Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lesson #15:

Lesson #15: Hone Your Craft While Indulging Your Passion

That title was hard to write and perhaps a bit confusing. It's often hard to create a title that encapsulates everything I want to write about in a concise and interest-grabbing way.

What the title could have been is: Things I'm Going to Share With You About Ways to Expand Your Life While Also Doing Something You Love

...that still may sound confusing. Alas, let me just begin. 

Seems I'm on a particular theme here recently, that being TRAVEL. My blog is about much more than just travel, however, I find myself harping on it because it really has helped to form the me that is vibrant, curious, life-loving and a bit more interesting than if I had just stayed at home. And since my blog is about learning lessons and sharing them with the world, why not share some more on my favorite topic! (Travel...if you hadn't already guessed). 

So, you want to finally do it. You've finished school (college or high school) and you are ready to open up your world. You've decided you want to work with kids now you want resources. Here are some tools to help you navigate these opportunities. Other sites I will reference have even more information to help you out. Just do some good research then, BAM, go for it! 

Bunac is an organization in which I have participated. It grants you a temporary work visa in another country, (those being in the Commonwealth) and guides you in the process of finding a job, housing, and basically setting you up for a 6 month- yearlong work experience in another country. It's FABULOUS but is limited to certain restrictions, depending on the country:
  •  Age Restrictions (must be 18+ and often under 30)
  • Financial Responsibility (must have secured funds to support yourself for a given amount of time)
  • Must be recent college graduate ( can't go if you've graduated 2-3 years ago)
I'd recommend doing further research on the country you'd like to work in and find out what their requirements are. The advantage to securing this type of working visa is that you have tons of jobs available for you to choose from. They have live job listings available for each country so that you can secure something before leaving.

Check out the current job listings for Australia:

Current Available Jobs = 713
Generic Jobs
06-06-2013 Housekeeping
QLD - Mt Tamborine

Required a casual Housekeeper for approximately 24 hours per week. Weekend work is required although no nights/evenings are included.
06-06-2013 Wait staff
QLD - Beaumaris

Experienced wait person and assistant floor manager for busy Restaurant. Full time and Part time positions. Looking for outgoing and service orientated persons. Must able to work in fast pace environment and have own transport.
06-06-2013 Waitstaff
QLD - Cairns

Looking for a waiter/waitress Previous experience in a similar role essential. You will be required to; Greet guests Provide full a la carte service Upsell products Offer Food and Wine knowledge Cocktail knowledge Use a POS system Handle cash Work in a team Clean
06-06-2013 Waiting staff
QLD - Cairns

Seeking waiting staff Experience in contemporary Australian dining and food and wine knowledge essential. Approximately 30 hours a week available for the right candidate with the wage rate $20 - $25 per hour. You will be required to: Greet customers Follow an order of service Share knowledge of Food and Wine Use a POS system Handle money Be a team player Make cocktails
06-06-2013 Short order cook
QLD - Sunshine Coast

Must be experience cooking fish and chips ,operating 3x deep fryers and grill cooking.Immediate start.

Granted these may not be your dream jobs, but it's just the first few I came across. And, you aren't limited to just the jobs that appear in the job post site. The world is your oyster. 

I have not experienced this organization personally but I have heard about it. If you are interested in working with kids, starting out at summer camps is one of the best routes. You get lots of resume-building kid experience (if that's what you're also looking for) plus it's FUN. This organization seems to have a plethora of camps, located in the USA and abroad. If traveling outside the US is too much at first, why not try a stint in the USA. That way you have it under your belt and maybe the following year, with more experience and know-how, you'll be ready to take that next step. 

This organization links you up to volunteer, teaching or intern experiences. It can also direct you to securing a TEFL teaching certificate in order to teach English in other countries. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. 

There are also other resources for Au Pairing, these are just the two that I have used. Please see my post here or here for more information on becoming an Au Pair.  

This is another great resource. It has a lot of volunteering options, but can easily connect you to work with kids and can make that part of your travels. If you have money already saved up but would like the experience of working with kids, either for your resume, for your personal well-being, or because you want to give back, this is a great organization. We used them often when I was a travel agent for STA Travel. 

Now that I've given a few resources, here is some personal advice: 

If you feel you don't have any experience working with kids and think you won't be qualified or won't know what to do, try volunteering at a local Boys and Girls Club, school, or church. See if they need help with any of their functions that involve children. Ask a teacher you know if they need help in the classroom or if you can come read to the class one day. Become a mentor. Or a tutor. Of course, be prepared for some no's due to security. Also be prepared to be heavily screened. But that is a necessity and I'd rather go through the annoying screening to know that our kids are being kept safe. Once you feel like you've spent enough time around kids to feel confident (it shouldn't take that long, they're a pretty easy audience) then go out and start applying for some of the jobs listed above. 

What's that? You want to teach kids? As in a profession here in the States? Well...that is a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day. But it's a wonderful profession and I'd be happy to share that information in the near future. 

But for now, all you dreamers, wind catchers, wanderlusters, do your research and get out there. The world awaits. 

“Some girls need men to take them places. Others just click their heels, spread their own wings, and fly." - Coco J. Ginger

Lesson #14:

Lesson #14: Think Outside The Box 

Travel is a beautiful thing. I've mentioned it already on this blog, but I wanted to reiterate the importance of this topic because it matters to me and I hope it inspires you. 

I think it is essential for the opening of the heart and the expansion of the mind to get out of your day-to-day routine and narrow perspectives.There are a lot of people out there who assume that my travels in my early to mid 20s was because I had wealthy parents. That is false. My parents paid for two semesters of study abroad and then said "Fin". I studied abroad one more semester (I couldn't help myself) and this time financed it all alone. It wasn't easy - I had to work and save all the money I was earning. I had to apply for grants and scholarships (which I received) and I had to be proactive about budgeting. But it was worth it to me. And I made it happen. 

