Showing posts with label philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label philosophy. Show all posts

Sunday, June 30, 2013

When life demands more than you can offer

When it feels like the outside world is a dream, and the only reality is you and a hospital monitor that beeps every second.



I believe every person is allotted an amount of stress that they are able to cope with. It might be higher for some people, and lower for others, but I think that everyone has their own stress threshold. The stresses of normal life - a critical remark from a co-worker or a piece of technology not performing properly - these stresses are manageable, and do not become catastrophic. We manage stress by rewarding ourselves, taking breaks, going to sleep early, and generally just by taking care of ourselves. But, when a person is thrust into a serious situation where every moment of time is used up, the normal stress coping mechanisms go out the window. Without taking the normal breaks and time for oneself, stress can build up to a boiling point very quickly if left un-managed. Unfortunately for me, I experienced a great deal of stress in a few days in a hospital last month, and my own means of coping with stress disappeared, as did my ability to take care of myself. There was no option to put myself or the person in need first - obviously I would eat when my help was no longer needed, or take a seat when the chance arose. At that time, it was more important to do everything I could to help that person get better.

Now that she is back to normal, and beginning life as a new mom, I am happy to see the pictures she sends of her new baby. I am happy for her life, and the way our relationship has become so enriched by this bonding experience. I am also happy for her relationship with her fiance, as I saw firsthand how deeply he cares for her, and how much he was willing to sacrifice for her well-being. I am happy that their lives have become normal, and the stresses they face are now the common experiences among all first-time parents.

One thing that has impressed me in this experience is the great effect that one person's life can have on another person's life. When I went to the hospital to help out, I never thought that I would be forced to change so much of my life. I'm supposed to be studying in New York, right now, but I had to cancel that study program. Instead of spending the summer studying in a cubby hole in the New York Public Library, I'm taking a semester off. I'm supposed to be moving back to Korea in August, but I missed my opportunity to apply for jobs and now feel wiser and slightly wary of my dream-like state of life there. I'm supposed to be living my own life fully, and in many ways I am not yet able to do that. And, ironically, now I'm the one who is taking the medicine.

"What does not destroy me makes me stronger"
- Nietzsche

I've always believed the above quotation, and had applied it to the difficult times I had experienced in my life. Before this trauma, my most difficult times were break-ups and travel horrors - but these difficulties don't compare to staring death in the face and singing someone to sleep not knowing if they would awaken. They don't compare to feeling like the outside world is a dream, and the only reality is you and a hospital monitor that beeps every second. When you cry because you hear the songs of birds for the first time in 3 days and realize the outdoor soundtrack you've taken for granted all your life. When you don't want to talk to anyone, or be talked to by anyone, and miss the opportunity to spend an afternoon alone. When every phone call is needy, and every minute demands a new task. When all people within arms reach are asking for you, wanting your time, needing answers, and haphazardly offering suggestions to you. When all your muscles ache but you didn't notice until that moment in the shower. When your brain betrays you, and won't allow sleep when it knows you've been up for days. When you feel wrinkles burrowing into your skin and long for the morning routine of grooming yourself. When you consume nothing but tea and muffins courtesy of someone else, and seek only a moment to sneak down to the hospital food court and order your own take away meal. When every eventual morsel of food you eat is the best you've ever had. When you think just a second anonymity would mend you. When every part of your body and mind feels like it can't keep going.

Something inside of me kept pushing me forward, onto the next step. Something told me to keep going, to keep moving, to keep walking.

During my worst moments, I felt nearly clairvoyant. I had the ability to x-ray anyone around me and determine if they were mentally well or in need of professional help. I felt lifetimes smarter than everyone else, and I felt ecstatic to finally see my whole life through a crystal clear rear view lens. A natural analyzer, I examined all of my friendships to determine who was safe for me to be around. I examined every person that I knew, and decided whether they were healthy or not. Now that I am returning to my quotidian life, I feel that my emotional intelligence will be better than it has been. I also think I will be able to take care of myself better, and be able to recognize when I am giving too much.

"Time heals all wounds"
- Unknown

It's not true that time heals all wounds, because every wound is different. Some wounds might never heal, and perhaps the inevitable distance of time from an unhealed wound is all the healing one can wish for. I certainly feel that the distance in time since this trauma to now - over 5 weeks - is helping me to heal. With each passing day, I feel closer to me. Closer to what I know to be me.

