Four years ago, I called myself a traveler for the first time.
I was a junior in college, not yet two decades old, and three weeks into my first semester abroad (location: London), I was itching to explore.
A short AIM conversation with a friend studying in Paris later, and the following weekend, I jetted off Ryanair-style for 58 hours in Dublin.
Six of those hours were spent sleeping; otherwise, I remember every minute, a rare feat in Ireland.
There was the raw chill in the September air, the lush green beyond the city limits, the velvety thickness of my first Guinness.
Most important, though, was the adrenaline: I felt alive.
I have never been one of those lucky ones who knew exactly what I wanted out of life.
I'm an overachiever with an ever-present artistic streak, but I am also indecisive.
But, since that first trip of my first study abroad semester, I have been sure about one thing, and that is travel.
That's why I followed that semester with a second (this time: Prague).
That's why I got on a plane to Israel 36 hours after throwing my graduation cap in the air.
That's why I went back to Prague for a full year of post-collegiate life and work.
Studying abroad is one thing, but working is an entirely different animal.
For many of us, it is the only way to realize the international adventures our rootless spirits so desire.
And so, newly awarded B.A. in hand, I ran back to Prague two years ago, ready to become the just-graduated cliche: an ESL instructor.
After a crash course in TEFL, I bonded with the city's many expats over the obscure locations our schools sent us to explore, the intimate secrets our students insisted they share, and the realization that the English language simply doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
I'm very excited to be joining the Go Backpacking team, and I'll be posting weekly on the grand experiment: the ESL life abroad.
Ups, downs, and mispronunciations, there are never enough words to fully tell the tale. I'll do my best, and I hope you'll read along!
Leslie currently lives in New York, where she freelances in publishing and writes a food and health blog, The Whole Plate. Aside from travel, she is (almost) equally addicted to theater, thrift shopping, yoga, and cooking with natural foods.