Hello everyone! It has been 2 years since I started this blog and while that may seem like a lot, time has flown. But 55,000 views and about 180 posts later, I thank each and every one of you readers for sticking around. There are a lot of things I wanted to do on here that I never got around to, and plenty more which I started and ditched because of the extreme time commitment.
One such thing I decided to finish for this anniversary post, so, I present to you, the “Travel Timeline.” You will see it as a link on the bar above (under ‘About me’ or ‘where I’ve been) permanently, but let me share it here as well!
It Begins: LA to the Grand Canyon - Road Trip #1 [USA]
My first trip as an adult was one of the most disorganized and unplanned trips I have ever taken. It also happens to be one of the most memorable I've ever taken.
PCH: LA to Vancouver, RT #2 [USA / Canada]
Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH for short, is one of the most iconic highways in the world. Since reading "Road Trip USA," I got hooked on driving along this road.
The Heartland - Mexico City
I unwittingly invited myself to tag along on this trip with my friend's sister. I was supposed to be translating but ended up discovering a part of Mexico City I knew nothing about.
Ten American States, RT #3 [USA / Mexico]
Another time where our ambitions were more than we could handle! We wanted to go from Los Angeles to New Orleans and back. While time wasn't a factor this time, mother nature had other plans.
Spring Break in Seattle [USA]
The 2007 Road Trip to Vancouver piqued my interest in this wonderful city and after this trip, I was all but ready to move here. I have said it time and time again: Seattle is the best city in the US.
East Coastin' - Road Trip #4 [USA]
At 23, I was a recent university graduate not ready to get into the 'real world.' The opportunity to join this trip was too tempting to pass up as the chance to have a real Philly cheesesteak was just too great.
Yellowstone: The First National Park - Road Trip #5 [USA]
No job yet and school was finished, the time to go was now! What better way to spend a summer than with one of your closest friends in Yellowstone National Freeken Park.
A Deeper Look into the Motherland [Mexico]
Mexico City had been so fascinating a year ago, I just had to visit again. This time, I went to visit some of my extended family in Guadalajara, but also ventured out into adjacent states.
San Francisco Goodbyes [USA]
When I decided to leave the US for a year in Korea, it was time to say goodbye. It also happened to be Sarah's birthday, one of my best friends and a San Francisco local.
Korea, Year 1
I finally got a job to start teaching Kindergarten in Korea. I didn't expect to like working with little kids, but it turned out to be my calling. It helped that I had some of the coolest coworkers in the world in Vicente, Mariana, David, Trina, and the best, Natalie.
The Terracotta Army and the Silk Road [China]
After debating whether or not it was wise to go on a trip abroad after being employed for a mere month, I took Vicente's advice and went for it. The main stop? Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors.
Chinese New Year's in Beijing [China]
Despite the troubles, I was determined to return to China. This time, it was to experience Chinese New Year's in the country's capital. Of course, I wanted to see Forbidden City, The Great Wall, and my friend from the previous trip.
Cambodia's Legacy: Angkor to Pol Pot
We came to Cambodia without knowing much about the recent history. What we learned about the Khmer Rogue and Pol Pot within days of being in Phnom Penh made our stomachs turn.
From Phu Quoc's Beaches to Saigon's Chaos [Vietnam]
Christine invited me to spend some time with her in Vietnam. I jumped on the opportunity knowing she is a native speaker, and could show me a side of Vietnam very few can experience.
Into the Arizona Desert - Road Trip #6 [USA]
After a year in Korea, I decided to come back home and took a trip with Sarah. We hit up an old roommate in Phoenix, and checked off one the biggest items on my bucket list.
Mexico, Yet Again
My longest and most fiscally irresponsible trip to date. I decided to go back into Mexico with my first DSLR camera and a newly acquired sense of adventure. It was time to blow all of my savings from Korea Year 1 in six weeks.
I Missed You Korea (Year 2)
Originally, the idea was to spend a single year abroad and then come back to the US to start life in Seattle. After the most incredible year of my life, I just had to go back to the land of the morning calm.
The Enchanted Island of Jeju [Korea]
Korea often overrates some of this most famous attractions which initially made me hesitant to visit Jeju Island. Fortunately, this is one place that actually exceeded expectations.
It Continues in Korea (Year 3)
There was really no surprise here. As part of the three year plan to pay off debt, I decided to stay in the same job and forgo returning home. Far exceeding fiscal projections, I was able to explore Korea a bit more this year.
Sicily to Venice [Italy]
I managed to secure a little over three weeks off work, so I decided to go the entire length of Italy with my mom. I hadn't seen her in over a year and a half, so it was great to meet on her first true traveling experience.
10 Hours In Amsterdam [Netherlands]
Originally, I wanted to have a long layover with maybe even a day or two in Moscow. The Russian embassy got difficult so Amsterdam it was. Between the Heineken Factory and the Canal System, I think I made the right call.
Solo in Feudal Kansai [Japan]
The travel bug had caught on again and was in full force. After being back from Italy less than a month, I set off on my first solo trip. Despite warnings of how expensive it was, I decided to give Japan a shot anyways.
The 'Kinda China' Trip [Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong]
We got a good deal on a three way flight Seoul > Taipei, Taipei > Macao and Macao > Seoul so we jumped on it. Taiwan offered a fantastic fireworks display off Taipei 101. HK and Macao, kind of a bust.
Japan's Paradise Island
Having visited Japan less than 6 months ago, I still wouldn't shut up about how awesome it was. Such high praise is often difficult to match, but Okinawa proved that my last Japan trip, was no fluke.