There are many, many ways you can make your dreams happen. Some people say, "I'll never travel the world, or never get to go to that place I've always wanted to go, because I'll never be rich enough." FALSE! The world is a big and wonderful place full of opportunity and you just have to put yourself out there in it to experience all it has to give to you. Seek out opportunities, and then (like I've said before) JUST DO IT

I opted to travel around by myself for a year in 2005. I had to do a variety of jobs, some great, some not. But I managed to support myself the entire year and managed to see amazing places, meet amazing people and have experiences that I will remember for a lifetime. 

One of the ways I managed to travel for so long was by becoming an Au Pair. It was great because I was saving money on living expenses while also earning money to be used later on in my travels. 

I've written about this experience in a guest post for the blog Escape Normal. If you have not already visited this blog, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It has all sorts of ideas for ways to incorporate travel into your life. Ways that perhaps you may not have ever dreamed of...

Did you know you can work on farms during harvest seasons for room and board? 

Did you know you can work at summer camps in other countries? I've even seen a few on the coast of France....hello!

The important thing is that if you dream of doing this, by gosh-golly, go do it. You really do only live once (and I know that's a slogan now, or at least I've seen it on T-shirts and wrist bands...YOLO!) but's true. If you don't think you're going to land on that giant pot of gold any time soon, then do it without the gold! 

People are very willing to take your picture when traveling solo. I didn't feel bad asking on several occasions.

An interesting mode of transportation...Santorini, Greece

On the Via dell'Amore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Someone got a kick out of making this statue (Manneken Pis, Brussels)

Rome, Italy

Salamanca, Spain

Beautiful sunsets...this one in Sevilla, Spain was amazing

Costa Brava, Spain
Plenty of time to figure out how to be a true Italian, Rome, Italy

Tours seem cheesy, but you actually do quite a lot and meet great people. Plus...excellent photo ops! Scotland

Wandering streets...Spain

Again...never miss an opportunity to witness a sunset. This one is in Scotland.

 Thanks to Jacqueline over at Escape Normal ( for allowing me to write on my experience as an Au Pair! I hope it inspires anyone out there who is interested in stepping outside that box and experiencing the life they dream of. 

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." -Steve Jobs

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lesson #13:

Lesson #13: Take Time Out to Help

Photo Credit: Seyed Mostafa Zamani

This lesson came from an incident that happened this morning.

My mom and I were on our way to our Pure Barre class and were about to make a turn out onto the road when I happened to see a large turtle in the middle of the road.

This road is not a high speed road (it's a neighborhood road with a 30 mph speed limit) but in the morning there is quite a bit of car traffic.

We weren't sure what to do...we could've taken a left and gotten out of the car to help the turtle but at the time the traffic wouldn't stop so we had to just watch and brace ourselves. Out of instinct, I rolled down my window and yelled out to the turtle to "Hurry up! Go, turtle, go!". My mom frantically reminded me that the turtle can't understand me.

So, we were forced to watch, in agony, as the cars went by in each lane one by one. I watched different cars do different things. The turtle had pretty much made it to the center stripe and was kind of stuck there. At one point, just as the turtle had inched a little further into the left lane, two cars were approaching in both lanes from opposite directions. I was sweating bullets by this point. Luckily both cars managed to find away around - one pulled over far enough to the right to allow the opposite car to make its way around the turtle. I watched this happen a couple times to a couple of different cars. I was proud of my neighbors for being aware of what's in the road and for finding a compassionate way to deal with it.

HOWEVER, there were also a few people who did not share this compassion. I saw one car zoom within centimeters of hitting the turtle without even slowing down. Perhaps they didn't see (this turtle was extremely large, mind you...) so in that case, I worry about them being allowed to drive in the first place.

Another was on their cell phone and clearly didn't even realize that the car in the opposite lane was stopping so that they could try to make their way around the turtle. She also zoomed past without even bothering to notice that every other car around her was trying to find a careful way to maneuver themselves around the turtle without hitting it.

Finally a lady came to a stop in the middle of the road, got out of her car, picked up the turtle and walked across the oncoming lane to the field down to the pond on the other side where she placed the turtle. I was so grateful to this lady, who took the one extra minute of her time to save the turtle and clear the road for everyone else.

Unfortunately, not everyone shared my gratitude.

An older man drove up behind her car as she was getting the turtle. My mom and I watched as he became irate, pounding on the steering wheel and trying to find a way to go around her car. It literally only took her a minute, maybe even less, to get the turtle out of the road. What is so important that you cannot wait a minute? Then, as she was getting back into her car, he dangerously veered around her vehicle, almost hitting oncoming traffic as he did so, and squealed off down the 30mph neighborhood road. I was appalled. Mostly because that extra minute for the extra good deed meant so much to me with regards to restoring my faith in humanity and my belief in the goodness of the human spirit and soul.

There are many types of people out there. Some would've rather run the turtle over rather than stop their vehicle. Because the turtle, to them, means nothing. It gives them nothing, it does nothing for them so why do they care? It's a shame, really, that people have that mentality. As if their life on this Earth is so much more precious than any other - including that of some other humans. I know it's just a turtle, but to me that kind of compassion speaks of so much more.

Take the time to help one another. Offer to open the door, help carry a grocery bag to someone's car, smile and say hi to someone, let someone in front of you while sitting in traffic. Help a turtle cross a road. These little things all become part of something greater, and that something is the building of a more compassionate, just, and peaceful world.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” - Charles Dickens