Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

12 Months, 12 Countries!

Q&A with Bryan: Travel Smarts in Asia & Europe
Share this
Print this
Bryan
Travel Smarts in Asia & Europe
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
Cultural differences manifest in small ways. You'll learn to understand them by staying open-minded in all situations. Ultimately, I got over the fact that some people weren’t going to like me, and embraced those who did.
His thoughts on First Impressions
I was surprised to discover how friendly most people are abroad. The Vietnamese people were warm and kind, even in the rainy months, even in the blistering heat!
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
Looking back on everything, if I could’ve changed one thing, it would be to lighten up and have more fun.

In 2019, I traveled to 12 countries across the globe. I started in Da Nang, Vietnam, where I spent New Year’s Day, then backpacked across Eastern Europe for the summer, returning to Southeast Asia in September. I visited south Vietnam, spent three weeks in Cambodia, another three weeks in Bali, Indonesia, 10 days in New Zealand, coming back to live in Da Nang with my girlfriend, who I’d met in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

At the start of the year I was teaching English online from the US, with a six-month contract. That job initiated a major change for me: to hop on a plane and head for Beijing’s time zone. That way, I knew I’d be in sync with my students’ learning hours, instead of waking up at 5 or 6 AM on the East Coast of America to work.

I had always been interested in traveling and had seen a great deal of the U.S. by taking cross-country buses touring as a sound man for a Beatles impersonation group. In essence, my work life led me to travel, as it had for my father before me. Traveling was in my DNA. There was no way to escape it.

Working as a freelance copy editor online had allowed me to have an apartment -- and a way of life -- in South Philadelphia. But I longed for the traveling life.

I’d read about English teachers who had left their homes, entering into programs abroad to get certified to teach in foreign countries. Initially, that was my plan. I wanted something that permitted me a little more freedom to explore different cultures abroad.

Da Nang, Vietnam was a place I had read about when researching my possible future life. Online, I saw expats walking along the beach, filming themselves with big smiles, telling the world that they had made the best decision of their lives. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be free!

In the process of researching what it took to be an ESL teacher, I found that most actually worked online. This was a new discovery for me, and it’s how I found the small community of English teachers in Da Nang. There, I could teach from an inexpensive apartment, right near the beach.

Arriving abroad, I was surprised to discover how friendly most people were. The Vietnamese people were so warm and kind, even in the rainy months and the blistering heat. Cambodia was like that, too. I remember being full of wonder, exploring the main city square in Phnom Penh, an open expanse of cars and traffic underneath the reddish-orange hue of the sunset.

In Da Nang, eating pho for $2 a bowl and being able to walk to the beach for a swim in 70-degree water, blue and green and crystal clear, was like living in a dreamworld. The white sand beaches and the friendly people made me feel alive. And free.

Vietnamese people would come up to me on the beach, just to say hello and practice their English with me. And it was the same when I traveled to Turkey for a month with my Chinese girlfriend. The Turkish people I met on the streets of Antalya simply wanted to talk, to have tea or coffee and to practice their English. I had never really encountered anybody in the U.S. who wanted to have a friendly conversation with a stranger. This intrigued me to no end.

There were certain moments, though, especially in Berlin, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, where the cultural divide felt especially pronounced. I tend to dress rather casually, and before backpacking through Eastern Europe, I’d been in Southeast Asia for six months. Needless to say, my wardrobe had whittled down to the bare necessities. By the time I got to Budapest I was at the end of my laundry cycle, and I definitely got some stern looks from the locals. In Prague and Bratislava, too, I felt people staring at me -- and not out of curiosity.

If I could offer any advice about traveling abroad, it’s to be ready for anything. Cultural differences manifest in the smallest ways, and you will learn to understand them by staying open-minded in all situations, even something as simple as running out of clean clothes in a strange, distant place. Ultimately, I got over the fact that some people weren’t going to like me. And I embraced those who did. This approach helped me to be more comfortable in my shoes. Or flip flops, in my case. Getting out of my comfort zone has made me so much better at handling stressful situations.

