Five years ago, if you asked me where I see my life heading, I never could have articulated anywhere near what it is like for me today. And it’s thrilling! Some days, I barely even recognize the person I have turned out to be, but it’s refreshing and honestly exhilarating. I did the typical thing where I graduated high school and attended college. During which time, however, I never took time to travel or fulfill my time with hobbies or activities I enjoyed. I worked and studied. But I think the events which occurred during and after college helped shape the person I am today.
Since I graduated from Butler University in 2017, it is almost like I’ve endured somewhat of a metamorphosis, sailing with the wind and going whichever way the wind happens to blow.
My time at Butler University taught me many valuable lessons I’ve taken to heart; one is to embrace change and to allow yourself to be vulnerable in situations so that you can grow into a better person. This is about my transformation – how I came to be Teacher Taylor Travels and what I should expect of myself next.
Anyone who knows me from my more distant past would never picture me – known today as Teacher Taylor Travels – living out of a 4Runner, traveling to miraculous places, and climbing to my limits in: mountains, canyons, and gorges. But, one thing has not faltered: my passion, love, and appreciation for teaching. I’ve always been proud of my teaching career and energized by my students I build relationships with.
For me, teaching is as natural as breathing. It’s almost like I was made to teach. Teaching takes on many forms, too. I have been a classroom teacher, mentor, climbing instructor, and online English teacher. Education brings out the best in me. I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s like eating a PB&J, but not having the PB. It’s no good. No one wants either a PB or J. They want it all. And so do I.
With my lifestyle being primarily focused on traveling and climbing, I was challenged to find a way to incorporate teaching into my life –without it, I knew part of my heart would be missing. In February of 2018, I discovered that by teaching English online, it would offer me the flexibility to manage my own schedule but still offer as many opportunities as I desired to help my students grow. I could continue to make genuine connections and to help students realize the gift of education. After figuring out how I could teach and travel, I began my ongoing journey as Teacher Taylor Travels in October, 2018.
Since then, I’ve been growing more and more each day. I still find opportunities to challenge myself as an educator. In tandem, the natural beauty of the world has wholesomely invited me in. I live for adventure and for making a difference. Staying true to who I am, I continue to influence the lives of my students as they continue to influence my own.
Teaching, Climbing, and Traveling
I often am asked, “do you miss teaching in the classroom? Why are you traveling and living out of a car? How long will you be traveling?” Well, for me it’s simple: I want to travel and see what this world has to offer before it’s too late. Yes, I yearn to be back in the classroom on lonely and rainy days, but there’s still time for that. I taught in the classroom for two years before deciding to travel. With the exception of the breaks all schools get, I was limited to when I could travel and how long I could be gone. It was pretty limiting, and I didn’t like this all that much.
I believe this direction I’ve pursued is a necessary experience. I want to see what’s out there, meet new people, and experience as much as I can. When I inevitably again enter the classroom again, I’ll have so much more to offer to my students and colleagues. Truthfully, teaching takes on many forms. The true gift of teaching is participating in one’s growth of learning – and I do that with climbing each day.
‘Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow‘
A new acquaintance of mine shared some words of wisdom one day at a rock climbing wall: “Live for today, plan for tomorrow.” And so, I am planning for tomorrow, but living for today. Growing up, I never had a chance to explore like I am doing today. My family couldn’t really afford luxurious vacations – let alone a vacation at all. So much of what many had already experienced, I had yet to be exposed to. Butler is full of such diversity and my colleagues and professors seemed to have really lived quite a life, and I suppose I was inspired to do the same. After graduating, taught two wonderful years, but something was missing. I longed to explore. I’m so grateful to have found a way for me to have my cake and eat it, too.
Just because you leave college with an education degree, doesn’t necessarily mean you are limited to the classroom and to be the best classroom teacher you can be. Yes, that’s an option and the most common one.
But my imagination, my professors, and my colleagues helped me realize that there are many colorful and creative ways to turn your education degree into a career that suits your hopes, dreams, and lifestyle. My lifestyle happens to encompass the following: teaching, climbing, and traveling. It wasn’t easy – anything that means something to you takes a lot of effort to keep around. I started a blog, am trying to have some type of presence on Instagram, and am continuing to share my story as a long-term traveler with people I meet and who are interested. But most importantly, I’m continuing to teach as often as I want and am able.
Cheers to the Climbing Community!
My typical days are relatively stress-free. YES! A teacher can have a stress-free day. I really enjoy how my life has turned out thus far. For instance, I teach when I have stable Internet connection; I rock climb when the weather is cooperative; I travel as often as I possibly can. Then, I have the greatest privilege of storytelling through my blog and in-person encounters. Five years ago, my prediction on how my life would turn out could not have mustered a single ounce of accuracy into how my life is today. And I think that is one of the most spectacular parts: I overcame my fears and took a leap of faith into unfamiliar territory. But never once did I waver on the importance of education. I was determined to continue to teach, and I found a way to become Teacher Taylor Travels.
I don’t really have definitive plans for the future. All I know is that as I write this, my own concrete plans are to be in Vegas to meet up with some friends for rock climbing shenanigans at the end of March.
I’ve enjoyed this experience because I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about myself, improve my climbing game, and meet some interesting people I often keep in touch with. I think the climbing community makes the experience more wholesome. The people are so interesting. I’ve met computer programmers, van-lifers, teachers, etc. but we all share this bond through rock climbing that somehow keeps us all together and connected. No matter where my climbing adventures have taken me, I’ve always felt welcome, supported, and comfortable. There’s just something about people who are rock climbers that make it so easy to make new friends.
I’m Lucky to be a Climber
The climbing community is saturated with love, respect, and a feeling of family. Everyone fits in, no matter where you come from or what grade you are climbing. You’re accepted as you are. Even as I am writing this in Potrero Chico, Mexico, I’m sharing a couch with new comrades I have come to know as close friends I can trust. There’s a mother with her two darling children; a lone traveler who enjoys playing chess; and a strong independent woman who has traveled to some amazing places and shares her knowledge of the world with me. We all come from different places, but together, we are a close community of climbers.
Without taking that leap of faith and traveling to pursue my dream of rock climbing, I never could have met the people I’ve had the honor of connecting with. And I also could not have learned as much about myself as I have today. Traveling, teaching, and climbing is proving to be such a good choice. I’m excited for my next adventure!
To learn more, find me on Facebook (Teacher Taylor Travels) or Instagram (@teachonclimbon). If you’re already involved in the climbing community, then you know that it’s such an awesome community to find yourself connected with! I hope to connect with you on social media so we can share our climbs and adventures!
Happy travels. Teach on. Climb on.