[The Traveling Teacher] Why

I don't think I was 100% sure of my decision to teach abroad until early spring semester this past year. I had filled out a few applications for jobs over winter break without much luck (it seems in the respective fields I was anticipating entering, job hiring happened ASAP rather than waiting for graduation in May), and I was over all more concerned with finishing my classes with good grades, my two theses, my internship, my part-time job, my sorority, my friends, and my continuously growing girth to really focus on the job hunt. Before senior year, I had fiddled with the idea, but I was also scared of putting off starting my career.

However, I realized a few things during my junior and senior year that had me set on teaching. This may or may not sound cliched in a few parts, but it's honestly what I figured out upon reflection, prayer, and talking with friends. 

First and foremost, I wanted to be happy, or at least pursue happiness with the best chance of success. Was publishing, specifically editing, really what I wanted to do? Was working in marketing or advertising really a career path I could pursue? Did I really want to try and tap into the fashion world somehow? And how about location? Was New York City the place I truly, truly wanted to turn into home? Even with its polar vortex winters and humid-as-hell summers? And my career. What did that even mean? 

I also started to question what I wanted from my life. I mean, what difference did it make if I started my career at 22 or a little later? Did forming a 10 year plan do me any good? I spent so long on a straight and narrow path towards what I perceived as success (no, literally, I used to think, "I'm not gonna punch this chick because I would get in trouble somehow, and she is not worth me ruining my bright future over.") that I could feel myself burning out towards the end (or at least the end for now) of my academic career. I could see a huge difference from freshman year Sam to senior year Sam, and I didn't like it. 

Additionally, I thought about the dream I have held to since childhood. I want to be a novelist. I wrote this huge, epic book in high school (okay, epic for the YA non-fantasy, historical genre), and since then I've played around with ideas but formed nothing concrete. I would sometimes write, look at it, and wonder what the heck happened? I put off writing a lot, citing a lack of personal experience (but, seriously) and that hasn't changed in the least bit. 

So, here I am. I chose Korea because I only got six weeks the last time I visited. Beyond the fact that it makes sense the most monetarily, it is also the country that I have on and off been studying since 2010. I want to learn more and experience more of the culture both contemporary and traditional. I chose teaching because of what it offers, and that I have found myself in teaching positions since my first babysitting gig at age 11. I don't know what's going to happen after the year is over, and right now, despite my mind racing in three different directions, I'm trying to force myself not to worry about it.

I want this year to be my year of adventure. Of growth. I truly want to be a newer version of myself by the year's end (not a new person, but like when you update your iPhone to the newest iOS (oh, yes, I went there)). I could stay in Korea another year, I could pursue a masters, I could teach elsewhere, I could start my career. Who knows? I'm not going to answer that question for at least a while, and I'm going to force myself to stop planning and start living in the present. So, as my departure date comes near, here's to my year of adventure. 

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