With persistence, professional help, and a lot of hard work and self reflection, I want to come out of this stronger and wiser, with the ability to take better care of myself.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Travel is



“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms.
It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections.
Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people.
It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world.
It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter.
It’s McDonald’s being a luxury.
It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong country.
Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English.
It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world.
Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it.
Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow.
Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes.
Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers.
It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps.
Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was.
It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere.
It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend.
Travel is ‘Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.’”

- Nick Miller

Have a great travel quotation? Share your favourites below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Atypically on Machu Picchu



My life is here now, in this hostel in this city, or on this bus, staring out this window.

This past weekend, my life brought me to a place that has been drawing me to South America for years... the magical mountains and ruins of Machu Picchu. My experience at Machu Picchu was more enlightening and less touristic than I might have previously expected, though.

Hiking up a mountain without words, with wind, and breath, and panoramic views of the valleys below leads the mind to places not easily reached when among the throws of daily living. I began contemplating my place in the world, the things I have done, the things I want, and the things I need in my life, as well as the people in it.

I've now ended a relationship with the man who has been closest to me for the last nine months. Sometimes, the road makes life so viceral, and so immediate, that holding on to a love from home becomes too difficult, too trying.

When sitting above the ruins of Machu Picchu, looking down over the mountains below, we were greeted with a beautiful sight. The ruins were visible to us, and within a moment would be hidden behind a layer of clouds blown in. In another moment, the clouds would lift, and the ruins would be visible again. Am I not like the ruins, and the people in my life not like the clouds, passing through? Some clouds linger and stay in our view, while others move past to greet the next mountain tops.

Physically exhausted, and philosophically dazed, I leave Peru in three days. I hope to enter Bolivia with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, knowing that I have followed my intuition.

Even though travel is often sold as an escape from real life, it can also offer a startling perspective on your own life, which is invisible to you when you're in the middle of living it.

For this new perspective on my own reality, travel, I thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Love, Facebook, and "The One"

How do you know when you've found the one?



Is it like some people say, those lucky ones who say "you just know"? Is it some kind of planetary alignment which wills two people's hearts to cross and never part? Is there a way to know when you've met the person with whom you can share the rest of your life?


When I log into Facebook now, nearly at age 28, I am greeted by photos of babies first rolls, wedding reception dances, and status changes to "engaged" or better yet "married". People with whom I once shared math class and milkshakes are now buying houses and patio furniture.


Perhaps stranger and more disturbing than all the cake photos and ultrasound profile pictures are the ones of our exes. We all have them, and we all do the same thing once and a while, even though it never feels right. Facebook has permitted us access to information, photos, and emotional stresses that we really have no business knowing about. It's never a good idea, but when it's made so easy, it's hard to resist a simple click.


Though that person and you have personal history, what brought you together in your time doesn't matter anymore. You exist as each other's history. Knowing this, is it any harder to know for certain whether the next person for whom your heart jumps will be there in 2, 5, 10, or even 20 years?


When we do find the next someone with whom we develop a relationship, is it with the passing of time that the person becomes "the one"? Or is it that at a certain age, we stay with whoever we find ourselves with? Is the commitment to marry a natural progression, the next logical step for two people of marrying age? Are the relationships around me people who met at the right time, when both people were ready to commit to a future?


What I'm also curious about is how friends of mine, classmates, co-workers and other acquaintances are finding their "one". Do they really know they've found it? Or does part of everyone still wonder if there might be someone else out there with whom they could be star-crossed? With whom white paint chips and car seat models have no bearings? With whom time stands still, and the world ceases to exist?


Does such a love exist outside of films and love songs? Are all the Facebook wedding albums actually proof of soulmates, proof of destiny, and proof of the real, true, mad love I believe in?


Of my single friends, and those with boyfriends too, many face the same dilemma: How will I know when I've found him?


I'm wondering the same thing lately, too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

my philosophy on love







i believe any man could be the right man for me, at any given moment in my life. i also believe that people come into our lives for a reason, be it to teach us something, to help us through something, or to just enjoy the great times together.

in all of my past relationships, something hasn't quite been in line to keep us in love for the long run. accordingly, i have spent a lot of time looking back on what i consider my most successful relationships. i examine which parts of the relationship were fully satisfying for me, and which parts could have been improved.

now at 27, i think i've finally got a theory that seems to hold water for me, as well my friends who i've explained it to.

love has three elements: mind love, heart love, and sex love: for lasting love, all three of these elements must be in line.

