Dreams of Becoming a Digital Nomad

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been focusing most of my time on the food blog I share with Matt (which can be found here) as well as our Instagram page (which can be found on our blog page). I wanted to come back to my personal blog, though, to write about what’s been on my mind lately.

Recently, I started binge-watching The Amazing Race from season one and it has seriously reignited my desire to start traveling again. I’ve been scouring the internet to see how some people have made their dreams of living abroad and traveling long-term a reality. Some blogs I’ve found truly inspiring are The Intrepid Introvert and Nomadic Matt, as well as Eat Your Kimchi (who I have loved since before I lived in Korea.)

Then, I started thinking of things that I could do to make income while living abroad. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was teaching English since I have experience and I have passion for it. So, I started researching some purely online options to teach. After making a post on Facebook and talking to a couple I knew in Korea, I think I am going to try and apply with VIPKID. The hours are flexible, they provide all the teaching materials, and they offer a great base rate of $14/hr.

Ideally, I’d love to travel while teaching to support myself. There are so many places I want to see and things I want to do. Sometimes I feel stupid being 26 years old and not having a stable 9-5, but I don’t think that is something that is ever going to make me happy.

Does anyone else teach English online through a platform like VIPKID? Please tell me about your experiences!

Or, if you are traveling abroad and working remotely doing something else, tell me about that too!

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Return of the Wanderlust

Recently, I’ve had the overwhelming desire to go abroad again. The more I think about it, the more depressed I become about staying in this country. I don’t exactly speak openly about my political beliefs (especially on the internet), but I am truly worried about the future of America; and I feel like I will never have a future here.

I am 26 years old, working hourly as a barista to pay my bills. Overall, I enjoy my job right now, but I don’t feel like it is sustainable even if I pursue a management position. I see that the managers don’t really have lives outside the company. They are always on call, coming in earlier and staying in later than they have to. I don’t want that.

I want to leave work at work and enjoy my life. I want to travel and experience new cultures.

Obviously, I don’t have nearly enough money to make this a reality anytime in the near future. However, it is constantly on my mind. I don’t know where I want to go. Everywhere?

I had a very complicated experience in Korea, but it was mostly due to my particular hagwon. I met so many amazing people and got to see so many amazing things. Compared to what it is right now, my lifestyle was much better in the regard that it felt more financially stable.

Have you been in a similar situation? What have you done/are doing to make your dreams come true?

Eating All The Things in Daegu

Wow, I’ve been really lazy about posting recently! Time to get caught up.

March 1st was Independence Movement Day, which is a national holiday, so everyone had off from work. Hannah and I decided to meet up in Daegu.

I decided to cut down my travel time and take the KTX. We were supposed to meet up at noon, but I got there much earlier than expected (like always because I’m obviously crazy about ever being late).

I took the subway straight to Banwoldang Stating to wait for Hannah. There is a lot of underground shopping there, so I decided to treat myself to some new cosmetics. When Hannah arrived, we did some more shopping before deciding we were starving and went off to find some lunch.

Hannah had heard about an all-you-can-eat barbecue place for 10,000 won per person. That sounded amazing, so we took the subway to find it. After walking around for a while, we found the restaurant, only to discover that it was closed! So disappointing. And this always seems to happen to us. Last time we were in Daegu together, it was the Hello Kitty Cafe that was shut down. A little upset, we went back to downtown Daegu to try and find something else.

Then, we saw it. Another all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurant for 9,900 won per person! It was called Mr. Pig and we rushed in. There was a line practically out the door. When we were finally seated, we were ready to go help ourselves.

Oh. My. God. It was beautiful! There was unlimited rice and noodles, Chinese-style chicken, fried mandu, french fries, soup, and tteokbokki. Then, the good stuff. There was an assortment of both pork and beef to pile onto plates and cook yourself. Also, lots of veggies to wrap your meat in. We had some serious eyes bigger than stomach syndrome going on. I’m not sure how much we ate, but it was a lot. And it was worth every bite.

After we paid, we walked around some more and hit up ArtBox (one of our favorite stores).

When we had finally digested our amazing lunch, we had to have dessert, of course! We found a cute dessert cafe and each got a caramel macchiato and an order of cinnamon caramel honey bread to share. Delicious. We spent a lot of time just hanging out and talking.

After a slight snafu over train times (Hannah had missed the last one back to Sangju), her boyfriend said he would come pick her up and she came with me to the KTX station. Overall, it was a great day in Daegu!

 

Tattoos, Burritos, and the Bus Ride from Hell

On Saturday, Hannah and I had made plans to go to Busan for a much-needed girls day. There were plenty of things on our to-do list, but I decided to make a spontaneous addition on the bus ride.

I decided to make an appointment to get a tattoo.

I sent a message to Fat Buddha Tattoo, and the owner (KJ) answered me within minutes – he also had an opening at 1 PM. I told him I’d be there. Immediately after, I called Hannah to tell her what I did.

We met up near the Busan Museum of Art. Hannah had arrived a little later than expected, so we grabbed a quick bite at Lotteria and made our way over to Fat Buddha. We were surprised to find out that the studio was in KJ’s (very fabulous) apartment. While we waited for him to finish with another client, we stared longingly out of the living room windows on the 31st floor at views of both the mountains and the sea. We also got to play with a funny little dog who was making some very funny sounds.

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Finally, it was time for me to have my consultation with KJ. I decided on the Scorpio constellation in purple ink on my wrist. This month marks seven years since my grandma passed away and I have been having a really hard week because of it. Our birthdays are six days apart (hers on Halloween and mine on November 6) and we both love purple, so the design seemed quite fitting.

