FINALLY we have gotten around to writing a brief travel blog! It is currently June 2017, Greg and I left our countries Canada and Australia, in 2002 respectively. We had slightly different paths before meeting and marrying. I decided to set up this blog because we have had so many people ask us about certain countries, yet we can’t remember the specific details other than what I wrote on TripAdvisor, so this blog is for them, and for us as a continual reminder of the life we are sharing and enjoying, we don’t want to forget any of it!
I began my travels on the back of a truck in Africa, I travelled there for 4 months (3 on an overland truck and 1 solo). Afterwards, I briefly met some friends in London then they left me. I was meant to get a job but was a little scared of teaching there, so worked on the P&O ferries between Portsmith and Paris. Since I was a “floater” (meaning I moved from housekeeping to the restaurant to the bar), the hours were awful and salary was exceptionally low. I didn’t last long on that boat.
I finally bit the bullet and worked at a special needs school in London which, to this day was one of my best and most rewarding teaching experiences. I stayed in London for four years purely because of my friends and the amazing job. Unfortunately, after four years I grew tired of the grey skies, cold and sharing a house so I decided to travel again. This time I backpacked through South America for 7 months until my funds ran out. I tried settling back home but nothing had changed except many of my friends were married and had babies, I missed meeting new people, tasting new foods and being challenged every day so it was time to travel again, but this time I never returned to live in Australia!
I took a job in AlAin, UAE. This was the worst teaching job I have ever had and the worst people to work for, but I made some of my closest friends during this experience, and because I loved their expat kids so much I decided to try and find a school filled with those incredible kids. That landed me in Hangzhou, China where I met my husband to be Greg. (That is a story in its own right just amazing that our paths even crossed.) I adored Hangzhou, the students, and the friends we made, but the school took a very unfortunate turn, so we moved to Ghana and worked for Lincoln Community International School. During this time, due to the expense of travel within Africa most of our travels were surprisingly in Europe, Cape Town and Namibia. I loved Ghana but I got malaria often, so Greg insisted we had to leave, which brings us here to HCMC, Vietnam. We adore Vietnam and are planning to stay for a few more years yet.
Our life will continue to be as expat teachers as we love it. Every day is different and exciting, I have continual artistic inspiration, not to mention incredible professional development opportunities so as I said earlier it is time to start sharing our adventures with you. I hope you enjoy traveling with us.
I began my teaching career in Canada, and after two years of huge classes and political turmoil (translated into the Harris years) I took my friend’s suggestion and looked at international teaching. I went to the Queen’s University job fair and got a job in Kuwait at Al Bayan Bilingual School. I taught grade 8 English there for 3 years and then grades 6-8 PE for 3 years. I greatly enjoyed this introduction to International teaching, travel, and the expat lifestyle and haven’t looked back since. I spent 6 years in Kuwait, though 4 years would likely have been ideal.
Following Kuwait, I landed a job teaching 6-9 Language Arts and some PE at Hangzhou International School in China. I met Rebecca there, and everything seemed to fit right into place as we arrived on the same flight, shared one level of the staff housing, and shared similar travel interests and recent teaching experiences, both coming from the Middle East. Two years later, we were married during the summer in Thailand. The kids we taught, the travels we experienced, and the friends we made there were amazing. However, as Rebecca indicated, our school underwent some shocking changes, and after three years there it was time to move on.
Our next school, and our first one as “the Jardins,” was in Ghana at Lincoln Community School where I taught grades 7 & 9 MYP Language Arts. The school was great, but the constant threat of malaria, safety, etc. and the surprising expense of daily living consequently lead us to only stay three years. Travels within the country were tiring but rewarding, and because of the expense of traveling in Africa in general, we made several trips to Europe, which I’d always wanted to see more of.
We are now in Vietnam at Saigon South International School, where I teach Exploratory Writing to grades 6-8. We are heading into our fourth year here, and it really feels like the perfect fit. The school is good, the students are great to teach, living and travelling within Vietnam is excellent, and we’ve made some great friendships.
The constants throughout these past 15 years of international teaching have been teaching and travelling, and it’s a shame it has taken us this long to start a travel blog. We’ve talked about it for a while now, and without Rebecca’s initiative we’d likely still just be talking!