Hello, and welcome to Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog!
The “L” stands for me, Lillie Marshall, a 6-foot-tall Teacher-Traveler from Boston. I’ve been a public school English teacher since 2003, and love teaching… beyond even my passion for avocados!
By day I teach, and by night I write, ever since I launched this blog in 2009. I travel during school breaks, and cuddle with my two mischievous yet cute kiddos throughout it all. (I have toddler drool on my shirt as I write this.)
Running this site is a daily joy of my life, and it’s thrilling to now receive over 1,000 readers every day from around the world. But how did this all start? Let’s trot down a timeline.
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.
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! 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 because the students are so wonderful, and because its diversity 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.
The balance of teaching and traveling 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.
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 cartooning 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!)
You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, subscribe to my RSS Feed, sign up for email delivery of new posts directly to your Inbox, or get connected with my monthly e-newsletter.
If you enjoy reading this site, please consider supporting it by making your next travel or life purchases on my 40 Resources to Save Money and Time page, as I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 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!
Special thanks to the fabulous Krista Photography for taking the first two photos.