From Colorado to…

While I was in San Francisco this weekend, a dear friend I met in Korea and traveled Myanmar with sent me a message urging me to start blogging again.

I have vowed to start blogging again because…

This should come as no surprise to anyone: I am putting my things in storage and traveling again. I bought a one-way ticket to Cartagena, Colombia. (Curious about the cost? A one-way from Denver to Cartagena: $156.39 USD.)

Here I am in Muuido, South Korea in 2014 with my trusty pack, a 65-litre Osprey. I named her "Rosie."
Here I am in Muuido, South Korea in 2014 with my trusty pack, a 65-litre Osprey. I named her “Rosie.”

The plan in Colombia: to live abroad while working my job remotely. I have been with Pro R.E.A. Staffing for a year and have been working remotely the entire time (moved from Georgetown, Texas to Crested Butte, Colorado to Denver – all while working my same job). Now, Colorado to Colombia.

So, thank you, Rikus

My friend Rikus is right. I have been living in Colorado since Thanksgiving, yet have not posted anything about all the beautiful hikes I have been on or the wonderful people I have met.  Those posts to come… 

Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with blogging. I love it when someone says they read a post or found a post about Korea helpful. I spent years thinking only my mom and grandma read it. Hi mom!” Yet, I hate how much time I spend thinking about how to make a post perfect, yet each post fails my expectations and standards for myself. More on being a type-A perfectionist later, too...

 

 

 

 

Countries I have visited

My goals:

Here are the countries I have visited – in order.

  1. U.S.A. – 1990
  2. Ireland – 2009
  3. Italy
  4. The Vatican
  5. Denmark
  6. Sweden
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Spain
  10. New Zealand
  11. Australia
  12. Peru – 2011
  13. England
  14. Scotland
  15. Poland – 2012
  16. Hungary
  17. Slovenia
  18. Austria
  19. Czech Republic
  20. South Korea – 2013
  21. Cambodia – April 2014
  22. Japan – October 2014
  23. China (Shanghai) – October 2014
  24. Thailand – November 2014
  25. Myanmar – December 2014
  26. Mexico – July 2015
  27. Canada – July 2016
Map your travels.
Map your travels.

Bulguksa (불국사)

Earlier this year, I worked in my company’s publishing department editing a Korean history book. While a lot of the information blended together because of the extensive detail and use of Korean names, I did learn a little about the Silla Kingdom and its grand history. Among many things, Silla is credited for creating the first unified Korea by conquering the two kingdoms of Baekje (백제) and Goguryeo (고구려). The Silla, an ancient kingdom of Korea, once called the city of Gyeongju its capital, which is partly the reason I wanted to visit.

IMG_1848 Outside the Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal, Chris and I rented a scooter for 25,000 won for three hours. After we picked up a handy map of Gyeongju in English from the tourist center outside the bus terminal, we hopped on our scooter and hit the road.

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Not too long later, we arrived at our destination: a famous temple. Bulguksa (불국사) is the main site to see in Gyeongju. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest temples in Korea. The structure standing today has gone through dozens of renovations, but it was incredible to think that Koreans were on this sacred land more than 1,400 years ago building this very temple.

We skipped seeing the Seokguram Grotto (석굴암) because the weather started to turn on us (check out my sweet rain poncho!). We hopped back on the scooter and headed out to see a sex museum; however, the steep admission of 10,000 won each scared us away.

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On our ride back to the bus terminal, I spotted a line of luxury cars parked casually in a coffee shop’s parking lot. We stopped to take a peak (and a handful of photos). To no surprise, we weren’t the only ones enjoying the view.

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Getting to Gyeongju: I took a 50-minute bus ride from Dongdaegu bus terminal. The cost is no more than 4,300 won ($5) each way.

To the students who made my year

My last day of teaching was bittersweet. I was excited for S.E. Asia trip coming up, but sad to leave my students, knowing that I’d likely never see them again. 

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Chan Ho is incredibly bright and even more kind.

One student, Chan Ho, was getting so excited to tell me something that he began to stutter. He couldn’t think of the English. Then finally he stops and says in a very serious tone, “Sarah Teacher, you are the Best English Teacher.” he pauses for dramatic effect, “Of..My…Life.” “Thank you, Chan Ho.”

Vatos Urban Tacos

A Seoul must-stop: Vatos Urban Tacos.

The atmosphere is vibrant and the place is always buzzing with Koreans and foreigners. The margaritas are big in size while the tacos are big in flavor. My personal favorite are the Kimchi Fries.

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Vatos’s Kimchi Fries are unbeatable.

Smothered in braised pork carnitas, killer kimchi, cheese, cilantro and onion and sour cream, doused in their own hot sauce, the Kimchi fries are mouth-watering good.

Whether you’re there to chow down on some gourmet tacos, topped with spicy chipotle and seasoned goodness, or just there to drink, Vatos Tacos is the place to be.

 

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A Coronarita will run you $15, but you’ll never look back.

 

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Three urban tacos for less than 11,000 won ($12).

 

Be a Toursit in Kansas: Largest Ball of Twine

A few years back, I visited the world’s largest ball of twine. It was as anti-climatic as you would imagine. It was on my bucket list to be a tourist in my own home state of Kansas.

biggest ball of twine02 biggest ball of twine01Cawker City is home to the largest ball of twine and only 469 people, according to the 2010 Census. The ball measures more than 40 feet in circumference and weighs more than 14,000 pounds. 

 

Hello 2015.

In October 2013, I moved to Daegu, South Korea and started what would be a yearlong journey of teaching English Monday through Friday and traveling every weekend. I met a man in May and quickly fell in love as we explored Korea together. When my contract ended in October 2014, I set out alone for two months traveling through four S.E. Asian countries.

Once I returned to the U.S., I embarked on a two-week road trip through America with Chris, the man I fell for in South Korea. Now, I am packing up my belongings at my parent’s house in Kansas and preparing to move to Georgetown, Texas, a town outside of Austin.

Chris and I admiring Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe, California on New Years Eve, December 31, 2014.
Chris and I admiring Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe, California on New Years Eve, December 31, 2014.
As I settle into my life stateside, my goal this year is to blog about my time in Korea, my trip to Cambodia, my weekend in Shanghai, my adventures in Japan, Thailand and Myanmar, and continue to push myself to be honest, open and informative. And, of course, plan for my next trip…