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Jirisan National Park

“The mountain of the odd and wise people”


Busan's Hidden Gem

With a spread of vividly colorful houses sitting atop a seaside cliff, Taegeukdo Village in Busan (aka Gamcheon Culture Village) looks more like the scenery you’d expect to find in South America or along the shores of coastal Italy even, not South Korea.

This stark contrast to the ultra sleek buildings found in Gangnam, the pale high rise industrial-esque residential apartment towers that swallow most of Seoul and even the traditional Korean Hanok homes, has made the area a popular sightseeing destination for locals and foreigners over the years.

The village, originally formed in 1918 as a community for followers of the Taegeukdo religion, and later refugees during the Korean War, derives it’s name from the ‘taegeuk’ – more commonly known to westerners as the yin and yang symbols, which represent the balance of the universe.


Late Night Revelations on Korea Made Over GS25 Sandwiches

Ignorance breeds contempt. It seems obvious (and sounds like something I’ve heard before), yet when you’re away from your “normal” lifestyle, it can be easy to keep thinking in the way you’ve been thinking before entering your new normal. And that alone can help to shift how one thinks, both in this normal and the normal you’ll eventually return to.

Huh? Let me try to explain.

I come from a family of complainers. Whether it was something in society or in an annoying commercial, our gut reactions have always been to complain about it. Because that feels like we’re doing something about it. “I obviously am against this, and will show my disapproval of it to someone else who is against it by bitching about it.” But, that’s where action usually ended.


Reliving Korea’s Tumultuous History at the Korean War Memorial

There are many museums to see in Korea. In fact, sometimes I feel like it would be an impossible dream to be able to see them all. All kinds of historical museums, art museums, memorials, etc. are found throughout the big cities in Korea as well as the smaller, historical regions like Gyungju, for example.


안녕히 가세요, Korea: Some Things We’ll Miss About You

This week we head back to America, which for all its school shootings and conspicuous consumption, will always be home. We will return to a pretty similar version of the life we left there two years ago, kids a little bit older, location a little more central, but essentially the standard NC middle class teacher existence.

We will always hold this place in our hearts. Korea has been special for us in a ton of ways. Living abroad is challenging, and especially so when transitioning between Western and Eastern cultures. Living here, thriving here, taught us a lot about ourselves, our resiliency, our ability to surmount obstacles together.

And there are a laundry list of things we’ll miss about this place. Here are just a couple:

1.  Cheap, delicious food eaten in the company of good friends (WITH CHOPSTICKS):


Fukuoka Bound - exerpt from the novel - El Nido

 

The ferry made its way out of a bustling Busan Bay on that bright Monday morning. As they passed through the heads, the waves had already begun to get bigger. Nev raised his eye brows to see if Yuki was bothered.

“You would expect the waves to get bigger as we go, wouldn’t you?” she said.

Yuki whispered that most of the Korean tourists were off on a once in a lifetime trip. They watched as many of them ate, drank and laughed voraciously. They were devouring pork filled buns, bundles of sticky rice and biscuits while drinking copious amounts of wicked Korean soju.

The Japanese staff were polite and friendly in their own detached way. Once all the tickets had been checked, they sat fully upright in the staff chairs, gazing past the faces of the passengers, towards the bow, with soft eyes.


From Sri Lanka, with Love

by Das Messer

 

AIRPORT GUYairport_waiting

The sanctity of Travel lies in its tendency to command your respect as you set out to peer voyeuristically into other human lives. Navel-gazing at a time like this is over-indulgent and simply uncouth: There’s a time for raw vulnerability, but this isn’t it. Chin up, shoulders back, deep breath: Youre on your own now, Das. Lock it down.

***


The Badass Koreans

First thing is, there are two types of categories for Koreans who’ve made Russia their home.

And when I say Russia, I actually mean the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


Marathoning Japan – Four Cities in Five Days

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On the journey back to my tiny apartment home in Daegu, my eyelids were leaden, various leg muscles were pulled, and I lethargically guessed what subway line to take to get back. Five days in Japan had chewed me up and spat me out. But with a pocketful of strange coins, and many warm, beautiful memories, despite my weariness I looked up into the sky over Korea spiritually satiated. My gaze has become a little more wizened from my travels further east. So take some time to tie your shoelaces a little tighter, I’ll take you on my sprint through Japan one more time.

 


The DMZ Tour

One of the places in Korea that I had wanted to visit more than any other attraction was the DMZ. Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.

It’s not an easy thing to see if you don’t live in Seoul because the tours that are allowed to take you there do not run on Sundays and Mondays, as well as holidays.

So hopping a train is not too easy, especially for me as I’m in Busan on the very opposite end of the country.

IMG 1504 1024x682 The DMZ Tour There are two different tour packages in general: the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel portion, and the Joint Security Area (JSA) portion.


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