I Learn by Going Where I Have to Go

So, when I moved to LA, I struggled with how to stay in contact with my people back home. I sought out one of the greatest minds I could find, but not much came of it.

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Einstein and I got…distracted.

Years later, I still struggled with this idea of how to remain connected. I made another friend while out and about for a short stay in New Orleans.

 

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FDR and I thinking deeply before lightning struck!

Then it happened – we looked each other in the eyes and at the same time said, “A blog!” Well, I looked at a statue before excitedly talked to then hugged it, but I digress.

I will be mostly posting about my travel adventures as well as fitness, exercise, health, and yoga, but if other topics appeal, who am I to hold back?!  First, I’ll start over with some background to catch you up.  Then we’ll get to my coming changes. I have always connected with the poem “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke, himself a Michigander.  I will drop quotes from the poem throughout this post.

I will be leaving behind two important parts of my life in the beginning of 2017: my career and my home (again).

Teaching Time

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.” My journey into education began after college when I moved from my Michigan home to LA in order to give back through full time volunteering for the nonprofit City Year. The hardships I saw in the Los Angeles Unified School District, along with the idealism instilled in me by my fellow service members and the determined kids we served, left me wanting to do more. “We think by feeling. What is there to know?”

Next, I went to Baltimore in pursuit of a degree, a teacher’s certificate, and a means for making an impact on the national dropout crisis.

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We were pretty excited to be masters!

I hit the ground running with a full time internship which led to my first teaching post.  This in turn led to my second teaching position sending me back home to Dearborn, Michigan. Through these positions, I balanced teaching with several extra-curriculars including: Track and Cross Country coach, Gay-Straight Alliance co-sponsor (rebranded to the Gender and Sexuality Alliance), Link Crew Coordinator (peer mentorship program), Poetry Club Sponsor, After School Tutor, etc.  I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the time and opportunities that I found in education. That is not to say this time was without my share of hardships, but let’s not do that here.

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It has been my goal to be the type of teacher I wish I had when I was a struggling adolescent.  Viking English teacher was one wish.

But…

Great Nature has another thing to do/To you and me…”  Through all this, there was a nagging sense of more.  I have grown incredibly during my time in education.  I have become a more professional, capable person because of the last seven plus years.  However, I had been getting more of a sense that my extended time of giving back was coming to a close and the next step for me is to become a better student of the world and of myself. Over these years in education, I have drifted away from two of my passions: writing and exploration. “I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.”

The Plan

In furtherance of both of these ends, I left my school and teaching position at the end of the semester (January 27).  I will begin managing content, writing copy, and editing previous writing for client’s business needs.  I will be doing this on a freelance basis so my laptop will be my mobile office. (Also, just throwing this out there, if you know anyone that needs a well-read, competent, thorough, humble writer, I’m your guy!) I will be living thriftily (to put it mildly), but I will be able to live abroad and travel extensively – which I can’t wait to begin!  My first stop will be a month and a half in London, England.  I expect great change this year and welcome it.  Initially, I was afraid to leave the relative stability of teaching, but I was more worried about an opportunity I had not taken. “This shaking keeps me steady.”

Whenever my doubts kick up, I remember I have managed 15+ hour days, 4000 volunteer hours over the course of 20 months, interning and going to school (full time for each), working multiple jobs simultaneously, and, worst of all, the inhumanity of a student not appreciating a pun!  Even though I am moving away from teaching, I will carry the memories, advice, and lessons gained into this next adventure. “What falls away is always. And is near.”  I look towards this year as an opportunity to grow in a more authentic direction and, more importantly, see what foreign puns are out there.

I learned by going where I have to go which for now is beyond my home country.  It’s been interesting, but goodbye for now America.

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