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Positive RTW World Travel of an Australian Teacher

Elaine Playing With Preschoolers In Cambodia.
Elise Playing With Preschoolers In Cambodia. Welcome to Elise, former teacher and world-traveling blogger at Positive World Travel!

Elise, tell us a bit about your background.

Elise: I’ve grown up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches my whole life and only recently graduated as a teacher. I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.

My Mum is a teacher and the passion and love she has for her job really rubbed off on me. All through my teen years I was either nannying, tutoring or teaching dance and debating/public speaking. Anything to do with kids and helping them learn I was there!

I taught full time for one year before I quit my job and went traveling with my fiance Anthony. While I love teaching I also wanted to travel the world before 1 year of teaching turned into 3 years and then 10 and before I knew it I still hadn’t done the travelling that I wanted.

Teaching How To Make A Paper Airplane In Laos.
Teaching How To Make A Paper Airplane In Laos.

TT: Tell us more about your epic travels!

E: We both quit our jobs and left to travel at the beginning of 2010 and have travelled throughout South East Asia as well as India and Nepal. We spent Christmas and New Years Eve in New York City, before quickly seeing a bit of the East Coast of the States and then heading into Mexico. We are currently in Guatemala and have plans to travel through Central and South America this year.

TT: Amazing. How have you created this travel opportunity?

E: Anthony had been overseas a few years before I met him for about 10 months and was eager to travel long term again. The longest I had ever been away for before was 6 weeks, so long term travel was something I also wanted to do. We saved up for 3 years to fund our travels and then bought a one way ticket to Borneo and began our travels through South East Asia!

TT: Three years of savings, eh? Tell us more about how you found the money to fund your travels.

E: The majority of our money came from years of hard saving. I was still at university for 2 of the years we were saving so any money I made working part time would go towards our travels.

When I landed my teaching job straight out of university it was a relief because we were able to pretty much live off my salary and save all of Anthony’s who was earning much more as Head Chef. I also taught Ballet and Contemporary Dance, along with tutoring and judging debating competitions. Anything that was able to help us save that little bit extra.

Elise and her inner child in Disney World, Orlando!
Elise (and her inner child) in Disney World, Orlando!

About 2 months before we left, we also had a garage sale where we sold a lot of our items. Although we didn’t sell nearly as much as we thought we would, we made over $800. It was a great addition to our bank account at the last minute!

TT: What a great tip. Never underestimate the power of a yard sale for funding travel! Tell us about moments from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.

E: I’m not sure if there is one movement in particular, but I love watching children all around the world and seeing that no matter where they have grown up, what they believe in or what they eat-kids are still kids. They are no different to the kids I taught back in Australia.

In India I loved watching the kids run from school straight to the corner shop to buy lollies and in Cambodia, see kids dawdle home from school, dragging their school bags behind them. Or even just watching them play together. The way they interact, solve problems and laugh. They are same everywhere and it makes me smile! :)

TT: Love it. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your career in general?

Playing Elastics With Some Schoolgirls In Cambdia.
Playing Elastics With Some Schoolgirls In Cambdia.

E: Travel has impacted how I teach in so many ways. Even though I am yet to go back to full time teaching in Australia, I can already tell my whole teaching philosophy is different. I want my class to learn about the world, the people and the cultures as much as possible.

Not just because I have to tick off a syllabus point from the curriculum. Cultural awareness and learning about the world can be implemented into so many lessons in the classroom and I hope to create well rounded students from what I share with them.

I have gained so many ideas while traveling that I now keep notes on ideas and lessons on what I want to implement when I return to the classroom! Much of this has been from my own experiences and talking to other teachers overseas.

TT: Awesome! How forward-thinking of you! So, how have your travels impacted you as a person?

E: Traveling has opened up my mind to the way others live their lives. The day to day routines, the cultures, the rituals, the beliefs. Travel has made me thankful for the opportunities I have been given in this life and I want to use them the best way I can.

Some Of The Children Elise Taught In Cambodia.
Some Of The Children Elise Taught In Cambodia.

TT: What advice do you have for other teachers who are dreaming of travel?

E: Just do it! As teachers there are so many options for us overseas, either through programs, scholarships and even just our profession. Teachers are wanted all over the world and if teaching is a true passion then travelling the world can only enhance your abilities as a teacher.

If you want to travel around the world, but not sure where to start, trying taking smaller trips to locations near where you live or countries that are not too far away. Or alternatively, if you are keen to work while travelling look online for teaching or volunteering jobs that you can do in countries you may be interested in visiting.

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


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wandering educators

Sunday 10th of July 2011

what a fun and inspiring story!

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