The Learning Centre:
Around the world with Julie and Marc
One couple. One year. 13 destinations.
It’s no secret—education members love to travel.
After all, with a whole world out there to explore, what better way to soak up new learning experiences than by eating exotic foods, communicating in another language (or at least making the attempt to), and seeing firsthand all of those wonders you’ve read (and taught about) in textbooks.
For teachers Julie and Marc Goulet, you could almost say that travel is more than a love… it’s a passion.
As clients of Educators Financial Group since the 1990s, Julie and Marc have worked hard to have a financial plan in place so they could always have room in their cash flow for travel in the summer. However, as the years went by, their appetite for travel grew into a desire that demanded far more than what a two-month timeline could squeeze in.
The logical conclusion: take a ‘1 over 2’ (yes, you read right) so they can explore the world for a year!
As far as deferred salary plans go, a 1 over 2 might sound ambitious to say the least (as it means getting by on 50% of both their salaries for two years). But if you have your finances in order, and a solid plan in place, it’s definitely not impossible. So after years of sticking to a diligent financial plan, along with the help of their Educators Financial Advisor Darryl Martella, Julie and Marc are now preparing to begin their yearlong, worldwide adventure.
With their departure just days away, Educators sat down with the Goulets to chat about their upcoming global adventure, and to get insight into how they’ve been able to make their large-scale travel dreams a reality:
Educators: Now before we talk about your upcoming travels, tell us a little more about yourselves.
Julie: Well I was born in Haileybury, Ontario, and was raised in New Liskeard. I left home to study at the University of Guelph, and later at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Marc: I was born in LaSarre, Québec and moved to New Liskeard when I was a teenager. I studied at l’Université du Québec à Hull, and at the University of Ottawa.
Educators: How long have you both been teaching, and where were your first teaching jobs?
Julie and Marc: Well we both have been teaching for over 25 years…
Educators: But you both look so young!
Julie: Ha ha, thanks. But yes, it’s been that long.
Marc: Time flies!
Julie: It definitely does.
Marc: When we started teaching, we lived and taught in Saskatchewan for two years, as there were very few teaching jobs available in Ontario when we graduated—the job situation at the time being very similar to what young educators are experiencing these days.
Educators: And after those two years where did you decide to go?
Julie: We chose to move back to Northern Ontario to be closer to family. Cochrane was where we lived and taught for 17 years before moving back to New Liskeard almost 10 years ago.
Educators: What subject(s) are you teaching now?
Julie: Currently, I teach at École Secondaire Catholique Sainte-Marie in New Liskeard with serves approximately 350 students. I teach some Special Education courses, as well as a variety of Social Studies courses, where I get particular enjoyment out of teaching about food and nutrition.
Marc: Over the years, I have taught physical education, was a homeroom teacher for grades 5 to 8, and have now been working as a math consultant with teachers for the Conseil Scolaire Catholique de District des Grandes Rivières (CSCDGR) for the past 11 years. So I travel from Timiskaming Shores to Hearst, sharing the latest teaching strategies to help students succeed in math.
Educators: That’s incredible! What made you both want to become teachers?
Julie: Well I for one needed a day-to-day challenge in my work. Plus, having worked with a variety of age groups in the community, I thrived on children’s willingness to learn, as well as their uniqueness and their smiles. So teaching seemed like the perfect fit.
Marc: For me it’s as simple as the fact that I enjoy working with people in a dynamic environment.
Educators: What do you feel is the most rewarding thing about being a teacher?
Julie: I’d have to say the daily experiences in which you are guiding students in the development of self-confidence, skills and creativity. It’s an amazing thing to play a part in helping young people come into their own, so to speak.
Marc: Definitely. Plus I get satisfaction from seeing students who are comfortable in the classroom, and who understand that they are part of a learning community. It’s amazing when I see them work hard at developing cognitive and social skills, and to be totally happy to be part of it all and enjoying it.
Educators: That’s great! Now let’s jump to the subject we’re definitely happy to learn more about. How did this idea of traveling the world for a year materialize?
Julie: We both love to travel. Travelling is a learning experience for us. We enjoy discovering different cultures, practicing languages, and experiencing the adventures that come with it. Both being teachers, we have always travelled mostly in the summer with our two children.
Marc: Back in the 2001-2002 school year, we experienced a yearlong exchange with two teachers from Geneva, Switzerland. We had the opportunity to visit a number of countries that year. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we started thinking about how great it would be to travel for a whole year.
Educators: And that’s when your dreams of travelling the world started to take shape?
Julie: And we then took the steps to make such a dream come true… financially!
Educators: Well there are obviously a lot of things to consider beyond just saving money to take a trip of this scale.
Marc: Oh, definitely. Over the years, we regularly discussed the idea of taking a year off to travel. But with two children to raise and a mortgage to pay, we felt it was never the ‘right time’.
Julie: But now our mortgage is paid off, and our boys are grown up and on their own—with one working and managing his own money…
Marc: What a nice feeling…
Julie: Yes, it’s a great feeling! And our other son just completed his third year at university in Ottawa…
Educators: Making NOW the ‘right time’ to realize your yearlong travel dreams?
