We are a husband (Shon) and wife (Jenia) writing about the excitement of working and living abroad. We’ve been teaching overseas since 2012, when we started in the UAE, and we’ve lived and worked in Russia, spent a year back in the USA, and are now in south China.

Shon is an English teacher, a motorcycle enthusiast, and a writer/songwriter.

Jenia is a stay-at-home mom, a former interpreter, and an (ever-less) amateur photographer.

We love good books, taking pictures, eating well, and, clearly, traveling the world.

Teaching overseas is our single biggest traveling hack–it enables us to do what we otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

A selfie somewhere in Cinque Terre, Italy.

A selfie somewhere in Italy.

Join us on our Great Adventure!

Shon’s highly neglected personal blog is here: http://motocycletheworld.blogspot.com/

Jenia’s better maintained personal blog is here: http://53miles.livejournal.com/

27 thoughts on “About

  1. Your blog and the basic idea behind it seems quite remarkable…especially for people like me who have some sort of an interest in knowing about the way people live in different countries, particularly the Middle East! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Great blog. I have an interview with ADEC in 2 days in Phoenix. Any tips? I do have about 8 years of high school teaching experience in SF Bay Area. It would be my wife and I. Do you know how competitive it is for these jobs – it is with Footprints Recruiting. If you have any tips, you can email me at dmlandis@yahoo.com. Best.


  3. My husband and I are pursuing overseas teaching jobs for the fall…and I have really enjoyed reading your blog! I have so many questions…I am going to try to keep reading to see if I find the answers. But my big one is this: what is it like raising a child in UAE? We have a 4 year old boy and 1 year old girl. Are we crazy for thinking we could move our family overseas?


    • Shon: heck, no, you’re not crazy. We’ve got friends here who have kids that age, and they love it.
      Jenia: I don’t have any experience raising a child elsewhere, but I do like it here. There is an amazing community of families with young children. There are some private nurseries with great reviews, there is at least one person in Al Ain who homeschools/unschools other people’s kids at her house, and a lot of people hire nannies/maids, too. There are play dates, birthday parties, baby massage classes, baby yoga classes, baby & toddler music classes… you name it! People here tend to love little kids, and our boy gets tons of attention everywhere we go. If you end up in Al Ain (and there’s a good chance of that, since many families are placed here,) do let us know!


  4. Hi,
    Your blog has been encouraging! We live in Michigan. I’ve been working as an ESL teacher and my husband James is a nurse. My husband has accepted a job with the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi (opening in March). We plan to travel to Abu Dhabi in January. He will begin work immediately, I plan to take my time finding a teaching position. I’ve been encouraged by my current employer to work at an IB school. We are very excited, but quite scared too. Reading your blog helps ease the fears a little. We love travel, but have never lived away from our families. I was wondering how to get a password for the protected posts on your website.


    • Hi Pam,

      You guys will have an amazing experience–frustrating by fits and starts, but nonetheless one totally different from anything you could have at home and at times really rewarding. When are you guys coming over? I assume before March. You probably won’t have too much trouble finding work at one of the many private schools around. I would suggest getting your records authenticated before you leave just in case they’re necessary. What part of Michigan are you from?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi,

        We are from the metro Detroit area. We plan to come over in January. I don’t anticipate working until September, but in the meantime I hope to complete my masters in Linguistics, which is one more language course and one big paper, which I’ve been approved to do abroad. And we hope to travel whenever we both have time off work. THANK YOU for the encouragement and your blog! Some days we are really excited, and other days it feels very overwhelming. Your blog has been the most encouraging resource I’ve come across so far. Whenever I feel anxious, I just want to read about the young couple who like us is from the US, loves to travel, and is living happily far away, and then I feel better… so thanks again, because your blog has really been a blessing!


      • I’m so glad to hear it, Pam! It’s really good to know that what we write is worthwhile. This encourages us both to keep writing, even when it seems like life here has become so routine that nobody could care about reading. We’ve never been to Detroit, but we have friends in northern MI, up near Traverse City. I’d say the hardest part of moving here (or anywhere, I imagine) is doing it. Once you’re here, there’s a month of “Wow, this is neat!” follow by about 2 months of culture shock (“wow, this is awful!”). Then you’ll find yourselves getting used to everything and before long, “Wow, I stopped comparing this place to home!” When you guys arrive, look us up! January is just lovely here.


  5. Hi There
    I was enjoying your blog but was wondering if I could ask Shon some offline questions about his experience at ADEC. I want to be respectful but would like to get his honest personal views. Could he possibly send me an e-mail? My wife and I are considering moving there. thank you for your time and advise in advanced.


  6. Hi Shon,

    My husband and I are thinking about teaching in Abu Dhabi starting in August 2017. I will have finished my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. My husband is a Ph.D. in speech pathology at a university, but has experience in ESL. I have 8 years of public K-5 teaching, 1.5 overseas/international school teaching and over a year of university teaching under my belt. I am also TESOL/TEFL certified. Do you think that we will have many opportunities to teach in Abu Dhabi once I graduate in May 2017?

    Would I be able to chat with you or your wife sometime via Skype?

    Thank you,



    • Lisa, there are always opportunities. The hard part is knowing where to look for them. If you’re considering ADEC, TeachAway is probably the easiest way to get interviewed, and they’re quite helpful along the way. If you’re asking whether I think there will still be chances to work here in two years, I think the answer is yes. We’d be happy to Skype with you!


  7. Hello!

    Glad I found your blog. You’re living my dream life. 🙂 I was actually searching for tips on how to find jobs in the UAE when google showed me your blog. And now you’re in Russia, I’ve been wanting to go to Russia!

    I hope you don’t mind if I send you a message and ask for tips. Thank you.


  8. Dear Shon and Jenia,

    I have been reading your blog for months to learn about teaching and life in the UAE with kids; I appreciate the wealth of information and your entertaining style.

    I am a Michigan teacher with 18 years of experience teaching ESL, Literature and Composition. I’m looking for a change and and am thinking of taking a two year leave of absence from my large comprehensive high school to bring my family to the UAE. I taught overseas in St. Petersburg Russia years ago and have long wanted to take my family on an international adventure. The UAE seems to be an exciting place to be and it offers very good family packages for teachers.

    I’m working with Footprints and hope to soon be interviewing with the Institute of Applied Technology. I’ve always enjoyed the Arab students in my ESL classes, however, some of the online information about teaching Emirati students gives me pause. I don’t want to drag my husband and girls half way around the world into a situation where I’ll be totally miserable.

    I wonder if you would be willing to to answer some questions by email.




    • In a nutshell, Amy, everyone has a different experience. Some places are what you’d expect and hope for, others aren’t. It’s impossible to be sure of the work situation you’ll be in. If you’d like to talk via email, that’d be great!


  9. Hi – I’ve been enjoying your blog over the last few months. Like others, I found it while researching teaching in the UAE. I’ve gone through the archives, and I’m wondering about getting access to the password protected posts. I bet the really juicy (honest) stuff is in there! 🙂 Let me know if you’re able to pass on the password. Thanks, I hope you all are continuing to do well!


    • Hi Jonathan, thanks for the comment, and sorry for taking so long to reply. It’s been hectic here in Russia. If you’d like to provide me your e-mail address, I’d be willing to share the password for those posts. They’re not outrageous or anything:)


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