Lili Valentine: My Story
Hi! I’m Lili Valentine. I was born in Miami, Florida, and raised on the island of Key Biscayne, a sunny suburb of the Magic City. I studied at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to join Teach For America after graduating. As a TFA corps member, I taught 9th grade English language arts at Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Miami. After completing my commitment with TFA, I returned to my alma mater high school, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, to teach 10th grade AP US History and AP English Literature. I also began teaching online classes with a school based in China. After three wonderful years in Miami, I decided that it was time to live abroad for the first time in my life. I made plans to teach English in Madrid, Spain, and in August of 2016, I was off…Things have never been the same since. After living in Madrid for a year, I traveled extensively before settling down for another year in Bucharest, Romania. I then returned to Spain: first to Sevilla, then finally back to my beloved Madrid.
My Two Vocations: Teaching and Traveling
In my first year as a teacher, I came to the conclusion that teaching was a personal calling for me. In my year living and working abroad in Madrid, I came to a similar conclusion about travel. Teaching is immensely gratifying: I am fortunate to be able to touch the lives of my students through the gift of education. The profession also affords me a wealth of opportunities to wander the globe, whether it’s teaching English on the ground in a foreign country or teaching online from anywhere on the planet that has a wifi connection. Ultimately, my work as a teacher is my ticket around the world.
Why I Travel
Travel nourishes the soul. It reminds us that the world is big and that we are small. However, travel allows us to grow bigger as we see more of the world: our eyes open in awe, our minds stir with curiosity, our hearts swell with love. Robert Louis Stevenson, the great author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, had this to say about his travels: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” It is important to move – to shift out of one’s comfort zone and into uncertainty. In so doing, we become better. In so doing, I have become better.
Join me as I document my travels on this blog. Let’s take a lil’ trip!