An English Teacher Shares Her Inspiring Travel Diaries And Experiences On Teaching English in a Foreign Land – An Interview with Kristin Sewell – Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Kristin!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

Where have you spent teaching the most in your life?

Kristin – So far I’ve spent the most time teaching in Kerala, nine months! It’s been the best and most challenging experience of my life and I loved the whole crazy ride lol.

image1 (1)
While on a stroll through the streets of Kenya.

what would you suggest to those who aspire to be an English language teacher before
they step out into a foreign land to hunt for jobs?

Kristin – For new English language teacher, such as myself, I think the best thing is to just do your research and make sure the jobs you apply for / accept are legit and good quality workplaces. Lots of companies/programs have Facebook pages where you can read others’ reviews. Also, during interviews, I always ask the interviewer’s opinion of the company, which is a fun way to make them feel as nervous as you are and maybe even get an honest answer from them haha…

image2
Gazing at the sunrise in Ireland.

How can you make yourself qualified has an English teacher?

Kristin – The most important factor in becoming qualified to teach English as a language is getting your TEFL/TESOL certification from a reputable institution. Having a bachelor’s degree (usually in any field of study) qualifies you for better positions than those without a university degree. It’s always good to open as many doors as possible for your future paths in life, so having that college degree just gives you more opportunities!

image3
A snap from the land of castles  – Czech Republic (Charles Bridge on the backdrop)

The most intriguing part of teaching English to foreign students?

Kristin – The most intriguing aspect of getting to teach ESL is opening up the lines of communication between myself and people I never would’ve gotten to know if they hadn’t learned my language! I love getting to learn about people’s lives and making friends, so it’s awesome when someone is able to express themselves in a language that is foreign to them and we can get to know each other.

image4 (1)
Dreamy Icelandic landscapes.

Your Instagram handle seems to have some amazing clicks! Looks like your cutting
down your bucket list one by one. How many countries have you been to so far?

Kristin – It’s crazy to add them all up and realize I’ve been to 23 countries…I want to go everywhere and eat everything and meet everyone lol, so I’ve still got like 170 countries left on the list haha. There are so many cities to explore and traditional dishes to try, so I’m always looking forward to the next adventure. But I’m back in the phase of work work work now in order to be able to start another phase of wandering.

image5
Having fun in the turquoise waters of Mexico.

 

Travelling solo especially being a girl in India is a huge deal. What do you have to tell parents about letting their daughters fly free and pursue their dreams?

Kristin – I mean…my parents were as scared as any parents would be…super hesitant to let their daughter fly away into the unknown totally alone, even though I was 29 when I left for India. But I think the saying is true that you’re supposed to “give your children roots and wings” and it’s especially true for girls because, despite all the horrors that happen all the time around the world, females need to be bold and follow our calling to roam. I think that the only time we get a chance to be brave is when we’re scared…so we have to take every opportunity to walk through that fear when we know something worth pursuing is on the other side. As far as parents preparing their daughters to travel solo…maybe take a self-defence class, and I constantly remember my dad’s words “always be aware of your surroundings.”

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
An American road trip through the Hawaiian islands.

How can you stay safe on the go? Some tips to young girls out there?

Kristin – It’s DESPICABLE that females have to have this innate instinct to fear men, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pay attention to who’s around you, never walk alone in the dark, pay the money for a taxi, always have emergency money in your secret pocket haha aka bra. Take care of yourself and remove yourself from dangerous situations, stay sober, don’t be too shy to ask for help if you need directions, dress and behave appropriately for the country you’re visiting, etc. Overall there are more good people in the world than bad people, so hope for the best but plan for the worst and appreciate every experience. Fear kills more dreams than actual failure ever will so just get up and go live your best life.

image7
Flavours of spices from India.

The craziest thing ever happened on your trip?

Kristin – One of the craziest things that have happened to me while traveling was getting stung by a sea urchin while snorkeling in Kenya, I had to lay on the sand while some local guys sliced the sea urchin barns out of my foot with a razor blade 😅 Other crazy experiences were getting to hug a real live penguin while visiting Dubai in a Middle Eastern desert, being in a motorcycle accident in India, getting assaulted by a man while visiting a mosque in Morocco, abseiling down waterfalls in Ecuador, and surviving jumping off the roof of a boat into the Red Sea in Egypt.

