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Heading Back to the Office

18 Comments 22 January 2014

Iolani School Keables Chair

Iolani School in Honolulu is my next ‘office’

I read the schedule of presentations I was doing and then noticed something foreign on the list – “Office Hours”. I –  the woman who left the office 7 ½ years ago – was going to have office hours. Well this was a strange twist in my ever-evolving life.

It was the last day of my 5 week hike on the Camino in 2012 when I received the letter from Mark saying I was chosen as the Iolani School Keables Chair for 2014. I read the email stunned, and excitement slowly crept over me. It wasn’t but 5 weeks ago when Mark told me that he had submitted my application to the committee who chooses the chair. At that time he also told me that someone had submitted an application for Garrison Keillor and upon hearing that I sort of stopped dreaming about the possibility of actually being the Keables Chair. Really – how was I going to compete with Garrison Keillor? However in my heart of hearts I knew that I could probably be infinitely more relatable to kids/students than him.

Somehow I beat out Mr. Keillor – I’d like to believe it was due to the fact that I was better qualified – however I don’t kid myself to also believe that he might have been already booked up. I like to tell myself the first story though.

I had a lot of waiting from 2012 to 2014 – but the time is finally here. From January 27th to February 7th I will be working ‘in residence’ at Iolani School in Honolulu as the Keables Chair. The Keables Chair is an endowed teaching position that annually brings outstanding teachers, writers, and artists to Iolani School. Iolani is a prestigious private school in Honolulu for grades K – 12. I’ll be visiting classrooms, sharing experiences, and doing presentations on the following:

Non-Fiction Creative Writing
World Religion
Women in Literature
Earth Sciences

In addition to classroom visits, I’ll be doing auditorium addresses for grades 6 – 12, speaking to teachers, and holding ‘office hours’. I will also be presenting publically in Honolulu on the topic of Taking Your Vacation to the Next Level. If you are in Hawaii – I personally invite you to attend! (more info below)

Outstanding Teachers, Writers, and Artists

School presentation

Me doing a school presentation

It’s so strange as I’ve never really considered myself an artist or even a writer – yet clearly I do know those titles are how I make a living now. I’ve just always considered my current ‘career’ as doing something I love, living life, taking risks, and not conforming. It’s a means to an end – I write/blog/photograph so that I can keep seeing the world and hopefully influence others to do the same. So this residency as an honorary teacher/writer/artist is a bit hard for me to swallow at times, but like anything in my life I love the challenge.

Changing Lives? – Maybe; Changing Perspectives? – Hopefully.

I adore speaking at schools, it’s so much fun to think that maybe just maybe I might be influencing a child to make travel a part of their life or education – or to simply break free of the standard path of what we think we should do makes my heart all a flutter. My goal is to simply provide them with another perspective of how life has to be lived, and get them excited about seeing the world.

school locker

From lockers to passports!

When I left my old career in 2006, never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted my path, and this new twist of teaching (even though it’s short lived) is yet another surprise in my journey through life. The most important thing to me is the work I do is meaningful to others – that it touches them in some way or makes them think. It opens up the world of possibility for them. Whether it’s kids or adults – it doesn’t matter to me.

I’m putting my travel blogging on hold for a couple of weeks as I’m busy trying to dig out presentable business-worthy outfits out of my storage and taking off for Honolulu for a few weeks. There is one thing for certain – I will come back with lots of stories to share.


If you are in the Hawaiian Islands – then I invite you to join me for my public presentation on Feb. 4th at 7PM in Seto Hall on the Iolani School Campus where I will be talking about ‘traveling close to the ground’.

Take your Travel to the Next Level

Do you dream of traveling the world? Or simply taking more meaningful vacations? Sherry Ott will discuss how to move from taking vacations as a typical tourist to finding more meaningful travel around the globe. Learn how to travel ‘close to the ground’ and find authentic experiences that connect you with locals and the culture and ultimately spend less money. Keables Chair

Your Comments

18 Comments so far

  1. Gillian says:

    Wow. Congratulations! What a great opportunity to meet young people and show them another path. How fabulous of the school to want to show alternate careers. Have fun!

  2. Val says:

    Congratulations! It sounds like such a fantastic opportunity and the whole program sounds amazing!

  3. Tammy says:

    Big congrats on your new venture!!! The Hawaiian Islands are filled with bliss!

  4. Lindsey says:

    Congratulations! What an amazing thing to be doing.

  5. Congratulations! What am amazing opportunity! I cannot wait to hear about it. :-)

  6. Corinne says:

    Congratulations! This is an exciting knot to add to the macramé of your life!

  7. Jamie says:

    Congratulations Sherry! So you a are telling me, the author of the blog I have been reading throughout the years while I pretend to be busy at my IT job, is going to be in Oahu for 2 weeks??? The place I have currently lived the past decade!!! The same 2 weeks I will be out of the office in Japan squeezing every last drop of my vacation pretending my life is 1/10000 as interesting as yours? This is very disappointing, I hope you choose to stay a little longer!

    • Sherry says:

      Jamie – thanks for your note! So sad I will be missing you during my time in Oahu. I’m staying longer until the 17th – but I won’t be in Honolulu, I’ll be staying with friends on another part of the island. I may be coming in to the city to do another talk one day – but not entirely sure. If I do I will try to contact you – or stay tuned to my Facebook page and I will update that with any meetups the week of the 9th. Have a great time on your holiday in Japan – I’ve always wanted to go back there and spend more time. My short 4 days wasn’t enough!

  8. This is so fantastic and what a great opportunity! I’m jealous of these kids 😉

    I love this: “My goal is to simply provide them with another perspective of how life has to be lived, and get them excited about seeing the world.” Yes, yes, yes! I’m so behind you on that goal.

    Good luck and congrats Sherry!

  9. Jenna says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to come to `Iolani. I look forward to seeing your presentations, especially the yearbook and photography ones. Hope to meet you soon!

    a student

    • Sherry says:

      Jenna – thanks! Glad you found me here on my little online home! Looking forward to arriving this weekend. I’m looking forward to being at Iolani – such a change from my normal travels and writing!

  10. Belinda Musanhu says:

    awesome!! congratulations..

  11. what an amazing opportunity. The participants and students will be lucky to learn from you. Enjoy!

  12. What an awesome opportunity. I love teaching (although that has been limited to adults for professional training)>

  13. Congrats! And I wish you good luck! I hope you will enjoy it.

  14. Deb says:

    Congratulations Sherry! I know I’m late, but still! What an amazing opportunity.

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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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Minnesota/Wisconsin -> Nebraska

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