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?

What’s a Pilgrimage?

The meaning of a pilgrimage through the eyes of a pilgrim:

The journey takes many forms, there can be a religious aspect to it however it is not a requirement. For me, it has more to do with a personal journey and growth. I don’t subscribe to any particular creed. Be happy, be honest, and be kind. That is my mantra. Finding your true soul is a journey that starts inside of you, therefore any one person’s pilgrimage will not match any other. It starts when you allow it to.

Although the Camino De Santiago is largely rooted in a catholic background, the pilgrims on the route of Saint James are of various backgrounds. Any pilgrimage begins when you allow it to, traditionally from your front door. However the traditional route of St. James starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ends in Santiago, Spain. Spending, on average, thirty days walking from France through to the tip of Spain is not an easy feat for anyone. Especially not when you stick to the true path of a pilgrim, relying on the way to support you through your travels. Breaking down both your physical and mental being and building you up again – much like daily life.

You see, a pilgrimage does not have to be some set trail that has been walked for centuries. A pilgrimage can be you getting up from your chair, going out your back door, and walking to another town or through the woods. It may not have much significance to an outsider however on said walk through the woods you may have reached a personal ‘aha!’ moment that alters the way you view your life forever.

I can’t wait to have a pilgrimage of my own, to travel and reach a true transcendental state must be absolute bliss. Although I’m not so sure I can wait until I find my way back to Europe to complete the Camino. That goal will never leave my mind but I think that some preparation is required. Some cultures and religions believe in yearly pilgrimages; so why can’t I take multiple pilgrimages throughout my life? I can and I will!

I want to call myself a citizen of the world and travel across our earth however when looking at my list (I keep a list of places I have been before) I realize that my focus has always been out of the Americas and I never took the time available to explore the land on which I was born. The land that my parents fell in love in and travelled across both together and alone. I need to experience the Appalachian Mountains and the Continental Divide. I need to see what the Rockies look like and the West Coast. I need to know what it is like to breathe in higher altitude, to truly be cold in the winter, and to see Redwood trees that I can’t wrap my arms around. I wish to hike and camp and build fires in as many states as I can. I want to simulate parts of the Oregon Trail and try to understand what the Gold Rush was like. Stand on old battlefields and put myself in the shoes of the people who fought there.

I am a firm advocate that seeing is believing and believing leads to true understanding. Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” I feel that he uses the term experiment precisely because they are meant to be learned from. Scientists create a hypothesis and then conduct experiments to prove their hypothesis is correct or debunk it. But no matter what, any good scientist will always try the experiment.

xxx
Sam

My Inspiration

This morning my mom left for an eight day missions trip to Guatemala. I am so proud of her for going out of her comfort zone and exploring the world. She has never traveled past caribbean cruises and has decided to jump in head first. After her trip to Guatemala she is going on another trip! This time she will head to Maine to take a photography class ON a sailboat. They will have time on and off the boat exploring different areas off the coast of Maine. Not only will she have classes and one on one sessions with a professional photographer, but she will also be given the opportunity to learn how to sail the ship. I can’t wait to see pictures of her sailing and her pictures of the exploration.

My mom is such an inspiration to me; while she is in Guatemala she will be helping out on a coffee farm, teaching some children, and building a house with her missions group. On her own she has been collecting loose, cotton skirts to hand out to women she meets along the way. She has such a kind heart and is really stepping out of her comfort zone for this trip.

This morning I called her to give her my best advice. I told her to let go of any expectations she may have because the beautiful thing about travel is that it never turns out exactly how you plan, but the experience is always better for it. It was quite an interesting experience giving advice to the person I always look to for mine. My mom and I have a very special bond that I wouldn’t trade in for the world. She has worked so hard and come so far. Taking these trips are already giving her a new sense of confidence and control in her own life. I can’t wait to hear all about her adventures on land and sea, and the lessons she learns. It is so important to remember that we never stop learning at any time in our lives.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel By: Rolf Potts

     ‘Vagabonding is about gaining the courage to loosen your grip on the so-called certainties of this world. Vagabonding is about refusing to exile travel to some other, seemingly more appropriate, time of your life. Vagabonding is about taking control of your circumstances instead of passively waiting for them to decide your fate.” – Rolf Potts writes in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Rolf Potts’ explanation of vagabonding is absolutely on point. Forget about social networks and lavish apartments, embrace the realness of the world around you. As you sit there in your chair millions of wondrous things are occurring in different places around the world, don’t you want to experience the spectacle?

