Exactly a year ago today, I returned back to America after nine straight months traveling around the world.
What a change a year makes! My life now is unrecognizable from 365 days ago… and it’s an inspiring reminder of how we never have to be stuck!
On May 12, 2010, I flew from Madrid back to Boston with no secure job, no apartment of my own, a fragmented social scene, and a small backpack of dusty clothes that had just circumnavigated the globe. I was thrilled to be back at home sweet home… but completely uprooted and dizzy. And I didn’t really have much to do except watch back-to-back episodes of “The Wire” online. For months, I remained living in my parents’ house, working the first job I could find: a gig with no health benefits, and with a depressing one fifth of the salary I had before I left the country.
And then a series of miracles began to happen. Thanks to this blog and my Twitter networking, I was asked to coordinate the 200-person “Meet Plan Go” career-break travel conference for Boston, 2010. This started to give me a sense of direction again. Then, after being turned down for a number of jobs I interviewed for, a dream job came through at the last minute: back in Boston Public Schools (hooray for a great community… and health benefits!), in a heavenly school.
September came, and I started a fantastic relationship that I’m still in today. In October, I moved into a gorgeous apartment in Downtown Boston, and launched a second website, TeachingTraveling.com, to inspire and assist more teachers to travel and more travelers to teach. That site now gets nearly 100 visitors a day!
Come November, I started to take a series of leadership and communication courses, which helped drive a flock of exciting opportunities: taking lessons to learn to drive, partnering with a local Education Technology company, and joining a number of travel, education, and technology meet-up groups around Boston.
In short: over the past 365 days, I’ve gone from being a lump on a couch, to diving deeply into dozens of thrilling projects. It was nice to sit around and watch TV in May of 2010, but nothing can rival the joy now of really participating in and contributing to things that matter in the world. Yay! I’m no longer under-used!
So what’s coming in the next 365 days?
1. Travel: A Bahamas cruise in July (!), then a month in China this August visiting one of my best friends who is in the Peace Corps! I will also be leading a student group abroad in February of 2012.
2. Career: Continuing teaching in Boston (because I love it!), running my two websites, partnering with educational technology start-ups, and…
3. Surprise: In June I’m getting certified to teach Zumba dance exercise! Yee haw! :)
4. Events: I’m psyched to again be coordinating the huge Meet Plan Go career-break travel conference for Boston in October, 2011, plus a series of casual monthly Meet Plan Go Boston meet-ups to discuss extended travel.
Building a life, baby… building! Stay tuned for much, much more to come.
Huge thanks for continuing to read and interact with this website. It means so much to be able to share all of this with you, and then to hear your own life stories and thoughts in return, through your emails and comments. Keep ’em comin’!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!