Existential Migration

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe.The host for this month is Sharon Couzens. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article to this blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he’ll let you know how you can start participating!

Read the rest of the entries over on Sharon’s blog: TEFL Tips

 

“The feeling of home arises from specific interactions with our surroundings that could potentially occur anywhere, at any time.” 

– Greg Madison

 

Travel is a sort of adolescence, an exploration of self and your relationship to the world. You test boundaries, explore preferences, and differentiate yourself from the place you come from. You build an individual understanding of the world, away from the constrictions and patterns of regular life.

Travel for long enough, and you begin to find the familiar in the foreign. You become accustomed to the rise and fall of languages you can’t understand, like listening to a new song over and over, such that when you return to a country where your native language is spoken, it is strange and somewhat intrusive to understand the conversations of strangers.

Greg Madison, a psychologist from Canada who lives in the UK, studies people who live abroad and coined the term Existential Migration. He defines this way of living as “a chosen attempt to express something fundamental about existence by leaving one’s homeland and becoming a foreigner”. Among this population, he says, there is a marked preference for the strange and foreign over familiar or conventional routines. It follows that a new definition of home is required for these existential migrants, one that lies in experiences and interactions rather than a specific geographical place. As Pico Iyer would say, a piece of soul rather than a piece of soil.

 

My Evolution of Home

The first time I returned home from travelling, it felt like putting on an old pair of jeans that had been crumpled and forgotten in the back of my closet. Familiar but ill-fitting. I brimmed with stories and experiences and the new love glow that comes with discovering a passion. But, at the same time, I felt oddly bereft and unmoored. There was a fissure now, between me and home.

The second time I came home, I knew that it would be temporary, and that allowed me to enjoy the time I had just for what it was. After two years abroad, my identity had become inexorably intertwined with being the foreigner. Even at home, I felt like a foreigner now. I embraced it, and wrapped myself in the feeling of being alien in my own country. And yet, I felt like I was between countries, like being between jobs or houses. I didn’t have much of a home anywhere, just a collection of memories, a weird Australian-Canadian pigeon English, and dreams that were sometimes in Spanish. In my heart, I knew that the change was irrevocable; I’d never be the same.

Reconnecting with childhood friends no longer left me unmoored, rather we delighted in the different paths that each of our lives were on. They listened to my travel stories, and I played with their kids and celebrated their career milestones. Our separateness was not an apartness, but a growing alongside, like the branches of a tree reaching into different parts of the sky.

In India, I explored the art of doing nothing, of sitting in silence and plumbing the space between breaths. And I discovered a new sense of home, stronger than any other, that was curled up within me and accessible any time, anywhere. I started to feel at home in sections of time and shades of emotion. I thought about all the places I’d been and discovered that I’ve been collecting homes all over the world: The caravan I lived in for five months in the outback, the friends I had for only two days in Turkey, the chai I shared with a rickshaw driver outside Varanasi, the sisterhood I found in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and the convent in India, my vagabond family at yoga school in Rishikesh, the weekend I spent with my mother in my birth country, Singapore. Far from homelessness, I live in abundance.

I’ve moved to the UK now. I’m sort of hanging up my travelling shoes: getting a job and a place to live and shelves upon which to put my three holey tee shirts; all that regular life stuff. While the transition has been challenging — arriving in Oxford from India was like returning to Earth from Mars — I’m thrilled to be putting down some roots, albeit shallow ones. It’s comforting to know that all I need to go home is a quiet space and the sound of my own breath.

The only constant in life is change. No matter which path you are on, your concept of home will change and evolve as you do. The older we get, the more experiences we have, the more we realize that home isn’t a concrete concept, it is something that we create in ourselves and in our interactions with the world.

Travel Advice: Get Ready to Get Lost

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he will let you know how you can start participating! 

Check out the rest of the posts here.

“Paradise is everywhere and every road, if one continues along it far enough, leads to it.”

– Henry Miller

Isla del Sol

To paraphrase Baz Luhrmann, advice is just someone else’s recycled experiences, a version of their own nostalgia. So take it all with a big ol’ grain of salt.

