Hello, and welcome to Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog!
Love finding joy and learning in every corner of life? This site is for YOU. Read on to see how to find what you’re seeking.
Who is behind Around the World “L?” The “L” stands for me, Lillie Marshall, a 6-foot-tall teacher, traveler, writer, artist, and fitness fan from Boston. I’ve been a public school English teacher since 2003, and am proud to be a National Board Certified educator.
In addition to teaching, my passion is writing helpful, colorful, sometimes zany articles. I’ve published over 700 posts here since since I launched this blog in 2009! Around the World “L” is now nearing 4 MILLION page-views, and I thank you for visiting today.
How to Use this Site and My Others:
To navigate Around the World “L,” you can use the header menu and search function at the top of the page, or click the following links to find useful life learning, fascinating locations to explore, creative art inspiration, and tips on travel and living with little ones.
Should you choose to spread your wings a bit further, you can open another tab to fly around my other two sites. My second site (started in 2010) is Teaching Traveling: a global education community which has curriculum, and scholarships and grants for educators to explore the world.
My third site is the freshly launched educational cartoon site, Drawings Of… which has English vocabulary lessons, art inspiration, and humorous short stories to use with kids, students, or adults.
The Full History of This Site
That first section was the main overview you need to know to get started with this site, but if you’d like the in-depth story of how Around the World “L” came to be, keep reading to get the FULL timeline. It’s been quite the journey!
I became a high school teacher fresh out of college. It took 5 years of teaching to finally be able to give students a positive learning experience (er, not be a 21-year-old disaster), but in 2009, I realized that I lacked the global perspective necessary to take my teaching — and life — to the next level.
At the age of 28, I was single, had no kids, and was not tied down in any way, so I used the savings from years of mega-frugal living (no car, tons of roommates, secondhand clothes) to buy an around the world plane ticket!
Although I had spent nearly every teacher summer volunteering or taking classes in Latin America, circumnavigating the globe for nine months would be the longest I’d ever been away from home.
I purposely chose that amount of time because so many people around me were getting pregnant, and I wasn’t ready to have a child myself, but instead proclaimed that these 9 months would be my “baby of a trip.” It was my chance to create the life I wanted.
The Around the World solo trip was born! From August of 2009 to May of 2010, I had the joy of: two weeks in Japan, four months in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos), a week in Italy, three months volunteer teaching in Ghana, and one and a half months in Spain and Portugal.
Each country had a reason, and each plan changed at least twice along the way. Read the hundreds of articles I wrote during those 9 months of solo travel for the in-depth scoop. In short: That trip was everything I could have hoped for, and more, and I am so extremely thankful to have been able to do it.
I came back to Boston, and at my “Welcome Back to America” party, met the man who is now my husband! Yup — it took traveling alone by myself for almost a year to set my willful heart free to partner up with someone for good.
After considering changing careers, I realized how much I missed teaching, and got a job in a new public school in Boston. I still work in this phenomenal school, and it is the best job I’ve ever had. The students are wonderful, and the diversity of the school provides the zest of travel, without the stale airplane air!
To any teacher feeling burned out, I highly recommend taking some time to travel if at all possible, as it provides vital perspective and revitalization. After seeing travel’s effect on my teaching career (not to mention entire life), I launched my second site, TeachingTraveling.com to profile other “Teacher-Travelers” of ALL types, in order to share the many ways that Global Education can be pursued.
During these years, the balance of teaching and travel took shape. I traveled to China twice in 2011-12 (once with a group of 42 Boston students), took a 9-day teacher tour of Greece, went on a fabulous Honeymoon in Belize with my husband Colin following our wonderful and reality-TV-televised wedding, and in 2012 at last toured India.
2013 – Onward:
On the same month as our first child was born, I received word that I had achieved National Board teacher certification — one of the highest honors a teacher can achieve, and one that took extensive work to gain.
Our second child was born in 2016, so we are really getting into this Baby Travel and Toddler Travel thing, and gotten more into New England travel and exploring our own Boston. The Laurel Highlands and Pittsburgh, PA have also been a hit!
Despite having a family, however, I still relish solo travel, exploring Turkey and Dubai, and the exhilarating Top 100 Travel Bloggers conference on Study Abroad at the U.S. White House under Obama. Most recently, I worked with tourism boards in Curacao and Bonaire, and really enjoyed photographing and writing about such a lovely part of the world.
In 2020 when we were all stuck at home, I launched my third website, Drawings Of... to rock out my educational cartoons and art passions — and also random and weird sense of humor.
Beyond teaching and blogging, I also adore running social media trainings, doing website consulting, freelance writing, and public speaking. (Let me know if you’d like to book me!)
If you enjoy reading this site, please consider supporting it by spending time on it and sharing it with friends. If you are moved to simply donate, go right ahead! Here is my PayPal page for such activities.
Thanks so much for reading, feel free to drop me a note via this contact form, or at WorldLillie at gmail dot com, and please do leave comments and share this site around. Readers like YOU are the reason this site has been such a joy to run since 2009!