Teaching English: Making My Dream to Travel the World a Reality

My last whole day in Korea 003Since 2009, I’ve lived in 3 countries abroad and visited several others. The countries I’ve lived in have been as diverse in culture as ice cream and pickles. Some people have found this to be very courageous, and some wonder how I was able to do this. It’s been my dream since I graduated high school to travel the world. Early in 2009, at the suggestion of an acquaintance, I decided to pursue a career that would allow me to take the first step to make my dream a reality. I would become an English as a foreign/second language (EFL/ESL) teacher.

Because of that decision, I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places in the world. By choosing to work as an EFL/ESL teacher, I’ve been able to utilize my funds and benefits offered by some of my teaching gigs to afford my travels. Before deciding to get certified to teach ESL/EFL, I had been a teacher in the U.S. public school system for several years, so I already had a little teaching experience, although I’ve known teachers who’ve taught English abroad who had no experience before teaching ESL/EFL and many places do not require teachers to have any.

The first country I taught in abroad was South Korea. Having some money saved, I was able to purchase my flight ticket there which the school reimbursed me for within a few weeks of my arrival. The cost of living there was quite low, and my apartment was paid for by my school. So, I was able to save quite a bit of my salary. The school paid for my flight ticket back home, and I received a bonus for completing my contract. So, I had money to take back with me.

My second country to teach in abroad was Saudi Arabia. The company paid for my flight ticket there and housing. Because I still had previous savings and was able to save a large portion of my salary there, I was able to travel to a few countries during vacations. I had enough money saved to pay for my return flight home since I left a little earlier than planned losing out on the free flight home.

My third country to teach in abroad was Peru. I still had some savings left before I went. So, I was able to buy a round-trip flight ticket there, as most schools in Latin American countries do not offer to pay or reimburse airfare. This would be a shorter stay and probably a good idea because there really wasn’t an opportunity for me to save, and I had to spend most of my savings to make up for what my wages didn’t cover. To experience Latin America was great, but the ability to save wasn’t the greatest.

So, that’s how I’ve been able to afford traveling the world through my career as an ESL/EFL teacher. I haven’t finished traveling, though. There are yet more continents and countries that I’d like to traverse before I can feel that I’ve truly accomplished my dream of traveling the world to the full. So far, my vehicle to do so has been teaching English, but who knows? Maybe I’ll continue on as an ESL/EFL teacher, or at some point, I’ll change and do it some other way. I invite you to sign-up to follow me to see what happens. Cheers! 🙂

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If you’re considering teaching English abroad and want a few tips, you can check out my page “Teaching Abroad Tips” or an article I wrote on Hubpages titled “Traveling the World Via Teaching English”.

Categories: dreams, English, goals, Inspiration, Motivation, Teaching, Teaching EFL/ESL experience, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Bugging Out: “Where in the World is Butterfly Jewel?”

bugging out by Butterfly Jewel

You know, I was so bugging out by the abundance of Voltswagen Beetles (or Bugs) in this country. I just had to have my picture taken next to one before I left. Even though this country stopped its assembly of them in 1987, you would think they are still being produced by the sheer number of them you see there. Back home in the U.S., it’s rare to see one of these. So you can imagine how in awe I was to see so many, in almost every color you can imagine.

Aside from the popularity of the Voltswagen Bug, this country also loves 80’s rock, almost as if it’s what’s new today. You can almost bet that when you enter a taxi, the driver will tune into a station playing some 80s rock, especially if you speak English. One of it’s traditional entrees is guinea pig (or cuy) which I was told is pretty expensive. I got mixed reviews from natives there, some who liked it a lot and some who were totally adverse to the thought of eating it. I never tried it, so I can’t really tell you about it myself. I did try a few other traditional cuisines like adobo and ceviche. However, though this wasn’t Mexico, my favorite prepared food to eat was the Mexican soft taco which you could get with chicken, pork, beef or the mixto (a mix of all three). Oh, my goodness! There was a small vendor near me that had made the absolute best chicken tacos! Boy, do  I ever wish I had some now!

A couple other facts about this country include Spanish being its native language and it also shares the Andes Mountain range with several other countries. Last but not least, it has the city known as “The White City” and has around 300 days of pure rain-free sunshine a year.

So, do you think you know which country Butterfly Jewel experienced all this in? Go ahead and leave your guess in the comments, and I’ll let you know if you got it right. 🙂

Categories: Entertainment, Food, tourist spot, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Aint No Mountain High Enough: “Where in the World is Butterfly Jewel?”

