1: Please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from ?
Hi there! My name is Maryke Kennard and I am from a small town in South Africa, Oudtshoorn. I currently live abroad in a city called Niš, located in Serbia. I used to be a massive gamer and traveled to a few countries just to play competitively, which is where the itch for adventure started…
2.What made you take the leap into leaving your home country ?
I left South Africa a few years back and headed to Bahrain to try the world of English teaching. The culture change was a little drastic and I never really felt home so I finally bought a ticket to a country I once visited and fell in love with. I have been here ever since. This place is home.
3. Are you a digital nomad, worldschoolers traveling full time or taking many long trips or have you settled in a new country?
I am teaching online while traveling as I please. The ideal would be to work 3 weeks and travel one week at a time, every month. For now I target 5 countries a year since I am saving and buying property for long term investment. So I am fully settled in Serbia, saving up to buy a house this year and hoping for a stronger passport so I can travel easily.
4.The big question, how do you sustain yourselves financially?
I am teaching English online full time. I am also studying through UNISA at the moment and my degree is almost done, so I will proceed to my master’s study once I reach language proficiency here.
5. Looking back, what are the best tips you can give others wanting to do the same?
Take a risk. Save up. Buy that ticket. Do any dirty job that pays until you find your passion. I am very privileged to have grown up with the opportunity to learn English, and if you grew up in a similar situation, don’t let something stop you from bettering your life, especially in my field.
6. How different is your life now and what are the most positive results you can share with us?
The honest truth, not just the good stuff. Back when I was in South Africa, I was depressed. I felt like I was stuck in a degree program I absolutely hated while working three jobs to sustain it. I had a very bad situation with abusive family members and felt like I needed to escape. Things were very rough for a while; depression and anxiety can take anyone down. I moved to Bahrain with my very supportive mother and stepfather and continued to study through UNISA (a degree I actually wanted to study) while working.
This was still stressful as the Middle East isn’t the easiest place to adapt to. But fast forward to today…. I walk alone at 2 am in the parks without a worry, I sometimes forget to lock my door when I leave my house, I live like a king on a salary I get from working half the hours I did back in the day and I get to save money properly.
I feel like I belong here, especially when people in my local grocery shop light up when they see me. I always get ready to hear them practice their 10 words of English and they get to hear my 50 words of Serbian.
People are helpful, friendly and welcoming. I wish for others to live like this, to feel safe at night and be able to feed the birds in the park without clenching onto your bag like back in South Africa.
7.Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers to inspire them to take the leap?
Life is unfair, life sucks a lot of the time. But if you get struck down, please don’t give up. Plan for the next step. Ask yourself how you are going to fix something.
Make sure you actually find something that makes you happy. If you give up, you let the bad stuff win. And even though the awful times win a battle here and there, it will be up to you to win that war.
8. Do you have any blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other sociol media we can follow you on?