The Decision Process

Trip Start Sep 17, 2011
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Trip End Jul 19, 2013


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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, September 16, 2011

"Once you've made the decision to travel, the hardest part is over. :-) " - Some liar from literature

Some internet-filled night in college I remember reading about careers in the US Foreign Service. Between a Mom who was very good at getting me out of the house and Star Trek reruns constantly on TV since my stroller days, I was basically born with a travel bug. So I thought, maybe one day this could be a good job fit.  One of search engine hits talked about interview tips; it said to expect a lot of weird personal questions.  "What are you running from?" stuck out.

In Summer 2011 it was time to run.  Well not really run, that just sounded neat, but escape from it all and start anew, etc.

My rucksack lonely on a ferry in Thailand

Between college graduation earlier on, two youth-work service terms at City Year Americorps* afterward, and various only-child family duties, to say the previous two years had been "dense" would be an understatement.  I was burnt out and my soul was sucked.  Ahead were bills, rent, and the need for a new challenge/general-employment that would fill the epic void CY had left.  At this point I knew I wanted to teach for a living but to do so required more university, certifications etc.  To go back to university required money.  This, after many moons on an Americorps volunteer stipend, was something I would quickly need much more of.  The recession and related fun were also of no help.
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So, I started looking into overseas English teaching more seriously.  I'd been to Asia once before - see previous travel blog - and really wanted to return, at the very least so I could give my Nepali host family a concrete answer the next time they asked me when I was gonna come visit them in Kathmandu.  After about two months of research and job searching, "Asia" was narrowed to "Taiwan."  Friendly people, stunning scenery, low cost of living... it was an obvious first choice.  The one problem with Taiwan though: unlike Korea, their "buxibans" (English cram schools) generally only hire from in-country.  I'd likely have to fly there with no confirmed job offer.

I lined up a little under 10 interviews, all of which needed to meet me ASAP(tm) to train in time for the Fall semester start.  If that sounds like a lot of interviews, it's really not.  TEFL jobs aren't as abundant there as in South Korea or China but they're still plenty of them, especially if you're willing to work outside the Taipei (capital city) area.  I pulled the trigger and bought the plane ticket.  Any longer and hiring season would pass.  One of those jobs had to come through or wow I should really look into a new line of work.

The date was set, the job was not but the odds seemed good enough.  Worse came to worse I'd end up on a really expensive vacation I couldn't afford to a country I always wanted to visit.  Not good but not too shabby either.  

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