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To Travel Hopelessly: Five Years of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (The Burnout Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

English Teacher X
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1995, after a year of aimless wandering, a broke, parasite-infested backpacker answered an ad in a newspaper in Bangkok and inadvertently became English Teacher X, working, in the next five years, in seven different cities in five different countries.

From the neon-and-vomit-laden streets of Seoul to historic beer-soaked Prague, from a tropical island paradise in Thailand to an industrial hellhole of Post-Soviet Russia, English Teacher X describes, in raw and violent imagery, the life of an English teacher overseas, encountering dishonest and exploitative employers, degenerate colleagues, corrupt police, gold-hearted prostitutes and cold-hearted "English groupies", with drugs and alcohol for all, while questing in vain for the Authentic Cultural Experience.

English Teacher X's world serves as a cautionary tale for young people going overseas to teach, or a titillating taste of the many perks of the darker side of English teaching.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1799 KB
  • Print Length: 184 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051W1BRS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,495 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Taste of the TEFL underworld July 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As someone with a similar work history as the infamous English Teacher X I can highly recommend his travel memoir. I've taught in similar Soviet hell holes as well as Korea and Eastern Europe and I can attest that X's travelogue is brutally honest, accurate and truly funny. He's the Henry Miller of English teachers. If you liked Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" this is the book for you-depraved and deranged ex-pats searching for something or simply just trying to escape and with the brevity that Miller lacks. His take on the perverts, nut-jobs, alcoholics and drug fiends that inhabit the teaching world is honest and endearing. A neglected yet vital topic he covers are the nutty and desperate student groupies who make TEFL teaching either incredibly enjoyable or nerve racking-depending on how nutty/beautiful the student is. The chapter, "About a Whore" is about his brief time with a prostitute named "Oh" and it is about the most touching thing I've read in a long time. If Julia Roberts had half the charm of "Oh" she'd be worth watching. Despite or because of his debauchery you'll be rooting for X as he wanders from one TEFL hell hole to the next.

A must read for anyone thinking teaching English overseas!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read June 27, 2011
By Carmo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought this book without any expectations but was hoping for a fun, quick read that was about travel, sex, and debauchery(3 of my favorite things). I was not disappointed, read the whole thing straight through. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Funny, could have a little more depth. August 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is funny and captures most of the problems teachers find abroad -- particularly in more openly corrupt countries --, but it's a pity that it only represents part of the group: socially awkward, problematic people with little or no experience in teaching, generally irresponsible and financially unstable, who have nothing to lose and who spend a great sum in drugs, alcohol and prostitutes. I'm a teacher too (though not of English), and most of the language teachers I've come across in Asia over the past years were normal, down-to-earth people. "Most of them", because you can surely find some nutcases in this field, like in any other.

Maybe the book is very good at representing the generation who was in their late twenties during the 90s...? Surely, the author's intention was NOT to depict the current situation in TEFL, but I keep imagining some people might give up their plans of going abroad to teach, thinking that everything is still like this today.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Teacher X seemed to leave a very interesting life partly due to him going places most sane teachers would avoid like the plague but that he seemed to relish partly for the adventure and partly for the cash.
Not recommended for those who wish to follow in his footsteps but for those naive enough to think that a career in English teaching is all happy students and adoration.
Not Graham Greene but a good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ok August 12, 2012
By ANA
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An easy read, but I fear its biased, although I'm sure the author lived all those moments I also feel there is more to TEFL than what he shows. Its all a mater of options.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked it. Too often people romanticize things, or exaggerate to make their experiences seems different. Not here. We get a unfiltered look into a different lifestyle.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got this book as it was free and about, in part, Thailand. The book was a quick and easy read. I had no laugh out loud moments, but I did find the story to be engaging, and reasonably well written. A bit more detail, and more words would have been nice, as I found the story to be interesting. I couldn't give 3.5 stars so I rounded up as it was free.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad and Disappointing August 14, 2012
By Jess
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a fan of travel memoirs, this one left me terribly disappointed. This book wasn't interesting, informative or funny. It was just the same story of the author not caring about his job or his students, getting drunk and high, and sleeping with prostitutes and his students, set in a couple different locations around the world. It's clear the author just uses teaching as a means to travel, but the complete distain he routinely expresses for his students and for teaching just left me unable to connect to this story. I guess if you are a self-centered, narcissist in a continual state of delayed adolescence, then this might be vaguely entertaining - but otherwise, just skip this navel-gazing, pity-fest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good & Honest
Published 25 days ago by Shirlee
2.0 out of 5 stars okay
Many far better books on this subject. Teacher X focuses on his heavy drinking, drugs and whoring more than the counties. The students are barely mentioned. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris Cennedy
1.0 out of 5 stars If he is trying to find himself, he's still lost
I have absolutely no idea why this kid is teaching. He doesn't seem to love English. He doesn't seem to love the countries he's visiting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Catherine Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting memoir of life as an ESL teacher in Thailand ...
Interesting memoir of life as an ESL teacher in Thailand, South Korea, New York, czhechlosavkia and Russia. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bennyprofane
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Another excellent work by Teacher X. Just loved it. Explores the life of an English teacher in several countries. Very realistic with no hype, tell everything type of book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Maher
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious if unfulfilling
This is a brief but hilarious collection of travel stories, detailing how English Teacher X actually became English Teacher X; he had been backpacking around the world and didn't... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Matt W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for ESL teachers
As an ESL teacher myself, I appreciate how "English Teacher X" chronicled his teaching life story, experiences, and shenanigans. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kent Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
3 because it was entertaining and at times interesting. Not 4 or 5 because it was a bit rude for my taste at times.
Published 23 months ago by E
4.0 out of 5 stars the title alone is enough
More stories and variety than some of his other works, but still irreverent and full of joyfully bad behavior. English Teacher X before Russia destroyed him.
Published 23 months ago by hm
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking Asia Would have been a great title.
The stories almost sound unbelievable, sure there is perhaps some embelishment but putting this aside, there is probably some truth behind some of the stories which makes then... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Paul Gale
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More About the Author

English Teacher X is a 15-year veteran of some of the worst English language schools in the world.

He has lived and worked in eight different cities in seven different countries, including Thailand and Russia.

He no longer believes that travelling hopefully is better than arriving.


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