Language Journeys will take a break. It may last just for a short while or for a couple of weeks or longer. At this point, I’m not sure and have decided that this is all right. I have a lot of ideas for articles in my head but at the same time, I feel that I need to look after myself at this moment in my life and Language Journeys is too much related to my job as a language teacher – naturally.
My time in Lima
All my plans for 2017 were totally messed up when I met someone online in January. I’m not going into detail but it resulted in five long distance flights and other stupid expenses which left me almost broke when I returned to South America for good in June. It also resulted in an emotional breakdown with lots of crying. Ironically, a migraine which lasted for almost four days got me out of it. I realized that I had to pull myself out of that misery, nobody else could do it for me.
I was deeply hurt and disappointed by a person who despite everything still means a lot to me but I had to understand that we’re too different. Our lives are too different, our goals in life are too different, we often don’t even share the same values and our feelings for each other were not the same. In his way, he cares about me and I hope we will stay in touch a little. Because it wasn’t only bad. Very much the opposite, he gave me a lot and these good memories are what I’d like to keep. Not the bad ones, not all the pain I’ve been through in the past couple of weeks.
My time in Lima is coming to an end now. On September 18, I will fly to Argentina. My visa for Peru is expiring and I also know that I need to leave and get my life back. It’s nevertheless not easy.
Conducting Lessons when feeling awful
Yes, I hated the start of each lesson when this terrible “How are you” question came and every time, I smiled and lied. It was only a couple of days ago when I could honestly answer that question with “fine” again. Not because everything is perfect again but because in that moment, I felt fine and not that awful and hopeless anymore.
And I owe a lot to my students. Especially during those horrible weeks between the end of July and the middle of August, they gave my day a structure. Without them, I would have probably spent most of my days in bed or surfing the internet without any purpose.
I didn’t have many lessons during those weeks which was good for my emotional condition as I wouldn’t have been able to cope with more than two to three lessons a day. However, it certainly wasn’t helpful as far as my financial situation is concerned.
I have to admit that I sometimes dreaded my lessons when I got up but they almost always turned out to be a big help and gave my life a meaning. Especially in those cases when I worked with regular students. It’s always great to talk to people from different cultures and hear about their lives, countries and habits.
The future of Language Journeys
As I mentioned above, the blog won’t disappear. I may use this break to decide about its future direction. I’ve so often thought about monetizing it but I don’t seem to have much of a business mindset. Perhaps because I’m so totally put off when I come across a blog which looks nice and once I’ve signed up for the newsletter, I’m bombarded with emails which have the only purpose to sell me something. I tried to write such an email series for Language Journeys, too but it simply didn’t feel right. I don’t want to be one of those people who claim they don’t want to sound “salesy” when this is exactly what they do.
Something might develop naturally. I don’t know and I don’t want to put myself under pressure. I’d like this blog to be a useful resource for digital nomad language teachers. However, I also see that things are becoming tougher. More and more people seem to be attracted by the digital nomad lifestyle and more and more of these people think that teaching a language (English in particular) is a great way to finance a traveling lifestyle.
Well, in the last couple of months I’ve seen more and more aspiring digital nomads pouring into the online teaching world. Often encouraged by self-appointed teacherpreneurs and teacher trainers who send them to platforms like italki while preaching at the same time how important it is to have your own business and website and be an independent teacher.
When I got started on italki five years ago, I had my first student one day after my teacher profile was approved. Nowadays, it’s not that easy anymore. Too much competition and too many teachers who charge far too little. I mean, it’s surely not your dream to teach 60 hours a week (provided you find so many students) to finance your travels, is it?
Well, so I don’t want to lure anyone into something the person may regret afterwards or which simply doesn’t work. There are too many online courses which teach you how to make money online. In my opinion, most of them just provide their creators with an income and only if you’re one of the first persons who created a course about a certain topic.
After everything went so terribly wrong this year, I don’t have any real plans at the moment. For the first time since I left Germany three years ago, I have just three weeks before leaving for a new destination and have neither looked for accommodation in Buenos Aires nor decided how long I’m going to stay there. I’m also thinking about workaway and couchsurfing, trying to combine it with my teaching but nothing has been decided yet.
After these long winter months in Lima, I need to be on the road a bit more and also hope to see more of the sun and spend some time on the beach. And there are people I want to meet along the way. My friends Luciana and Óscar are coming to Brazil for four months in November and my friend Bärbel will be in Argentina and Uruguay in October/November. I haven’t seen them since last year so it’s just about time.
And instead of constantly thinking of possibilities to make more money, I’d rather like to spend more time exploring my surroundings and hopefully meeting some new and interesting people along the way. Being little sociable doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in people at all, after all.
My friend Bärbel has always been much more of an inspiration to me than all those people who run successful (online) businesses. She has been traveling the world since 2008 and has been doing this by working as a volunteer on farms. When you work on a farm in Switzerland, you get paid, by the way. She doesn’t have to worry about internet speed but she has a wonderful blog (written in German) with awesome pictures from all over the world.
Well, so that’s it for a while. Language Journeys will be back with new articles when I feel in the mood to write and publish them.