There are many perks to teaching English abroad and my absolute favorite is the amount of paid vacation alloted to foreign teachers. I'm being spoiled early on in my career and I didn't think I would be able to adjust to a job where I was only given 2-4 weeks of paid vacation a year. What could be better than having two full months, fifteen days at Christmas and a long weekend at least every month?
People in Western countries may consider this lazy, but I think living life by the "all work, no play" mantra is miserable! All I had to do was fly to the other side of the world and now I have a job that doesn't require me to work slavishly for all but a few weeks out of the year. Anyone who thinks working non-stop for a two week vacation a year is a sustainable lifestyle hasn't experienced a two month paid vacation backpacking through Southeast Asia or not feeling like you are wasting precious free-time by hanging out in your pajamas all day.
In my one year of teaching English in Thailand, I have had almost a total of three months paid vacation. Two of those months I was only given a reduced pay, but I have heard of many jobs that give full pay, and even with my reduced pay my lifestyle and traveling has not suffered. This is certainly one big reason why I enjoy teaching abroad because it allows me to fulfill my insatiable desire to travel in a way that no job available to me back home could.
Since this is my first time in Asia, I have spent a lot of time exploring my current country of residence Thailand and the nearby countries of Cambodia and Vietnam. Long weekends are a great opportunity for me to get out of Bangkok and visit more rural areas off the beaten track and my fifteen break at Christmas was spent first on the tropical paradise of Koh Samet and then driving around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces in the mountainous North. And my big two and a half month break was spent exploring every corner of Cambodia from North to South and traveling up the entire length of Vietnam from Saigon to Ha Noi. Traveling is how I like to spend most of my vacations, but I also spent some of my vacation in my apartment in Bangkok relaxing and relishing the freedom of having no work schedule.
There is no reason to break your back working at a job that you don't enjoy and that gives you an appalling amount of vacation time! Find a job that doesn't rule your life and squanders your precious time! I've given teaching abroad a go and I've found it to be a very gratifying experience in more ways than one: it's a job I like and feel fulfilled doing and I still have plenty of "me" time where I can enjoy my life doing the things I love without the constant barrage of children shouting, "TEACHER, TEACHER!!!!!"