Not to Bali. That is the answer!
I've decided not to take the housesitting job in Bali: the risk does not outweigh the reward. Between the cost of visas, flights, and utilities, there's a minimum of $1500 investment just to get there and remain there (not including monthly cost-of-living expenses). The risk is caused by the pandemic: a business visa is only valid for 60 days, with a monthly renewal available--but not guaranteed. This means I could end up spending almost two grand to be in Bali for 60 days. That's not in my unemployed person's budget. Common natural disasters (earthquakes and such), high pollution due to monsoon season (flooding), and my intuition made the "cons" portion of my "Pros vs. Cons List" weigh heavy. I had a gut instinct not to go, and that was the biggest factor.
So, what's next then?
When I returned to the USA from Australia, for the Pandemic Spring season, I toyed with the idea of teaching on a Tribal Reservation. Being out of the States, I forgot how bad the social and cultural situation is here. Not to delve into it, but combined with income inequality, unemployment, rampant racism, lack of social justice, and a broken political system, I can't wait to get out and forget about it all again. The feeling of cultural despair cuts me deeply. I do not want to be part of the broken and ineffective public school system in the US, but I don't want to try to survive on the poverty wages earned progressive, private schools--schools where I would be most happy as an holistic educator. But I've got to work, too. The virtual scenario is unappealing, but online tutoring is a good option, when I can get that business up and running.
There are several options in which I am interested--a couple really pull at my heart strings. I want to be of service while I'm in the States, where possible. Therefore, I've decided to apply to teach in the prison system or at a First Nations Tribal school. I may also try to receive grants or scholarships to continue my Master's so that I can teach at the college level. A friend recommended the prison path and applying for a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and study abroad. Alongside the above options is trying to get sponsorship for a motorcycle trip from Texas to Tierra del Fuego to raise money for hungry US kids, prison education programs, or the school I want to start in Tibet. This means I will research starting an NGO or joining one.
And I still have to take my upper level English and Chemistry tests to add to my Teaching License.
I'm really drawn to teaching for the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina; the school is hiring an Elementary Educator. Their tribal lands are only a half hour from where I lived in NC back in 2013; I know the area and would be happy there again. Bringing quality education to our First Nations' peoples is a great service.
I am also really drawn to teaching literacy and ESL in prisons to help undo the discrimination and racial injustices caused by the pipeline from birth to prison so many people of color experience due to institutional racism in the USA.
When I achieve my Master's, it will open many new opportunities for me, including teaching at the Uni level abroad. Ultimately, I really want to GTFO of the US as soon as possible, but more and more borders close, especially to US citizens (I can't blame them with this country's lack of leadership, unity, and pandemic control measures. A motorcycle trip to raise money for a good cause would not only be a way of escape, but will help me fulfill several personal desires: taking another motorcycle trip (this time across multiple countries and continents!), getting the hell out of the USA, and raising money for something--hopefully a school in an underserved area abroad (Nepal, Tibet, India).
I plan to spend the next month applying for the Tribal and prison jobs, as well as researching grants and scholarships to continue my Master's. At some point, I'll start studying for the state exams, too.
I am really grateful to my friend, M., who has advised me with her experience teaching abroad for NGOs and the Peace Corps, as well as having taught in the prison system. She has inspired me and sent me in an intriguing, new direction!
This housesit ends at the end of the month; I'll either be employed and move to the job, or take another housesit assignment ... somewhere! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, there are fewer and fewer housesits available.*
I wonder where I will end up in December!