My Global Life: Kerianne Baylor

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Kerianne’s love for travel comes from two distinct quirks: her curiosity and inability to sit still. She’s a serendipitous world wanderer, a professional note-taker, and a lover of Romance languages, South America, journals, and random dancing. Her favorite travel quote is “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” -Ibn Battuta Kerianne’s website is  Keriannebaylor.com and she’s @keriannebaylor on Instagram. 

 

Hi, Kerianne! What does “living a global life” look like for you at this stage in your life?

I’m currently sitting on a plane, slowly inching my way south towards my next teach abroad destination. Even after studying abroad for a year in Madrid, Spain, teaching abroad in Barranquilla, Colombia, and now, heading to Maceió, Brazil for my second round of teaching, I’ve learned that you don’t have to get on a plane to travel.

 

We travel every day. Living in central New Jersey, I have culinary journeys right outside my doorstep (just yesterday I had Italian and Japanese meals). At home, I like to travel through food and I love to take my family on food journeys—it’s how I show them the places I’ve been. You can learn so much about a foreign place through their traditional dishes, and I jump on new opportunities (a.k.a. international restaurants I haven’t tried yet) to experience somewhere else even when I’m in New Jersey.

 

Whether it’s cooking Spanish tortilla, sampling jerk chicken wings at a Caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn, or finding maracuyá-flavored items in the grocery store, I’m always searching for ways to incorporate my travels into my everyday life, and, of course, meals!

 

How has your global life changed over time?

 

The more I travel, the more I understand how to lead a global life. My first two trips abroad were with a Travel Club in high school. I went to Europe during spring break and buzzed through sites and sounds, barely absorbing my surroundings. But, these initial trips sparked my undying wanderlust.

 

Study abroad became a priority for me when I got to college. I fell in love with Spanish, picked up a Spanish minor, which turned into a double major in Communication and Spanish. Ever since my high school Spanish teacher spoke to our class about Spain, I was hooked. Once I found out that I could jet out of Poughkeepsie, NY for my entire junior year, I was sold.

 

I began documenting my European experiences by journaling and blogging, and I started to incorporate the things I learned in Madrid into my life post-study abroad. I grew tremendously—I felt more self-aware, independent, reflective, and curious.

 

Upon returning to Marist College, I dedicated my senior year to all things international. I dropped my desire to be a NYC-based PR professional for something more aligned with my deep-seated longing for the world. I accepted a position as a road warrior with a study abroad program provider post-graduation, and then I noticed they were also recruiting for their teach abroad program in Colombia. Boom, done.

 

Teaching English in Barranquilla for ten months further enhanced my concept of a global life. It isn’t just simply traveling to far-off places, it’s interacting with the people, getting to know them, their culture, sharing meals with them, stumbling through their language, and realizing that we’re not as different as we think. Developing relationships with my adult Colombian students, as well as teachers from around the world, meant everything to me.

Now, I’m in the early stages of teaching English at a university in Maceió, Brazil with a Fulbright grant, and I’m already anxious to see where this year will take my global perspective.

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What do you find most fulfilling about living a global life?

Connecting with people in foreign places is the most rewarding aspect of traveling. The cross-cultural exchange that occurs when you meet new people from foreign places is humbling and sincerely special. They put a name and face to a previously unknown place in your mind.

Now, you recognize where they’re from, and you think of them and their point of view. As large as the world seems, global connections are what bind us together and force us to think globally (more than just about ourselves), recognizing that our place is this world is a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things.


What are some challenges you’ve faced in creating and living a global life?

The toughest part about living life in so many places is always having to say goodbye. I strongly dislike goodbyes. I prefer to think of it as a ‘see you later,’ hasta luego, or até logo.

Despite not always physically being with loved ones and people you cherish from around the world, it is heartwarming to have the ability to be connected to them through the seemingly endless forms of technology today. I can FaceTime my best friend in South Korea, text my mom in New Jersey, or WhatsApp my previous students in Colombia at any given moment (with the help of WiFi).

Utilizing social media and technology to stay connected is taking advantage of having the world literally at your fingertips. You can maintain these global connections while you’re away from home and even after you’ve returned home.


Do you have any tips for others who want to create a satisfying and meaningful global life?

Be open-minded about defining your global life. It doesn’t have to mean that you have to get a visa and move 3,000+ miles away from where you were born. It could mean enrolling in Japanese classes, Skyping your friends in Spanish, volunteering at a local ESL class, or trying out recipes from different cultures.

Each day you have the opportunity to spice up your life and add in a global twist. That adventurous mindset you associate with travel should be applied to your day-to-day even at home: take a new route to work, go to cultural events, eat at restaurants you normally wouldn’t.

Just as you would seek out your favorite activities when you’re abroad for an extended period of time (for instance, yoga, singing, or dance), you can do the same upon your return home. Keep that wanderlust alive and well whether you’re coming, going, or kicking it in one place. You’ve got to make your global life meaningful to you.

Thanks for sharing your My Global Life story, Kerianne! 

About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Cate Brubaker, PhD is the author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and founder of SmallPlanetStudio.com. A former expat and current part-time nomad, Cate has worked in international education for 20 years.

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