Top 5 Travel Writers for TEFL Adventure Seekers

It’s no secret that at i-to-i we’re HUGE travel fans. We live, breath and dream travel, which comes in handy considering the TEFL courses and travel advice we provide.

Since November is “Novel Writing Month” we wanted to give a shout-out to some of the most iconic travel writers out there.

We’ve put together our top 5 travel writers, who’ve painted such an exciting picture of the places they’ve explored that we felt part of their journey, and were inspired to get discovering.

Bill Bryson

For some of us, he’s the first travel author we ever read. His charming and entertaining writing style filled with tales of the amazing people he met on the way is so detailed that you really feel that you’re not only his best friend, but travelling alongside him.

He’s probably most famous for his novel “Notes from a Small Island”, which gives an American’s account of 1970s Britain. He’s since ventured all over the globe.

His 2002 best-seller “African Diary” details his trip to Kenya supporting CARE International projects.

His descriptions of Kenyan geography and culture have inspired many an African adventure.

Trekking party in Kenya

Elizabeth Gilbert

When you say “Eat, Pray, Love” a lot of people will respond with “Julia Roberts”. And while it was an epic movie, we do love the original book that inspired it all.

The true story of this book combined with the many destinations and life lessons described in such an honest and heart-felt manner is what truly makes this memoir a masterpiece.

At 32 Elizabeth Gilbert was a known writer with a white-picked-fence home and husband, but she didn’t feel fulfilled. After her divorce and an unsuccessful rebound relationship, she decided to hit the road and explore the world.

What we love about the book is how it’s layered out into 3 spell-bounding acts:


Giving her account of living, eating and enjoying life in Italy.


Depicting her 3 month journey across India discovering her spiritual side.


In which she spent a year in Indonesia on the search of a balance between “Eat” and “Pray” and also fell in love with a Brazilian Businessman.

Bali, Indonesia, has such iconic landscapes that we’re sure she fell in love with the island, too.

Pura Ulun Danu temple. Indonesia.

Robert Macfarlane

Nottinghamshire born and bred writer Robert Macfarlane has a very unique approach to travel writing.

Typically staying on his home-turf of the UK, Robert nevertheless is a good example of travel writing inspiring Wanderlust.

He’s a literal wordsmith as he champions the language of landscapes and is a must-read for any aspiring travel writers or bloggers out there.

Also a handy reference for any TEFL teachers for lessons with teenagers. If you’re looking for lesson inspiration, why not use Macfarlane’s terms to delve deeper into the genre that is travel writing. Some of our favourite phrases from his latest novel “Landmarks” are:

“Summer Geese”

Yorkshire term for steam that lifts from moorland when hot sun shines after hard rain.


South-west English phrase for vast glitter and gleam of sunlight on hoarfrost.


The sound and action of open water as it freezes, a term originating from Northamptonshire.

Inspiring sunset at the sea

Matt Gross

Matt Gross started out as a columnist for the New York Times, where he wrote about frugal travelling. Always handy to get tips on this.One day his editor gave him the chance to write something with less structure, which is where the column “Getting Lost” was born from, which opened the doors to a more immersive travel experience for Gross and resulted in success all round. Happy Gross, happy editor and happy readers. Nice.

His debut novel “The Turk Who Loved Apples” shows Matt’s journey around the world in which he let the destination itself guide him through what to see and experience. A travel method dubbed ‘breaking free’ and a truly inspiring account of what you can discover by choosing the path less-traveled.

Sea at Nang Yuan island Koh Tao Thailand.

Rolf Potts

If you’re a keen travel researcher you’ve probably encountered Rolf Potts’ columns and travel essays in the National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian and

Potts’ career began as a landscaper in Seattle before going to Korea to teach English at a technical college for two years, which is where he started writing about his experiences in this amazing country.

He’s since published two books “Vagabonding” and “Marco Polo Didn’t Go There”. Both are fantastic reads, which champion the value of travel while also giving philosophical insights.

Our favourite is “Marco Polo Didn’t Go There” as the end-notes offer the reader the chance to understand how travel narratives emerge from a variety of real-life travel experiences.

A must-read for anyone interested in developing their travel writing skills.

South Korea mountain landscape

Inspired to give travel writing a go yourself? Just need a destination, right?