first, mind love. mind love is having stimulating conversations, and being able to make each other laugh. it also means being able to understand each other, and be patient when things aren't alright. mind love is the insatiable adoration that you have for your partner's brain. you want to hear that person's thoughts, and you enjoy the way the express themself. of course, your partner should also be as interested and crazy about the way you think, which gives you the energy for those amazing into the night conversations that just make life feel so worth it. think before sunrise.

next comes heart love. heart love is missing your partner, and the happiness and enjoyment that comes simply from being near that person. wanting to spend more time with them, having a hard time saying goodbye, and staring at your partner's photos are all signs of heart love. it's also that feeling inside you when you hear those three magic words. heart love can lead us to do silly things, like midnight drives in the rain, and it's probably what romeo and juliet were feeling when they snuck away together.

now we come to sex love. sex love shows itself after a long day out in the world, coming home and embracing as soon as the door is closed. sex love is the throw down, the i-need-you-now, the groceries-in-hand kisses. the passion, when you stare at your partner and just admire the little idiosyncrasies that make them yours. when the hedonists in you both find paradise in one another's arms, and never feel it is enough. sex love is exclusive, primal, and absolutely worth losing sleep over.

so what happens when one of these loves is out of line? the relationship is so close to perfect, but part of you is left a little unsatisfied.

if mind love is out of line, you might end up fighting where understanding is needed, or resenting the logic of your partner's decisions.

if heart love is out of line, someone might be too busy to make the "goodnight" call, or you might start wondering if your partner still has feelings for a former fling.

if sex love is out of line, your once passionate kisses could turn into pecks.

i realize this is a grand simplification of relationships, and that there will be many people who could disagree with my three concepts. However, when I look back on my own life, I see relationships which start out with two loves strong enough to overpower the missing link. As time goes on, though, the third missing love starts to show itself, and by the end of the relationship, it comes to overshadow the other two loves.

i like to think of them as the chakras of love, three glowing hot spots that everyone has in them.

it just takes the right person to light them all up.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

big in granada

big skies


big avocados


big trees


big colours


big friendships


Just two days into Granada, Nicaragua with my beautiful travel partner Brenna, I can't help but feel we're at the beginning of something amazing, something life altering, something unforgettable, something big.

This morning over breakfast, we discussed an idea I've wondered about before. Whether you travel for a week or a month or a year, after the travels are over you feel a specific range of feelings when reviewing your photos.

It's easy to think of the pictures from early on in the trip as being less informed and lacking the worldly wisdom of later pictures - your clothes tidy and clean, your skin unworn and not yet blazed by the sun.

Around the middle of the trip, the photos are happy and care-free: the mark of a traveler truly amid the journey, thinking neither of the beginning or the end of the travels. For me, this is where I usually find my favourite travel photos.

When it comes to the final pictures of the trip, they seem to hold the knowledge, sadness, and already nostalgic feeling of a trip coming to an end. Sometimes you even stop taking pictures for days at a time.

Every trip has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And though this trip through central and south America together begins now for us, it's hardly the beginning of our journey as travelers together: we've traveled Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Japan, Thailand, Burma, and South Korea together.

And it's certainly not the end.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

the evolution of a backpack (& the legend of the woman in the black dress)

My first extended backpacking trip was around Europe back in 2006, where I managed to see 22 countries in 4 months. I began the trip hopeful and naive with a bag weighing 12kgs (not including my carry-on), and I came home with a full heart and a dirty bag weighing in at a hefty 17kgs. It was getting hard to lift near the end of the trip, with gifts and ticket stubs and moments of life all fighting for space in my bag.

Here in 2012, I begin my second extensive backpacking trip, as I head off to Nicaragua to meet up with my friend to navigate our way through central and south America until we get to Rio de Janeiro. We're planning to be on the road for a few months (but it could end up being longer if we love a certain somewhere). I vowed to myself not to bring too much stuff, and in particular not too many clothes.

Having recently moved out of my apartment in Jinju, Korea - where I had lived comfortably for 2 years - I parted with a lot of clothes. Some were old vintage items I just wasn't wearing, some were new items that I hadn't quite worked into my wardrobe, and there were lots of colourful scarves and pretty skirts that just fell somewhere in between. With the simplicity of fewer things in my apartment in Korea, I also seem to have adopted a bit more of a simpler wardrobe in the past month. Fewer costume changes, and more well-liked clothes on repeat. It is with this principle that I packed my backpack for my upcoming travels.

