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.

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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…

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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©

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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.

This Malayalee Couple Vlogger Is Set Out To Explore Dubai- An Interview with Midhun and Vasu -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 Midhun and Vasu!

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

Midhun- We live in the United Arab Emirates lately. We are natives of Kerala, The beautiful south Indian state of India. We grew up there and after marriage, we moved to Dubai.  That is when the idea of vlogging struck right into our minds. I tried my luck and people seem to like it. Yes, that’s why we are here now!

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‘Vloggers’ The term that could describe you both. Right? How did your journey as a vlogger begin?

Midhun- I am a persistent viewer of Mo Vlogs. I watch that almost all day. Then I started to watch Casey Niestat Vlogs. I admired their way of presentation and editing. I understood that it would be quite popular and accepted by the English viewers but was doubtful about the regional viewers. After a while, I came across the videos of vloggers from Kerala. So, that’s when we thought it’s time to start vlogging and the journey begun. 

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Vlogging could be tough I assume especially when you’re in the middle of the street and when people stare at you while speaking to the camera. Is it true? If yes, how do you tackle it? 

Midhun- Anybody can buy a camera and edit videos without much prior knowledge in them but I guess the real challenge that arises is the one you said ‘dealing with the people around you’. Not only in the Middle East but in India as well when you walk around the streets talking to your camera they are chances that people get offended especially if it’s a woman near you. They might think that you are trying to capture them, they wouldn’t know if your a vlogger or a youtuber. I make flights reviews often and it’s an absolute challenge to record video in a confined space without spoiling the privacy of other passengers. I mostly turn my camera towards the window and shoot.

Vasu- For me overcoming the fear and shyness was the major challenge. Initially, I felt really awkward to talk to a camera which was a non-living thing, I felt weird but later I got accustomed to it. I was a person who had stage fears and whenever we had a stranger on the vlog I prefer to be silent but now things have changed after our 90th video. I am more comfortable to interact with people and talk to our travel companion which is our little camera.

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‘A turning point’, one vlog that you could mention that just blew your expectation? 

Midhun- Well the turning point was, While I was vlogging all the way to India from Dubai Actress Swetha Menon was in my same flight and I met her and told that I am vlogging and requested her to say ‘Hi’ to my subscribers and then a thumbnail for my video. The video just went viral crossing 1 lakh views. That was the video which made me realise that even I can achieve one lakh views being a regional language video creator, it was unbelievable. If Shwetha Menon reads this blog we both take this opportunity to thank her from our heart. Thank You Swethaji!

I went through your vlogs on YouTube and when I scrutinized through the comments. Most of them are so eager to know about this and have asked ‘Midhun and Vasu! What are your jobs?’ Haha. Yes, what do you do for the living? Full-time vloggers? 

Midhun- Yes! I Think it is one of the questions which I get often asked. Most of the Youtubers from Kerala like Sujith Bhakthan, Ebadu and so on would have answered this about them almost every month. I have income through three sources presently. I run a start-up company in Dubai, then I also work as a director for a US-based company.

Vasu- I work for a travel company.

Midhun- We have also started to earn quite a sum of money through Youtube recently as well.

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Vasu it’s your turn first. What makes Midhun a good travel companion? And then Midhun how about you?

Vasu- Actually, whatever I say he listens…

Midhun- Hey! When in Kerala, Whenever I ask her to hang out she jumps onto the bike and keeps blabbering throughout the journey. Haha! A chatterbox in short.

Vasu- See it works like this, I believe that one should be talkative and other should be silent. So, I belong to the former one while chettan (Midhun) belongs to the latter one.
He keeps listening to me throughout our travels. I think that’s what makes him a good companion. Haha! Thanks for bearing me.

MidhunOurs was a love marriage but even then we never talked or imagined that we will turn into vloggers. All we wished is to buy a house and get settled in a peaceful place and lead a good family life. I would say Vasu is the backbone for me. She became really familiar with vlogging and she is the one who insisted me to buy Canon G7X when I said I will go with something that is cheaper and would do the job now. Her attentiveness makes her a good companion.

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‘Vloggers On Rise’. Young generation looks to you on YouTube. How can you impact the society being an influencer? 

Midhun- Let me not narrow down into vloggers alone. I believe the social media itself has influenced the young generation a lot. In the forms of trolls, vlogs, blogs, memes, live streams and more people are being aware of the happenings without spending time reading newspapers. Each persons opinion matters. So imagine each person voice their stance through online platforms and then the overall voices play a very important role in the end, it could be an issue that is political or social. Moreover, Sharing of information has improved rapidly. Networking takes place in a blink of an eye. You are able to connect people of similar likes and beliefs. Be a part of initiatives, connect to eminent personalities and this itself is a great example being a part of GV’s Talk by you Gokul. I believe India is going to witness a massive change by 2019 elections and social media influencers will be a great part of it.

Vasu- I would say just like the young generation, people in their old age too are viewers of Youtube. Living all their lives and being in the retirement age and when young people bring out something different to watch they seemed to be curious. I wanted to influence them in a way that saving money, building a house or buying a car is all a necessity but above all, we have to travel, see things that are new to us, learn about other customs and tradition.

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Tips for upcoming young vloggers? 

Midhun- My suggestion would be I think almost all of you should have a youtube channel. Earlier days advertisement was done through local media and newspaper but now most ads are through google and facebook and its reach is on a global level. Money circulates through the global market so if we can cluster it in our market it would be a huge revenue. Create a channel and start promoting your business or whatever. Bring positive contents.

How do you manage to travel frequently? Do you take a day off for vlogging

MidhunIt’s not possible to travel around for 365 days a year while working but certainly you can have a balance between both. Keep aside a day in a week for travelling and that is enough for vlogging. It need not be a trip to a foreign country it could be a walk to an open market down the streets.

Most of your followers are from Kerala. What do you guys have to tell them at this moment? 

Midhun Let me thank everyone for supporting us so far. Please keep supporting.

Vasu- Live your life, keep your worries aside and create some memorable moments so that once you reach your old age you will have something to cherish about always. Keep supporting us.

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

Blogwithgokul©

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You can subscribe to Midhun V Sankar & Vasu’s Youtube channel.

Youtube channel: Midhun V Sankar


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.