Marc: Exactly. Our philosophy as a couple, has always been: “Fais de ta vie un rêve et de tes rêves une réalité!” which pretty much translates to, “Make your life a dream, and your dreams a reality”—and that is what this trip is all about!
Educators: That’s a very inspiring philosophy! Especially with you both on a deferred salary plan as a 1 over 2.
Julie: Yes, a 1 over 2 might sound a bit crazy. But our finances are in order, and we know we can do it this way.
Marc: Plus it’s not like we just decided to do this last year. We have been thinking, and planning for this trip for a number of years, but just didn’t know for sure when we wanted it to happen. As we started drawing the timeline, we chose to do it sooner, rather than later.
Educators: How has Educators Financial Group helped you financially plan over the years?
Julie: Well, when I first started to teach in the 1990s, teachers with a particular school board received a $3,500 RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) on their 5th anniversary as an incentive to retain staff. It was highly recommended to invest this RRSP with Educators Financial Group, which actually had a different name back then, OTG (Ontario Teachers’ Group)… and that’s how things got started!
Marc: As we both got to know Educators, we continued to invest in RRSPs, and were highly impressed with the different investment funds, and the rate of return—as well as with the service we received from Educators.
Julie: We’ve dealt with different advisors over the years and have received excellent advice that has always met our needs. Advice that has prompted us to not only to continue investing in RRSPs, but to also diversify our investment money in TFSAs, as well as non-registered investment funds.
Educators: Describe the relationship you both have with your Educators financial advisor…
Marc: Darryl is very patient with us. We make him work “en français” so we can really understand the services that Educators Financial Group excels in!
Julie: Plus to financially plan for this trip, we’ve had very specific questions about income tax and RRSPs. Darryl always succeeds in answering our numerous questions. We have also participated in Educators’ retirement workshops in the past few years to better understand how to plan, save, and invest in order to be active in bringing our travel plans to reality.
Marc: We are also keen on reading Insights (Educators’ quarterly newsletter), to see if we are on the right track, and have visited Educators’ website to see how our investments are doing.
Educators: What do you think is the main difference between Educators Financial Group and any other financial institution or bank?
Julie: Educators Financial Group knows about teachers and their needs.
Marc: Educators is there to best help teachers’ financial situations—without commission!
Educators: We couldn’t have said it better ourselves—thanks for that wonderful feedback! Now we’ve talked about the financial planning aspect of taking a trip of this magnitude, but what else is involved in preparing to leave for a whole year?
Julie: Health is our first concern, especially travelling abroad for 12 months. So part of the preparations has involved contacting OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) for permission to exit the country for more than 6 months. Plus we had to shop around for travel health insurance. Then back during March Break we made a special trip to the Toronto Travel Clinic in order to get all the necessary vaccines.
Marc: We also had to discuss, research, and choose which countries would be on our list of destinations. That part took a good eight months. Plus we had to go through the process of leasing our home for the year that we’re away. We are mortgage-free; therefore the rent money will go towards paying taxes, heating, and electricity.
Educators: What about luggage? How do you even begin to pack for a 12-month trip?
Julie: Ha! Well we have chosen to travel with a backpack. From experience, we are limiting the weight and therefore choosing carefully what we include. We will be travelling in spring and summer-like climates throughout the year, therefore we need less… and we can buy warmer clothes if and when we need them, instead of carrying them for months.
Marc: We have also read many travel blogs and many, MANY travel guides. You also have to love the technology of today, because downloadable apps to your phone make some parts of travel so much simpler.
Educators: So what destinations are on Julie and Marc’s yearlong travel itinerary?
Julie: We will be leaving August 1st from Toronto, with our first stop being Hawaii—specifically the island of Oahu in Honolulu. We are also planning to visit other Hawaiian islands including Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
Educators: Aloha, talk about an impressive start to your adventure! How long will you be in Hawaii?
Marc: Until the end of August, and then it’s off to the French Polynesian Islands in September; New Zealand in October; Australia from November to January; Singapore, Thailand, and Bali in February and March; India and Turkey in April; Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland from May to the end of July 2016; and then back to Toronto.
Educators: Wow. With so many amazing destinations on your itinerary, what are you MOST looking forward to about this trip of a lifetime?
Julie: For me, it’s the thought of being able to enjoy time with just Marc as we discover beautiful new parts of the world together.
Marc: Definitely that… as well as getting to eat a variety of dishes, meeting people of diverse cultures, and discovering natural wonders.
Educators: That all sounds fantastic! Now if you could offer advice to education members with dreams of traveling around the world, or saving up for some other big dream… what tips would you give them?
Julie: Keep your dream alive by putting money aside NOW for your future goal. Take action!
Marc: Start planning today… specifically with the help of an Educators financial advisor.
Educators: Great words of advice. Thank you both for taking the time to share your story with us!
Wish you could join Julie and Marc on their global adventure? Well, you can in our yearlong feature: ‘Around the world with Julie and Marc’.
Travel vicariously along with Julie and Marc Goulet as they provide us with stories and photos as they discover each exciting destination! Keep checking back to our website for the latest on these two travelling teachers.