Hey! My name is Katy, and I am passionate about sharing my travel photos and stories to inspire you to see the world a little differently, and to have an adventure wherever you are!
Before the birth of photospired.com, I worked as a middle school teacher and lived the expat life in Taipei, Taiwan for four years before moving back to Vancouver, Canada, where my family (and cat) are. Being a teacher has several advantages, for instance:
1. You stay young working with the energy, not to mention the lingo, of the students. My friend, also a teacher, doesn’t look a day older than 25, and he’s been teaching for 10+ years!
2. You constantly think on your feet, making the best use of your creativity and flexibility. These qualities prove to be super handy when travelling, especially since many teachers use their long winter and summer vacations to travel.
3. You fall in love with travelling. As the last point mentioned, the long vacations call for extended travels because teachers really do deserve that time off. Through travelling, you become more informed about the world and learn to share the love for our planet with the students.
And I’m always going to treasure learning from my students the importance to have a bit of fun and keep your adventurous spirit on! I’ve had an amazing time with my kiddos over the years, and feel like it’s time for a brand-new adventure doing what I also love–travel!
The thing is, although I call both Taipei and Vancouver home, it has truly been a challenge returning to life in Vancouver. I enjoyed my time in Taipei so much, and learned tremendously from the experience, that moving back to a place that was supposed to feel reassuring felt… inexplicably alienating. This, according to Investopedia, is something called a reverse culture shock, a phenomenon in which individuals returning home after years overseas feel at odds “readjusting to the cultures and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.”
In the months since I arrived back in Vancouver, I went through ups and downs in emotions, mostly of an aching longing for Taipei, and for an escape. It was a lonely experience because so few people around me understood how I felt. The one thing that has helped is travelling. When you are physically away from your everyday life and the mundane tasks that bog you down, you start noticing the little things that you easily take for granted. Learning about the cultures and customs of other parts of the world also makes you think about your own, and this perspective-taking leads to the realization that I have so much to appreciate about my home city.
Finally, I decided to embrace my home by observing it, exploring it, and getting to know it, just as I would as a traveller. As Cate Brubaker of Small Planet Studio astutely put it, returning home is a “continuation of your global life, not the end of it.” I’m excited to share my adventures at home and around the world with you on this blog, and I hope it serves its purpose in inspiring your travels, whether as a visitor, an expat, a returnee, or a longtime resident.
Starting this blog is the first step. Using the platform to reach out and empower others is the next. Researching into the topics of re-entry and repatriation for this blog has opened new doors for me, knowing there is a whole community of people like me. I plan to dedicate more posts on this matter. If you can relate to it, Cate Brubaker’s Small Planet Studio has a wealth of resources available. Just know that feeling out of place is only temporary. With time and the willingness to be along for the ride, you will feel at home in the world.