Why I Travel

27 Apr

I’ve been asked the same question many times and it’s hard to put in words. I find myself ticking through a list, but after reading this, it’s like “yes, that’s exactly it!!”

Great writing. 🙂

 

 

Why I Travel.

Delayed news from South Korea

27 Apr

Recap time of my first month in Seoul!

 

In many ways I’ve lived here like anywhere else. I rented out a goshitel (basically a closet sized room in a dormitory-like  building), I go grocery shopping and even have a woman at the market who gives me free food, I meet friends for lunch and help people practice their conversation skills.

I had my first couchsurfing experience in Korea. *Couchsurfing is an online network that helps travelers connect with a host to stay with and meet other travelers as well). I couchsurfed on two separate occasions. My hosts were the exact opposites of each other, but it allowed for me to have different experiences. Atlas (my first host) was the kind of person with whom I would agree to drink snake infused liquor(which wasn’t as bad as he made it seem) and have refreshing debates with. Amy(my second host) took me out to find the best food on several occasions and with whom I had my first jimjilbang experience. *A jimjilbang is a Korean spa which has multiple hot tubs and various themed sauna rooms, like oxygen or coal. What makes it different from spas found back at home is that as soon as you go to the changing room, you lose the clothes. For the whole time. 😉 Sure, you can try to cover up with the small towel they give you, but you’ll just draw more attention to yourself. I hear a lot of people are reluctant to go for the first time, but I must admit, I was a little excited. Hey, who at home can say they got stark naked in a spa and walked around with a bunch of Korean ahjummas? *Ahjumma is a term to refer to an older woman.

While I made new friends, I also got to visit with some old ones as well. Bobo and Chris took me out for my first Korean chicken and beer experience, and oh my god it was delicious! I now have cravings all the time. Damn you guys! :p  I also got to see Bryce who took me out to try my first Moscow Mule (yum!) and to a Hello Kitty Cafe. It was very pink and Bryce just looked absolutely darling in the middle of all the Hello Kitty memorabilia. 😀   And because it is a small world after all, I reconnected with a Korean student who I had taught in Cambodia almost a year ago. We had a fun time reminiscing about the parts of Cambodia we missed and speaking the bit of Khmer we know.

 

Now for the stuff that truly make my life the comedy it is.

There was this one time where I, Meghan King, was apparently “saved”. I agreed to go to a friends church, and while I don’t regret getting to see that person, the attempt to convert me into Christianity was a bit much. Amusing though. I got to hear about the story of sin (even though I grew up Catholic) and told that after all of my head nodding and smiling, I am now a daughter of God again. Hallelujah! (I apologize if I offended anyone with this).

There was this other time that I got a spiffy new haircut with side bangs! I wanted to recreate the magic the stylist used on my head, so I went out and bought a round brush to curl my new bangs. It seems I chose the wrong brush and used the wrong technique. In a matter of seconds I managed to get the brush stuck in my hair. I, along with the help of my very patient friend, tried everything we could think of for two hours to get my hair untangled. At which point I just wanted to give up and cry. But is crying going to get a brush out of one’s hair? Nope. There was only one thing left to do.I put on a huge hoodie and walked outside with my head down for 2 blocks, looking super shady. When I walked int the salon and removed my hood, everyone had a real laugh as I sheepishly slouched into the stylist’s chair. What took me 2 hours, took him all of 10 minutes (you are a god!). Afterwards the owner, Lucy, styled my hair for free and sent me on my way. A huge shoutout to Lucy’s Salon in Sinchon! Now that my hair is intact I can look back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  In fact, I’ve toyed with the idea of turning this travel blog into a memoir of my embarrassing moments so that you, my audience, may get a good laugh every once in a while. Because as they say, laughter is the best medicine.

 

 

Fighting!

Coming back swinging!

16 Jan

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 
Theodore Roosevelt

Returning stateside back in September was a very bittersweet moment for me. While it felt amazing being near my family again, I struggled with the fact that I had left China during a bad bout of homesickness, instead of giving it some time. The truth is I have held on to that feeling of regret ever since, causing me to face feelings I had never come up against before. I have never been one to hang on to regret, and I don’t like admitting that I let it get the best of me these past few months.

Instead of savoring my time with loved ones, I looked for ways to distract myself, and they weren’t always healthy. I spent so much time wishing that the clock would fast forward so that I could leave again. It did just that. Time rushed right past me, even though I yelled out for it to stop, because all of a sudden I wasn’t ready. My impatience was replaced by moments of panic, doubt, and the incessant “what if” scenarios that were increasingly becoming more frequent the closer my intended departure date got. I was, am, scared. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my family and friends, my mom especially, encouraging me and assuring me that everything will be alright, I may have let fear paralyze me and hold me prisoner in a world of “what ifs”.

