Teaching English Abroad

Good afternoon travelers! Have any of you taught english abroad? What countries have you worked in? What was it like? I’m very interested in participating in an opportunity of this nature and need some real information, not just some website that could or could not be a scam. I’m looking for people that have been through the TEFL course and interview process and have already taught abroad or are teaching abroad now. Is that you? Do you have any advice or suggestions?

I’m curious about the cost of the TEFL course, what countries are the best, and where you found the jobs that ultimately hired you. Also, how much money did you leave your home country with and how much did you return with? What kinds of things did you learn?

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Independence Days Across The World

This weekend in America, we all engaged in the fourth of July weekend extravaganza we Americans love so much. But did you know that we are not the only people celebrating their Independence Day? There are five countries across the globe with an Independence Day between July 3 – July 5.

Bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania; Belarus lost around a third of its population not to mention more than half its economic resources during World War II and gained its independence on the 3 of July 1944. This marks the liberation of Minsk after several years of German occupation. Belarus was also a founding member of the United Nations in 1945. They celebrate their day with a military parade where tanks come through the town and end the evening with a fireworks display. Interestingly enough, they have a second working holiday in Belarus in April that marks the unification of the people of Belarus and Russia. (source)

Algeria is a country in north Africa that is bordered by Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Algerian people struggled for years to claim independence from France and finally claimed that victory in 1962, just fifty-two years ago. Algeria’s independence was recognized on the third of July but declared and celebrated on the fifth. They celebrate their national Independence Day with feasts and fireworks, military parades and cultural displays. (source)

A group of ten volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa goes by the official name of Cape Verde. A man named Amilcar Cabral led a movement to gain Independence from Portugal but was assented on the 20th of January 1973. His half brother, Luis Cabral culminated the movement to reach independence on the 5th of July 1975 – thirty-nine years ago. They celebrate with parades, fireworks, and traditional dance and music performances. (source)

Coming back to the Americas, Venezuela celebrates Cinco De Julio which marks their Independence from the Spanish Crown in 1811. Venezuela is bordered by Columbia, Brazil, Guyana and the Caribbean Sea. Their Independence Day is celebrated with family gatherings, cultural shows, street parties, parades, and fireworks. (source)

I find it interesting that across the world all humans enjoy celebrations in similar ways. Flashy displays and food. We really aren’t that different at the root of things. We all have the same basic needs of food, water and shelter. We all have a need to protect ourselves and the things around us. We all enjoy celebrations in the same way. These days are some of societies greatest gifts, they bring communities together and boost morale all around. It reinforces my belief in the One Human Family.

Just to recap:

July 3, 1944 —————Belarus

July 4, 1776 —————USA

July 5, 1962 —————Algeria

July 5, 1975 —————Cape Verde

July 5, 1811—————-Venezuela

All The World’s A Stage So Live While You Can

 **Italic words are links to more information**

If all the world is a stage then why not live in every corner? Stage left, stage right, center stage. Each section of our world has something new to offer. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anybody, so why waste such a beautiful day? The sun is up (or maybe it isn’t) and the sky is blue (or gray) it’s beautiful and so are you. No matter what the day holds you can control the way you perceive it. So open your eyes with an attitude of gratitude and take advantage of the beauty hidden in plain sight. You have already conquered so much by greeting the day.

This year has been a rebuild thus far. I’ve been in a strange place for the last couple of years that I think everybody probably goes through. You know, when you are questioning everything and the meaning of life. When wrong becomes right and right becomes… a little of both? Nothing makes sense and everything is clear all at once then you flip it on its head and drastically change everything around you.

I’ve learned how to appreciate everything the universe has brought into my life and to let everything else go. Sometimes you have to accept that some anchors are meant to be cut and it doesn’t make you a bad person, life is a not a simple journey. So far I have learned to appreciate mornings, coffee, organic fruits & veggies, gardening,  weekly beach trips, and sunshine. Writing has come more freely and less forced. Ideas are flowing left and right.

I’m having a strong yearning to explore Africa. For a few months now I have been dreaming day and night about the continent and all that is going on that I can physically help with. Relax, I don’t plan on going all Machine Gun Preacher and getting too involved in the gun slinging. Although my heart breaks for the children of Africa, I feel that my calling is with something a little more peaceful.

I want to help create sustainable resources for the people of Africa to have clean drinking water in an obtainable, natural way. I want to get involved with bringing clean, solar energy to villages that have never had these things before. My goal is to find a way to contribute my skills as a writer, filmmaker, and ability to get my hands dirty to unify and connect the one earth family that I believe in.

When you care for others you will be cared for. I want to make a lasting difference not just in people’s lives but in communities. I can not only be an open mind and pair of willing hands, but I can document and tell the world of the struggles our brothers and sisters face. The time is coming to be a part of the rejuvenation of our world.