What clothes did I pack? A pair of jean shorts, a black skirt, a white skirt, a blue button up collared shirt, 3 pretty tops, a longsleeved shirt, a cardigan, a short dress and a pair of leggings. Just one dress, and this is odd for me, since my four-season wardrobe consists of at least 50% dresses. The reason is that I know I will find dresses I love down south.

Yes, there are other items in my bag, and that's what makes up the other 6kgs. I have a netbook and terabyte of storage for videos, a 1068 page guidebook, a GoPro camera plus the user guide (since I have yet to memorize it), a silk bed liner, a pair of blunnies and a bunch of other little things which I want to have with me. Of course I want to have dresses with me too...

But, when I'm traveling in a new city, and I find a dress that I love, I buy it. These clothing items are my souvenirs, and when I wear them I'm filled with the memories of the music, food, and the city where I bought it. Going to the land of floral dresses and handstitched patterns only makes my heart pine for beautiful dresses, and I know I'll find ones that suit me perfectly. This way, the dresses I wear on my trip will be of that area, and I can create memories and take photos wearing items from that region.

At the airport en route to Managua, Nicaragua, my backpack weighed 8.8kgs (with a carry-on at 4kgs). Here I have a much more organized and well-prepared backpack than the one I carried in Europe, and as a bonus I'm starting at a lighter weight. Remember, my first backpacking trip was 6 years ago, and I was pretty much as novice as a backpacker can get (I'd been to Paris and London for 2 weeks each on a high school exchange, but high school exchanges are far different from solo traveling, oh and that one trip to Barbados when I was 16 with my family...). I've picked up a lot of tips and tricks throughout my other travels to places including Turkey, China, Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand.


My very first time leaving Korea in 2007, I rode by boat past this bridge while it was under construction. The bridge stuck its half-contructed spine out into the sea then, weak and unready. Leaving Korea most recently in 2012, we rode along the very same bridge, now confidently providing commuters a more convenient road to reach the airport.

No umbrella, wearing my heaviest shoes instead of keeping them in the bag, using air compressing plastic bags to organize clothes, and carrying fewer liquids are some of my current strategies keeping my bag lighter. But another strategy is just simply having fewer clothes. When traveling Europe in 2006, some clothes in my bag would go a month or more without being worn, which is too long to simply be carrying clothing on the road. This time, I plan to wear everything in my bag in the span of a week, and just wash what I wear every other day in the sinks (with my handy traveler's laundry soap sheets).

It's a new strategy in practise for me, but an old concept. I remember reading of the legend of the traveling woman in the black dress who carried no backpack. They say she washed her dress and underwear every night to have it ready and clean for a new day. Sounds pretty amazing to me, and I'd love to try that on my next adventure - after I stock up on Peruvian alpaca sweaters.
Now, to you dear reader, what's your strategy when packing your travel bag? Are you a notorious overpacker, prepared for every rift of inclement weather? Or do you bring less and adopt a more frequent washing cycle, as I'm going to try? Please share your tips and ideas as a comment here on the blog, or tweet your tips and ideas to me on twitter @expatkerri.

I'm already imagining all the beautiful things I will find in Granada and beyond. I guess I'm not ready to be a legend in a black dress just yet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Pack Light

Now that I've started to pack up my apartment here in Jinju, trying to minimize items for storage and sort through books and shoes, I am finding a lot of hidden treasures. Today I found an old copy of Gwangju News from this time last year. I wrote an article about packing light with appeared in that issue, and I have posted my article here for your perusal. Light packers unite!  
Why Lighten up?
Packing light is the best gift you can give yourself when you travel.  A light backpack or suitcase is easy to walk with and easy to lift. It also makes your journey more relaxing and less stressful.
Choose souvenirs carefully – Instead of buying a fridge magnet – which was probably not made in the country you’re visiting anyway – opt instead for a handmade piece of clothing or something else that you can use while you travel.
Don’t bring an umbrella – Though planning for inclement weather may make you feel well prepared, it’s not necessary. In most places you’ll visit, it’s easy to find a shop where you can pick up a cheap umbrella if the need arises. Don’t even bother with those little plastic excuses for raincoats, cause you can always use a garbage bag instead. And plus – you’re waterproof.
Choose pieces carefully – You really only need a few key items: a few shirts, a pair of trousers, two pairs of socks, and maybe a hat. As a woman, bring a long skirt. It can be worn with a t-shirt for attending temples during the day, but then can also be hiked up to become a strapless dress for nights out. And remember that bikinis or swimming trunks also double as underwear.
No laptop – Use internet cafes and internet at hostels instead of lugging your laptop. You won’t have to worry about it being stolen, and laptops add a lot of weight to your bag. Enjoy being disconnected from your internet life on days when you can’t get to a computer.
Tailor your guidebook – If you have the guidebook to India, but only plan on visiting the north, cut out the information about the south, and places you definitely aren’t going to visit. Otherwise, you could easily carry around a lot of dead weight that ends up dragging you down –which is just as useful as carrying a jar of pennies in your pack.

