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From Bartender-Waiter to Teacher and Videographer in Asia

Liam (left) and Tyler (right) in the shadow of one of Bagan's bigger temples.

Liam (left) and Tyler (right) in the shadow of one of Bagan’s bigger temples.

Teaching Traveling: Welcome to Tyler Haines! Tyler, tell us about your background.

Tyler: I’m 20 years old and from Johannesburg, South Africa. I worked a number of jobs in the service industry including waiting and bartending following my completion of high school in 2010. I worked hard up till mid 2012, saving money with the dream of traveling abroad. I had never left my home country before and looked for ways in which I could sustain a prolonged travel experience overseas.

I came across teaching English in Thailand, and from there on my mind was set on teaching. After an internet search, I did a great TESOL course through XploreAsia before being placed in a teaching position in a small rice farming village west of Bangkok for two and a half months.

During my time teaching I had saved enough money to travel with a friend of mine to Myanmar where we documented our experiences from the perspective of an English teacher. I now work with XploreAsia to encourage and inspire both the young and old to teach, travel and embrace adventure. I have now been living in Thailand for just over 4 months.

School children observe as Tyler navigates a plank joining two classrooms on Inle Lake.

School children observe as Tyler navigates a plank joining two classrooms on Inle Lake.

TT: Awesome! Tell us more about your travels.

T: As I’ve mentioned before I recently travelled to Myanmar with a friend of mine, Liam for an epic two week adventure. As well as being a teacher I am also an avid photographer, videographer and writer and throughout our travel experience through Myanmar, Liam and I documented our experience in a multimedia diary.

Our aim was to prove that an English teacher in Thailand has the ability and the opportunity to further their travel experience.We wanted to encourage people to take a step out of their comfort zone and embrace something out of the ordinary.

The adventure totaled just over 2 weeks, 2 major cities and 4 small towns and was captured in 8 videos, 13 journal entries and an array of awesome photography. Thailand and Myanmar are the only 2 destinations so far that I have ventured through, however I have plans to scale most of Southeast Asia within the next year or so.

Tyler takes in the sights, sounds and smells of a market in Bagan.

Tyler takes in the sights, sounds and smells of a market in Bagan.

TT: How did you find the money to fund this travel?

T: Getting to Thailand was the hard part, and I worked since school to save the money I needed through bartending and waiting. Once there, though, Teaching in Thailand funds itself and still allows for money to be saved for further travel.

TT: That’s good to hear. Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.

T: The most memorable part of my travels through Myanmar was an incredible 50 mile motorcycle ride through the Northeastern mountains of the Shan state. The 50 mile journey took 5 hours along dead-fall cliff edges while competing with large trucks commuting boulders from mines in the mountainside.

The scenery was unforgettable, and that coupled with the fact that I have a passion for riding motorcycles made this particular event one of my fondest.

A great image as a leg rower showcases his talent on Inle Lake.

A great image as a leg rower showcases his talent on Inle Lake.

TT: How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your career path?

T: Ironically being a travelling teacher in Thailand I often find myself learning a lot more than I’m teaching. Southeast Asia is just so vastly different from my home country and so diverse that I’m learning and experiencing something new every day.

Truth is that I can never see myself working behind a bar ever again, and that notion has urged me to encourage other people to do the same.

TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?

T: I have learnt and grown up so much over the past 4 months that for some of my friends and family back home, it’s difficult to fathom that I am the same person that left 4 months ago. As I’ve mentioned, I’m learning and experiencing every day.

A typical yet surreal scene as one navigates the villages of Inle Lake.

A typical yet surreal scene as one navigates the villages of Inle Lake.

TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?

T: There is no value in life if you don’t take a leap into the unknown and out of your comfort zone. For me, teaching abroad has been so rewarding and is a great way to truly immerse yourself in a new culture as well as provide a service that is so greatly needed and valued by communities.

I now work with XploreAsia, a company that orientates, trains and places teachers across Southeast Asia all the while encouraging the idea adventure. Visit xploreasia.org or contact me directly at play369tyler@gmail.com.

TT: Thanks so much, Tyler! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?

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