My fingers are trembling just a little bit at the moment. It’s hard to believe that, after months of planning, I can finally tell everyone some of the biggest news of my life thus far.
I have officially resigned from my position as a kindergarten teacher + will not be returning in the fall. I am getting my house ready to be put on the market in just a few weeks. I’m leaving what I am convinced is one of the best cities to live, a phenomenal school community, + the best friends and family that a girl could ask for. I’m feeling ecstatic, terrified, sad….so many mixed emotions. And for what what?
I am going to see the world + I’m going to do it now. Okay, actually August/September, but that’s pretty much almost now.
While some of you know this has been on my heart for years, it may come as a shock to others. From those who have been in the know, I have received lots of questions + encouragement over the past few months. I have compiled a list of questions I have been asked frequently by close friends + family to hopefully better explain where the heck this is all coming from!
Erin, is this an Eat, Pray, Love situation? (Translation: are you running away after your recent failed relationship to find yourself?)
Side note: I’m addressing this because I still have people who don’t even know we’ve broken up. I’ve had at least three people ask me about it this week. Two thought I was going on this trip with him….sooooooo…..is this an Eat, Pray, Love situation? Yes + no. Most importantly, I don’t believe that the relationship was a failure, even though it didn’t last. It was with him where these dreams that I had pushed aside for so long began to resurface. Having someone to not only dream about the future with, but also who believed in me + supported my dream, was powerful. And exhilarating.
Unfortunately, the relationship itself could not withstand some pretty big hurdles (long-distance is no joke, y’all). It was just not our time. But, without the relationship, I’m not sure if I would have the courage to be embarking on this journey. I also know that if we were still together, this adventure probably wouldn’t be happening right now….it would still just be a dream, + not my reality. So there’s that. But I would argue that I’m not running away. I still have the occasional ups + downs, but I’ve grieved the relationship. And now I just want to go exploring.
When did you first know that you wanted to travel long-term?
Back in 2008. I was 24 + had been living in Nashville for about a year + a half. I was working at Dell, + many of my friends were in the process of buying their first home. I wasn’t extremely happy with my job in sales. I mean….I loved the people I worked with + I’m grateful for the work experience, but it just wasn’t for me. I was considering leaving my job + traveling at that point in time. I actually began the application process to participate in The World Race, a ministry-based trip where you travel to 13 countries in 13 months, serving in various capacities in each location. My thoughts at the time were…..do this trip OR be responsible, keep your big girl job, + buy a house. Grown up things. You can guess what decision I made.
Ironically enough, I was laid off of my job three months after purchasing my home. This is the first time I really remember throwing caution to the wind. I then took my severance package + went on a 3 1/2 week European adventure with my friend Jesse. I could have used that money in a much more responsible way. 8 years later I still have zero regret. Upon my return, I went back to my responsible self + started graduate school in pursuit of my masters. There I found one of my many true loves: teaching.
If you enjoy teaching, why are you leaving?
Call me crazy, but I don’t believe that we have just one passion in life. I love teaching. I especially love kindergarten + seeing the light bulbs go off when a new concept clicks. My favorite is hearing the excitement in their voices when they read a book independently for the first time. That is one of the reasons that I became a teacher. Because I LOVE reading, writing, and creating, + I wanted to share that love with little people. I have had six wonderful years teaching at an amazing school with wonderful coworkers, families, + students, but I believe that now is the time to take a break to pursue some of my other passions.
I adore creating resources for teachers to use with their students. I’ve been creating for over 3 ½ years and I’m in love. I want to write a book. I also have some secrets up my sleeve of what is to come + will share them once the time is right. I want to travel. I want to meet people with a completely different world view than I have + hear their stories. I want to do a lot of things.
I have no doubt I am going to miss being in the classroom. Just the other day, I cried all the way home thinking about how much I am going to miss my students. This has not been an easy decision.But….
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
I’m not sure when I will be back in the classroom. I like to think I will be back eventually. But I know that right now, everything has fallen into place to give me this opportunity. This is the right time in my life to explore, dream, + discover. Until then, I promise I will blog incessantly, send post cards, + visit whenever possible.
Wow, so you’re just not going to work for a year?
This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions. In addition to teaching, I have been creating digital resources for several years. I will continue to create while I am abroad. As long as I have a computer + an internet connection, I can work. So, yes, I plan on working. It just might be while lying in a hammock on a beach with a fruity beverage in my hand.
How long will you be traveling?
Honestly, I don’t know. My goal is one year. I may come back for a visit in between. I’ve never done this, so I have no idea. I’ll let you know.
But where is Percy going to live?
If you have spent more than a few hours with me, you know how much I am obsessed with my cat, Percy. Have no fear, friends! Percy will be well taken care of in my absence at the Casa de Coley in Memphis (i.e. my parents). I plan on FaceTiming with her frequently.
Are you going on this trip alone?
Maybe! I have a good friend who may be accompanying me for part or all of my trip. That is TBD. I will also be taking reservations from friends + family who want to come meet me abroad. But, yes, there is a possibility of being alone some of the time. Don’t worry, friends. I promise to take some self-defense classes before I go + get some type of taser ring!? I think that’s what they’re called.
So where are you going?
Everywhere! I am an ENFJ. And while I like some spontaneity, I enjoy routine and having a basic plan. An outline, if you will. I do not have everything nailed down, + I am trying to leave room to live in the moment + decide more down the road. BUT I know you want to know SOMETHING…..but, alas, you will have to wait just a little bit longer for me to announce my first destination. Once it’s final, I will let you know. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail (look over in the right hand column!) to get updates sent to your inbox + you will be the first to know.
Well, my friends, I am emotionally exhausted after writing all of this. I hope you know how much I love + value each of you, + I am beyond excited to share my adventures with you through this blog while I am gone. If you have a question that I didn’t answer, please don’t hesitate to reach out + ask. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon. Until then, have a wonderful Easter weekend with your friends + families.