There’s nothing like real life. All of the research, blog and travel guide reading, and advice-taking won’t give you a true picture of what YOUR experience is going to be like. And nine times out of ten, this is a great thing. It’s going to be better than you imagined; you’re going to be blown away.

Dispense with expectations. Prepare the necessities, and then let the world show you how incredible it is. Like John Steinbeck says: “we do not take a trip; a trip takes us… The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

That said, here’s a smattering of my advice/nostalgia:

  • If you’re on the fence about whether or not to travel – do it. Just do it. I would always err on the side of travel. It’s an old adage for a reason: you’ll regret more the things you did not do.
  • Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Collect air miles, Teach English, go WWOOF-ing, Couch Surf, find a place on AirBnB, house sit, apply for working holiday visas, embrace shoestring travel. Saving up isn’t that hard, either. Write down your expenses and cut back on the superfluous stuff — take the bus, drink less, pack lunch, make your own coffee. In a few months, you’ll have enough money for that plane ticket.
  • Ignore the naysayers. The world is not that scary, it only looks that way on the news. Hone and follow your intuition, of course, but don’t let unnecessary fear or suspicion get in your way. The risks of travel aren’t really any different from the risks of being at home.
  • Don’t let the travel snobs get to you. There is no right or wrong way to travel, outside of basic ethics. Just do you.
  • Get lost, talk to everyone, eat all the food, take a day or two off if you need it: travel burn-out is a thing.
  • Cultivate solitude and new friendships, don’t take anything you don’t want to lose, pack light, take chances, hitch hike, play with the kids, live in the moment.
  • Acknowledge your privilege. Be grateful and pay it forward – donate time, money, blood, whatever.
  • Read books, watch movies, and listen to music made by people from the places you’re going to.
  • Take dance classes, language classes, cooking classes; soak up as much of the culture as you can. That way, you’ll have more to show off than pictures when you get home.

Of course, it’s not all a kaleidoscope of rainbows and epiphanies and ‘finding yourself’. You’ll have bad days, things will go wrong, you’ll get sick, things will piss you off, you’ll butcher the language, be embarrassed, make mistakes, get swindled, get homesick, lonely, afraid, bored, grumpy, too hot, too cold, too drunk, not drunk enough.

Pay attention to the bad days, though, the days that are a complete, unadulterated shit show. These will become your best stories.

The best parts are unplanned and unexpected. My favourite part of travel is not knowing where the day is going to take me. I could get lost in the twisted streets of La Paz and stumble into a parade where the adults are dressed as sheep and the children are dressed as lettuce. I could go for a foot massage in Siem Reap and wind up watching a side-splittingly hilarious drag show. I could hitch hike into the jungle and share a beer with on-strike zoo workers in Mexico. I could end up in a different country altogether.

Getting off the beaten track is easy when you’re lost. Lucky for me, my sense of direction is about as good as a mop’s. It has been the direct cause of a great many disasters adventures, and some of my best memories.

If we hadn’t taken the wrong path the day my coworker and I went up the Shitoushan mountain in Taiwan, we never would have spent the weekend in the Buddhist nunnery. I never would have met Jean, the nun who took us under her wing and showed us her world. I was having a bit of a personal crisis at the time, and she talked to me about impermanence and being true to myself.

She gave the perfect sort of advice: gentle and uplifting and vague enough to be applied to what I was going to do anyway.

Going for a walk with Jean
Going for a walk with Jean

Ten Reasons to Become an English Teacher

 

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he will let you know how you can start participating! 

Sarah Steinmetz at Sarah Goes to Korea is our host this month; here you can read the rest of the entries.

Here are ten perfectly decent reasons to become an English teacher:

1. You’ve always wanted your nickname to be “Teach”.

2. You’re an incorrigible grammar nerd. You have a personal vendetta against dangling modifiers and comma splices. And you want to make sure the next generation knows the difference between there, their, and they’re.

3. At the end of the day, you want to feel the satisfied exhaustion of really doing something, even if that something was refraining from bursting into tears in front of your students.

4. You care more about contributing to the world than about making buckets of money.

5. If you’re teaching little ones, because kids are funny — even if it’s more of a ‘tear your hair out’ or ‘only funny in retrospect’ kind of funny.

