The tour of duty only consisted of teaching at one school, and the contract length was a year. Sometimes it went stupidly quickly, other times it was hideously slow. Now I’m down to my final three weeks and it’s dragging a bit.
This is a post about how I’m feeling moving forwards and what my tentative plans are. I’ve written a lot about teaching at Gloria English which you can read about on my Taiwan page.
Travel around Taiwan at the beginning or the end?
Before I’d set off for Taiwan I’d decided to find a job as soon as I could once I’d arrived. I didn’t plan to travel at the beginning, but rather at the end. I sort of regret this decision now, because my entire opinion of Taiwan has been mostly based off the town I’ve been living in: Taoyuan. Unfortunately for me, Taoyuan is considered quite a boring town, even by the Taiwanese.
I have seen a couple of other places, but nothing that has struck me with awe yet. I feel I haven’t seen the proper Taiwan, the majesty of the country. Perhaps if I’d travelled a bit at the beginning, I feel my impression of Taiwan wouldn’t be slightly tainted to the negative side, which it is now.
Gloria has also had a negative effect on me, if I were to put it into a percentage I’d say it’s 60% negative and 40% positive. I dislike a lot of the things about the school (which has been running since the 70’s and still uses textbooks from that era). And unluckily for me this has fed into my opinion of Taiwan. I’m hoping once my contract has finished I will be able to do some things to turn that around. After all, I can’t base my entire opinion of a county on one area and one school.
What is Dan of the World up to next?
I’m going to travel around Taiwan on my scooter once I finish. I haven’t thought about the route too much, and most of my research has been limited to asking my classes “Where should I visit in Taiwan?”, or “Which places do you like in Taiwan?”. I’ve also done some searching online.
From my students’ answers I’ve managed to cobble together a route, and combine that route with another route some guy did a while ago and posted about it. So from these two elements I’ve put my route together, and similar to travelling in Vietnam, I’ll follow it and make any necessary detours as and when I need to.
I don’t mind this method of planning a trip, it’s not ideal if you only have two weeks and want to see certain things, but if you’re in no rush it can work out really well. From experience I’ve found a good percentage of the time it’s everything you see between the destinations which are good. The destination itself is either a tourist hot spot with a bazillion people, or it’s just another town with another temple. The things you see in-between you’d never find on a tourist map, so usually they’re equally as beautiful as the ‘tourist place’ you want to see, but they feel more real: they’re not just set up to cater for tourists.
I imagine my bike trip will take about two – three weeks, give or take a few days. My visa expires about three weeks after my contract ends, so I’m debating if I should extend it or not to give me more time for my trip.
After that I’ll go to Bangkok, buy another bike and do another trip, following a similar route planning method. I’ll ride around for six – seven week while I wait to holiday with my family. After that? Mostly unknown. I’ll see how I feel, but it’ll involve a U.K. trip sometime.