Colleen Thornton's Blog

Whenever I’m starting a new training course, which is frequent these days, I always feel a bit daunted. I’m given a stack of fresh new books wrapped in plastic, and as I crack their spines (love it!) and open them up I’m delighted and overwhelmed at the same time. I wonder, how the fuck is all this knowledge going to make its way into my brain, in a month?!

“Leen, Leen!” He yelled my name from across the street, this tiny, frail man dressed in worn, yellowed office clothes a couple sizes too big. His belt was pulled tightly around his thin waist. He was sweet-looking. Not desperate or hungry or tired, just simple and curious, asking for stamps. I saw him the first night I arrived, and he remembered me as “Leen” from Canada.

So I made it back to India, finally, as I always promised myself I would when I felt ready for it again. And I think I’ve learned that I’m never going to feel quite ready to face a fear. I will always have to push myself towards that oncoming train, into the dark shadows of that forest, or begrudgingly, to my desk to do those taxes. To whatever stimulus scares me.

I’ve met all kinds of people in all kinds of places. One of my favourite places in the world is Chiang Mai. My favourite because I don’t need a point of reference to know that I love it. I’m just free to love it. It doesn’t inspire me to travel to yet unexplored parts, it inspires me to stay. For its spirit but also for solid practical reasons.

Do you want to live and teach English internationally? Eric Haeg, Course Director at TEFL Campus Phuket* in Thailand, is a veteran in the industry and he’s shared some valuable infor-mation and insight about how to get started. ESL101 asked Eric some questions that are critical to anyone interested in teaching English abroad.

My first steps in Sri Lanka took me down some endearing little roads with colourful flowers and smiley people in quiet, tucked away places. They were the initial observations of a woman who spends most of her time wearing rose-coloured (or ignorance-laced) glasses. Let’s just say I like to look on the bright side of things.

First steps in Sri Lanka

“Why are you going to Sri Lanka?” I’ve been asked at least a dozen times in the past couple of weeks. I stutter as I try to find an answer that would provide at least a morsel of acceptance to the person asking me when all I really need to say is, “why the fuck not?”

I’ve experienced many relationships whilst travelling. I’ve created them, forged them, negotiated them, deconstructed them, unravelled them, fought them, dissected them, systematically destroyed them, sewn them back together, acquiesced to them. Relationships with food, nature, people, myself, money, security, fear, pain, loss, and grief–dear sweet grief. That’s what travelling does.

There’s an idea out there that long term travelers are constantly on holiday. I understand why it appears that way. One minute I’m in Vietnam motorbiking through the mountains and in the next moment I am in Thailand swimming in lagoons far too magical to be real and writing blogs about places I never knew existed a year ago.

Be careful what you ask for. Not just because you might get exactly what you want and few things are more heartbreaking than that, but you may not actually know what it is you’re asking for. That’s the heartbreak bit.

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