More Reasons to Drop it All and Move Abroad

I’ve been through a few recessions, though during the first one I was too busy partying through college to notice. I was working in New York City in the early 90s though, when everyone was talking gloom and doom and I had just lost my job. Then my girlfriend—who had just moved into my recently bought condo with me—called to tell me her company had just gone out of business. Were we screwed or what?

Not really, because we weren’t sticking around much longer. We worked a while in jobs we didn’t really give two hoots about just to save up some more money, then bought round-the-world plane tickets. I rented out my condo, we packed everything into storage, and we left the country for a year. We only had enough money for about seven months of travel, but no biggie. We budgeted for a certification course to teach English, then later taught for close to five months right outside Istanbul.

We came home, saved for a year, then left again. That trip lasted two and a half years, part of that a year-long stint teaching in Korea. By the time we got back home for good, it was boomtime. What recession? It was ancient history. I easily found a new job while I got my freelance income going and life was easy. We had skipped the bad times altogether and returned when things were on the upswing.

Last year I posted, Laid Off? Go Traveling and more recently, drop it all and teach English. But I am not suggesting these are moves to make on a whim. Do some research and invest in learning. Countless others have made the leap and can tell you what to think about and do.

Where to start? I write for Transitions Abroad, but forget my biases and check them out yourself. Their new eZine is chock full of “been there, done it myself” advice on making, well, a transition abroad. Here are a few goodies to start with:

Laid off? Make a transition from a career tragedy

Taking a family sabbatical on a budget

Teaching English abroad: the recession-proof employment option

A working holiday in Australia

And on it goes. Call me crazy, but this all looks far more interesting than surfing and waiting for the phone to ring.

  1. jim johnston

    I’m on a boat in the Aegean sea at the moment with a friend who had taken and English teaching certification course and gone to the island of Syros, supposedly to work for a year. Here’s one problem you might not be aware of–age discrimination. My friend is 59 years old and the schools here want only much younger teachers–she’s heading back to Boston to figure out what’s next.

    • tim

      Thanks for the comment Jim. It does matter a lot where you go. I worked with two people in their 60s when I was in Turkey, so maybe she should have gone next door. Lots of older workers in the Middle East, not as many in East Asia. Susan Griffith’s book is a good source for all this: Teaching English Abroad.

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