Vagabonding is about letting go of the things that hold you back from these experiences. Refusing to believe that the world has borders that cannot be broken; embracing your inner citizen of the world. Go on youtube and look at some satellite footage from NASA or any other reputable source. Look at how the land is aglow with light, the water dark and vast. Marvel in that glorious sight. Did you notice any borders? Anything except water separating us from one land to another?

Refusing to let your circumstances hold you back from any dreams you hold, vagabonding preaches minimalism. If you really want to spend a long period of time traveling the world that is set out for us, then stop putting so much emphasis on the ties holding you back and cut back on your spending. Live frugally where you are and save. Prove to yourself that you deserve this trip. Nothing good ever comes easy, but it is proven to always pay off in memories. If you can’t afford expensive trains or taxis, walk you’ll see much more.

Don’t sit by and let life hand you whatever it chooses, grab life by the balls and decide your own fate. At the core, I believe that is the spirit of vagabonding, deciding your own fate and living it through. Experiencing as much as you can and sharing your insight with all those interested. I think the hardest part for me will be not getting too attached to any one place. There is so much to see and I’ve only got one life to see it.

He also gives many resources for cheap travel, work abroad, and other valuable information that you can find in his book. I purchased it at Barnes and Noble for $15 but for all you bargain hunters I’m sure you can find a steal. I’m not trying to sell you anything but it’s a lot of information that I’m not ready to get into quite yet. This is just some thoughts I had after reading halfway, once I finish the book I will give you a proper synopsis.

Until next time bloggers, remember, vagabonding isn’t a verb it is a state of mind so go suck the marrow out of life!

xxx Sam

Flashback: Cannes 2010

Interning at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 was the first experience with world travel I came upon. Tom Garrett organized the trip and taught me everything I needed to know about maximizing my adventure. The lovely folks at Summit Entertainment helped push my dreams along by giving me an internship with them. It just so happened to be a year that they held the only American film in competition (Fair Game). Deborah was in charge of choosing the two interns out of a myriad of applicants and so it is to her I owe many thanks and memories. Another notable person which I feel I must mention is Ms. Annasivia, she taught me so much about the business of film as well as about myself and the world. She is another woman whom my mind always wanders to when I think of inspiring people. American born, worked hard and studied hard to land herself a job living and working in London traveling with Summit to different festivals and handling a plethora of other tasks as well.

During the fifteen days we were in the Cote D’Azure provence, I spent most of my days waking up before the sun. Dressing for the day included hanging the night before’s clothes on the balcony to dry and bringing along a red carpet ready dress for the end of the day. One of my fondest memories is sharing the lift with Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and enjoying a very pleasant conversation with him. He asked me how I landed the internship and where I was from. He was very friendly and an interesting man. For all you Twilight fans, I was given the opportunity to see a distributors showing of Eclipse and see how these men and women view and assess a film for their particular country. After I got home I saw it again with my sister and noticed differences in the edits, it was exhilarating to be among the few people to be privy to that.

There was a moment where Three Musketeers was on the business agenda and I got the privilege to put together head shots of many great and talented actors. While marveling over these young pictures of actors I’ve been watching for years, the CEO comes storming through with all his majestic power. He demands to have Mr. Bloom signed to the project immediately. I’m certainly glad he did because Orlando did such a fabulous job in the film.

The best way to describe my time is the perfect mix of exploration, hard work, and new knowledge. Not only did I learn so much about how the film industry works as a business; I learned a lot about myself – drinking freely in public was even new! I learned how to be tough when it came to my dreams, how to be assertive in my aspirations, and to be willing to take on any task that comes along. Whether it be organizing head shots, running a bar at a party, or picking up the dailies; being willing to take on any task and completing in a timely manner is a quality that shines through in anyone’s eyes. In an industry as cut-throat and swarming with new fish as Filmmaking, it is important to give it everything you have and grab life by the balls. Take in every experience and every contact, learn and network. You never know who you may run into again in your future.

(1)End of Festival Luncheon with Summit Entertainment&Professors (2)Closing Ceremonies with Peers (3)Closing Ceremonies Award Winners (4)Rooftop filming at the office (5) Doug Liman on the Palais’ banner (6) Posing with some peers after the red carpet (7-8) First night Soiree (9) With Tom Garrett on the Red Carpet (10-11) Conversing with my professors about the festival at Luncheon (12) On the Red Carpet (13)Tile Palm d’Or (14) Tim Burton Walking the Red Carpet

Cannes Luncheon Summit Closing Ceremonies Closing Ceremonies Peer's Trip Documentary Doug Liman The Guys and I after the Red Carpet College Roommates Conversing on night one Tom Garrett and I on the Red Carpet Serious discussion with my professors Deep Discussion Tom, Daniel, and I @ The Palais Palm d'Or Tim Burton Head Juror 2010

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.