TeachingTraveling.com: Great to meet you, Myscha! Please tell us a bit about your background.
Myscha: I graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1990, and taught overseas for several years before launching The Lesson Machine, a heritage curriculum subscription site with a free teacher resource blog. I also write on a freelance basis for several clients, run a travel web site and co-author a weekly syndicated travel column focusing on affordable travel strategies. My husband and I both love to travel, so it’s been a fun hobby to enjoy together as a couple.
TT: Awesome! What was your most recent travel adventure?
M: After my husband retired from the military in December of 2006, we took six months to travel around the world. We decided traveling for longer stretches of time was a better way to see a country, so last fall we took a month and went to Ecuador. We see amazing things whenever we travel, but these two trips were particularly fulfilling.
TT: How did you create this travel opportunity, and how did you fund it?
M: We put in the research time, purchased the guide books and planned the trip ourselves, including ticket purchases, to save money and be able to stay on the road longer. To pay for it, we used our retirement pension, investment dividends and a little bit of savings.
TT: Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly interesting or funny.
M: Well, figuring out how to pee on a C-130 military aircraft with no toilet was pretty interesting. Not exactly a luxury flight, but it did get us to Bangkok from Okinawa for free.
TT: Ha! So how have your travels impacted you in your current career in education and website administration?
M: My travels were really were the inspiration for my online curriculum project. Seeing how underrepresented people in other parts of the world were (and still are) made me want to develop the materials that larger companies weren’t bothering to.
TT: And we’re so glad you are. How have your travels impacted you as a person?
M: I think travel keeps me more in touch with the reality of how things are in other parts of the world. It also provides me with enough inspiration to forgo frivolous purchases in order to save up for our next extended trip.
TT: What advice do you have for other teachers who are dreaming of travel?
M: Minimalism and organization. I know that may seem oversimplified, but minimalism really is its own form of freedom. Keeping your life pared down makes it easier to pick up and try the next location without spending months in advance with the downsizing efforts. Organization, particularly of systems and categories of belongings you use frequently, helps you land on your feet at your next location.
This applies to the classroom environment as well, and here are a few articles I’ve written that I hope teachers will find useful:
Classroom Management Strategies for Full-Class Participation
Teaching Tools for Floating Educators (How to Function Without a Classroom)
Seven Pieces of Equipment for a Frugal PE Program
Inexpensive Classroom Supplies for Teachers on a Budget
As far as additional advice to those hoping to hit the international teaching circuit for the first time, I can’t say this strongly enough: JUST DO IT. Once you take your first plunge into expat living, you’ll honestly wonder why you didn’t do it earlier, and what on Earth held you back in the first place. The freedom is yours for the taking.
TT: Thanks so much for your wise words, Myscha. I’ve already adopted some of the useful teaching strategies from your website, myself!