The 'Final' Year [Korea] (Year 4)
The final year of my three year plan came and went too quick. From a professional point of view, it was my favorite as I learned that preschoolers are simply the most awesome bunch to teach. I miss them every single day.
21 Hours in Miami [USA]
The only other place I had ever dreamed about visiting in the US as much as Yellowstone was the Everglades National Park. While I don't usually consider a layover a trip in itself, this one was very special to me.
The Road to Machu Picchu [Peru]
The Everglades were a nice start for this trip, but a much bigger price lay ahead. Together with Sarah, I headed into South America for the first time to see the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
Jeju For Sid's Birthday [Korea]
Travel within Korea is a double edged sword. Go in the middle of the week and you get a killer deal. Wait for the weekend and you better have deep pockets. For Sid's birthday, however, it was time to bite the bullet and show her around paradise island.
12 Hours in Shanghai [China]
Yet another welcome layover, I was excited to explore China's most populated city. Shanghai's 100 degree weather had other plans for Sidney and we ended up looking for cover most of the day.
In Search of the Komodo Dragon [Indonesia]
Three years ago, the BBC special "Life" got me obsessed with going to Komodo Island. I talked about it with my friend Matt for ages, but prices were always prohibitively expensive. In the summer of 2013, I just went for it.
Jeolla-do for Chuseok [Korea]
Korea's biggest holiday is a three day private family celebration. What does this mean to a foreign teacher in Korea? Three days off in the middle of the fall! This year was extra special as it resulted in a 5 day weekend.
A Trip into Ancient Korea
This four day weekend right after Chuseok was another excuse to see a part of Korea I had not visited in a while. We headed towards the old Shilla capital of Gyeongju, and saw the traditional village of Hahoe.
Tokyo and Fujisan [Japan]
My good friend Marlon, a fellow Japan lover, met up with me for this trip. Tokyo had always been on my to do list and like always, Japan lived up to even my highest expectations
America's Natural Beauty RT#7 [USA]
Besides a the 21 hour layover in Miami the year before, this was my first time home in 3 years. I came to appreciate America's natural beauty more and went on this solo road trip of the western US.
The Channel Islands National Park [USA]
Would you believe that the Channel Islands National Park is America's third least visited NP? Despite being an hour boat ride from LA, this amazing park is as isolated as they come. Oh, I almost forgot, there is a tiny fox species that inhabits the islands too!
You Can Never Have Too Much Japan
Marking one of the few times I have ever returned to a place I've previously visited, I came back to the Kansai region of Japan. I wanted to show Sidney what made me fall in love with this country, but made sure to do things a bit different this time around.
SE Asia pt.1 - Solo in Thailand
After bumming around the US and Korea for two months a piece, I finally started my dream trip of backpacking around South East Asia. On this first portion, I was solo, so I decided to head on to the southern islands for some R and R.
SE Asia pt.2 - Sid Arrives [Thailand / Cambodia]
After Sidney arrived, we headed toward Koh Chang on the eastern side of Thailand. With one day to spare before my visa expired, we headed to Cambodia to surprise my old friend Barang THE MAN Hang... oh yeah, and to see Angkor again.
SE Asia pt.3 [Myanmar]
Sidney started recovering, but we had a choice to make. Follow the 'pancake trail' into Don Det in Laos, or take the road less traveled and venture into Myanmar. Sid and I agreed and Myanmar it was. This was probably the best last minute travel decision we have ever made.
SE Asia pt.4 [Malaysia]
To wrap up a South East Asian adventure that took three months and a half, we headed towards peninsular Malaysia. Sidney had some friends who showed us around KL and treated us to the best food around.
11 Hours in Sydney [Australia]
This layover wasn't forced, but I took the chance to visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Unfortunately, neither the Sydney Opera House nor the Australian Prison Sites were impressive. Can't win em' all I guess.
Work n' Play for a Year [New Zealand]
We finally made it to New Zealand! This our first choice to start a Working Holiday Visa for a year so expectations are kind of high. Will NZ deliver, or will it join the list of 'over-hyped destinations.'
I am a huge fan of maps and timelines and this probably gives you the best insight into all the travel I have ever done in chronological order. I will work on getting a map mode of the places I’ve visited, but for now, I am happy with this. It will updated periodically (I hope) and will be your best source to follow me chronologically, and not in my usual way of posting whatever feels right at the time..
Another thing I actually did finish was my “Gear List.” I did a lot of work to do a history of all the gear I ever used, so I hope at least some of you read it! I still haven’t done a logo or banner, but have already asked someone to get on it. Hopefully that will get done soon.
Finally, future plans. Originally, I wanted to be out of Korea for 2-3 years exploring other parts of the world. There are a number of reasons I think I will cut that short to a single year. For one, I am almost 30 and professional fulfillment is starting to become important in my life. Frankly speaking, picking fruit or working at a dollar shop just doesn’t fill me with joy on a day to day basis. I want to get back in the classroom. I also didn’t expect to miss living in Asia as much as I do. Street food, festivals, cheap bars, transportation anywhere, and most importantly, the ability to stumble onto something new every single day is incredibly underrated. This, coupled with the far lower quality of life in NZ, I have decided to return to the RoK following my year here.
Back in 2011, I launched a 3 year financial plan (read about it in the timeline) where I payed off my debt of 42k. This time around, I hope to lay out the framework to launch a small business to support my philanthropic aspirations while I am not working full-time. I have mentioned this in the “Make a Difference” section above, but helping the less fortunate is something I hope will be my life’s work when all is said and done. Unfortunately, this takes planning and money.
Anyways, I hope you guys have enjoyed my blog and hope you will be there for another 2 years. I will start posting more often than I have of late as I get off reddit and get back to work. Later dudes!