Friday, November 14, 2008

Wandering Educators Brings Me Home

Do you ever have the experience when you are traveling of turning a corner in a city you’ve never been in before and having the feeling you’ve been there before? There’s something almost comforting in the layout of the buildings or the smell of a nearby bakeshop that seems somehow almost like home. Recently, in my various wandering around the travel-related corners of the web, I came across the name of a website that intrigued me. With the same curiosity that gets me peering down alleyways in strange cities, I clicked on the link and it brought me here: Wandering Educators.

From the moment the page booted up, I knew there was something strangely familiar about the place. This website is a compendium of compelling stories, important travel tips, job postings, sabbatical homes, and travel deals. The layout is simple and straightforward, the blog post titles unpretentious, and the whole vibe positive and encouraging. It simultaneously welcomes me home and sends me out the door for new experiences.

Founded in 2007, the website is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Jessie Voigts and Ed Forteau. In an email interview, Voigts told me that they wanted to create a project that they could work on together. With Voigts’ background in education and travel, Wandering Educators was a natural choice. However, they had no idea how quickly the idea would catch on. Since the founding, they have grown tremendously and now see over a thousand visitors a day. After tapping Joel Carillet to be chief editor, they have added over forty editors in charge of writing and recruiting new content in areas as diverse as Italy and teaching in South Korea. Although these are volunteer positions now, as the site grows, Voigts anticipates a revenue sharing agreement with her editors. Although she claims to want to slow down, Ms. Voigts seems indefatigable, posting post after post on other travel sites and blogs, travel books, and tips for traveling with children.

Of the many stories posted by Wandering Educators, there are stories on heritage trips, hidden gems of Ireland, reviews of travel books and websites, and breaking travel news. I also appreciate the “artist of the month” and “photographer of the month” features, as they introduce me to visions of worlds I might not otherwise see.

For me, one of the most tempting places on Wandering Educators is the listing of sabbatical homes in places like New Zealand, Egypt, Turkey & Germany. Actually living in a country is such a completely different experience than just traveling through it. My wife and I experienced that while living and working in Austria and have been longing to move back ever since we left. So, if anyone knows of a job in the Salzburg area, please let me know.

In the meantime, I like what I see at Wandering Educators and may just make myself at home here.
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