Starting a New Career at 60 Years Young on Cambly

By: Tutor Annie Kay

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

Nelson Mandela

Getting the courage to change careers at 60

My kids had left home, they were living their best lives, and it was time to live mine.  

I wanted to go world campervanning. But I needed money, and I needed something I could do while travelling. 

Suddenly, I was dreaming and planning again.

And that, my friends, led me to Cambly at the grand old age of 62. Who said that you should be thinking about retirement in your 60s?

Que? Como? (I’m learning Spanish!) Not a chance. 

I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my working life – I was fortunate to spot gaps and start small business fields before becoming popular and then quickly moving on to the next thing. 

I’ve never gotten rich, but I’ve survived using my own skills, and I’m pretty proud of that. 

I raised my three kids as a single mom. I’m not university-educated since my parents could not afford it, but, oh, the excitement of making a success of something is really, really sweet. The reward of providing for my family is without value in a monetary sense.

So, when the opportunity to travel overseas for a few months on a camping adventure arose, it was time to seek out an online opportunity. 

Influencer? Erm, no, I didn’t think I could take on the world of young, beautiful people (but, hey, even that idea is slowly changing – so watch this space). 

Transcription? Yes, I could do that. I knew my English was pretty good (since the nuns at school had made sure of that). 

I still have that as a sideline business, and I’m trying out the world of AI at the moment. But first, what significant thing allowed me to do all that? 

Enter Cambly. 

Applying for Cambly was quick & effortless

I signed up with Cambly, not even giving a thought to my age (or anything else for that matter). 

I tend to rush into things and muddle my way through until that sweet moment of clarity hits. 

I seldom over-analyze. I signed up immediately after I saw the ad.  I recorded a video, filled in the details, sent my application into the ether with good vibes and the best of intentions, and it happened. 

Three weeks later, I was accepted.  

I was determined not to wait too long before getting started, but I found myself anxiously thinking about clicking on those first priority hours. 

Well, what a blast I had. 

A well-educated fellow from Finland was my introduction to Cambly. All fears fled as he was so incredibly interesting that the questions and answers just flowed. 

I was breathless with excitement after those first thirty minutes, and I couldn’t wait for the next incoming call.

A nervous young student followed this call in China. After that first call, I was so bolstered with enthusiasm that I must’ve somehow conveyed that to this young man, and he ended up taking me for a walk down the street by lamplight to see his university campus, and I saw him many times after that.  

Another easy conversation followed with a delightful young student from Taiwan. She just wanted to talk about Bubble Tea. I was the student. I was learning with all my heart.

Those first three hours flew past, and I woke up the following day full of wonder and delight. 

Was this really working? Not just working, as in fingers to the grindstone, but it was joyful, and I was flying – soaring in fact. 

Cambly was just such a pleasure. From there, it took off.

The best part is the lasting bonds with your students

Afterwards, I was smiling from ear to ear and wondering why everybody in the world wasn’t doing this.

I almost felt like I needed to hug this amazing secret to myself. The next day and the next, I suddenly had people returning to me – yeah – to me, to chat with me!  

My first reservation was incredibly exciting, and to this day, I credit her hugely with my success. (I have told her that.)  

She was a willing guinea pig when I tried out new things. We laughed as I managed to disconnect us using the screen share button. We rejoiced when we were able to share photographs online, exchange recipes, sigh over teenagers, and help her write formal letters for her job as an instructor in the Korean language. 

She has become a close friend, and I cherish her presence in my life. She has taught me ways to feel young again.

I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me

There are others, too. My young student from Hong Kong challenges me three times a week to games of Uno; we read books, we make up ridiculous games, and I laugh till the tears roll down my cheeks. 

This same young girl has sat for nearly a year on the 15th floor of an apartment block for the whole of the pandemic lockdown. I’m in awe of her strength. 

She has taught me resilience.

So, to sum it all up, I have five words sent to me by a young 12-year-old girl who I started tutoring during the lockdown. 

After three years with no breaks, I needed to take a break to attend to a very ill family member, and I let my wonderful regulars know that it was just temporary.  

This morning I received a message from this gorgeous child, and she simply said: “Teacher, you are not alone.” She brought me peace. She may never understand that at 12 years old, but her gift of solidarity is precious.

And that is the foundation upon which I now build these relationships. I approach each person as a potential friend, and the rewards have been tremendous. 

I don’t feel alone. I’ve forged enduring friendships, I’ve watched in delight as their language abilities have grown, and I look forward with excitement to seeing them thrive.

After now?

I don’t think there will ever be an “after now”. I tend to live in the present, and as long as I have dreams, I will never stop learning and trying new things. 

It seems cliche to say, “you’re never too old”, – but Cambly has shown me there is a solid place for each one of us – even the 60s groovers among us. 

We add wisdom.

If you’d like to join me, click on the button below to apply to Cambly. I promise you will not regret it!

Hamba Kahle. Go well. Go Cambly. 

About the Writer
Annie is a SuperTutor on Cambly from South Africa, where the hot African sun shines down on a rainbow nation. My life as an entrepreneur has been blessed, but after many years in the corporate world, the years since I turned 60 have taken me on a whole new exciting journey. I discovered campervanning four years ago, and together with my brother in Australia and friends, we have gone on many adventures. Cambly has been an extension of this wonderful new world for me, helping finance my trips and opening up new horizons. It’s never, ever too late. 

5 thoughts on “Starting a New Career at 60 Years Young on Cambly

  1. Thank You Annie for sharing your story. It is heartfelt and inspiring. I am 65 and was looking to stay connected and have a purpose in life after retirement. I am a teacher and enjoy learning about new people and cultures.
    Please share any wisdom you have so that I can maximize my contribution to my students.
    Thanx, Tiger.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Tiger. I can’t recommend it enough to give new meaning and purpose to your life. Where my friends are now retiring, I am starting out again. It really feels good. (I think even my own adult children are slightly impressed.) With your background in teaching you will really enjoy your time on Cambly. It seems that being a mom and a gran – the older ladies and moms and younger children gravitate my way – I did put that in my profile, so my best recommendation would be to add your interests and strengths – and in that way you will carve a niche out for yourself. Best of luck.

  2. Annie Kay, thanks for a great article! I started last July at age 63 and have never looked back! I’ve done many jobs in my life, including working in public schools, but nothing compares to the experience of working with kids from all around the world. I hope to keep up his job for the rest of my life! And I hope you do too!

    1. Thank you, Susan, Well done us! It feels really good to still be productive and actually making a difference. I hope to still see you here in another few years. 🙂

  3. Annie- Bingo! Your comments are spot on! I joined Cambly at 58, one year into retirement after many years of a high-tension, high-frustration career. The fact that my students greatly value having an older tutor fills my day with fun, with intellectual conversations, and with quality learning for the students and for me! I love it. Thanks for your post. Bernie

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