Untitled by Butterfly Jewel

Still hoping to fulfill my dream of traveling to seven of the world’s continents, during my touchdown on this particular continent, I hopped the border to this beautiful country where I got a little taste of life near the beach and life in the mountains. Here you won’t really find air-conditioners or central heating units because the weather doesn’t get too extreme, well at least not to the people of the region. However, I was cold!!! Then again, I’m not the best person to look to when it comes to temperature because I don’t like to get cold at all, and usually anything under 75 degrees Fahrenheit is kind of chilly to me.

Not many foreign currencies have much value there. So make sure you have lots of money to spare when you go because the exchange rates, even for the dollar, are the lowest I’ve experienced out of all the countries I’ve traveled to so far, at least in the city where I chose to exchange my money. This country also shares its well-known mountain range with seven other countries. Plus, it is one of its continent’s most stable and prosperous countries.

So, where in the world do you think Butterfly Jewel is? Go ahead and share the country you think this is. I’ll be checking the comments to see who gets it right! So make sure to come back and see if you do :-).

Categories: dreams, goals, hopes, tourist spot, Travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | 19 Comments

MY NEW BOOK!!! “A Very Thankful Story”

In 2009, I left the U.S. for the first time ever to teach English in Korea. Little did I know that out of that experience I would write a simple story for my students which has now become my very first published children’s book titled, “A Very Thankful Story”. Who knew that my dream to travel the world would lead to me fulfilling another dream of publishing a children’s book? Well, I have, and I invite you to check it out at www.lulu.com/spotlight/TaiwandaBason.

Anything is possible!

Categories: dreams, English, Entertainment, Inspirational, language, learn, Motivational, South Korea, Students, Teaching EFL/ESL experience, Travel, U.S., Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

NEW BLOG!!! Classroom Chit Chat

I’m so excited about a new project that I have started! I have created a blog in which students and others around the world can share, learn and talk about things that are happening in our world. Classroom Chit Chat is the name of the blog, and you can check it out now to see what it’s all about. Our very first chit chat post was filmed in Arequipa, Peru and features Classroom Chit Chat’s very first facilitators, my English students, who initiate the very first topic for discussion, traffic in Arequipa. So, I invite you to head over to check it out. It’s not just news but real people in real places sharing what’s real to them! Be our guest and see what’s going on in our world, the largest classroom ever!

You can find us at http://www.classroomchitchat.wordpress.com

or

 click here.

Categories: English, learn, Students, Teaching, Teaching EFL/ESL experience, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

American Freedoms Taken for Granted: “The Right to (or Not to) Vote”

OUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS - NARA - 516307

OUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS – NARA – 516307 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the U.S.A., we have so many freedoms to choose as we please in our daily lives that we may sometimes take our freedom of choice for granted until, that is, it is encroached upon. Voting is one of those privileges. While it is certainly within each of our rights as American citizens to choose not to vote, we may not realize what an opportunity we have. Just look at all of the nations who have within the past few years had internal battles with their own people crying out (and some even risking their lives) for the right to vote and have fair elections to choose their leaders, not saying that every election is fair though that’s what the people want. Though we may not always feel that our voices are heard or like our leaders really represent us, at least we have a political process which keeps us from having dictators or leaders who become leaders by default just because they are heirs to their countries’ late leaders.

I certainly understand that the whole election process can be frustrating at times, and so can government as well. Believe me, after traveling to different countries and meeting people in those countries and learning about their systems and government from the people, there are some things that even I believe our government would benefit from by looking at some of the things they do for their people. At the same time, seeing how things are done in some other countries, I also realize how truly blessed we are as Americans. America has its drawbacks, just like any and every other country in the world, but beyond any drawbacks, as I have gotten to experience what it’s like in several other countries, I can say today that I am blessed to have been born in America and to be an American.

Through my international travels, I have learned that in the U.S.A. we have been afforded so many freedoms which we may take for granted not realizing that there are so many around the world who do not have those same freedoms. Our right to vote or not to vote is one of those freedoms that we perhaps take for granted. Although, I know that this does not apply to everyone, especially those who remember a time when people like them were not afforded the right to vote because of things like skin color or gender. Well, nowadays, many people because of frustration and many other reasons choose no to vote, and it is within their rights to vote or not vote if they please without any repercussions.

However, I wonder, if there were repercussions to not voting, would those who choose not to vote still choose not to vote? Do people who choose not to vote take the freedom to vote for granted? Well, in my travels, I have found that some people have to pay a price for choosing not to vote. Our same freedom to choose not to vote is not a freedom to the people of Peru. In fact, every citizen of Peru is expected to vote, and anyone who does not vote must pay a hefty fine (no small change either) for not doing so. Imagine that! Something so many of us take for granted in America, someone else has to pay a price for in Peru if they take it for granted by not exercising the same right.