The last time I was on Fort Myers Beach, we went on a tour of the Mound House and I learned about a plant that is an african native called the Moringa Tree. The seeds of the Moringa Tree can be used to purify water by crushing them down in bowl and adding the powdery substance to a gallon of water. One seed per gallon, let it sit for twenty four hours. Thats it. This tree is native to a land that is in desperate need of clean water, which leads me to believe the answer lies within. We need to educate the people about the tree and find alternative ways to collect water. These seeds are also a possible source of biodiesel which could be a profitable export for Africa. Another beautiful thing about these trees is that you can harvest them without damaging the tree. So we could plant fields of Moringa Trees and seasonally harvest them without having to replant the trees again. They won’t die.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think like this, but I don’t want to just be a dreamer; I want to take action as well.  When I was in London, I went to a Michael Franti & Spearhead concert at KOKO. I was so inspired by their song, Hello Bonjour:

I dont need a passport to walk on this earth

Anywhere I go ’cause I was made of this earth

I’m born of this earth, I breathe of this earth 

And even with the pain I believe in this earth

If you watch footage from satellites orbiting the earth, you will be able to see the difference between land and sea – you will even see lights clustered around cities. You won’t see any borders though. We weren’t meant to live so divided. If we are all born of this earth then we are all meant to take care of the earth and other creatures in it. We shouldn’t need a passport to walk through the earth. Why do we need to classify people into little boxes? I understand protection, but protection at the cost of unity and education? that seems preposterous to me.

Until next time.

xxx Sam

 **Italic words are links to more information**

The Breakdown

At this point you are all probably wondering how the heck a trip of this capacity is going to work out. Never fear, I have worked out all of the logistics.

BEFORE THE TRIP I Will Need: $900

Backpack (45-50L) $100

Sleeping Bag $30

Other $70

Jacket $100

Walking Shoes   $100

GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition (and Mount)    $500

Transportation

I broke down the travel transportation costs for two people as I plan to have a buddy for the trip for safety reasons as well as production reasons. I plan to be flying into Ireland and travel throughout the rest of my trip via bus, train (Eurail Global Pass for one months travel in a two month span), plane, and an occasional automobile while leaving from Israel by plane. I over shot the estimated spring price by $700 for inflation and other unforeseen costs. (You never know)

Transportation Budget: $9000

Day To Day Living

During the duration of my six month trip I plan to sleep cheap by camping and sleeping in hostels most of my time. I decided bringing about 5 euro a night each person or about $1000 would be a logical estimate. with an addition $1500 each as a buffer for unforeseen expenses.

Day To Day Budget: $5000

With these things in mind I have made my savings goal for the trip $7500 per person which means putting away about $312 dollars a month for 24 months or $78 a week with a $12 starting fund.

TOTAL BUDGET: $15000

2016, I can’t wait to conquer you.

****Side Note: Part of my intrigue in a trip like this is not to live extravagantly but learn how to live on a small scale and truly connect with the world around me. Although I have over-budgeted my savings, I plan on returning to America on time and under-budget!

So now for my readers, when you take a trip what are your top three components for creating your budget?

xxx Sam

Twenty-Four Weeks, Twenty Countries, Three Continents

Now that we have had our introductions, I feel that I can let you in on my extravagant plan. I’m currently working as hard as I can to save a proper amount of money to go on a six month sabbatical where I will walk the Camino De Santiago (30 days) as well as Cinque Terre (12hrs).

On this trip, I plan to continue blogging, write some travel articles, and I also plan on purchasing a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition camera to film the trip and make a documentary about my travels. Ideally this trip will take off in spring where I will land in Ireland and walk some rolling hills before splitting for England. I’d also like to check out Wales, as my father’s great grandmother originates from there before being banished from her family and falling in love with a Cuban dentist. My goal is to uncover some more information about her and the family my dad really comes from.

After what I foresee as about two weeks, I shall leave the islands for the mainland and visit The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Switzerland, and Italy before tackling the Cinque Terre adventure. After Cinque Terre, I shall head to the south of France where I plan for it to be around May and I can attend the Cannes Film Festival once again. I won’t attend the entire two week festival however I will get a pass for a few days to see some films, say hello to some old friends, and acquire some business meetings about the documentary as well as a few other projects I have in the works.

After Cannes, I will head up to Paris for the first time (insert happy dance) and spend a few days wishing I could transport back to the roaring twenties when Fitzgerald and Hemmingway frequented the block. Hopefully I will get to take a walk in Paris while it rains – I always imagine that to be the most beautiful sight.

After a few days in Paris, I’ll be heading to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port where I will collect my shell and  pilgrims passport to begin my month of walking. I shall not tell you about the time on the camino as I cannot predict what my pilgrimage will bring. I do however predict that the end of the camino will mark the end of the fourth month or the middle of the fifth. At this point, I would like to go to Morocco for a while and enjoy Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat and everything else Morocco has to offer.

After that adventure, I’d like to hop a flight to Cairo and spend a week in Egypt. After Egypt, I can head to Israel for some enlightenment and travel back to the states from there. So there it is, twenty-four weeks, twenty countries and three continents.

**Next week I will break down the trip further to prove how realistic it really is.**

xxx Sam

Twenty-four weeks, twenty countries, two continents.