By Nicole Brewer
Greetings GTs! So we here at I Luv 2 Globe Trot have decided to profile one of our amazing GTs in an upcoming series entitled Globe-trotter of the month! We have so many amazing individuals in our online Travel Community. Therefore, it is only fitting that we shine a spotlight on them so we can get to know one another even better. Take a peek at the below interview of globe-trotting media graduate student, writer and ESL professional Charles McKinney IV. Enjoy!
1. Can you tell the I Luv 2 Globe Trot community a little about yourself (where are you from, what do you do, where are you currently based, hobbies etc).
I’m from the cryptic, tiny state of Delaware although I was born and raised in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state area, only 10 minutes from the Delawarean and New Jerseyan borders. Presently based in Bangkok [for one month longer] as a full-time study abroad grad student at Webster University Thailand, I am anticipating spring graduation for my MA in media communications. Also a somewhat busy freelance writer/editor/teacher, I earn money through gigs that I’ve obtained in Thailand via networking and telecommuting. Exploring the city with my cosmopolitan friends, finding serenity in the countryside and listening to neo-soul music in the solitude of my dorm-like living space all characterize my hobbies.
2. How many countries have you traveled to?
I have traveled to five countries if I can count Hong Kong in addition to China, South Korea, Germany and Thailand (and not necessarily in that order).
3. What is your dream destination and why? (think bucket list destinations).
Hmmm… hard question to answer but I would say Madagascar because it seems to be so exotic and underrated. I’m one for traveling to places that are mysterious and unique.
4. What made you decide to first live an expat lifestyle?
When I got a random email one day after my rejection to business school back in 2010 encouraging me to apply for overseas teaching jobs in East Asia, mainly Korea. Who knew that recruitment ad would be a turning point in my life? One in which incited my lifelong desire to roam the globe. Actually I’d wanted to do something like teach English abroad right after graduating UNI but didn’t exactly know how to go about the process. In retrospect, though, it was all about timing. The time was ripe for me to begin my nomadic journey a year and some months upon graduating college.
5. How did you decide upon studying abroad for University?
Regretting not studying abroad as a collegian, I knew it must happen for grad school. After noticing a Webster University Thailand banner ad on dictionary.com one day during my teaching tenure in Beijing, I immediately browsed the site and then applied early admission. (I was officially accepted two months after I applied). It was really that simple, all the more since I didn’t have to submit GRE scores or a hefty application fee. I managed to arrange a phone chat with the recruitment manager who reaffirmed my decision to pursue my entire graduate education in Southeast Asia.
6. Where was your most recent travel destination you trotted to?
I traveled with my Webster friends to Hua Hin/Cha-Am, two adjacent beach towns a couple hours south of Bangkok, for an international graffiti show, which consisted of break dancing battles, skateboarding stunts and the world’s longest after party or so it seemed.
7. Which, if any, foreign languages do you speak?
I speak intermediate Mandarin and Spanish, elementary Korean and Italian, and a smidgen of survival Thai and German.
8. What do you have planned for yourself next? (any projects you’d like to promote, etc). Do you foresee yourself continuing the expat lifestyle for long?
Another difficult question since I feel like the world is my oyster. Sort of at a crossroads I am a media studies PhD hopeful for an intensive three-year program at American U. But also working on my Peace Corps application for a position in the university education field and have been applying to journalism, teaching and marketing jobs the world over. I learned the importance of having a plan B & C…& D when plan A doesn’t go as imagined.
Traveling will always be my life since it’s my life mission to visit one new country (be it vacation or expatriation) every year for the rest of my life. Eventually I want to create a nice writer website to better market my freelance writing business and my debut book; meanwhile, I will continue my frequent travel blogging on Kiss from the World (KFTW) https://www.kissfromtheworld.com/en/profile.php?id=2918 along with contributing professional articles on LinkedIn where I can also be reached.
9. Any words of wisdom you would like to share to inspire future globetrotters?
I recently came across a Chinese proverb that says “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Banish fear and doubt and pursue what it is that you were born to do. We were all born for soaring and shining and sheer success so let nobody or nothing deter you from going after your destiny, not even your own apprehension. Embrace and fulfill your unique calling!