Name: Nicole Brewer
Location: Nizwa, Oman
Occupation: English Teacher
Number of Countries Visited: 40
Last Country Visited: UAE
What is your favorite country you have visited and why?
This is always a tough question for me for some reason. I’d have to say one of my favorites is South Africa. I lived in Cape Town for three months researching for my thesis part of my graduate studies, and that place is just breathtakingly beautiful. I loved the fusions of cultures there and it will hold a piece of my heart after living there for a short period of time.
What is your least favorite country you have visited and why?
I honestly can’t think of an answer for this. I’ve been pretty blessed and am happy with the experiences I’ve had in my travels. They’re all memorable for me, and I’m drawing a blank on any place that I just disliked.
What countries are on the itinerary for this year?
I will be traveling to Greece and Turkey this summer and then back to USA to visit my family for a little over a month after globetrotting around Europe.
When did you start traveling? Did it start at an early age for you?
I started traveling around the US pretty young. I think I took my first solo flight around 11 to go visit my sister in California and just loved it back then. I’ve been globetrotting international though since college.
Why do you travel? What is your personal reason for traveling?
I absolutely love travel because it broadens my horizon. I feel like learning actually starts outside of the classroom and what better class to learn about others and how you can handle yourself in different situations than through travel. I really think it’s in my blood now as I just feel fulfilled every time I conquer a new destination.
Why do you believe it’s important for others to travel and see the world?
I think it’s important to travel and see the world because it in enhances your perspective about life in my opinion. I feel like I grow a tad bit more every time I visit a new country.
You are a U.S. expat in the Middle East. Tell us about your experience! What made you decide to move overseas at such a young age?
I’ve been living abroad for over seven years now, and I love it. I first started off in Korea for three years and then just wanted a new experience and it doesn’t get much more different than living in the Middle East. I live in Oman, a tiny little country near the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that not many even know about it. However, it is a gorgeous country and Omani people are sweethearts. I actually decided to leave the USA after being laid off from a job and feeling like hey I’m willing to leave the country and try something new after the frustration of being down and out in the job market when the economy crashed.
What made you choose Oman specifically, over other Middle Eastern countries (or other countries period)?
I was looking a new challenge after honestly feeling bored in Korea after a few years. I enjoyed my time there, but just needed a new experience. After looking into opportunities that were out there at the time, I was drawn to Oman because it was unique and not as competitive as other places in the Middle East for jobs like UAE and Saudi where ESL (English as Second Language) teachers make more money.
As a teacher overseas, were you a teacher before you moved abroad? What was your process for getting into teaching overseas? What subjects do you teach?
I actually worked in market research and sales a few years after college before deciding to teach abroad. I was lucky when I first started teaching in Korea all you needed was a college degree from an English speaking country. Now it’s much more competitive as people are seeing how awesome the expat lifestyle is so for many countries you need some sort of certification like a TEFL/TESOL certification or to be certified in your home country. I wrote an article with a few tips awhile back for iluv2globetrot on tips for teaching ESL abroad.
Do you recommend those who wish to become expats teach overseas or pursue other career avenues?
I think it totally depends on your experience and expertise. Teaching abroad is a sure-fire way to get an opportunity to live abroad, but there are other ways if you have a skillset that a country needs. For example, I know in Australia they have special needs skillsets that are demand for the country so check out list to see what the needs are for the country you’re interested in.
What inspires you about the travel experience?
I’m inspired by the travel experience because I not only love visiting other countries and learning from people, but I also like to give back to others in my travels. It’s fulfilling to know your life is becoming enriched when you travel but even more so when you have the chance to pay it forward to others as well.
What do you like least about travel?
You started a community on Facebook called iluv2globetrot. What made you start that group, and what is the goal of the group?
I co-founded iluv2globetrot with my business partner Renee (who is now based in Australia) when we were teachers in South Korea just before I left. We were a part of other communities for those living abroad in certain destinations, etc., and felt like why not start our own group to coincide with the iluv2globetrot travel site since we had so much combined experience in travel and living abroad, we wanted to share our knowledge and experiences with others in a group setting.
What recommendations do you have for someone who is looking to be more adventurous and travel?
All I can really say is just do it! Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Life is too short to look back and have regrets when you could’ve had the opportunity to live out your dreams and see the world. It’s great when you have communities like iluv2globetrot as well to ask questions and do your research beforehand so I just say go for it. You’ll never know your own strength until you test it.