3162810-big4Travel is my passion. Exploring new cultures and cuisines, meeting new people, discovering new places, seeing what’s around the next bend. These things make my life worth living.

“Travel is like knowledge, the more you see, the more you know you haven’t seen” ~ Mark Hertsgaad

How I became a Professional Vagabond: Plan B

Once upon a time, I had a condo in Atlanta, GA. I had a secure cubical job, a car, a 401(k) and a pension. I worked for the State of Georgia and battled traffic into midtown each day. I had everything I needed, a mortgage that tied me to my job, and more stuff than I could keep track of. I also had a side business that I loved, Atlanta Culinary Tours, touring neighborhood restaurants and organizing culinary adventures. These things kept me busy and padded my savings account. The American Dream? Maybe. But at some point, it simply wasn’t enough. Or maybe it was too much. My life was busy, clean, organized and safe. It was also mind-numbingly boring. Every day was the same. There was no adventure, no passion, nothing new.  And life should be an adventure or it’s just a bunch of Thursdays run together. I wanted to follow my dream of real travel, not just short vacations. I didn’t want to be a tourist anymore. I wanted to see the world and live in countries long enough to get to know the history, cuisine, language and–most importantly–the people.

So I did it.

Beth on MacAfee, Appalachian Trail, 2014

To many people, it looked like a hasty, impetuous decision. Not true. I had a plan. The US economy took a nose dive in 2008 and I was stuck with an underwater mortgage on a condo three times larger than I needed, filled to the brim with furniture, nick-nacks and stuff I’d bought to make myself feel better about my boring life. I felt trapped, so I made an escape plan.  I waited and worked my plan for 5 years while the economy improved. I saved money, downsized, learned to get along with less and refined my escape. By late 2013, the housing market was coming back and it was time to stop waiting. By the end of that year, I’d sold Atlanta Culinary Tours, sold my condo and given away or donated most of my belongings. In February 2014, I quit my job and began living Plan B: Life as a Professional Vagabond.

Starting March 1, 2014, I put on my walking shoes, filled a backpack and began hiking the Appalachian Trail under the trail name of Plan B. I had hoped to hike the entire length of the AT, but a foot injury forced me off the trail after only 1,405 miles and 4 1/2 months. I’m sorry that I couldn’t make my goal, but I’m not sorry I tried.

Amazon Jungle of Peru, 2017

Then, I Taught English , first in Bien Hoa, Vietnam for five months. In 2015, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey for a year. I volunteered in Valencia, Spain before hiking the Camino de Santiago. That summer, I taught in Russia, then Mexico for a year where I started learning Spanish. In July 2017, I move to Peru for three months. then did some hiking in Nepal. Next, I’ll be teaching fourth grade in Bolivia. After that, who knows?

I fund my life by Teaching English, writing (I’ve published two books!), and living frugally. I only own enough stuff to fill a couple of suitcases. I’m open to new adventures, too. Expect to see me House Sitting, couch surfing, camping, WWOOFing and volunteering in exchange for room and board between teaching gigs. Someday, I may organize tours of the cities I love most, sharing my love of travel with you. That’s a good reason to sign up for my mailing list on the left side of the screen.

On top of the world in Istanbul, Turkey, 2016

Crazy? Probably. But sanity is over-rated, anyway.

My life isn’t always easy, but at least I’m not bored anymore.



Please comment and share your ideas on any of my Blog posts.

…and you can:


16 thoughts on “About”

  1. To teach English as a second language Did you need a qualification? Or can you get work without a qualification? If you need a qualification what is it?


    1. Every country and school has a set of qualifications. MOST require these three things: 1) Native speaker of English, 2) 4 year college degree (usually in any area), and 3) a TESOL, TESL or TEFL certificate. Increasingly, schools are asking for a minimum of a 120 hour certificate done in a classroom as opposed to online. There are other variations and exceptions, however. At my school, we have non-native speaking teachers and at least one does not have a college degree. Higher paying jobs may require an English or ESL Bachelors degree or even a Masters.

      My suggestion, if you are interested, is to contact one of the TEFL language schools. Most offer a certificate program and placement services after. I used Oxford Seminars and went to a weekend class for my certificate. I’m fairly happy with them, though I find their placements to be more limited than I’d like. If I had it to do again, I’d probably pay more for a CELTA certificate with a school that had a good placement agency, though that’s only important to someone who wants to spend several years traveling the world at a teacher. If you just want to spend a single year teaching, that’s overkill.

      Good luck!

    1. Many of the new teachers do NOT have a work permit or a residence permit. I have had extreme difficulty getting paid–my money has been late or short many more times than not. There are new owners and they have different standards than in the past. I cannot recommend working for them.

  2. Your experiences now will be great stories when you are in Maine! Hope your trip will exceed even your wildest expectations. Take care, drink lots of fluids, and don’t to forget to use your Chapstick!!! Evil grin…….

    1. When they went through my pack, there were THREE tubes of lip balm! My feet may hurt, but my lips are moist!

  3. Hello Beth. I just read thru all the posts on your blog. It’s very well written…an easy read. My hiking partner and I are starting at Springer around the first of April, give or take a week depending on weather. My wife is going to meet up with us from time to time to visit and re-supply us. I wish you luck and look forward to meeting you.

    1. I had planned to start April first, but have managed to move the date up to March 22. Hope to run into you along the trail. I’m a slow hiker, so you are bound to catch up to me. Wish I had someone to help with re-supplies, but I’m sure I’ll manage.

  4. Wonderful, Beth! So happy for your journey and wishing you profound blessings along the way.

    Rita Lewis
    Bloomfield Class of 1976

  5. So happy to see another face going to hit the trail you will be leaving after my hubby and I but we are hiking slow so you just might see us some where out there 🙂 Slow and easy does it until we get a new name from the trail.

    1. Slow and Easy are GREAT names. Hold onto them until/if something better comes along! I’m starting off with Plan B, but that can always change! I do hope to meet you on the trail, but it’s hard to imagine a slower hiker than I am! Best Wishes and Best of Luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *