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Performing spoken word at Mike Geffner’s Inspired Word Wednesday night open mic at COFFEED, Long Island City. Photo credit to Mike Geffner.
Thanks to Fulbright, I came to Czech Republic in 2014 to teach English – and I thought I’d only be there for 10 months. It turned out to be a real-life fairytale – I met my life partner, and we moved together to Denmark in 2018.
But that, obviously, wasn’t the end.
Along the way, I also met my true self: an avid traveler who is happiest exploring the great wide world; immersing myself in language, culture, and cuisine; and finding deep friendships on the road while writing it all down.
As I widen my world, I also widen my worldview, diving into questions like:
- How can we break down taboos about solo female travel?
- How does my white American upbringing impact my privilege as a traveler?
- How can I best represent my heritage and build connections as I move through the world?
I celebrated my sixth expativersary in 2020, with no plans of ending my adventures anytime soon.
Today, I believe traveling is the best way we can get to know other cultures, the world, and ourselves. Keep reading below to learn more about how I got here 👇
What Turned Me Into a Chlohemian
I had a sheltered childhood in a homogenous hometown. And I used to be really shy.
At CUNY Queens College, I discovered a vibrant community of people of many races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and belief systems. I spent 4 years tutoring Writing to a large number of international, non-natively English-speaking students. They had to learn English to travel and study – that inspired me!
Attending Queens College as a Macaulay Honors student allowed me to study abroad in Greece (2011) and Israel (2012, after first visiting Israel in 2010 through Birthright). My semester in Be’er Sheva, Israel changed my life. (I blogged briefly about it at Shai for the Semester – Shai is my Hebrew name.) The more I traveled, the more I wanted to travel. I wanted to experience new cultures and learn new languages.
In 2014-2015, I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in a small town outside of Brno, Czech Republic. History was made, and I loved my ballroom-dancing, mountain-skiing, liver-eating experience so much that I stayed three more years.
While I don’t plan to settle down anytime soon, I consider Czech Republic a second home. I speak fluent Czech and conversational Hebrew.
Disclaimer: In this blog, I aim to give people insight into the way one American expat thinks about American and expat life, travel, and culture clashes. The opinions expressed are mine alone, and I try my best to back up my opinions with research (always linked).