Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Best Camera

What camera do you use?

Do you love it?

Though I'm not big into brand loyalty, I love my Canon ELPH 300 hs. It's so light and portable, I can carry it with me everywhere I go so I'm ready anytime something video worthy happens - which can happen anywhere and anytime. Many of the best videos I've seen (and videos I've made) are spontaneous and stumble-upon kind of situations. All the HD videos I post on my Youtube account are recorded with this magnificent little camera.

This camera was with me on my recent travels through Southeast Asia. I recorded lots of travel vlogs with it, and I was satisfied with the quality of the videos. However, looking through my pictures, without perfect lighting some photos aren't as clear and as crisp as I want them to be. I've started printing out photos to display as travel memories, but I can only print photos from this camera to about 8" × 12" (about the same as an A4 paper) before losing significant quality.

Photos help us remember places and people, and we should be able to preserve our memories in the best and clearest way we can. For this reason, I would love to hear some recommendations for a new and better camera from you, my readers. I still want something light and I'd prefer a camera that is not as conspicuous as a DSLR. I appreciate your help! Happy snapping!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kerri's Seoul

My best friend and lifelong travel partner Brenna recently offered me a chance to post as a guest blogger on her blog This Battered Suitcase. Her blog is a haven for travelers, wanderlusters, photo feinds and lovers of life.

My blog post features recommended spots to visit in Seoul "off the beaten path". You can read my article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

10 Best Souvenirs from Korea

Here expatkerri has gathered for you the ten oddest and most interesting gifts to give as souvenirs from South Korea. We guarantee all of these gifts will be good conversation starters.

1. CRAZY SOCKS - Ramyun noodles, swear words, K-pop stars, bunnies with fuzzy ears, drunk cartoons, poetry, soju bottles... the possibilities are nearly endless with these socks. Best of all they are available everywhere and are usually only 1000 won for a pair.

2. COUPLE PHONE CHARMS - For couples, nothing is more Korean than matching everything. You can go all out and buy matching couple t-shirts, but it's cheaper to buy your friends in relationships couple cell phone charms.

3. DRIED SQUID - A very popular snack during festivals and at the movies, the potent squid is usually sold with dipping sauce. You can buy it in most food marts for under 2000 won. Make sure you instruct your friends to bring the squid in their bags next time they go to the movies.

4. SCRUBBING CLOTHS - Since your friends aren't in Korea to experience the full extent of the Korean sauna, give them a little taste of it by giving them a scrubby cloth. The cloths are available everywhere and cost just 500 won. Make sure you instruct your friend to scrub their skin to the point where the dead skin comes off like eraser bits.

5. PACKAGED KIMCHI - "The World's Healthiest Food". The fried kimchi tastes best, and it's packaged so you can throw it in your bag without making all your luggage smell like fermented cabbage. Remember to say "kimchi" when having your photo taken too.

6. CRAZY ENGLISH T-SHIRTS - Anything goes when you're shopping for t-shirts in Korea. Browse among the mildly offensive to the completely indecipherable.

7. IPHONE BUNNY CASE - If there was an award for putting cuteness over all else including functionality, Korean girls would win first prize hands down. These absurd phone cases nearly double the width of the phone, conspicuously showing off the fact that your phone is cuter than everyone else's. Who wouldn't want to share that glory with their friends back home?

8. BB CREAM - For the women on your list, why not buy them a tube of "the Korean beauty secret". It is both a moisturizer and a liquid foundation, and as such it is supposed to save time in the morning. Plus it is meant to prevent wrinkles and help clear up breakouts. Win win!

9. ANIMAL HATS - Though they might look like they're made for children, motorcycle-riding delivery men also wear these ridiculous hats. I've never seen them in any other country.

10. METAL CHOPSTICKS - To my knowledge, Korea is the only country in all of Asia to use metal chopsticks. They're reusable, sterile, and hard to get used to at first. Buy some for your friends and have a contest using the chopsticks to pick up M&Ms.

All photos by expatkerri except "FU socks": used with permission from

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Going Viral

I recently posted this video to YouTube.

It went viral. We hit 1,000,000 views on Monday.

In honour of the milestone of my first video to hit a million views, Raines and I made a music video composed of remixes of the original Korean whines from the first video.

The song is available to download for free here (just click Download, then click OK)

It is a little dream of mine to have this song playing on millions of ipods worldwide, and for one of you to be stopped and asked what you're listening to.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 Things I Learned From my iPhone

I've never had a smart phone before. In this new world of wifi I'm what the French call "une imb├ęcile". It's already becoming a welcome part of my life, as I find it either in my hand or on my desk next to me at all times since I bought it. I am using my real camera and my little mp3 player less now that I have them both in one. Here I share with you my humble observations from my recent arrival to smartphone-ville.

Everyone else already has a smart phone: Be it Twitter, Instagram, Viddy, 4Square, Path, KaKaoTalk, or others... nearly all my friends have already been living this life of constant communiation and pocket access for years. And the weirdest part of all is that my iPhone knows that those people are my friends, and it connects us instantly. iPhone, you so smart.

The ground is uneven: I am already guilty of holding my phone up to my face while walking. Sometimes when I do this I'm a bit less aware of walking and I stumble a bit. No injuries yet.

People with smart phones are prone to smart phone envy: I bought the iPhone 4S in March 2012, since it is the most recent and up-to-date iPhone now. My friends ask the following questions in order: "oh, is that the 4s?" "oh, so are you using 3G right now?" "can i take a photo with your 8 megapixel camera?" and after those three questions they examine their own phone and deem mine "better". I don't know since I have nothing to compare it to.

Podcasts exist for nearly everything: There's even a hugely popular podcast about how to podcast. With my podcast knowledge still in the nesting stage, I listen to Ricky Gervais, then I listen to Korean lessons, then NPR, all on my walk to work.

There really is an app for that: Just as google offers search results for any keyword, the App Store on iPhones offers results as well. In just a short search I found a virtual piano, multiple free fortune telling apps, a step-by-step knot tying app, and an app called "how Canadian are you eh?"

I can only hope I'll use this growing technological chia pet for intellectual prospects and deeper communications. Time for another round of Draw Something.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Feeling at Home

Throughout my travels, I've been faced with the question of where home is many times. It's clear to me now that Korea is indeed my home, and it has been for a while.

It is my base: where I work, where I relax, where I dine, where I laugh, where I love, where I live.

On my flight back after my recent travels, I wondered how many other non-Koreans on the plane consider Korea to be their home. It seems to me that nationality doesn't make a home, but rather it's a connection we feel with a place.

My connection with Korea seems quite natural to me now. I express myself comfortably using this language, and I even prefer the food here to what I grew up with. Sometimes it seems that part of me was always here, and it just took me moving here to find that part of myself. My friends here tell me my sense of humour is Korean, and sometimes they even say I'm Korean. It's such a big part of me now, this place.

Can any place become a home to us, if we are in the right mind and spirit to adapt to it?

This photo shows my temporary home away from home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, courtesy of old friends Boom & Ryan.

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