I am tired of that nagging voice of doubt telling me that if it didn’t work out last time, then it won’t work out this time around. Regardless of what happens, I would rather fail than not try at all, simply because I fear things won’t work out the way I planned. But that’s life. We get not guarantees or warranties, we just have to throw ourselves out there and see what happens. The alternative, watching life from the sidelines, while that voice deep down in all of us asks, “what if….”.

True, my travel plans look nothing like they did a couple of months ago, but we have to learn to go with the flow and stop resisting ourselves and the universe. Believe me, I am the queen of resistance, and all it has brought me is unnecessary pain and suffering. But, at least for now, I am done fighting and am excited to see where I end up next. It’s sure to be an exciting surprise!

Link

How To Travel With Your Best Friend

28 Oct

Great article. I’ve never traveled with a best friend, but I took a trip a year ago to California with my little sister and I feel that many of these tips still apply. We always had so much fun together, until we got hungry and the bloodshed begin. Joking! But it really is important to remember to ask yourself if you are being irritable because of something like hunger or being tired. So far my little sister has been my best travel companion. Have you traveled with a best friend?

18 countries together. That\’s a lot of laughs, and a lot of great moments, but it\’s also a lot of tears and a lot of hardships. Travelling together can be one of the most difficult challenges your friendship will face, but, if you follow these tips, you\’ll ultimately become even better friends, and closer than ever before. So, how can you travel with your best friend…and still manage to be best friends at the end of it?

via How To Travel With Your Best Friend.

What or where is “Home”?

17 Oct

It has been almost one month since I left China and returned to the USA. Sometimes it feels like I was in Asia yesterday, and other times I wonder if I was ever really there. It almost seems like I never left Virginia, except that I have these new memories and ideas that I didn’t have 8 months ago. Time is funny like that. When I was gone I thought of this place as my home, but now being here I realize that it’s not true. Virginia is no longer my home, it is just a place where my family lives and where I have collected memories. I don’t think this idea of “home” really exists. It’s just a word to call a place where you live. If anything, I feel more like a stranger here than I have in the past 6 months or so.

The first couple of weeks were really strange. I had no idea what reverse culture shock really felt like until then. Some days it felt that I was trapped in some never-ending vivid dream. I was witnessing everything, but wasn’t really involved. I was, still am, very much inside my head because that’s what I got used to when I was a minority for half a year and didn’t speak enough of whatever local language to really express myself.

I kind of stayed holed up inside my father’s house, because I wasn’t ready for the outside world that was Hampton Roads. At first I thought I was avoiding old friends by staying shut in, but then I realized it wasn’t just that, but many of my friends had moved locations or just moved on. And honestly I feel that I’ve changed a lot and am not interested in many of the things I was once interested in. I knew this would happen and I am not upset in any way. Life is ever-changing and so we must be too.

Now I have all this extra time on my hands, which means I have more time to plan my next trip instead of living in the moment, and it’s kind of driving me crazy. I try to remember back to what I did with my time before I left, and back then I was busy juggling work, school, a boyfriend, family, and friends. I am still looking for more consistent work because two days a week making coffee isn’t really helping out much. I have had chances to start new romantic relationships, but to be honest I am just not interested. I’ve either been in a relationship or breaking up since I was about 16 years old and it’s exhausting and distracting.

I guess it just feels like a sort of limbo because I can’t start anything that requires long-term responsibility since I am just leaving again in about three months. But at the same time, I don’t want to just sit around and wait for February to get here, because then what was the point of coming back to Virginia? I am making an effort. I go for runs, spend most of my time with family, go to lots of interviews, join organized social groups, and work a few days a week. And yet, I still don’t feel like I am really here.

Have you ever felt this way after returning from traveling for an extended period? What do you do to ease back into the transition?

Be The One Who Travels

14 Oct

Be The One Who Travels.

 

 

Love this girl’s blog and this specific entry really hits home for me at this time in my life. ❤

Link

Women’s Travel Blog

9 Oct

When I was in high school I dreamed of being a journalist or travel writer, but I quickly dismissed the thought because I didn’t think much of my writing skills. But a few weeks ago I saw a posting from the women’s travel blog, Pink Pangea, asking for travelers to send their stories about the small acts of kindness they encountered on the road. I figured I didn’t have much to lose and went ahead and put in my piece about Thailand. I received a follow-up from one of the founders asking if she could send it to the editor and for me to attach a picture of myself in Thailand. I don’t usually have “proud” moments, but I’m not going to lie, when I saw the article released today I silently congratulated myself on seeing through with an old dream. There might even be more to come because they asked me to be a foreign correspondent once I am back in Asia. So be on the lookout for new travel stuff coming your way in just a few short months!

http://pinkpangea.com/2013/10/a-small-act-of-kindness-in-thailand/