Iâ€™ve always had a passion for travel. The thought of jetting off to a faraway land, with its foreign language, culture, and sometimes bizarre customs, has always excited me. Crazy foreign films get an A+ in my book, and I drool over foreign accents and get giddy when itâ€™s time to go to the airport. So, it came as no surprise that when the opportunity came up to study abroad in France for a year during university I leapt at the chance. After all, pourquoi pas? I was 21 years old when I stepped off the plane in Parisâ€™ Charles de Gaulle airport, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and it was my first time outside of North America.
As a Canadian of Caribbean descent, my previous travel experiences had been limited to road-tripping to visit extended family living in other parts of Canada and the eastern United States. My travels were also peppered with a few trips to Jamaica, the country of my parentsâ€™ birth. Life outside of North America was largely unknown to me.
But I learned a lot about life (and about myself!) after amazing year travelling around Europe, indulging in French food, learning more about French culture, and dabbling (just a little bit!) in French men (mais oui!). I realized that I was hooked on this travel thing! And thus began my intense love affair with travel.
It was with a heavy heart (and empty pockets) that I returned home to Canada after my year abroad in France. I knew I somehow had to get back though, and plotted my escape. I then found out about a government program that allowed native English speakers to go to France and teach ESL in the public school system. Eureka! I drafted up my application and was overjoyed when it was accepted and I got my second chance to live it up in bella Europa.
After a second year in France, where I worked as an English teaching assistant in a high school, I realized that teaching abroad was a GREAT way to see the world whilst getting P.A.I.D (a very important word in my vocabulary). So I went back home to Canada and got my teaching credential, which certified me to teach English and French at the high school level. And so off I went.
I never looked back. After a year-long contract teaching at an international school in Mexico, I now write to you from Hong Kong, where Iâ€™ve been living and teaching since 2009. Living abroad has it drawbacks, but in general Iâ€™ve found it to be incredible. Teaching abroad is generally fantastic as well. I typically travel during all of my school holidays, and Iâ€™ve accompanied students on field trips to Paris, Nepal, and Beijing. Not bad!
Sometimes, as the only Black female travelling in some places, I get some unwanted (but usually positive) attention (in Guilin, China I could barely walk 50 feet without somebody trying to take my picture- celebrity status, I tell ya!), but mostly it is positive, and TWB (Travelling While Black) often means youâ€™ve got to develop a thick skin anyway. I just dust my shoulders off and keep it moving!
Besides, nearly 40 countries, 3 passports, and an innumerable amount of memories later, my eyes have been opened to SO many amazing things and I feel positively blessed to have had these experiences. Iâ€™m trying to see a lot and have fun doing it. Because, after all, thatâ€™s what lifeâ€™s about, nâ€™est-ce pas?