Flying By the Seat of Your Pants

Starting a new set of classes has me rather tired. My mind is currently logging worksheet upon worksheet that I have built for my new classes. In between vocabulary lists, I find myself automatically clicking my web browser, looking for distractions. It’s only March but my mind is packing my bags in the October sunlight. As my birthday falls in arguably the best month of the year, I use my terrifying marker of aging as an excuse to take a large trip. Unfortunately, winter is winding down now instead of being on the verge of beginning. So to ease my travel frenzy, I sit my butt down at my desk, buckle my pretend airplane seat belt buckle securely around my waist, and rotate through three travel-at-home opportunities.

1. Travel without words– As a writer, there are days where I simply must put away the travel guides or the blogging sites and travel solely without words. To do this, I find a photography book that highlights a certain aspect of a new location. For instance, I seek photography collections of street graffiti in Ireland or women of Spain. Large bookstores usually have great reading areas, allowing me to travel through photographs without even making a purchase. Another, cheap and effective way to travel without the guidance of words is to watch inspiring Vimeo videos. After a few cleverly crafted videos, I feel like I have learned something new about a worldly destination. Without words, I am able to interpret the images in my own way, much the same as experiencing a place on my own. There is no wording to tell me what to see or where to look. Here’s a link to one of my favorite Vimeo videos of Taiwan.

Northern Ireland,
Northern Ireland,

2. Travel with words but no pictures– Hollywood movies have been dubbed as human escapism. We get lost within movies that allow us to escape from our own reality into a world of fantasy or excitement. Before movies, novels were the source of escapism. So on days I need to just get away I break out a good book. My go to tends to be either a cultural piece exploring someone’s journey, such as “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmaeh Beah, or a detective novel set in a new culture. Either way, as the author delves into the plot of the story or establishes the characters I gain insight into the culture. One of my favorites is Tana French, the author of Irish detective novels.

3. Travel by taste- I love to eat. I can be suffering from a stomach ache and still feel the urge to eat. Under the justification that I have to eat, when I’m struck with wanderlust I try to find a new ingredient to cook with or an authentic recipe to try. Just this past week, I learned to cook with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) as well as to make delicious fried rice. In the process, I managed to use dry garbanzo beans and prepare them to cook. Also, I learned more about rice types and their respective cooking properties than I ever thought I needed to know. Two recipes from this past week include a pasta-garbanzo bean dish and proper fried rice.

As a penny-pinching ESL teacher abroad, these three activities help fill in the times between adventures and provide a welcomed distraction from grading SAT essays.  We don’t need to splurge on airplane tickets and collect passport stamps in order to travel the world. 


6 thoughts on “Flying By the Seat of Your Pants”

      1. No. We live in Thailand presently, and I don’t have a Tefl which is necessary here. Also my two year old keeps me busy. We sometimes contemplate moving back to taipei and teaching again. Do you teach kids or adults? I always enjoyed kindergarten classes

      2. I teach more middle school and high school. I do some tutoring with some adults as well. Kids are cute but my specialty is writing and grammar, which works better with SAT and college-focused students.

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