Your dream destination to visit?

Kristin – My big dream come true has been living in India. Kerala is now a home to me and it’s got everything I look for in a place to go adventuring. All the incredible food, luscious nature, and beautiful souls one could ever hope to encounter. As far as the next country I hope to explore…I’ve been thinking about Georgia and Azerbaijan a lot, the cities of Tbilisi and Baku are calling my name lol.

image8
Blissful green tea plantations captured from the hills of Sri Lanka.

Spending most of your time in India for the past couple of months. What do you have to say about your great Indian adventures?

Kristin – Living in India has been the biggest adventure of my life. The thing about This country is that when you come from such a Western place as the US, literally every day in India is an adventure. Buying groceries, taking the bus, teaching a class lol legit everything is new and different every day. Alappuzha and Munnar are stunning but some of my favorite moments were just taking sunset motorbike rides through pineapple groves and paddy fields, looking up at the moon through coconut and banana trees, listening to the frogs on hot evenings, the music playing on private buses, I just love and miss Kerala and all the elements that combine to make it such an overwhelming experience to live there.

One last question. What do you have to say to people who want to explore more but
can’t manage a work-life balance?

Kristin – Gokul listen, Those people need to prioritize. I know what I want in life, I want to explore. Every little choice you make in life leads you in a certain direction. I knew that working and saving my money by living at home with my family (like normal people do all over the world except for the West) was the best way to be able to afford to travel. I plan and plan and plan, figure out different combinations of cities and planes and trains and hostels to figure out how I can accomplish my goal as cost-effectively as possible. The amount of money people waste on rent is the price of a trip to the other side of the world. But, when you want something badly enough that passion drives you. So it’s really up to the passionate people to decide how hard they’re willing to work and how bright they wanna be about saving their money for what’s important in their lives.

Thank you so much for having your time Kristin. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

*************


You can follow Kristin’s Instagram handle.

Instagram: kristinsewell


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

Insight Into a Travel Vlogger’s Life: An Interview with Sujith Bhakthan – Blogwithgokul (GV’sTalk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk Mr Sujith Bhakthan!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. Tell us about yourself.

Sujith: I’m Sujith Bhakthan. I grew up in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. I am a graduate in Engineering. I started blogging in 2008 and have been a full-time travel blogger for about 10 years. I own the channel  Tech Travel Eat on YouTube. It’s all about the latest trends in social media, technology, travel & food. Yes, a social media freak!

‘Kerala’s own travel vlogger’ What goes through your mind when someone addresses you in that way?

I would be extremely happy! Malayalees have always been a regular audience of prime travelogues namely like ‘Sancharam‘. I aimed out to bring something different from the conventional travelogues by introducing the concept of vlogging. Initially, people compare my videos with Sancharam and give a lot of criticism like ‘we really don’t want to see you talking on screen rather we would love to see the beauty of the place’. Now it has changed and people have accepted vlogging. Yes of course, who wouldn’t love being addressed that way! I’m honoured.

23331226_10213509815555478_1882800272677485366_o
Feeding the tiger in Thailand. Astonishing.

Vlogging as a whole hasn’t been that long since it bloomed among the Indian audience. How far has YouTube been popular among people?

I would say Youtube has become more popular after the launch of JIO services, It revolutionised the Indian market when the internet began to be available even to a common man for no cost. I assume that earlier people logged onto Youtube to watch movie trailers, gossip videos and so on. Now, they appreciate and spend the time to watch videos of content creators and are viewers of YouTube just like the national television. The massive number of viewers from a small community like the ‘Malayali’ itself is a great example of Youtube gaining popularity.

28423674_10214428252555829_652720011392481095_o
Paragliding in Kullu Manali, India

Congratulations on crossing 2 lakh subscribers on YouTube. Looking back into your journey how do you feel?

Thank you, GV. It’s actually on Facebook that I crossed 2 lakh followers and on Youtube, I crossed 1.3 lakh subscribers. As far as a Youtuber is concerned achieving 1 lakh subscribers is a milestone in his career. The target was to acquire one million subscribers in a year but I had to spend almost 1.5 years. I’m still figuring out why people are reluctant to hit the subscribe button. Haha! Well, the fact is I gain a good amount of watch time on YouTube, in actuality the number of loyal subscribers matters. For instance, if you have ten thousand subscribers for your channel and around six thousand are your fans then you’re a winner!

