By Kary Vannice, International Living,

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they finish this sentence: Life is a ________.

For a lot of people, it might finish with the words a “grind” or a “battle” or a “race.” That’s often the everyday reality of living in the rat race.

But I’ve always had the same ending to that sentence: Life is an adventure.

And, let me tell you, my life as an English-language teacher, has allowed me to wake up in some pretty amazing places. Honestly, I can’t even count how many different places I have been able to visit as a teacher, and I had an adventure in every one of them.

My adventures in teaching English began when I lived in a remote region of the stunningly beautiful Chilean Patagonia, where the Pacific Ocean meets the towering Andes. I didn’t go there to teach English, but I found plenty of “students” anyway. Almost everyone wanted me to teach them to speak English.

From there, I decided to take my informal brand of English teaching to the southern mountains of Costa Rica. From where I lived, I could actually look down into Panama. Working primarily with women in the service and hospitality industry, I used my free time to explore the jungle and get to know some very cute local monkeys.

I enjoyed my experiences so much, I decided to make English teaching my profession. After a short certification course, I moved to Mexico and began teaching at a private school. I enjoy kids, so I taught primary and secondary grades.

Over the course of three academic years, I used my considerable vacation time to swim in underground cenotes (underground lakes) in the Mayan Rivera, explore Aztec ruins near Mexico City, and Maya ruins near Oaxaca City and San Cristobal de las Casas.

During extended spring and summer breaks I tried my hand at surfing on warm sandy beaches of the Pacific coast, released protected baby sea turtles into the wild, learned about the diverse native cultures of Mexico, and even tried learning one of the native languages, Nahuatl.

Okay, I wasn’t very good at that, but hey, it was an adventure.

Yes, the freedom of teaching abroad has its perks. A flexible work schedule and long vacations in the winter, spring, and summer, mean there is plenty of time to travel and explore, wherever you live and teach.

If I was still working in an office, I would probably have to wait years before I could manage to “earn” enough vacation time to do all of these amazing things. Teaching English allowed me time to enjoy adventure. After all, for me, that’s what life is all about.

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