It didn’t take more than a half an hour and it didn’t hurt at all. (I’ve heard that wrists can be quite a sensitive spot.) I was absolutely thrilled with the results!

After, Hannah and I made our way back towards the museum to check out an Andy Warhol exhibit that was showing there. We both discussed how surprised we were that someone who could be considered a controversial artist was being shown in such a conservative country. Regardless, it was an incredible exhibit. I love Warhol and the Pop Art movement and I was very happy to get to go to an art museum. There were three galleries filled with his works as well as some personal items, which were very cool to look at. After exiting the exhibit, the museum had set up a neat little photo area as well as a gift shop.

*Hannah and I have decided that we are dangerous as shopping buddies and had to try very hard to keep ourselves from buying shit we didn’t need. We succeeded. This time.

Then, we realized that we had to get to Hannah’s hostel (she way spending the night) so she could check in. We also realized that both our phones were dying. Panic. Neither of us had any idea where we were going. With the help of Google Maps, however, we made it to the bus stop and Hannah asked a girl if we were going in the right direction. We were.

The bus we needed came and we hopped on. I know I’ve mentioned how much I dislike taking the bus in Korea before, but this was next level. The bus driver was sitting on the horn the entire time, going way too fast, and changing lanes. I could hardly keep my footing (there were no seats). He even screamed at a woman who had asked him a question. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

After nine stops, we got off. Batteries dangerously low, we set out for the hostel. It was nowhere to be found. We asked a girl on the street, she couldn’t help us. It started to rain. We asked a guy at the gas station, he outright said “I don’t know.” We kept on crossing the street and wandering around aimlessly. Finally, after passing the gas station again, we turned around and I looked up. There it was – on the top floor of a building, and the only sign was painted on the window.

After a lot of nonsense, we got in and Hannah was able to charge her phone. Then, we took a lovely walk along Haeundae Beach and decided to go to Sharky’s for dinner. Sharky’s is a Western-style restaurant and they offer a 2 for 20,000 won deal. I got a delicious veggie burrito and Hannah got a spicy beef chimichanga. Yum! We ate our fill and went across the street for a coffee before calling it a night.

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I had a wonderful Saturday and it was so nice to see Hannah. I can’t wait until it starts getting warmer, so I can spend some real time at the beach!

What did you do this weekend?

Valentine’s Day

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. In Korea, it’s traditional for girls to make the day special for their boyfriends. Then, on March 14, boys do something special for their girlfriends.

I decided I would cook dinner for Steve. I planned on making fish ‘n’ chips because he loves it and can’t get it here. So, I went to the store in search of fish fillets. The only fillets I found were frozen and past the sell by date. Disappointment. It looked like I would have to use fresh fish, something I had never cooked before. So, I got a package of white fish and spent the majority of my day removing bones and skin. I probably won’t do that again any time soon. I also made tartar sauce and hand cut chips.

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Then, I went to go pick up the cake my Korean coworker had ordered for my during the week. When I got to the bakery, however, it was not there. Upset and unable to speak Korean, I flailed about and gave the workers my phone number. They literally went through every order they had with me, trying to match it. No luck. One of them even made a phone call (I’m assuming to a boss). After about 40 minutes of madness, I just bought another cake. It wasn’t the one I had wanted, but it was still very nice (and tasty).

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I went home and started cooking. Steve came over around 5 PM and surprised me with a beautiful gift basket full of candy! I loved it. We ate dinner, had the cake, and watched Bones and Keeping Up Appearances for the rest of the evening. It was a really lovely evening.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Published

Hey guys! This won’t be a long post, but I just wanted to let you all know that an article I wrote got published on Thought Catalog. I’ve followed this online publication for years, and it really means a lot to me that the site chose to publish my submission.

I wrote the article on a whim and didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but here it is:

5 Things You Learn When You Move Continents Away From Home

Please check it out! I will definitely be writing some more articles to submit in the future. Additionally, I probably won’t be blogging for the next few days as I’m preparing for my trip to Tokyo, Japan. However, you can look forward to hearing about my adventure after I get back.

Have a Good Day

I’ve been pretty depressed the past few weeks. I think it’s a combination of the winter weather, the stress from work, and missing everyone at home. Last night, I ran into my foreign coworkers after work and we chatted for a bit. Then, I just started crying in the middle of the fucking street. Not exactly sure what prompted it, but I was just really upset. We all went for dinner at this little Japanese place and talked for a while. It helped a bit.

This morning, I woke up and made the executive decision to have a good day.

The first thing I did was go for a haircut. I’m trying to grow it out, but I desperately needed a trim. Haircuts do for me what manicures do for Elle Woods. Feeling shitty? Get a haircut. Starting a new job? Get a haircut. Any mundane reason ever? Get a haircut.

Then, I decided to head over to my favorite cafe for breakfast. To my surprise, my favorite croquette (potato and vegetable), which I thought had been taken off the menu, was back! I picked the plumpest one I could find and ate it as I took a walk up the road. On the way, I saw one of my students who greeted me with a very enthusiastic “TIA TEACHER!” That was nice.

Despite the cold, I walked to Etude House (one of my favorite beauty shops), and treated myself to a new face cleanser (Baking Powder Cleansing Foam Moist), gold glitter nail polish (#107 in the Play line), and a new blush. I also got some free samples. Always a plus!

Hopefully, today’s good mood will continue for the remainder of the day.