6. Exposure therapy for a fear of public speaking.

7. If you’re teaching English abroad, it’s the chance to live abroad, become immersed in another culture, and make yourself useful in the process.

8. You know that the best way to learn a subject, to really understand and gain proficiency in it, is to teach it. To teach is to keep on learning.

9. You’re addicted to that feeling you get when you see the light go on in a student’s face, that moment when a topic clicks for them and they really understand it; it’s like watching Isaac Newton getting bonked on the head.

10. You are good at the following: crowd control, mediation, soliloquies, stand-up comedy, being on your feet all day, spending hours of your free time marking and prepping lessons, tightrope walking between having a fun class and having a disciplined class, singing, dancing, acting, generally making a spectacle of yourself — bonus points if you’ve had actual clown training.

 ~ ~ ~

“The main reason I became a teacher is that I like being the first one to introduce kids to words and music and people and numbers and concepts and idea that they have never heard about or thought about before. I like being the first one to tell them about Long John Silver and negative numbers and Beethoven and alliteration and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and similes and right angles and Ebenezer Scrooge. . . Just think about what you know today. You read. You write. You work with numbers. You solve problems. We take all these things for granted. But of course you haven’t always read. You haven’t always known how to write. You weren’t born knowing how to subtract 199 from 600. Someone showed you. There was a moment when you moved from not knowing to knowing, from not understanding to understanding. That’s why I became a teacher.”

― Phillip Done, ’32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching’

 

 

Never Bring Cookies to a Kindergarten Class

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog around the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he will let you know how you can start participating!

Read the rest of the carnival entries here!

This month, Reach to Teach wants to know: What was your worst lesson?  What went wrong? How did you learn from it? I can’t remember a specific ‘worst lesson’ (although I do remember thinking “this is the worst” a few times), so instead I wrote a list of some of the mistakes I’ve made during my stint as a teacher.

1.  While playing a game with a group of Kindergarteners that involved a beach ball, I turned my back for one second and one kid beaned another kid in the back of the head so hard she went sprawling face first on the ground. Chaos erupted, and I had to call in my extremely hands-off co-teacher to help me break up the horde of tiny brawlers.

2. Brought cookies one day for the same group of Kindergarten kids, which they used as face paint. There’s a mistake you only ever need to make once.

3. One kid wrote a sentence on the white board calling the class clown fat and stupid. I wasn’t quick enough to chastise, and the rest of the students joined in, like a ravenous pack of hecklers at a stand up comedy show. Spent the rest of class time explaining why name calling isn’t okay, however grammatically correct the statement may be, and even if the target is laughing too.

4. Teaching them how to construct puns. There is no going back on that one.

5.  When asked a question about a tricky twist of grammar, I’ve forgotten the rule, and either made something up that sounded like it could be right or attributed it to the mysterious God of English Grammar, who is frequently illogical and insufferably pedantic — don’t even get him started on the Oxford Comma.

6. Shown my biases when teaching something like social studies, or discussing an author I don’t care for (looking at you, J.D. Salinger, you wild bore).

7. Ignored a kid who was waving his arm furiously to answer a question because he was annoying the ever-loving crap out of me.

8. Laughed when a student said something inappropriate.

Well, that’s just a handful of them… I could add to this list all day. There’s nothing like standing before a room full of scrutinizing students to rankle a person’s confidence and short circuit the brain. I remember watching my junior high teachers while my class was being obnoxious, which was more often than not, and thinking how awful being a teacher must be and how I could never or would never do it (ha!). I was a shy kid who was always trying to melt into the floor, and I hated when my teachers put me on the spot or seemed to be callous to my shyness. So now when I have a student like that, I feel an immediate kinship with them, and I try really hard not to repeat those sorts of mistakes  — although it’s tough and I see now where my teachers were coming from. (Answering a question will not kill you, Child, give me something to work with here! You think I want to give the same three know-it-alls the floor all of the time? No, I do not.)

Since I am a raving perfectionist, I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways I screwed up, didn’t explain a concept well enough, missed something important, and how I can improve. I’m constantly worried I’ll say something that will be deleterious or be damaging in some way, so I try to be really careful with what I say and how I say it. I fret over test scores. I look at my deficits and then research the shit out of the subject until I know it backwards, forwards and in Latin (ha, I wish).

