I really like how I meet all these awesome travelers who are able to combine their careers with travel – because it’s essentially what I want to do with my life as well. I like the work I do and find it really interesting, but of course there is so much more out there. For me, traveling is about learning and also about self-discovery and I want it to be part of my life. Of course it’s not possible (or desirable) for everyone to quit their jobs and travel the world, but I think that’s not necessary. Traveling is a way of thinking and you don’t need to leave everything behind, instead, combine and integrate traveling in your life. Ronda, a travel blogger currently living in Texas, is indeed living that exact life. She took the time to write an incredible guestpost about her teaching career and why it is perfect for travelers.
Ronda currently lives in Texas and dreams of moving to Guatemala. She spends a lot of her time blogging and taking a crazy amount of photos. She cannot imagine life without travel or hot chocolate.
WHY TEACHING IS PERFECT FOR TRAVELERS
My parents should never have taken me to Disney World when I was a kid. My favorite thing about it wasn’t the castle or the princesses, or the rides. There are two things that stick out in my mind when I think of Disney World, MGM studios where I saw my first 3-D movie, and the World Showcase at the Epcot Center.
At ten I had not traveled much, but the Epcot center brought the world to me. I remember walking through China and buying little Chinese fans. I tasted traditional food from Norway at a restaurant where the waiters dressed in Norwegian clothes. Something came alive in me that day. And though the rest of the three days we spent at Disney World are a blur, I remember every single detail about the World Showcase. I believe that’s where my obsession with travel started.
After college (and with help from my parents) I followed my dream of traveling to Costa Rica where I studied Spanish. I knew eventually I would need to move home and look for a job. I learned there was a shortage of Bilingual teachers in Texas. Once I was accepted into a Teacher Preparation program, I was able to apply for jobs even though I didn’t have a degree in teaching. I was issued a probationary certificate. Teaching, although it wasn’t my first choice in careers, was a wonderful way to be with kids all day, speak Spanish, and have the summers for traveling. Teaching became my “dream job”.
HOW TEACHING ALLOWS YOU TO TRAVEL
When it comes to travel you need money and you need time. With most teaching jobs you get:
- Steady income (paid throughout the year)
- 3 main breaks: Christmas (2 weeks), Spring Break (1 week), and Summer (about 2 months)
- A few long weekends (perfect for short trips)
I’ve spent many of my summers traveling, but I’ve also spent a Christmas in Costa Rica, as well as a Spring Break in Spain.
WAYS TO SAVE FOR YOUR SUMMER TRAVELS
Consider renting a room. If you do not have to have your own place then renting a room from a coworker or friend can help you save up money faster. I did this in order to make my 6 weeks in Europe a reality.
Buy less clothes. This one seems simple enough but as a female who works with other females it’s really easy to get sucked into the latest fashion. Be content with what you have and consider only buying one or two must have items you really need (or want) a month.
Decide what you can give up and what you can’t give up. I can give up new clothes, but I can’t give up buying coffee. A teacher has to get up early and face 22 children every day. If I had to make my own coffee I would be late to work and very grouchy. Also seeing other adults in the morning at my favorite coffee shop sets the tone for the rest of the day. Buying coffee makes me happy and gets me through the work day.
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE YOU ARE TRAVELING
Look up the general cost of the location (or locations) you want to visit. A month long backpacking trip in Central America is very affordable and there is not a lot of saving that has to be done during the year for something like this. 6 weeks in Europe on the other hand you will need to be more diligent in saving during the year.
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Research Hostels before looking at hotels. Generally hostels are more affordable than hotels, but if you do not like staying in a room full of strangers, there are many hostels that have private rooms, or semi private rooms (2-3 beds per dorm vs 16 beds).
Take public transportation. Taking a bus or the metro is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Also in many cities in Europe one of the best ways to see a town is to rent a bicycle. It’s a good idea to research where you are going to see if they offer bicycles to rent.
Cook your own meals. While I don’t suggest cooking every meal, because a lot of the fun of visiting another place is trying the food, you can save by cooking some of your own meals. The great thing about hostels is most offer the use of the kitchen to guests. Not all do though, so if this is something you want to do research to make sure the kitchen is available to guests where you will be staying.
Commit to buying one or two souvenirs only. When I first started traveling I over spent on souvenirs and gifts. If you must buy gifts, postcards are inexpensive and take up little space in luggage. As for souvenirs for myself, I take a lot of pictures. My pictures are now my souvenirs and I don’t feel the need to buy anything, unless I consider it very special (like the pair of shoes I bought in Italy).
I’m not a teacher myself but Ronda’s traveling life surely speaks for the job. Isn’t it great that she had the possibility to learn Spanish all over the world, as well as have the time to travel while still having a career?
In what field are you working in? And how do you combine your working life with traveling? Share your story below!