Exploring the World with Carrie Kellenberger

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I'm so pleased to introduce you to our new ESL Editor, Carrie Kellenberger. But she's so much more than our ESL editor - she's got a great range of information on the internet, from ESL resources to an incredible photography site, to my favorite site of hers, My Several Worlds. Carrie is truly a global citizen, thriving in several cultures and making the world her home. Her sites are excellent resources that are informed by the world.  From interviews with travel writers and photographers, articles such as 8 Free Things to Do in Tokyo and A Fine Day of Horse Racing at the Singapore Turf Club, to travel articles on Taiwan, photography, and more. It's such fun to delve into her worlds!


Carrie Kellenberger


We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Carrie, about her websites, travels, ESL, and more. Here's what she had to say...



WE: Please tell us about your site, My Several Worlds. What was the genesis of your site?

CK: My Several Worlds was originally created for two reasons. I’ve kept hand-written journals ever since I was a little girl, and I decided to go digital for the ease and convenience of writing online. I also started blogging as a means of keeping our families and friends updated on our wanderings throughout Asia.

I’ve had an insatiable interest in Asia ever since I was a girl, and books played an important role in my desire to move abroad. While other kids played or watched TV, I had my nose buried in whatever I was reading at the time, especially if it was a travel tale about people living in far-off places. One of my favorite books back then was Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. After reading it, I scoured bookstores for her other books, and was especially keen on reading her autobiography, My Several Worlds. The book was long out-of-print, and I hunted for it for years. Finally, a few days before I left for China in 2003, my grandmother surprised me with a copy.

Few autobiographies are as rewarding as My Several Worlds, which relates the authoress’ life experiences while living with her missionary parents in China during the Communist Revolution. Born in the US and raised in China, My Several Worlds bridges the gap between the US and Asia and tells of a life less ordinary. My subsequent adventures, while entirely different from Buck’s, made me reflect on her passages about life in China and in the US. I understood what it was like to live in different worlds. Her writing inspired me to continue with my own handwritten journals while I was on the road, and I mailed several completed journals home before I finally decided to move everything online in 2006. I still have that dusty, dog-eared copy of My Several Worlds. It is one of my prized possessions and I thought it fitting to name my blog after the autobiography of an incredible woman and her tales of travel.


Carrie Kellenberger - winter camp

Winter camp



WE:  Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

CK: I moved to Changchun in northeast China in 2003 with the intention of teaching for a year and then traveling before returning home to Canada. However, Asia had other plans for me. I was emboldened by the everyday challenges and opportunities that came my way, and set out to learn as much as I could from my year abroad. Those first three years were wild. I took advantage of everything and anything that came my way. I taught 18 hours a week at a local school and used the rest of my time to pursue other interests. I was a lead singer in a Filipino rock band for several years, I worked in the broadcasting industry as a co-host for a radio English talk show for taxi drivers, and I dabbled with acting and modeling for some time.

I met my husband in China in 2004 and we decided to move to Taiwan in 2006 for a change of scene. We ended up finding teaching jobs through Reach to Teach, and worked quietly towards saving money for our wedding, which was in December 2008. Just last year, I decided to give up my teaching job in order to work for a publishing company here in Taipei. My job allows me to combine a number of activities that I enjoy. When I’m in the office, I help to write, edit, and gather research for a variety of magazines and English textbooks produced by our company, and I lend my voice to our multimedia products. My job also allows me to travel to schools throughout Taiwan, where I meet with teachers and students and show them how to use our products effectively in the classroom.

In the past year, I’ve also put a lot of energy into my freelance writing and photography. I write for a few publications here in Taiwan and I’m a contributing writer and photographer to Hip Compass Travel Escapes magazine.


Discover Taipei

Discover Taipei



WE: What can readers find on your site?

CK: Actually, I have several web sites.

My Several Worlds started off as a personal blog with frequent travel updates, cultural observations and photography. Over the years it has progressed into a travel and photography web site featuring Asian destinations, attractions, culture, and lifestyle, with a particular emphasis on Taiwan. I also have a special page devoted to ESL Resources. I plan to add country guides sometime in the near future.

I launched Taiwan Photographers in 2007 to create a community of photographers, videographers, and models in Taiwan. The site features portfolios, upcoming events, photography tutorials from local commercial and editorial photographers, and a photo of the day series.

My husband and I launched our first web site together just last month. Lay Your Head Here features accommodations that are selected by travelers for travelers. John and I have added some of our favorites, and we’ve already featured a few guest bloggers as well. We’re always looking for new selections, so if any of your readers here on Wandering Educators would like to contribute, please feel free to get in touch with me at carrie[at]layyourheadhere.com.


John and Carrie

John and Carrie



WE:  Can you please share some of your ESL experiences?

CK: One of the most rewarding ESL programs I had the pleasure of teaching was a creative writing course called Super Writers. Most writing courses here in Taiwan are designed for exam preparation. This course was unique in that it allowed students to learn several different writing styles. We covered fantasy stories, descriptive paragraphs, how-to paragraphs, character sketches, story boards, business letters, resumes, brochures…etc.

Each month, I chose a writer and featured their best story on My Several Worlds. The program had several unexpected benefits. My students got a big kick out of seeing their student profile and stories on line. They became more diligent with the writing process and worked harder to submit quality work. Parents loved the idea of having a ‘published’ author at home. The program also gave teachers in Taiwan an idea of what Taiwanese students are capable of when given a little bit of leeway, and it gave them ideas for their own creative writing classes.


Little Lambs and Elves

Little Lambs and Elves



WE: How do you like traveling and living in Asia? What have been the highlights for you?

CK: Oh, that’s a hard one. I’d have to say that my most memorable moments while on the road all have to do with the people I’ve met. Asia is an incredible place to be right now. I’ve met some really amazing people on the road. Friendships are quickly made and can be long-lasting. To be sure, there will be folks that you never hear from again, but there are always a select few that you form a deep friendship with that is built to last.

In other cases, you will meet people on the road that make the effort to stay in touch even if you aren’t really friends. Two people that stand out in particular and who I still hear from every couple of months or so is Natthanicha, a young Thai woman that I met while traveling through Thailand in 2004, and a beach hawker from Cambodia named Fruit Salad, who still writes me every so often to let me know that he is ok.


On Stage in China

On Stage in China



WE:  You're also a great photographer - do you have tips for photographers
while traveling?

CK: I think the most important thing to remember is to not get so caught up in capturing the perfect photo that you miss what’s happening right in front of you.


Red Door

Red Door



WE: Thanks so much, Carrie! I love visiting your sites and highly recommend them to our readers.

For more information, please see:

My Several Worlds http://www.myseveralworlds.com
ESL Resources http://www.myseveralworlds.com/teach-and-travel/
Taiwan Photographers http://www.taiwanphotographers.com
Lay Your Head Here http://www.layyourheadhere.com

and you can find her on twitter: http://twitter.com/globetrotteri


Feature photo:

Cu Chi Tunnel - Vietnam. Click to see her photo essay on Vietnam's Cu Chi Tunnel System.


All photos courtesy and copyright of Carrie Kellenberger.

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