Flashback Friday: Springtime in Rome

We’ve finally gotten our first taste of spring like temperatures here in Seoul and it has me in anticipation of what is to come. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I absolutely adore the “transition” seasons. Not too hot, not too cold, and in Korea, not raining every single day. There’s nothing better than finally taking off your winter coat,venturing outside on a sunny day, and taking a deep breath of that crisp, fresh air that only spring can bring.

One of my favorite spring times that I’ve experienced was when I lived in Rome. Spring came early that year and left me with plenty of time to enjoy the city before it got too crowded and too hot. If you’re looking for a time of year to check out the Eternal City, this is it! What are some of the best things to do in Rome during my favorite season?

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The ABCs of Travel

This meme went around the travel blogging community a few months ago, and while I was never tagged (and am a lot late to the party) I thought it would be a good way to get back into the swing of blogging. So, here you go, my ABCs of travel.

Age you went on your first international trip

Besides Canada (which anyone who lives within a 30 mile radius from the border knows doesn’t count), I went to England when I was 12. I actually turned 12 on the plane ride there. This was also the age of my first solo trip as I was visiting my penpal without my family!

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Farsickness 2.0

The three or four people who actually followed this blog with any regularity may have noticed the radio silence of the past five months. There’s really no excuse, but I have some good news.

Instead of leaving for my southeast Asian adventure at the beginning of this month, I decided to stay in Korea for another year of teaching. I completed my contract with the horrible, 11 hour working day, mismanaged English academy and got a job teaching writing to sixth graders at a private elementary school in northern Seoul. I now work normal hours (8 hour days, oh how I’d missed you!) and have a whopping EIGHT weeks of paid vacation.

Now that I have both more free time and more sanity, I will be able to put the effort into this blog that it requires. Regular posting will resume this week and within the next month or two expect to see some exciting changes.

And don’t worry, Farsickness 2.o will still focus on expat life in Seoul and travels around Korea and Asia, but with greater detail and expanded coverage.

Happy Travels!

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Stress Free in Samcheok

September was a month of stress.  I felt the exhaustion beginning the pile up.  Six months of 11 hour workdays had my head spinning.  Completely idiotic new policies at work and the refusal of my request for two days off to go home for my friend’s wedding had me scouring Kayak for a flight home.  For good.  I didn’t care about traveling.  About writing.  I just wanted to see familiar faces in familiar places.  I finally cooled down enough to see that quitting wasn’t the right option (I get a hefty sum of money for completing my contract, to be used for traveling and my next set of plans) and booked a trip to Samcheok, on the eastern coast of Korea in the Gangwon-do province as a pick me up.

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Taman Ujung Karangasem: A Palace in a Pond

Taman Ujung Karangasem, or Karangasem Water Palace, is a short drive from the villa near Amlapura.  This palace was built in 1919 by the king of Karangasem.  He and his family used this ornate palace as a place of relaxation.  Unfortunately for us, the majority of the palace was destroyed in an earthquake in the 1970s and today only a few buildings remain.  In spite of this, visitors are still able to enjoy the grounds and can wander through the ponds, ruins and buildings that are still standing today.

Although Lonely Planet didn’t have great things to say about the palace, I thoroughly enjoyed the morning I spent wandering around the ruins and restored buildings.  My friends and I began the day with some nasi goreng and Balinese coffee at a small restaurant overlooking the ponds of Taman Ujung Karangasem.  After finishing, we paid the small entrance fee (around 2USD), crossed a short bridge and began exploring the grounds.

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Why I Quit My Job to Teach Abroad and Travel

One year ago today I quit my job in telesales with no real plan for the future. I spent the majority of the time in my cubicle wanting to cry, yelling at people on the phone, or browsing BootsnAll forums and looking at pictures of places I wanted to visit.  I was wildly unhappy.  After suffering through nine months I decided, with the support of my fabulous parents, to leave the corporate world.  A year later I’m halfway done with my teaching contract in Seoul and 161 days away from beginning my backpacking trip around Southeast Asia.

What are the biggest reasons I decided to take the plunge and live in a country I’d never been to (nor knew a word of the language) and for a job I was wildly unqualified for?

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The Best Brunch in Seoul

In my opinion, a weekend isn’t truly great until you’ve sat down to recap the events of the last night over great food.  Enter brunch.  Brunch is the meal that allows for the perfect fusion of eating and socializing.  A great breakfast, or brunch, can be hard to find in a city where seafood stew is a traditional breakfast eat, but the Flying Pan in Itaewon manages to create a meal that will satisfy even the most critical of diners.

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