a fantastic target once I can hold my own in the Spanish department. It’s close enough for flights to be reasonable, obviously in the same time zone as the USA, and my money will go ever so much farther. While I’ve been here Samaneh has had incredible things to say about Cuba. I’m envious, as being American, Cuba is sort of the forbidden fruit of travel.

You can go there, but it involves a tricky flight through Mexico and then hoping that they let you into Cuba without stamping your passport. If the US customs find out you’ve been to Cuba, it sounds like it’s a go directly go jail do not pass go do not collect $200 sort of scenario. But I’ve known Americans that have been to Cuba, so surely it’s possible.

After looking in to it a little further, it seems that I can submit a proposal to the US bureau of consular affairs based on me being a journalist and looking to travel to Cuba as part of an assignment I’m working on for a US media outlet. That’s easy enough, and I could whip up something about covering the emerging mobile entertainment market and how the US embargo has impacted Cuba’s ability to participate in the iOS ecosystem. That’d actually be pretty interesting.

After some cursory Google searches to even figure out who I’d meet with about this, I discovered the “Havana Cuba iPhone/iPad Boot Camp” which just represents a ridiculous level of stars aligning. Really, without much effort I could complete the intensive Spanish classes I’ve looked into, and then book it straight to Cuba, to an event that is practically promising admittance for US citizens. Does it get much more perfect?

I shot the organizers an email about covering their event, and even offered to do a panel there on media relations. This will be incredible if it works out. How many Americans have the opportunity to go to Cuba? Amazing. I’ll even pay out of pocket to go, I don’t care.

I’m not sure what I did to be so lucky in life lately, but holy cow.