“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~ Miriam Beard
Counting the days till my departure and connecting with friends and family, I’m grateful for the support of so many. I’ve shared, previously in my writing, that living and working round the world, learning of other people’s every-day lives, has been a long-standing dream of mine. My challenge always seemed to be duty to family and financial constraints. Beautifully it was the encouraging words from my youngest daughter that helped to thrust me forward and on my way in this journey I’m embarking on.
I’d lost my job this Spring. I had tried a new industry that, after great consideration, seemed like a good choice for my skills and also for my desire to learn new things. I also really liked the seemingly high ethics of the business owner as they were much more in line with mine than the manager in my previous company. Turned out the company and I weren’t the best fit. And so I found myself asking the question, what do I want to do, really?
As I sat at my laptop, throwing out the ‘wide net’ looking for my next position (and truly I applied to an extremely high number of jobs), I was going through all the right motions in seeking my next job. I wasn’t particularly inspired or motivated, and my interest in living and working round the world kept popping into my thoughts. It was my daughter that told me to go… just do it, mom… look at different roles and companies in other countries, and just damn it DO IT. Just do it, mom. You can be anywhere while you look for work; where do you really want to be? My daughter who knows me well, who is extremely important in my life, who lives fully every day, encouraged me to live my dream. Wow, a beautiful role reversal, for which I am proud and grateful for and many levels.
And so, I began to broaden my search, and to nudge people for ideas and for information on how they began to work abroad. I began to consider moving to another place to find inspiration for my writing and my job search. I began to allow myself what seemed unthinkable for a long while, and that is to even consider living my dream. I began to change the way I thought of work, to change the way I saw myself in the world, to change my way of being and thinking… I took the advice and I began to just do it!
In my changed process, I shared my experience with friends and passing people. Some chided me with the usual rigid expectations of someone of my age, or with the long-held ideals of traditional work and retirement, etc., of a woman at my age. There were the raised eyebrows and the awkward silences as they oft pondered whether I was loosing my mind and good judgement, wondering if I’d gone mad! I listened, weighed their thoughts and suggestions, and realized their words mirrored a limited view or their personal fears, possibly their lack of dreaming about living and life. I recognized more that I didn’t want to be that, and that I did want to give life a huge try… so, I did more reading and research, and life reminded me that I’m not all that unique and that others, many others, have gone down this road before. While researching living my dream, and posting and interviewing for work, low and behold life conspired with me and I began to receive recruiting inquiries for working abroad!
First though, I want to share with you that I learned a great deal in this time. It was a time of discovery about myself and what I really wanted to do, and with the realization that I wasn’t the first to embark on living a dream, and specifically of living and working abroad. I found wonderful sites for traveling and working like Rolf Potts Vagabonding , which has a whole host of ideas on leaving work and traveling. to working for room and board and volunteering for room and board, to house sitting internationally. There were many sites about traveling differently like by cargo ship or freighter, and inexpensively on small, regional airlines. All of the reading and research just planted seeds of great energy and increased my interest in following my dream. It seemed that as I found one site there were references to another and another, and pretty soon my bookmark file was full of great resources.
Importantly, I learned I also wanted to work while I traveled; I want to live the everyday in community with people in different places. I also need to earn a living and I want to do something meaningful, to build bridges between people, and also to remove barriers between people and cultures. I began to delve into discovering what I could about teaching English round the world. I found Dave’s ESL Cafe that lead me to several forums and job boards for teaching round the world. I began to learn about requirements for teaching, such as certificates. I broaden my search further and looked through my professional contacts for people with backgrounds in teaching English abroad. I gathered experiential information from these people, asked for recommends about companies and countries and for referrals, and low and behold, the recruiting for me to teach began to come to me. I met and chose to work with an American in China, Christopher Ruberio with ELS Suite, and the process took off from there!
All this time, these last several months, I’ve shared my process and thoughts, my fears and my dream, along the way. Many more people, friends and family, strangers even, were loud in their support and encouragement. Nearly all of these people used words of affirmation and encouragement siting incredible personal growth and gaining an understanding of the broader world and myself by living and working and traveling the world. Like my beautiful daughter who is an inspiration with her courageous appetite for living, all these people encouraged me to go for it — to live my dream.
As I move closer to my departure, anticipating my airport experience at the international terminal, boarding my plane, and landing in a new world of which I know virtually nothing, I am feeling deeply grateful for the louder voices of support and encouragement that boosted me forward these last several months.
To all of those people who listened, understood my dream, and could visualize me living and working round the world…
To those that vocalized beautiful predictions and ideas of not just how I would grow as an individual, but also how I will impact others with my experiences and insights…
To those that have hugged me with their arms, and their words, sending me forth with enthusiasm, hopefulness, a belief in living fully and living dreams, and plain old’ encouragement…
To two of the most important people in my world, Ellie and Maddie, who by their incredible examples live their dreams, live life on their terms, and are happy and healthy, too…
Thank you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all you are to me and for your support and love. I am deeply grateful.
… Eight days and counting.