Ryan and Katie happy teaching in Taiwan 750

Teaching in Taiwan: An Interview with Teacher Katie and Teacher Ryan

I often get asked about my experiences of ESL teaching in Taiwan by people who are thinking about making the move and starting a new career on the island. What I always emphasise is that everyone’s experience of teaching in Taiwan is different – variables such as school and branch, workload, location, personality and whether you’re going solo or as a couple can be make or break. I’m interviewing different teachers in Taiwan to find out their thoughts on island life, ESL teaching and travelling. This interview is part of the Teaching in Taiwan series.

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Panajachel Lake Atitlan Guatemala morning - charlie on travel header

Why You Should Only Visit Panajachel in the Morning

When we docked in Panajachel, the main town in Lake Atitlan, early on a Saturday morning, our first impressions were that actually it wasn’t as crowded as we’d expected. We hadn’t planned on staying in the town but after a night on Jaibalito, which was lovely but rural, we decided we’d be better off staying in Pana so that we could take the bus directly from there back to Antigua the following morning.

We were wrong.

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Typical Guatemala breakfast at Deli Jasmin Panajachel Lake Atitlan - Charlie on Travel header

Cafés for Healthy Eaters at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

I’m a self-confessed healthy eater. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I want to eat fresh veggies and good grains all the time. On my weekend away at Lake Atitlan, I stopped by three of the lakeside towns – San Pedro, Jaibalito and Panajachel – and was excited to find that each place had some healthy, organic and even veggie places to keep my belly full. Here are the most delicious of the healthy cafés I came across at Lake Atitlan.

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Little Corn Island - Charlie on Travel 6

Simple Travel on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

The Corn Islands are a Caribbean cliché located 70 km off the Nicaraguan coastline, complete with virginal white beaches, trouble free skies and soothing blue waters. Shack up in a beach hut by the sea for under £14 ($20), and enjoy a carefree culture that is more Creole than Español. Whilst Big Corn Island is the first stop for travellers, the smaller and generally more loved of the two islands is Little Corn.

In most places, when you step out of the airport you are greeted by someone holding a sign with your name and a nice clean car. On Little Corn Island, you’ll jump out of a boat and be greeted by someone with a sign holding your name and a fairly heavy-duty wheelbarrow. Little Corn simply isn’t like anywhere else, and the fact that there are no cars on the island is just one of them. Don’t get too excited – that wheelbarrow’s not for you. It’s for your luggage, which will be wheeled along a dirt track to your little hut on the beach.

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Liezl and Darren at HESS teaching in taiwan header - Charlie on Travel

Teaching in Taiwan: An Interview with Teacher Liezl

I often get asked about my experiences of ESL teaching in Taiwan by people who are thinking about making the move and starting a new career on the island. What I always emphasise is that everyone’s experience of teaching in Taiwan is different – variables such as school and branch, workload, location, personality and whether you’re going solo or as a couple can be make or break. I’m interviewing different teachers in Taiwan to find out their thoughts on island life, ESL teaching and travelling. This interview is part of the Teaching in Taiwan series.

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Charlie and Luke in Taiwan - Charlie on Travel

Why I’ll Never Forget This Small Town on Taiwan’s East Coast

After months of searching for ESL teaching jobs which would accommodate a couple in the same school, or at the very least in the same town, back in 2012, we finally had an offer from one of Taiwan’s largest language schools. We pretty much immediately accepted and only weeks later were in Taipei ready for a crash course of teacher training. Even when we were on the training course, we had absolutely no idea what part of Taiwan we would be living in.

Like many ESL teachers in Taiwan, we accepted a conditional contract offer over the internet. As part of this arrangement, the contract is only signed if you pass your teacher training course in Taipei. You can specify beforehand three location preferences but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be located there and you won’t find out until the last day of training. Luke and I were so desperate to be located together that we decided to make an open application, not specifying any desired locations.

This could have totally backfired on us. Fortunately, it didn’t.

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Charlie Walking in Wareham small header

Feeling Lost at Home and at Home on the Road

It’s a strange thing to admit to yourself: that you can feel at home on the road and just kind of lost in the familiar place that you know as home.

It’s a feeling that I’ve only just come to realise since travelling home to the UK from Nicaragua a couple of weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like being at home because I do really miss my family when I’m away and I do appreciate the comfortable feeling that comes with being home. It’s just that I never made my home here.

I never got that job commuting into London, I never moved into that first time flat, and I never decided that it was time to settle. When I graduated from university, I moved abroad with Luke almost right away. We spent a year teaching in Taiwan, and sure we worked full-time and lived in an apartment like most people do, but we also travelled a lot.

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Small Ometepe Island Punta Jesus Maria - Charlie on Travel

The Cult Behind Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island

“We originally came to Ometepe to work at the Hospedaje Central,” said the homeowner, “that was before we heard the rumours of the violent cult going on behind it.”

When we arrived back on Ometepe Island, we were tired, thirsty and ready to put our feet up. We dumped our bags and headed right over to Hospedaje Central (also known as El Indio Viejo) for some passionfruit juice and cheap Tonas. The hostel is one of the bigger and more lively joints in town, attracting a lot of young, free-spirited backpackers. Rainbow coloured ribbons hang from wide basket lamp shades, the walls are shabby and the ceiling is exposed bare barn house timbers. Everything is painted in bright colours, from the bar stools to the murals on the walls.

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Raw vegan travel - Catherine Forest

What Vegetarian and Vegan Travellers Eat on the Road

As vegetarian – and even more so as vegan – travellers, the one question we often get asked is what do you actually eat? For a non-vegetarian traveller, the idea of finding food which doesn’t come with meat included while on the road can seem like an impossible task. There’s no doubt that it requires a bit of extra effort to find good vegetarian and vegan food while travelling, but it’s wholly possible and when you’re actually looking out for it, it’s much easier.

I asked five travel bloggers who have vegetarian, vegan or raw diets what they eat in order to keep healthy on a typical day while travelling.

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Boat to Ometepe Island Nicaragua - Charlie on Travel

Why We Came Back to Ometepe Island in a Heartbeat

This little volcanic island out in Lake Nicaragua is one of those incredible places that you think you’ll only get to see once. As it turns out, we’re here for a second time.

We have fond memories of Ometepe Island. It was our first time climbing an active volcano, our first encounter with a howler monkey, and our first opportunity to rent a scooter and relive our Taiwan scootering days. When we left, we were practically glowing with what a good time we’d had and we were pretty sure that it was one of those once in a life time visits.

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