The downside of my perfectionism is that when a class goes badly, I take it hard. Sometimes, willingly taking repeated hits to the ego feels like lunacy. But when it goes well, it’s tremendous, and it keeps me motivated to keep working, to always be improving. Because that’s what mistakes are for.

 

If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.

Tallulah Bankhead

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

Insidious Beasts

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he will let you know how you can start participating.

 

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

“[A person] must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”

 Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

Burn-out is an insidious beast with a thousand faces, simmering in your subconscious, waiting for a fissure in your armor, a crack through which to seep and spoil your plans and sully your intentions. It can happen any time, in any circumstances, and oftentimes without warning. You wake up one morning with a sluggishness caffeine can’t touch and the outside world is muted and far away; it’s as though you’re being pulled out to sea. Work is nearly intolerable, you feel like Atlas underneath a monstrous to-do list, the book you were engrossed in yesterday leaves you cold, the music on your playlist all sounds the same and it all sounds like apathy.

Even when you’re on the road, when you’re ostensibly free from drudgery and full of excitement, you’re not immune. Fatigue can creep up on you all the same. You become templed out, hosteled out, and churning through the same conversation with fellow travelers over and over again (where are from, how long have you been traveling for, wocka wocka) is turning you into a misanthrope. You begin to have visions of pulling a Thoreau and holing up in a cabin far, far way from small talk.

It’s happened. Your give-a-damn is broken. You are burnt out, frazzled, bored but too tired to do anything about it, succumbed to ennui like a disillusioned rock star. So what to do?

The terrible ennui beast comes calling for a reason. And actually, he’s not so terrible. He’s got your best interests at heart. He’s telling you to stop and re-calibrate. Just as we have sleep-wake cycles, we have an internal rhythm for work and play and creativity and being social and being alone and everything else that makes up our lives. It’s when you ignore your natural cycles and put too much energy into one aspect — whether it’s idling in a sandy paradise for too long or spending day after day after day herding small children in a class room — you become unbalanced, a wagon with only one working wheel.

The Worst, amiright?
The Worst, amiright?

My ennui beast surfaced again last month, on the heels of a particularly brutal and lingering Canadian winter. Just when I thought we’d seen the back of it, winter slammed into us again. I could almost hear the wind being sucked out of the city’s sails. The cold, while not nearly as awful as when we approached absolute zero in December, weighed me down like concrete shoes. I was listless before my eyes fully opened in the morning. And yet, I was secretly grateful that I had a good excuse to stay inside, in my sweats, in front of the television.

As usual, the beast invited his hateful friend, writer’s block, and I had a helluva time scrounging up the motivation to write this post. I’d sit down to write, and the blank page mocked me, so I’d spend the next few hours tumbling down the rabbit hole of internet inanity, feeling as though my brain was leaching out through my eyeballs. A wretched mix of apathy and restlessness had overtaken me, and I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I can’t even pinpoint when it started. It crept up on me slowly, like a bogeyman with social anxiety. As familiar as the beast and I are, it still took me a few days to realize what was going on. And a couple of days after that to do anything about it.

The antidote will, necessarily, be different for everybody. It’s whatever helps you hit the reset button, where you recharge your batteries, where you immerse yourself in things that inspire you and fill you up. For me, it starts with de-cluttering and cleaning (‘clean house, clean mind’, as someone once told me). The work of sifting through my stuff, keeping what serves me and chucking what doesn’t and finding a place for everything has an analogous effect on my brain. Sometimes the ennui beast is a signal that something in your life isn’t working for you anymore and you should get rid of it. Other times, it wants to introduce something new. And sometimes it just means you need to tidy up.

After cleaning house, I applied the same rigorous purging to my email and social media. I made fresh to-do lists and updated my calendar. I even filed my taxes. And then I switched off. I put my cell phone on silent and tucked it away, turned the computer off, crawled into bed with a book that read like candy, and I stayed there for the rest of the night. The following day I went for a drive, to nowhere in particular, just to listen to a good program on the radio and to feel the road thrumming underneath me. And the day after that I made myself start writing again.