Ever considered an adventure, where you can get paid as go by teaching English as a foreign language? If not, then opportunity may be knocking with our TEFL courses:

And if you’d like any course or travel advice, give our friendly team a call.

What it’s like doing TEFL in stunning South Korea!

Today, we’re interviewing the lovely Emina, who is living and teaching in super Seoul, South Korea. Jealous, us?!

Hi, Emina! Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Emina Dedic. I’m 27 years old, and originally from Bosnia. I am a former refugee, and first generation college graduate. I am a career student, writer, activist, and world explorer.

How do you usually spend your spare time?
I collect currency from all over the world and vinyl records. I regularly contribute to a variety of travel writing and educational blogs. I’m very passionate about community activism and do my best to contribute to my local community as much as I can. I’m an avid fashion and coffee enthusiast.

i-to-i TEFL graduate Emina Dedic teaches her class in Seoul, South Korea

What’s your education history? College, degree, high school?
I have an associates and bachelors degree with a focus in Psychology from Charter Oak State College. I also have certificates in Victim Advocacy and Legal Investigation from Texas A&M International University, and Paralegal Studies from Georgia State University. Currently. I’m four classes away from finishing a BA in English while simultaneously working on my MBA as well.

Where are you now?
Currently, I live in Seoul, South Korea. I teach at a private academy. I’m currently in my second year, and I am loving it!

i-to-i TEFL graduates socialise at a restaurant in Seoul, South Korea

What is it that drew you to teaching English abroad?
I have wanted to teach English abroad for about five years, ever since I saw my school career services website advertising open positions for the jobs online. I was held back from going since most places a degree is a requirement. I was very hesitant to take out student loans, so it took me longer than normal to obtain my degree, which is a requirement in this industry. While I worked a job and went to school full-time, I kept daydreaming constantly about how one day I would wind up where I am today. My patience and determination paid off, however, because now I’m living a dream come true.

Which TEFL course did you complete?
I complete the 120 hour online course. However, I also did some specialist modules. Teaching Business English, Teaching to Online Learners, Teaching Business English, Teaching One-on-One, and Teaching With Limited Resources were some of the skills related subjects I studied. I also took country specific courses in Teaching in Italy, China, Poland, Japan, and South Korea.

A park and lake in peaceful Seoul, South Korea

Why did you choose your teaching location? Do you feel you made the right decision?
I chose South Korea because the nation has a reputation for being safe and a comfortable place for new teachers. The benefits are also nice. Overall, safety, security, and reliability were the main factors.

Where are you teaching? How are you finding the experience?
I have been teaching kids of many different ages, usually in the range from 4 years old to about 11. I work at a private academy. I am really enjoying the experience, but it does get challenging at times.

What’s your favourite thing about living where you do?
Other than having a job that I love, I’m very close to Olympic Park and to a dog café I adore called Lucimon. There is a Pyrenees dog there named Podong I really love. I love grabbing some tea and hanging out with him while I work on writing travel articles or grading assignments.


Are there any challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them?
I really had no prior experience with teaching children, so the adjustment process was a bit hard for me. Figuring out how to discipline properly as well as teach students in effective ways in different class sizes and age levels also proved difficult. Sometimes, it was also hard to juggle a personal life along with such a demanding professional life.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start out teaching English abroad?
Go for it, but don’t jump into it blindly. Do your research. Negotiate your pay. Get TEFL certified, and make sure any contract you look at is valid. Know your rights and employment laws wherever you work. Most opportunities are legitimate, but don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of, because scams do still exist and there are bad schools out there.

Are you the same person as a year ago?
I would like to think that I am. I’d like to think I’m the same person, just a bit more aware about international issues, female traveling issues, what having to adjust to a culture is like when you’re completely alone, etc. I try to use my experiences to better myself as a person and use those tools to improve my community. I definitely learned I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Students on a field trip to the zoo in Seoul, South Korea

What three things would you choose to take to a desert island, and why?
Sunscreen (safety first), emergency supplies (in case I end up stuck or sick), and a really great book with a pen inside and some blank pages in the back so I could jot down some notes for an article I’d like to publish about the trip later.

Thanks for your time, Emina! It was great chatting with you. All the best in your future teach and travel adventures!

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