Now, I know our country, our government and our leaders are not perfect. Neither are any of us. However, let’s not take for granted our freedom of our right to vote. Though it may feel like our voices may not be heard, let them be counted. Someone somewhere else wishes they had your freedom. Never let your freedom be taken for granted. What you take for granted can be lost, and sometimes you don’t really understand what you had until it’s gone… Please, VOTE and be counted!!!

What are your thoughts on the freedom to choose to vote or not vote in the U.S.A.? If you’re from another country, I invite you to share about voting or what takes place in your country concerning government and freedoms of the people.

Categories: Freedom, Rights, Travel, U.S., Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“A Beautiful Night”: Jerusalem’s Old City (Jerusalem, Israel)

While on my vacation in Israel, I took a few walks in the city of Jerusalem at night. This was one particular night in which I captured a beautiful picture of a view of the Old City in Jerusalem from a distance. “What a beautiful sight”, I thought with the shining light of a most beautiful full moon hovering above one of the most beloved places on earth for Christians, Jews and Muslims, alike. Don’t you agree?

Categories: Israel, Jerusalem, tourist spot, Travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Welcome Difference: “A Beautiful Friend, A Beautiful Family” (Jericho, Palestine: Israel)

I truly believe that we are more alike than we are different. Why should we let our differences prevent us from showing love or kindness to others who are different from ourselves? Well, I believe that we can acknowledge that we are different while welcoming each other as we are.

While in Israel, I met a very kind and lively young woman who worked at a restaurant that I ate at while on tour in Jericho. Besides the fact that she was Muslim and I was Christian, we talked that day and found out that we had so much in common, more than our difference in faith. Well, she invited me to visit her home while I was there, and I gladly accepted the invitation. So, before I left Israel, I called her up to make plans to visit her and her family.

I went on the third day of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan which is considered a time for spiritual purification for Muslims. During Eid al-Fitr, families come together and celebrate the end of the fasting period of Ramadan with lots of traditional dishes and delicacies and fun.

Though I was Christian, I was welcomed as if I was part of the family. Some of the members of my friend’s family even thought I looked like family and that I could be Palestinian. I had a great time with some great food. We visited the center of town where they were heavily celebrating in the main center and to the park for some entertainment for the children. Lol…I even rode in the bumper cars. My friend’s sister and family insisted that I spend the night with them. So, I did.

The next morning, we had breakfast together and chatted. The whole time I was with them, they were just so welcoming and took care of me very well. We shared a truly memorable experience that I will carry with me for years to come. Though our faiths were different, the love that we are commanded to show others brought us together in a welcoming way.

“Love God, Love People”

 

Categories: God, Inspirational, Israel, Love, Spiritual, Teaching EFL/ESL experience, tourist spot, Travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“From Learning Pool to Chilling By the Pool” (Saudi Arabia)

So, from learning pool as a past-time while in Saudi, I would occasionally hangout by the pool outside of the pool house. There wasn’t much to do on our small compound, but every now and again, I’d just walk over to the pool house just to get out of the villa…and lol…take pictures as you can see which was one of the favorite things for the compound office staff to do. I can still hear them say, “Make picture”.

Categories: KSA, Saudi Arabia, Teaching EFL/ESL experience, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 19 Comments

Passing the Time: “Learning Pool” (Saudi Arabia)

In Saudi Arabia, I would spend some of my afternoons and evenings at our compound’s pool house. There, we had a pool table, lounge (with projector to watch movies from your computer on the big screen or the wall, actually) and sauna. Sometimes, I would just go there just to get out of the villa for a change. Other times, I’d go to use the Internet or maybe watch something.

Well, some of the guys would play pool and invite me to play. I didn’t really know how, but they showed me how and gave me some on the spot mini-lessons and pointers. So, whenever I had some spare time which there seemed to be a lot of in Saudi, I would go over and practice a little pool. I think I actually got a little good at it after only playing about a couple of months but definitely wasn’t a pro or anything like that. Though, someone once likened me to the Tiger Woods of pool. Wait a minute. Maybe that was just me 🙂 . However, I did win a few games played with some of the pros on the compound which not only surprised me but them too sometimes because they weren’t just trying let me win. So, maybe I do have a bright future in pool after all…lol. So, I have golf from Korea and now pool from Saudi. Hmm…maybe I should seriously include them in my back up plans. Don’t you think?

So, in your traveling, what things have you learned that have helped you pass the time?

Categories: Entertainment, KSA, learn, Saudi Arabia, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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