Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2018 ESL Derby

In the field of opportunity It's plowing time again
There ain't no way of telling where these seeds will rise or when
 -- Neil Young

With all due respects to Neil it is time to start planting my own seeds of opportunity.....that makes no sense and sounds as stupid as anything I have ever written. Anyways it is research and planning time. I have 8 months left on my contract here in China but we all know how quickly time marches on  so it is time to start thinking about securing my next job. Granted it is not mandatory to have a job to go to but it sure takes a burden off while you are traveling to that destination. Without a job it could be very easy to wander SE Asia and have a year get away from me, or two. That would be great if I was in my 20s but I crossed and blew up that bridge many miles ago.

With that being said I have secured a tutor position with 2 different online companies. ALO7 and CiMok Tutors Online. I have chosen the CiMok Tutors because they are willing to work with me and give me the flexibility that I want. I have kept my account with ALO7 as a backup. I really liked their platform and processes of hiring and training. I realized that there must be commitment on my part and with schools peak times very cyclical, wandering for 4 months and then finding a home for 8 to teach is a great option. Finding a job that gives me a set schedule and teach online part time at night is an idea situation and my goal for this next step on my journey.

The following is a list of places that are the most likely destinations after my contract finishes in March 2018.

The betting favorite would be Vietnam. For reasons unexplained it has a magical ring to it for me. Thirty years ago Vietnam was a "war" and not a country. I would be happy to be a part of spreading the joy about Vietnam as I have done for Nicaragua. Everything I read and the videos I have watched are outstanding. Sure it has its challenges but every country I have been to does. There is Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Ming City (Saigon) and to many places in between. I think living in any of these three cities would exceptional. Hanoi as the modern colonial town, Hue the ancient capital and Saigon the free wheeling city of the south.  Northern Vietnam borders South Eastern China which could limit travel time in between depending on a start date but those things always work themselves out.

The Betting Favorite  Opening line 3 - 1
July 8: No Weakness 3 - 1

Mysterious Cambodia is still what many countries including China use to be for ESL teachers. Show up and you will find a job with decent pay.  Everything points to a good salary similar to China with the cost of living much less expensive.  Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, Khmer history and the brutal Pol Pot with the Killing Fields. Like Vietnam the is a country that has come out of decades of war and brutal civil strife to embrace the future. Cambodia would be my favorite but to get there I would travel through Vietnam. Keep in my this is my first choice and I may not be ready to work again when I get to Vietnam

Will Not Fade  Opening line 4 - 1 
July 8: Lurking 4 - 1

I like China but it I would need a serious offer on my next contract of cash and extra vacation time to stay. The fact that I am already here, set up and the living is easy and comfortable. The country is so big and there is still much to explore plus it is the only jumping off spot into North Korea. That in itself will kept it among the favorites.

A Strong Contender  Opening line 6 - 1
July 8: Showing Positive Signs 5 - 1

The late entry into this race and dark horse to pull out a victory is Russia.  Why not Russia? Living and working in Moscow or St. Petersburg or going off the map into the Siberian towns screaming for teachers. Who would not want to at Kamchatka or Urktusk onto their journey as a tribute to the board game RISK. Areas so vast and a history so complex this would be a satisfying challenge unlike any others. Russia is not completely off the table.

Risky Pick  Opening line 99 - 1 
July 8: - Renewed Interest 15 - 1

A gleaming paradise with everything I could ask for and like Mexico and China before Thailand has never been on my radar. I have come to realize that the "not on my radar countries" tend to do very well with me when decision time comes. Bangkok, Full moon parties, picturesque beaches, hidden island and great food. What is not to love. I think the odds would be higher but with Vietnam and Cambodia running 1 and 1A and China a comfortable third Thailand may be a country that becomes a travel destination and not a teaching destination. It does have the advantage of being a "work online" only location otherwise the odd would be higher.

A Big Jump in Class  Opening line 15 - 1
July 8: Falling Back 20 - 1

Nepal would be the clear but favorite if this was the end 2018 and I had experienced SE Asia. Unfortunately Nepal becomes a launching point into India and Sri Lanka which is in the opposite direction of where I want to go next year. The jobs are also very low paying so it would take another dedicated teaching location to save the money to go there. I think Nepal would be a 6 month setup instead of the standard year. However the trekking lure is strong but once I visit Tibet this October and view Mt. Everest I suspect that may hold me until next year.

Still Needs Some Work 30 - 1
July 8: Showing A Spark 22 - 1 

Mongolia has been high on my list since I started teaching however as a next stop destination she has slipped in the rankings. For me Mongolia becomes the stepping stone to Central Asian Republics with my eyes on Mystical Georgia. Nomadic Tribesmen, The legacy that is Genghis Khan, vast expanses and the chaos of Ulaanbaatar. It is on the list only because it has been a priority for me to get there but randomly changing plans can sometimes bring the greatest results.

Pace Is To Quick Opening Line 50 - 1
July 8: Not Much There 75 - 1

It is easy to look at a map and get enthusiastic, excited and a bit overwhelmed. I think my focus now is SE Asia that will include Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Phillipines, Brunei, Indonesia including Borneo but again those who know me realize that focus is not one of my most endearing qualities sometimes. Along the way there will be stops in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea and if Kim Jong-un is not acting like a clown a trip into North Korea is still possible.

After SE Asia I really want to head in one direction if possible. I can turn East to New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, The Solomon Island, New Caledonia, Fiji, Easter Island and across the South Pacific to Chile. From there Colombia, Brazil, Suriname and Cuba before a return trip to Canada. I could  turn west into Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia,, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka up to Turkey, Greece and the Mediterranean. If possible finish with Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and back to Canada. I do not know what direction I will be going each direction will hold their own mysteries.What I don't know is how long it will but I am giving it 5 years which has me returning to Canada in the fall of 2021 or spring of 2022. That will depend on where I am when I have 6 months remaining on my passport. What I do know is that I will be having new experiences, both good and challenging, and nobody can ever take that away from

....oooh the Maldives I forgot about the Maldives!

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