If I were a wise person, I would carve out time like this every week, or even every day, to sit with the beast that’s not really a beast. Because he’s actually my inner guide, my personal metronome, who, if I’ll listen, tells me when to work and when to play, when to be social and when to be alone, when to create and when to percolate.

 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

The Secret No One Tells You

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Abroad Blog Carnival , a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. The host for this month is ‘Reach To Teach’, here you can find other similar articles. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article to this blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he’ll let you know how you can start participating!

 

Read the rest of the myths here.

 

“… we react alike to our tribulations; frayed and bitter at the time, proud afterward. Nothing is better for the self-esteem than survival…”

 – Martha Gellhorn

 

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway

Depending on who you ask, and what sort of answer you’re looking for, travel is either something to be afraid of, or it isn’t. For every assertion of, “I could never do that”, there is an equally vehement counter: “Oh but you could; it’s actually really easy.”

The travelers with the greatest aura of romance surrounding them have one thing in common: they appear to be fearless. The mountaineers that make the rest of us look like quivering piles of jello, the eccentric adventurers who bicycle or walk or hitchhike or snowmobile over vast swaths of land, the journalists who work in war zones — all of these people leave us in varying states of awe and incredulity and wanderlust and “I can’t even…”

Even as a run-of-the-mill traveler, I am called courageous every now and again. Which, of course, I appreciate (oops, I misspelled “can’t get enough of”). But it’s difficult to hold on to any courageous feelings when your stomach is roiling and your pulse is crashing in your ears like cymbals in a trash compactor and you’re kinda sorta wishing you’d sprung for the cancellation insurance. (Just kidding. You always get the cancellation insurance.)

And that’s the thing: It’s a fallacy to think that travel and fear are mutually exclusive.

Travel is scary.

*

I can still taste the moment I freaked out on the plane on the way to South America. It wasn’t really a moment; it was a lot of moments, heavy and infinite moments. It was bone shaking and wretched. My plane had just taken off from the San Salvador airport. It was the last leg of a journey that would spit me out in Peru with only a backpack, a small and self-conscious repertoire of Spanish words, and time. It was the protracted, empty stretch of time ahead of me that scared me the most (my travel planning rarely amounts to more than ‘buy a plane ticket and see what happens’). I’d spent months working and saving and highlighting passages in my guidebook, but it was all ephemeral, a daydream I’d wrapped myself in. It was only when I could count the hours left until I arrived in Lima on one hand, that it became real. It struck me, right in the sternum, that once I got off of the plane, I’d be in a strange place, and I’d be all alone, and everything was up to me. And I panicked, like a jack rabbit who hears the roar of an engine and the rumble of tires on asphalt and starts racing all over the road, and invariably winds up right in front of the thing that it was trying to run from.

The only salve for this acute marrow-terror was the knowledge that I wasn’t going to be completely alone, at least not at first. I had a friend in Lima, which was why I flew there in the first place, and I was going to stay with him and his girlfriend for a few days. I hung on to that, and decided that I could freak out for real once I left them and was truly on my own. When that time came and I had an onward bus ticket from Lima, I figured, well I have the bus sorted out and I have a hostel room booked, so I’ll just enjoy the view from the window of the bus, and I’ll freak out properly once I get to Cuzco. And then when I got there, I met a few people in the hostel bar and I wasn’t really alone anymore; more and more reasons to put it off accumulated. Before I knew it, I was being tossed down the icy rapids of the Apurimac river in a rubber dingy with a bunch of people I’d just met, and I’d forgotten to have my panic attack. Procrastination is underrated.

 

“It is important in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong; to measure yourself at least once.”

– Into the Wild

It’s good to be scared of something, and then do it anyway. It’s confronting and dealing with the dark parts of life, and of ourselves, that allows us to truly flourish. If you want to sharpen your intuition, you need something to grind it against. Besides, a comfort zone is only a place to which you’ve grown accustomed, not some objective paragon of safety. Bad things are going to happen to you, regardless of your location in the world; that’s just a part of living. It’s like sex. There is no such thing as one hundred per cent safe sex, only safer sex. You can do everything right and still have something go wrong. The key is to appreciate that nothing worth doing is risk free.