More importantly, I encountered the overwhelming kindness of strangers. For example, while staying in Da Nang, my rented scooter broke down, leaving me and my girlfriend stranded at the beach. We walked home, leaving the bike where it was. The next day, when I went to retrieve it, Vietnamese locals approached, trying to help me get the bike started. One woman even helped me call the rental place, and the owner came within minutes, giving me a lift and offering me a new bike, free of charge. I was touched by all the locals who had reached out to help me when I needed it.

I am still traveling abroad, as a freelance copy editor and writer. But I learned a lot about myself while visiting 12 countries in the best year of my life. All the memories and moments will last a lifetime.

Looking back on everything, if I could’ve changed one thing, it would be to lighten up and have more fun. Money comes and goes, so there’s no point worrying about it.

The desire to explore the world is one that can never be extinguished. So long as you have the will and capacity to dream. Anything’s possible. Especially if you believe it to be true.

My future plans are to keep traveling and working as a freelancer. I'm still based in Da Nang, and might soon go to China. I work as a copy editor for an educational website and just recently I finished a two-week project with an online teaching company based out of China. I'd like to continue these jobs, as they help fund my life as a traveling writer.

Traveling abroad has opened up a lot of possibilities for me as a writer and a "digital nomad". I've been able to observe different cultures and to live in different places which have helped me to better understand my place in the world. I've also been able to meet many different people which has given me more confidence as a writer and human being. Living abroad can be challenging at times, but I've been able to embrace it and it's definitely something that's made me much more confident.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

Bryan’s story provides an excellent example of how time abroad can contribute to personal growth, change your career aspirations and develop strength of character. Bryan is a committed globe-trotter, and, having spent more than a year traveling, he is now a seasoned pro at cross-cultural communication in Asia and beyond. His story demonstrates the potential of online work for those interested in seeing the world. To further immerse into local culture abroad, we suggest getting involved in local groups, volunteering or interning. The online gig economy is a fantastic way to fund international travel, but getting involved in long-term face-to-face projects abroad will bring unexpected career opportunities and an increased understanding of the “deep culture” abroad.

Bryan's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Core Global Competencies
Get career-ready with this essential NEW competency model.
Global Goes Virtual in 2020!
Check out the all-new Virtual International Internships section. More cross-cultural learning tools set for release soon!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
15347
- # of # Filtered -
  • 92
92
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
1
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
2
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: Building International Skills at Home
3
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
4
9753
A Season in Sweden
5
9765
Simpatico in Florence
6
9787
A Spring Semester in London
7
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
8
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
9
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
10
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
11
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
12
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
13
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
14
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
15
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
16
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
17
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
18
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
19
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
20
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
21
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
22
9737
Passionate About Panama
23
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
24
9773
Independent In India
25
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
26
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
27
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
28
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
29
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
30
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
31
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
32
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
33
9771
Learning To Love London
34
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
35
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
36
9762
American Freshman In London
37
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
38
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
39
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
40
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
41
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
42
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
43
10851
Tips From Tasmania
44
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
45
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
46
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
47
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
48
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
49
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
50
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
51
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
52
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
53
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
54
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
55
9748
Adventure In The Alps
56
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
57
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
58
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
59
9754
Building Memories In India
60
9752
Giving In Guatemala
61
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
62
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
63
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
64
10157
Changing Course In China
65
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
66
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
67
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
68
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
69
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
70
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
71
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
72
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
73
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
74
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
75
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
76
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
77
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
78
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
79
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
80
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
81
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
82
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
83
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
84
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
85
10192
Out And About In Paris
86
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
87
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
88
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
89
9756
Springtime In Spain
90
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
91
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
92
15347
All Job Boards
462
All NGOs
1433
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
54
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
28
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
71
Cross-cultural Skills
80
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
45
Health And Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
44
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
308
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
31
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Student Exchanges [under construction until 2020/08/30]
2
International Studies In The US And Canada
12
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
498
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
106
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
29
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
27
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
92
Study Abroad Resources
190
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
99
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
73
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
84
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
269
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Virtual International Internship Organizations
65
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73