Tag Archives: travel

Beating the Ruts!

2 Jun

It happens to everyone once in a while- you got on a trip and it just doesn’t go as planned. After thinking it over, maybe your expectations were too high? But for whatever reason your left with a bad taste in your mouth. I’ve been pretty lucky and this has only happened twice, however I’m embarassed to say the first time I tried to sleep through it and then the second time I didn’t eat, I over slept and I burned through all of my cash because I was “angry”. Whatever way you cope with these ruts, bumps or whatever you want to call them, the important thing is you get over them because why would you want to be miserable while doing something you love. I’m writing this in hopes of deterring anyone from having a pity party and repeating my mistakes.

So here are my 5 golden rules for avoiding a bad trip.

  1. Get around people: Don’t go in to a shell. Make yourself get out there! Get loaded if you have to. Being around people who are excited and amped to be at a place will help you out of your funk. Its a proven fact happiness is contagious and its easily transmitted and at the risk of sounding like a Stepford wive.

  2. Get arty: Draw, listen to music, read- WHATEVER! Start making something. I’ve found writing about what is bothering me helps me get specific about what it is that has got me in the rut. Usually I can get out of it and never fall back in because I can see the signs.

  3. Get loud: Go to a club, bar or concert- not only will you probably meet some new friends you won’t be able to hear your thought through the bass.

  4. Get try something new: Make it your mission to trying 5 new things a day. Not only will this goal keep you busy, but it will keep you distracted. So with any hope eventually you will forget about your crappy time.

  5. Make plans for the next day: This is probably the single best piece of advice. Everyone has seen the guy/girl who is just floating along and not enjoying it. They don’t seem to have anything going on except waiting to move on to their next destination. Even if its just jumping on the next train do it! And leave the bad juju at the last station!

Getting bummed on the road can easily derail you for a day or two but theres no reason it should make you lose your will to travel. Failing on the road romances, fights with friends or just a boring town is no reason to waste a moment of your trip.

Free Korean Lessons in Seoul

25 Dec

In 3 months I’ve mastered the following handy Korean phrases:

Yeok – Station (like subway station)

Yogi – Here

Chang nam han ya – Are you kidding me?!

An-nyeong-ha-se-yo – Hello

Ne – Yes

Ane – No

Chin sa – Really?

An-nyong-hi ga-se-yo- Goodbye

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da! – thank you

Haaaaaa chum – a loooooooong time

Impressed? I wouldn’t be either. Thankfully in February the free Korean classes I’ve heard rumors about will start-up. Hopefully, I’ll start to get a firm grasp of that aspect of native life that has forever elude those who don’t speak the language. Or at the very least I’ll be able to order take-out.

The free Korean classes start February 18th at the:

갈월 사회 복지 회관
51-19 Galwol-dong (144 Huamdong-gil), Yongsang-gu, Seoul

There are 4 levels ranging from 0-4

0 being just the alphabet and 4 for the people who can read, write and want lots of practice. Be sure to click the link for more information.

Phases and Mazes

25 Dec

My 3 months in Korea have finally lead me think long and hard about what we go through as long term travelers and expats. We all deal with long term travel/living in pretty much the same way we deal with most things in life, in phases.

First there is a level of wonder and excitement otherwise known as the “Honeymoon” phase. You want to try everything, nothing is above or beneath you. “6 people died last year eating live octopus! Really?! Well where is that slimy sucker I want to have a go!”. Or how about baring all in one of Korea’s Jimjilbang? P.S. women… you’re in for a surprise (or so I’m told). Even I’m not that ballsy yet. There is a level of intoxication you experience during those magical first 2 to 3 months in a country.

Second comes the “Rages” (or in my case the Way gook Rages), some call it culture shock but I think that’s a cop-out. I feel we should know what we’re getting into for the most part, it doesn’t mean we won’t still be in for a surprise or two. A little research does go a long way. In my case, coming to Korea I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to find my size in clothes or shoes. I also knew I couldn’t speak a lick of Korean so communication would be extremely difficult. However when you’re in the throes of ‘the Rages” the silliest most insignificant things will send you over the edge (ie the soon to be mentioned food issues or the fact peanut butter is almost $6)

Third comes the  “Adapting”, maybe your start hanging out with more foreigners or your decided you’re going to learn your new country’s language and avoid all foreigners. Whatever it is you decide to do, you end up pulling yourself out of your funk. You find yourself looking around and remembering why you decided to come all this way in the first place.

In the last phase you will fall into one of two categories:

“The Prodigal Son” phase  involves you come to terms with the fact living abroad isn’t for everyone, maybe not even for yourself, and find yourself returning home. You gave it a whirl and even after a few months of “adapting”, something is still missing. A wise person knows what makes them happy. If happiness is at home then GO HOME and don’t sit around at the clubs and bars bitching about how much you hate it here. Go home and tell your wild travel stories to your friends and family. 

However, you may “Go Native”. Pretty soon your conversing with the cashiers and even able to order food over the phone. You’ve got it made! Those language classes are finally paying off, you’ve lost 20 pound because you can only eat half of your food because it’s either too spicy or too frustrating. Then again, you could gain 20 pounds because you now have a new appreciation for adopted country’s menu. New imports will be coming to you for advice, which you should happily dole out, after all your the expert now.

Whatever phase you fall into now, there will be an end in sight.  When in doubt, chill out, you’re not the only one going through this, you will survive.