One man, One Move to China

Making The Move

by Professor Fury

Upping sticks and relocating to another country requires a momentous decision regardless of age or circumstances. Youngsters in their twenties tend to start out with the intention of putting in a couple of years to gain experience and maybe to take that gap year or two they never did when they were studying.

The older fraternity who are first-time TEFLers tend to have myriad reasons. My own were boredom because I had nothing to look forward to until retirement other than driving a truck for a living and living what has essentially been a lifetime of itchy feet, for which the medical profession has as yet found no cure. The germ of the idea had been planted some three years previously and at my age I was unlikely to find myself in another job with any prospects on any return.

So, after falling in love with China during my Nanning holiday, I returned home, back to waking at 0400 each morning to be ready at work for 0530 when I would take out a truck to deliver internet shopping to couriers who would in turn deliver the parcels to the couriers. The workplace was changing rapidly and going downhill due to new management and to be fair as a union Branch Secretary I received a deal of protection. But that wasn’t it. Did I really want to look back on the last decade and a half of my working life and say “Hey! I drove a truck!”?

I didn’t.

Equally I viewed the move with trepidation. Most people in their mid-fifties are set and ready for retirement. You know, the garden, pipe and slippers (I had had the pipe for 27 years by then) and once retired, the annual fortnight in Margate.

That was never going to be me, even if I made it to collect my pension. Creature of habit I may be but those itchy feet………..

I just needed impetus.

I did my online TEFL course yet still I was undecided. I had a nice flat, two cats, car and a steady job even if the pay was hardly astronomical. I knew the magnitude of my decision, hence my hesitation.


After many years plying the oceans of the world I knew full well that taking a job teaching abroad meant kissing your old life goodbye. Your friends would move on even if you returned back every six months. They would marry, have children and become distant from you, only maybe having the freedom to become half-friends once again in later life.

I also knew that it meant opportunities to make new friends in foreign climes.

I was not frightened of change but believe me when I say that I agonised for months. Unlike young people I knew my chances of getting employment beyond a conveyor belt should I return at my age were zero and boredom was the reason I was considering leaving. I would be leaving to teach and the first university I would teach in would be the first I would ever enter. Once I made the decision to leave it was goodbye to my old life and there could be no return.

Eventually I made the decision and gave myself thee months to tidy my affairs. It seemed a lifetime and so I breathed a sigh of relief. The itch was about to be scratched.

………..Next episode……

Choosing where to teach.


About the Author 

He is in his early sixties and has been teaching in universities in China for seven years. He has been a ships officer, salesman, manager, company director, engineer and truck driver in the past  and so has a wealth of stories and experience to impart to his students.

He has been to 47 countries so far and visited more than 400 cities around the globe. Antarctica is the only continent he has yet to experience but there is still time!

He has so far volunteered at every school level in China, appeared on television several times (including taking part in a Spring Festival Gala show) and his ambition is to be allowed to retire in China when the time comes. His latest party piece is playing Santa for whoever asks!

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