Teacher Blogs

Search by country

“The world begins where the road ends”: Realizations after a year abroad

One of the first things I remember about planning to travel the world before I left to do so many years ago was mentally listing all of the things I was afraid of. They were numerous. Would drug smugglers hide illegal stuff in my backpack at the airport unbeknownst to me? Would hand-sized spiders eat me in my sleep? Would I be able to get by without knowing the local language?

Teachers don’t make a lot of money, especially early childhood teachers who, arguably, have a an important job towards creating a harmonious society.

Self-transparency or self-disgrace? When is exposing our vulnerability just too much?

Recently, I decided that a great way to spend each birthday is to celebrate someone I aspire to be like. Someone with magic good-person dust, willing to sprinkle it into my needy, greedy palms.

Where am I? I asked myself this a few hundred times a day as I pondered all the things I would have been doing had I not rolled up on this remote tropical island. I had fallen off the map, or it felt that way. I was in a place were clocks don’t matter because the time of day falls into two categories: before sunset and after sunset.

Are Western women easy? The answer depends on who you ask. I am a single white female (SWF) travelling in Indonesia, a country that has conservative values regarding women, so my Western perspective is biased. This musing may provoke a bit of controversy but isn’t that the best kind of reading? It’s certainly the best kind of writing.

James is an awesome guy. I met him in Wakai, one of a small group of remote islands in North Sulawesi, Indonesia called the Togian Islands. I was waiting for a boat to a smaller, even remoter island than Wakai. Turns out James was going to the same place. I asked him where he was from and he replied, “Jersey.” Weird, he didn’t sound American.

Rudyard Kipling wrote, “the first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” No kidding. I’ve spent a great deal of time in South East Asia. My senses have been abused beyond what I thought possible, to the point where the sight of some things don’t affect me like they once did.

I’ve avoided writing about this for some time because I fear it exposes my ineptness as a world traveller and an aspiring good person who is clouded by materialism. I am clumsy-minded, prone to inner torment and attached insensibly to things that have very little value in my goal towards being a more spiritual person. But here goes…

Pages

Subscribe to ESL101 Teacher Blogs