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Thanks to Denetria Lewis, cultural sommelier and founder of The DNYREE Group for suggesting that Rolling Out to show me a bit of love!

Blogger and international educator Mai Perkins on working abroad and lifelong learning

Mai b&w 2012

Name: Mai Perkins
Title/Company: blogger, MaiOnTheMove.com; freelance writer/editor, Mai Content, LLC; and international educator

How did you determine your career path?
Honestly, for the past decade I’ve been one of those people to stumble onto career paths more than I planned with intentions to work in a certain industry. What I mean is that while I am a freelance ghostwriter and editor, it wasn’t until six years after getting my undergraduate degree at Howard University – which had nothing to do with writing – that I went on to get my Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence. Yet, I’d been writing and editing documents for clients since 2001. The same could be said of working in education. In 2008, I was looking for something less demanding than my job in marketing/advertising. A friend recommended that I apply to teach composition at City University of New York. Five years later, I’m in the Middle East teaching English to young Arab men while also working with clients in New York and across the U.S. Since relocating abroad, I have interests to segue towards a career in International Relations while completing book projects I have coming down the pipeline.

What other industries connect to your career choice?
What really appeals to me about my own career trajectory is how I’ve fused a path within writing, the arts and multicultural education. The fact that I can teach or perform one moment, and edit a 200-page document the next is fascinating. At the same time, recent experiences have developed my deeper appreciation of social activism and global development issues, which I’ve nurtured since moving abroad. Teaching youth and young adults from across the globe has piqued an obsession with identity, ethics and tolerance, the well being of the next generation worldwide, and the platforms we have to shape critical consciousness. So, perhaps I should look into the Human Rights industry as well. The ultimate goal is to integrate my experiences as a writer, documentarian, researcher, educator, and traveler into the next chapter of my life, which will continue to shape a satisfying career.

Share why lifelong learning is important to you.
Arguably, lifelong learning is more important to me than having a lifelong career, though the two go hand in hand. I have known people who would never measure their success in the way of high salaries or moving up the professional ladder. Yet when I sit and talk to these individuals, who have comfortable lives, their knowledge and level of intelligence is astounding. I am a voracious learner and believe that the ability to capitalize on gaining knowledge to propel one forward in life, both personally and professionally, is a valuable asset.

Where do you enjoy vacationing?
Since moving abroad, I am really trying to experience as much of the world as I can. So far I’ve visited places in North America, Africa, Europe and west Asia. My goal, however, is to get to the other three continents in the next year or two, and yes that includes Antarctica. I’ve figured out that I can visit the arctic on a cruise from either South America or Australia, and pretty soon I’ll be ready to get on over there and party with the penguins. Of the places I have traveled, I’ve had the most outrageous and good time in South Africa, so much so that I’ve decided I need to spend a few weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town every December.

Since I’ve developed a reputation for being a bit of a jet setter and pushing the joys of life to full throttle, I decided to start a new blog at the top of the year called, Mai On the Move. So many of my comrades and peers have expressed how they are vicariously living every journey that I post  and I realized it was time to document my moves in a collection of blog posts. The goal of this blog is to highlight my favorite sites and cities, both domestically and internationally. Since I now have the incentive of posting for my readership on http://www.MaiOnTheMove.com, I’m even more enthralled with becoming a bon vivant.