Today we are lucky to have a guest blogger post from Kathryn. You can follow her on Instagram!
Eager to travel, see new parts of the world, and make amazing memories but just don’t have the patients to wait for weeks or months or years to save for an extended trip abroad? This was my life in a nutshell. As a teacher in the States, I wasn’t exactly saving large lump sums. I also had a bad habit of needing to travel the instant I was able to. In came the best idea I could come up with at the time (and I still stand by it now): why work and save in America when I could work and save somewhere new. Luckily, I had a teaching certificate and a couple years of experience under my belt but even without that the number of teaching jobs I found abroad for people with TOEFELs or CELTAs or even just a university degree were incredible. Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa all were looking for teachers and I just happened to be one.
That was it. I was decided. I applied in January, was hired in February, and after finishing out the school year and taking two last previously scheduled holidays (come on, I couldn’t resist), I was out of there and on my way to some city in some part of China. And this was all on a whim and my desperate need to leave that moment. My first city in China wasn’t the most glamorous and perhaps I should have put more research into it, but I was getting paid to live in a new country and have some of the biggest culture shock of my life. Not only was I getting paid, I was getting paid pretty decently especially compared to the cost of living. Plus, the school paid for my apartment and my plane ticket there and back at the end of my contract! I don’t think I could have spent all my paycheck even if I tried (maybe a bit of exaggeration, but you get gist of it). Saving to travel now just happened naturally. Not to mention, some amazing cities and all of Southeast Asia was now at my doorstep. The only thing to do now was decide what new country I was visiting first.
Flash forward and I’m on my second year in China. I’ve been to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and numerous places in China. That’s not where it’s ending though. I’m looking forward to some European travel this summer (Spain, Italy, France, England, and Hungry) this summer ending with a month in Vietnam on my way back to China. I have also managed to save enough for a year long trip around Australia, New Zealand, South America, and (if the money stretches that far) Central America. So one more year in China and it’s time to take a year off and rack up some serious mileage on my backpack.
The best part of all of this? I’m getting the year long trip I’ve always wanted and while saving up for it I got to meet some amazing new people (my boyfriend included), see amazing new places, and make amazing new memories. Not to mention, I have gotten to do a job I love, teach some of the cutest kids in the world, and grow as a teacher in ways I never could of if I had just stayed at home.
I’ve never been patient and I never will be but it’s great to know that with travel, you don’t always have wait. You just have to be willing to get out there and make it happen in whatever way possible. Even if it is just sending your resume to a million teaching recruit sites and taking the first job that comes your way on the other side of the world.