Bibliophiles fear not – a cut-up guidebook is the best kind.

Simplify toiletries – Take the opportunity to be a bit lazy with your grooming. You’re not going to a job interview, so let yourself go, and enjoy the frizzy hair and overall unkempt style. You’ll probably fit in better with other travelers if you look disheveled anyway. Things like bug spray and sunscreen are necessary in certain places, but just buy these items when necessary.
Repeat clothes – You meet new people everyday, and new friends move on, so no one will notice if you wear the same clothes for a whole week.
Be honest - If you’re not a hiker in your regular life, leave your hiking boots at home and admit that you’re probably not going to be hiking on your trip. If you do want to bring hiking boots, wear them on the plane, rather than packing them in your bag. Boots can weigh a lot, and take up a lot of space in your bag. The only shoes you really need are a good pair of walking shoes, and maybe a pair of sandals if you’re hitting up the beach. 

*This article was originally published on 29 May 2011 in Gwangju News

Monday, April 9, 2012

10 Side-Effects of Teaching English in Korea

10. accept and eat sweaty candies from children's hands
9. learn how to make a ten minute activity last one hour
8. watch your sentences in english become some kind of korean sentence
7. learn all sorts of swear words you would think only drunk ajusshi's would use
6. speak slowly and enunciate to the point that your family asks you why you sound the way you do
5. watch all idiomatic speech disappear from your vocabulary
4. ... along with all words of 3 or more syllables
3. develop an in-depth knowledge of starcraft terminology ("head shot")
2. experience dong-jib, and then never ever forget it
1. end up staying for 2 or 3 years more than you intended

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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How I Pay For Travels

One of my subscribers recently asked me a question:

"How do you get the money for all your trips???"

The simple answer is that I save my money.

But there is a more complex answer which involves the way I have chosen to live my life. I want to live a life full of travel, full of experience, full of exploration.

My mother has a small Mary Engelbreit drawing in the kitchen which reads "Bloom where you're planted". Even as a little kid I thought it was weird. Why would I want to stay in my hometown when the whole world is waiting?

In high school, I decided to work a part time job and save all my money in order to "backpack Europe" after university. I actually ended up working 3 part time jobs, (at Dairy Queen, a local stationery store, and a local hotel), and I saved almost all the money that I earned. By the time I graduated high school, I had saved quite a bit.

I also had part time jobs throughout university as well in order to keep saving for my proverbial Europe trip. Lucky enough to have parents who graciously paid for my tuition, the money I earned during university paid for my rent, textbooks, food, and the occasional flight home. I was still completely set on saving for my trip though, so I rarely went shopping, and went out for dinner only as a treat.

As graduation came closer and closer, so did the trip. I got scared, wondering if I could really backpack alone in Europe for a few months. I hesitated to book my ticket.

One fateful night, with graduation only weeks away, my first-year roommate came over for a celebratory dinner. We laughed, we remembered, we ate, and we drank. After a bottle of red wine and too much cheese to mention, she leaned in close and asked me "Kerri, what do you want?" I answered straight back: "I want to go to Europe." I booked a one-way flight to London England that night, under the influence of wine and my own desire.

Once I booked my ticket, everything started aligning. I became friends with Brenna, who was also planning a solo trip around Europe. We sat in coffee shops together with maps and guidebooks, trying to navigate a new world of train rides and dorm beds.

Those four months I spent traveling Europe alone will always be some of my most precious travel memories. I did it. And I did it all by myself - with my own money, at my own pace, with my own will.

In my final year of university, I had dreamed of living and working in South Korea, and made it a reality when I moved there in September 2006. I saved most of the money I earned there and spent it on trips through China and Vietnam.

After that job, I realized living in Asia and working as an English teacher would be the best way to make enough money to continuously explore the world. And that's truthfully what I've been doing ever since. 2012 marks my fourth year living and working in South Korea.

So, to answer the original question, it's not just trying to get money for trips. Rather, the need for travel is so deep within me, I can't help but put the money I earn towards plane tickets to new destinations. Where else would my money be as well spent?

You don't have to have the money to travel, you just need the will.
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