What could be the hurdles that can come across to a person while vlogging? Any situation to remember as such?

 When I started vlogging sometimes as I walked along the streets talking to the camera people used to laugh, tease and I have even overheard people say that I am mad. It was quite embarrassing. Later, I found a solution to it. I realised that it could be overcome by boosting up one’s self-confidence. Other than that would be restrictions in certain places for videography. I haven’t faced anything else so far. Now, I am all set to vlog in any situation in the best possible way I can. 

PHOTO-2018-06-08-15-35-04
Snow sledging with his brother.

The one video which turned out to fuel up your success rate as a Youtuber?

A resort named Rainforest Ayurcounty that rain for 365 days in Kottayam district of Kerala was the first video that became popular. It was an experimental video that I vlogged. Then I think the video about Kochi metro and T3 international terminal in Cochin airport were the turning point in my career. These videos reached the viewers profoundly. 

18121011_10211767856087580_6251597728081813083_o.jpg
Roadtrip to Goa, India. 

What would be the proudest moment in your life that vlogging as brought you?

I had the golden opportunity to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron on an invite. The unbelievable thing is that I got the permission to capture a selfie video with him. I would always cherish that moment. Furthermore, I get extremely happy when I come to know that people had an amazing experience and express their words of gratitude for suggesting resorts and new destinations through my vlogs. I feel contented.

28872417_10214507904787085_9157410955619991552_o (1)
French President meet in Bikaner, India.

How can a vlogger influence the society? How impactful can one be?

Yes, Uhhmm… This is how it works. People are keen observers. Even if I have a scare or bruise on my face or body they notice it very quickly and you can see many commenting them on my video. This is certainly the case with the outfit I wear for vlogging, the types of equipment I use, the accessories and even the objects on the screen is been scrutinized and observed closely by the viewers. These are the reasons why companies consider us as influencers and approach for various marketing strategies. A Youtuber can certainly influence a society in many ways be it political or so on and it’s certainly up to the person. Yes, they are quite impactful.

23331497_10213509814155443_8695711538266835506_o
Dabbling with some scorpions in East Asia.

What made your transition from a blogger to a vlogger? Is it because people are more keen towards watching rather than reading these days?

Yes, the number of readers have dwindled in the recent years. It’s a fact. People are more towards videos these days. We need to catch up with the trends right? I think It’s already late when I started to vlog. I should have started off earlier but nevertheless, I believe it’s Ok. Furthermore, I am too lazy to write blogs now. Haha! I feel that I am able to establish an intimate connection with my viewers through visuals and express much more than words. This is absolutely an added advantage than blogging. 

28423693_10214428253515853_8518546971785060520_o
Time for some adventure.

‘Tech Travel Eat’ What are your dreams and expectations?

I wanted to travel to many places and explore different cultures, traditions, document visuals and reach them out for my viewers. Apart from that, I need to work on to have a consistent revenue model than now. ‘Travel with Sujith Bhakthan’ is on its way. It’s a long-term dream I have and I’m working hard for it. 

34692327_10215178879281028_5791425440564379648_o
Travel with Sujith Bhakthan

A large portion of your followers is from Kerala. What do you have to tell them before we wind up the conversation?

Wherever you go around the world you would definitely stumble upon a Malayali. Haha! Malayalees are passionate about travelling to places. It is always wise to travel around when you’re younger and healthy. There is no point in saving a lot of money when younger and keeping your savings aside to see the world at an older age. That is the time when you realise that your health doesn’t catch up with your passion. So, travel when your healthy and explore this amazing world as much as you can!

21122258_10212930085222582_5639760057244939751_o
At a press meet for promoting positive and informative content on the internet.

“Travel the world when your healthy and explore as much as you can” – Sujith Bhakthan

That’s a pretty good advice! Sujith.

Thank you so much for having your time. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

****


You can follow Sujith Bhakthan on his social media handles:

FacebookTech Travel Eat by Sujith Bhakthan

Instagramtechtraveleat

YouTube:   Tech Travel Eat


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.