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A Consultant for Special Needs Students, AND a Travel Blogger!

Views of Sacre Coeur in Paris, France.
Christopher’s view of Sacre Coeur in Paris, France.

Are you a teacher who is interested in adding travel blogging or vlogging to your life? Are you simply curious to hear how one Special Education specialist from Canada has been able to explore the world?

Teaching Traveling: Let’s hear the story of Christopher Rudder! Christopher, tell us about your background.

Christopher: I’m the Owner and Content Creator for Rudderless TravelI was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. It’s where I live, play and work.

Speaking of work, I work as a Special Needs Resource Consultant. So what exactly is that, you ask? Well in a nutshell I work with childcare centres and their teachers to help them include children with special needs with typical developing children.

Every licensed child care centre in Toronto has a Special Needs Resource Consultant assigned to it. So, in a section of Toronto, I have a caseload of about 10 childcare centres. When the teachers of those centres have a child with special needs (Autism, Down Syndrome, Behaviour/Self Regulation, Mobility concerns, feeding concerns, developmental concerns etc.) they contact me.

I come in and do regular observations and together as a team (parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals) work together to develop strategies and goals to help the child learn, grow and develop.

When I say other professionals, I also have access to external agencies (Occupational Therapist, Behaviour Consultant, Speech Pathologist, Psych Consultations, Specialized Equipment, additional funding, etc.) I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a Diploma in both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Intervention.

Christopher filming the streets of Athens, Greece for the Rudderless travel vlog.
Christopher filming the streets of Athens, Greece for the Rudderless travel vlog.

TT: Fascinating. Tell us more about the travel side of your life!

C: There are definitely a ton of interesting travels I’ve undertaken over the past years, and I’m just getting started!!!

I attended the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain and watched The Running Of The Bulls from a balcony while my brother ran in it.

I’ve flown Cappadocia, Turkey tours in a balloon over its moon like landscape.

I’ve seen Flamenco dance shows in Madrid, Spain, Fado Shows in Lisbon, Portugal and The EXIT Music Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Last Year I was lucky enough to see the Azure Window, one of the Malta Game Of Thrones locations before it collapsed earlier this year.

The Azure Window (before it collapsed) in Gozo, Malta.
The Azure Window (before it collapsed) in Gozo, Malta.

I recently just came back from a 48 Hour New York Itinerary. I was there to write a sponsored review for the As You Stay app, and as a result I scored sweet accommodations in the Row NYC (formerly Milford New York) in midtown Manhattan. I was also there to visit friends and family. [Lillie’s Note: That hotel link is an affiliate that supports this site at no cost to you. Thanks!]

Being that the Big Apple is only an hour and thirty minutes from Toronto, I head over there at least once a year.

At the same time I’m trying to be the travel authority of my own city and started with a post called 48 Hour Toronto Itinerary.

TT: Nice! How do you find your travel opportunities?

C: You never know what, when or where inspiration will hit. The inspiration to visit Cappadocia, Turkey came from a documentary I watched. The inspiration to visit Istanbul, Turkey came from the James Bond movie Skyfall. Heck, I’ve even been inspired by a video game called Assassin’s Creed to visit parts of Italy.

Being part of all my Facebook travel blog groups has also been a massive source of inspiration, not only for destination ideas but for all things related to travel blogging in general.  

Running With The Bulls In Pamplona, Spain.
Running With The Bulls In Pamplona, Spain.

TT: Love it! How do you find the money to fund your travel? 

C: I have not managed to split the Atom or receive a Nobel Peace Prize to earn a travel scholarship or grant… yet. And unfortunately, I don’t know anyone crazy enough to donate money to my travel fundraiser… lol.

At some point I hope to get my travel blog to a point that it funds itself and my travels, but in the meantime I rely on my savings. I opened a high interest savings account and transfer $125.00 to $150.00 every pay cheque to my travel account.

I buy my tickets out of season or since my travel blog focuses on Short Trips, Mini Breaks and Weekend Getaways as well as Travel Apps & Travel Gear, I keep an eye out for those type of deals using the Hopper app and the Skyscanner flights app. I’m a huge fan of Airbnb for finding accommodations. I also dabble in travel points and rewards, but I’m not too crazy about that.

Christopher getting ready (or not) for a Kindergarten Story time!
Christopher getting ready (or not) for a Kindergarten Story time!

TT: Thanks for those tips. Now, tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.

C: These type of questions are so difficult to answer. It’s like the “What is your favourite travel destination?” question I get asked all the time. There are so many beautiful moments in time that are forever edged in my memory. Some of them are powerful, some interesting, a lot are funny, and some moments are scary, but most are unforgettable.

It was incredible travelling through Europe during the World Cup, and spending time in cities which still had their teams playing in the final 16 as well as being in Germany when they won the World Cup.

Watching the bulls run in Pamplona, Spain was unforgettable. Arriving in Venice, Italy for the first time and stepping out of the train station was magical. I also got goosebumps in St, Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, and Notre Dame plus Sacre Coeur in Paris, France.

Flying in a balloon over the moon-like landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey.
Flying in a balloon over the moon-like landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey.

TT: Beautiful. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and as a person?

C: I feel that both my career and my travel have influenced each other. At work, I try to develop strategies that will include children with extra support needs with typical developing children. It’s all about acceptance, so I try to bring that with me wherever I go.

Travel helps me accept that cultures, customs, music, food, language and religions are gonna be different, and I can’t compare them to the way things are in Toronto or North America in general.

When I’m at work, I feel that I can get a little more trust from parents and teachers if I’ve been to a city or country that they are from, and can talk about their food, customs, music, and even say a few words in their language.

The downside of my child development knowledge “gift” can also be a curse, because no matter where I am, I’m constantly analyzing children’s development and critiquing what parents and caregivers are doing right or wrong. (Not to their face of course!)

Taking the ferry to Staten Island, seeing the Statue Of Liberty in New York!
Taking the ferry to Staten Island, seeing the Statue Of Liberty in New York!

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

C: Just because you’re a teacher, doesn’t mean that you stop learning.

The best way to learn about a place is to go there. It’s the only time you will touch on multiple subjects at one time: Math (money, currency conversion, budget, problem solving), Religion, History (customs, way of life, traditions, festivals), Architecture, Culture (Music, Art), Language (even if just a few words), Culinary (food, drinks, food preparation, farmers markets, local ingredients, restaurants, drinks, etc..), Physical Education, (Hiking, Walking) and obviously Geography.  

But the biggest lessons you will learn when travelling… is who you are and what makes you tick.

TT: So well put! Readers, what questions or comments do you have for Christopher?


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Mindi Hirsch

Wednesday 18th of October 2017

We recently met Chris in Slovenia. He’s as awesome in real life as he comes across in this interview!


Wednesday 18th of October 2017

So great!!!


Sunday 15th of October 2017

When I read this post and think back to all the amazing things I've done and places I've been I get excited and to think I'm only just getting started!!! Thank you so much, Lillie, for featuring me and helping me tell my story. This is an amazing section of your blog and I'm honored to be here.

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