Jim Morrison, the iconic American Rock singer, wrote in the song, ‘The Soft Parade’ (whilst his insatiable libido presumably partook in a temporary sabbatical) that, “There’s only four ways to get unraveled. One is to sleep and the other is travel…”.
There can be no doubt that travel broadens the mind. Travel opens doors, removes window blinds, and allows you a glimpse of how other people lead their lives in different parts of the world.
And when you do have the opportunity to travel, which, btw, is only a recent phenomenon that our generation is the lucky lottery winner beneficiary of, you begin to understand that all of us share the same concerns, the same anxieties, the same needs, the same (or at least similar) dreams and hopes.
Unless you are a member of the One Percent club reading this, that owns and controls 34.4% of all net worth in the United States, you will be surprised at just how many things you have in common with people that you meet with around the world.
And teaching English is an incredible eye opener in terms of meeting students from all walks of life, and sharing your life experiences together.
We want to share with you five tips for traveling that have evolved for us over the years, when it comes to improving your quality of travel experience.
- Pack light. Unless you are on an expedition to climb the peak of Mount Everest, you really don’t need to take that 100 liter backpack. I always travel with a 30 Liter backpack. It has side pockets, zippy things that you can zip or click things onto, and, most importantly, I don’t need to leave it in a coach hold and hope it’s there when I reach my destination. Plus, of course, it’s light. Try and find one with a rain sheet attached because then you have an added layer of security from unwanted thieves, by stretching it over your pack and hiding the entry points of your backpack.
- Sign up with an Air Miles club. It’s unlikely that you will only take one flight in your life and when you rack up a significant number of air miles, you can then upgrade for that Business Class seat that you sometimes casually ask for an upgrade to in the Economy passenger line, but are inevitably always denied.
- Go with your gut. My experience of travel is that most people are decent, hard-working folk. But there are a few bad apples out there. The eyes, whether kind-looking or hateful, usually give a person’s personality and intentions away. Never accept gifts from strangers (drinks, food, etc.) and if you do find yourself in a situation where your gut instinct is telling you to get the hell out of there, get the hell out of there.
- Respect the local culture and familiarize yourself with local laws. In Thailand, for example, it’s the height of bad manners to touch people on the head. It’s also a faux pas to point your feet in another person’s direction. And if you find yourself at the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party and a stranger comes up to you with an offer of a substance which is now legal throughout Canada, don’t accept it. Before you head off to your chosen destination, please watch the National Geographic Video, ‘Locked Up Abroad‘ season. In the UK, they call it, ‘Banged Up Abroad’.
- Enjoy! Enjoy the different aromas, cuisines, cultures, people. Be open to new (good-gut-feeling) experiences. It’s your world too, so go explore it!
Click on the link below to read about the most popular teaching English destinations.