*

Travel is scary because it’s like Schrödinger’s cat — the only way to know what’s inside the box is to open it. And it’s dangerous because you’ll never be the same afterward.

 

 “You will walk differently alone, dear, through a thicker atmosphere, forcing your way through the shadows of chairs, through the dripping smoke of the funnels. You will feel your own reflection sliding along the eyes of those who look at you. You are no longer insulated; but I suppose you must touch life in order to spring from it.”

 

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

September Reach to Teach Blog Carnival

This is the September edition of the Reach to TeachTeach Abroad Blog Carnival. It’s a monthly series that provides helpful tips to ESL teachers around the globe. If you would like to get involved in next month’s carnival, please get in touch with Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com

This month, I’ve been given the opportunity to host and I’ve asked this group of talented bloggers to write about travel companions, whether it’s someone they’ve taken from home or met along the way, and what made sharing the road with them so fantastic.

This topic is close to my heart right now, as I’ve just finished a week long trek in Central Asia with an incredible group of women. It was a challenging week, but they made it awesome.

 

Please enjoy these road-relationship stories from the wonderful Reach to Teach bloggers:

Emma Dolan — My Travel Companion

I’m Emma, 29, from Manchester in the UK. I’m married and have a mini dachshund called Eric (after Eric Cantona). I have been teaching English abroad since I was 23. I have worked in a hagwon in Guri Si, Gyeonggi do, an English school in Arta, Greece, an international summer camp in Ascot, Uk and am now working with EPIK in Korea for 2 elementary schools. I have a CELTA grade B and I’m over halfway through a long distance MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics from the University of Leicester, UK. I plan to stay in Korea until summer 2015 before heading back to Manchester. I love traveling and have been to over 40 countries. I am currently located in Daejeon, South Korea.

In this entry I write about my constant travel companion that is my husband who I’ve been traveling and working abroad with for several years.

Rebecca Thering – Be Yourself Like Ida was Herself

I’m a Wisconsin native who has just finished a year teaching English at a rural elementary school in South Korea.  My Spanish skills weren’t quite as useful there as they were when I lived in Madrid, which is where my Spanish nickname Rebe (Ray-bay) stuck. I have an itch to travel, craft, learn, and read – and to make the world a better place!

I don’t know her last name, if she has any siblings, nor where she is today, but my memories of Ida – a Danish girl I met three years ago in a small town in southern Spain – are the clearest of any person I’ve met along the road. Although her physical appearance would leave an impression, between the tattooed arms, ear lobe gauges, and a buzz cut just in the front quarter of her hair, it’s not her appearance that I remember distinctly, but rather her aura.

Dean Barnes – Travel Companions

My name is Dean, I have been traveling for around 4 years now with a small stint back in my home country. I’m from the UK and I began my teaching career on the island of Bali. I then made the move to Taiwan where I currently reside. Here I have the joy to fulfill my passion for writing by providing ESL/travel related articles to the Reach To Teach website.

My travel companion helped make my experience what it was. She is my best friend and we went to teach in both Bali and Taiwan together. We laughed, we cried, we almost died, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. This is an ode to my travel buddy, Hannah.

Mary Ellen – Chemi Megobari (My Friend)

Mary Ellen is flying off to London to attend graduate school and learn how to make a British cup of tea. She spent her past year in New Orleans, where she danced in the streets, ogled local art and ate crawfish. She loves the South, weird fiction and spicy food.

My entry is an ode to one of the best travel buddies I’ve ever had, and the shenanigans we found ourselves in.

Maggie Attoe — Travel Companions

My name is Maggie, originally from Wisconsin but LOVE to travel! Have been around the world, and want to tell you about my stories, and offer any travel advice that I can!

Meeting people along the way can pose a challenge but here is a short exert on how I came about some friends, and how sometimes family is the perfect companion to travel as well!

Liane Nichols — Favourite Travel Partner

Liane is a high school Geography teacher in Texas who spent two years traveling the world teaching English.  She has lived in Thailand, Georgia, and the Czech Republic.  She attended Texas State University to major in International Studies and Geography.  
My favorite travel partner is a crazy Aussie who experienced instant karma, saved me from a terrible beverage, and showed me so many new places I never considered travelling before.