Teaching Traveling: Want concrete examples of how to find a teaching job abroad that helps you travel the world? Read this interview with Elaine Thatcher, the “Runaway Brit!”
Elaine, tell us about your background.
Elaine: I’m from the UK and I have been teaching since I qualified in 2002. When I was studying for my PGCE I had no idea that I would end up teaching in Japan, Vietnam, and Sweden during my career. I teach High school English so term time is very busy and I work a lot of hours, but the holidays are definitely worth it if you like to travel. When I worked in the UK I visited China, India, Tunisia and Greece in the holidays but it was teaching internationally that really allowed me to see the world.
I started a teaching post at an International school in Vietnam in 2007 and spent the next three years travelling around South East Asia, an area of the world I had long wanted to explore. What’s more, I had the money to travel exactly the way I wanted to. Even though I remained a strict budget traveller, it was nice not having to worry about running out of money.
TT: Brilliant! Tell us more about your travels.
E: After teaching in Stockholm for a year, I decided to take a year out to travel around South America. This was pretty exciting for me as, up until then, I had only travelled during school holidays, meaning the longest trip I had taken was 7 weeks in India. This time it was just me, my boyfriend, our backpacks, and no fixed itinerary.
Our trip was amazing: we visited Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Panama and New York. Unfortunately, without money coming in, I started to panic about decreasing funds. So we went to Tenerife in the Canary Islands to find work! We’ve been here for three months now while we plan our next move. This year has allowed me to reflect on the way I like to travel; although I have enjoyed the freedom of unlimited travel, I like the stability that teaching gives me. There are not many careers that give you 15 weeks to travel!