Notes From The Road: Taiwan, Ho!

For the last nine months I’ve been living out of a backpack, poking around India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and New Zealand.  Now I’m making my way home to Minnesota through Australia, Taiwan and California.  You can read about previous adventures here.


I’m not usually into 16 hour layovers.  Really, that sounds slightly awful, doesn’t it?  However!  It is significantly less awful if you actually used to live in the place of your 16 hour layover and you’ve been quietly keening for a healthy serving of Tepanyaki with a side of bubble milk tea.

From August 2004 – April 2006, I joined legions of other twenty-somethings teaching English in Asia.  It’s practically a rite of passage if you earned a liberal arts degree and own a backpack.  And really, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Teaching ESL abroad in your twenties won’t really fill out your resume or make you any more employable, but it will make you significantly braver, gustier and more interesting.  Also, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for clothing that’s available in sizes larger than 6.


I spent my 16 hours in Taiwan doing all my favorite things:  eating fantastic food (dan bing, tepanyaki, bubble milk tea), visiting temples, buying designer knock-offs, getting a cheap mani/pedi and stopping by my old haunts.  I’m not sure if I’d want to live in Taiwan again, but revisiting it was nothing short of magical.

Have any of you taught English in Asia (or elsewhere abroad)?  I worked with Hess and it’s a great place to start – lots of training and support!


Lisa D

Ohhhh this post makes me miss Shanghai, where I taught in 2005/6. I miss the bubble tea too!


I love it when you post your notes from the road..I look forward to be able to be a globetrotter like you currently are. 🙂

A slight correction though Sarah..I believe you meant 'rite of passage'.

Hope to hear more from you!


I'm in Korea now – I've recently quit my (super amazing) job and am heading to SE Asia (again) to just coast for a while before I decide what's next. Korea has been amazing to me, I've loved 99% of my experience here, which I don't think I can say about anything else I've ever done! Sad to leave but it's time for a new adventure & a new challenge!


Teaching English in Asia…it WILL happen! Gimme another four months and I'm on it 🙂

Taiwan sounds lovely. It was actually my first choice of destination, but a few other things have swayed me toward India. Anyway, lovely post.

I'd say a 16-hour layover is better than a three or four-hour layover. With only three or four hours, you can barely stray from the airport. Sixteen, and you have a whole day of freedom!


You and your around-the-world journey inspire me so much. I may or may not live vicariously through you (I do). I wish I had the courage to live a life like yours!


Heh, I had a 16 hour(ish) layover in Taiwan…it was one of the most confusing experiences ever since it was 9 pm and I was completely jet-lagged. Still, it made me want to go back! And your photos are making me want to go even more! GAH!

Just a quick pointer — Teaching English abroad isn't the only way to get abroad after college. I worked in a study abroad office in London through the BUNAC program. It was great career experience since I still work in the field, and it gave me 6 months to be in one of my favorite places. The main thing is to just get abroad somehow! 🙂


For a while I was looking into teaching English in Japan, but life took me in another direction. Although I do believe that someday the opportunity will come around again.


I took Chinese in college and I planned on doing it to help with my fluency, but I chickened out – both on teaching English in Asia and taking Chinese – only made it through 2 years.

Recently been thinking a lot about how I am going to get abroad again – after my trip ends tomorrow 🙁 – so I am definitely considering teaching English somewhere!


Have you ever done a post about the process of becoming an ESL teacher in Asia? Every program that I've looked at through my university requires an English or an education degree. Being a Chinese and politics double major, it's never really worked out for me. I haven't had much luck looking at programs outside of school, either. Wah, wah.

But I'd love to hear your story! I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one, too.

Camels & Chocolate

I actually spent the last four days of my honeymoon in Taiwan unintentionally. (Looong story short: We didn't have a transit visa to connect flights in Vietnam so they cut out the last leg of our trip and we flew to Borneo from Taipei.) It was unexpectedly delightful.

But no, I always meant to jump aboard the teach English abroad train, but I kept enrolling in academic programs in other countries instead!


I'm about to leave to teach in China (near Shanghai) in September!! I'm going so I can work on my fluency since my major was Chinese. Hopefully this year abroad /will/ make me more employable as a translator! 🙂


Boohoo,I am so jelous of english mothertongue people!You have this amazing opportunity of going abroad and teach your language if you only want to. I majored in Japanese and looking for a job over there but if you are not from an english-speaking country the opportunities are dramatically reduced as you cannot get in the ESL market! I so wish I could do such an experience as well but too bad that my mothertongue is not that popular 🙁


Aisling law

I have just discovered your fab blog 🙂 I am teaching in Thailand at the moment and have been here for about a year. My dreams are to get to Japan….


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