TeachingTraveling.com: Hallo, Carla! Tell us about yourself.
Carla: My name is Carla Moreno and I am 37 years old. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Houston, TX.
I’m a certified public school music teacher with 14 years experience. I began traveling at an early age and have been hooked ever since.
As of now, I’ve traveled to Honduras, Mexico, Ghana, Canada, Brazil, and Jordan as well as numerous places in the United States.
I use all of my travels as a basis for teaching world music to my students. I’m currently living in Seattle (not far from the Chihuly Glass Museum!) and serving as a music teaching artist for the non-profit youth organization, Arts Corps.
Last year Arts Corps, in affiliation with Music National Service, offered me a position to work with homeless immigrant families through the Low Income Housing Institute of Seattle. In this capacity, I use music as means for public service working with families and the community to celebrate cultural diversity through musically rich activities and performances.
TT: Fascinating! What is the most recent travel adventure you have undertaken?
C: I’ve just returned from a 10 day trip to Jordan, in the Middle East. Originally a tourist swap sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, I approached this trip much like others in that, it was yet another great educational opportunity to learn about the people, culture, and music of Jordan. I documented all my experiences through camera and video and am currently working on a write-up and mini-documentary of my experience.
TT: So cool! How did you find this travel opportunity?
C: I won a Twitter contest, called “Twisit Jordan” created by Queen Rania in conjunction with Twitvid, a Twitter video application.
The contest required non-Jordanian contestants to submit videos stating why they wanted to travel to Jordan, while Jordanian contestants submitted videos telling the world why Jordan was worth a visit.
TT: Awesome. Carla, how did you find the money to fund this travel?
C: In this case, the trip to Jordan was completely funded by the Jordan Tourism Board so it was all expenses paid. This was definitely an exception and not at all my reality.
In the past, I’ve taken out loans to help fund trips. With adequate time and proper planning I can get great bargains on airplane tickets and hostels, but I’ve slept in tents, attics filled with bats, and among the locals to defray lodging expenses and enjoy a more authentic experience.
TT: Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
C: One particularly memorable moment in Jordan was a visit with a Bedouin mother and son.
We were driving through the desert on our way to Wadi Rum and our Bedouin guide asked our driver to stop the car alongside the highway. He directed my boyfriend Nathan and I towards a tent on a hill.
A teenage boy greeted us and called his elderly mother who was out nearby herding sheep. Upon her arrival, she immediately served us hot tea and warm bread. It was obvious that they were very poor with only the basic necessities, but soon it became clear to us that we were living a moment of pure simplicity and peace.
There were little words exchanged as we mostly sat in the tent listening to the silence, but as our hosts sat smiling and grinning at us, Nathan and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to live in that silence all day, every day.
The thought of waking up, making tea and bread, herding sheep and doing it all over again the next day was a difficult concept to grasp. It only made us realize that we live a life full of too many distractions.
As we gathered around for a photo op, the elderly woman smacked my back really hard and let out a roar of laughter! I was a bit perplexed as to why she would hit me so hard. Our Bedouin guide told me that the smack on the back was her way of testing to see if I was a hardy and sturdy enough woman for Nathan. Fortunately, I passed the test. It was a funny moment, indeed.
TT: Love it! How have your travels impacted you as a teacher?
C: My travels make me a better teacher because they constantly put me in the role of the student and I truly believe that as teachers we must learn and re-learn. We are all students of Life.
TT: Perfectly put! How have your travels impacted you as a person?
C: Traveling forces me out of my bubble, keeps me humble and reminds me that my way is not the only way. Traveling keeps me centered and focused on what’s really important in the world: Love, compassion, and unity.
TT: What advice do you have for other teachers who are dreaming of travel?
C: I encourage all teachers to travel. Challenge your way of thinking by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and learn to see and live things from another perspective. It’s only an inconvenience if you choose to view it that way. We are global citizens of our world, and as teachers we are Ambassadors of all humanity.
TT: Amen! Thanks so much, Carla. Readers, if you want more of Carla, check out her website, www.carla-moreno.com or find her on Twitter: @carlitarocks .
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English from Boston who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs AroundTheWorld L.com Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following @WorldLillie on social media!