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Seoul-ed Out: Everything Seoul, Korea!

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Need more current information? Lonely Planet Korea and Lonely Planet Seoul  are awesome, and I relied heavily on both while in Korea.*

I lived in Seoul for 2 years between late 2012 and early 2015, and it’s one of my favourite cities in the world! I feel homesick for Seoul all the time. Sometimes I miss the little things, like the subway system, or staring confusedly at the grocery store shelves, trying to make sure I was buying the right kind thing. (Really, I miss that!) Sometimes, it’s the big things. Entertainment at all hours. The food. My lifestyle. It’s always nice to look back on that time, and I was inspired to write a Seoul megapost, for anyone heading that way for the Olympics or otherwise. Here are some things to see, do, and eat in the winter**. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list! Do you have a favourite Seoul food or activity that’s not included? Feel free to leave a comment!

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10 Reasons to Visit Viñales, Cuba… and Stay a While

 

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When Kyla and I landed in Havana a month ago, the first place we headed was Viñales, about 2 hours west of the capital. We stayed for 5 days! After the craziness of Christmas (and life in general), we wanted our first stop to feel relaxing, rather than packing up and moving every couple of days. The Viñales valley turned out to be the perfect place to stay put. It’s not on the coast, but it’s not too far from a stunning beach, and the town and surroundings offer stunning landscapes and tons of activities (plus tons of ways to fill your belly and sample local rum)!

 

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Here are 10 reasons to hang up your hammock and stay a while in Viñales!

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Vegas: 5 Things to Love That Aren’t Gambling

20170402_004547     In March, I met my sister and three friends in Las Vegas. Monica (sis) is getting married this fall, and for a while she’d joked about how much fun it would be to do a Vegas bachelorette. It turned out that the plan made a lot of sense! We were coming from different cities in eastern and western Canada, and it was a good excuse for us to travel.

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This was my first trip to Vegas, and I’d conjured up this weird, wonderful land in my mind, where my senses would be overloaded by sounds and lights day and night. When I saw the slot machines in the airport, I knew I hadn’t been far off!

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As the hotel shuttle weaved on and off the strip, I craned my neck to see the oversized landmarks and famous hotels and casinos, smiling like crazy about how I was actually physically in this place that had always sounded like fiction. Here are five things I learned and loved about Vegas, the city that seems simultaneously so real and so fantastical: Continue reading “Vegas: 5 Things to Love That Aren’t Gambling”

Weird and Wonderful Portland

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The day after the US election was a strange time to head down to Portland. The trip had been planned for months, but it still felt like we were going the wrong way at the border. My girlfriend and I tried to fend off the post-election haze with hugs and talks on the ferry over to Port Angeles, but had given in by the time we set off in our rental car, and decided to make a game out of the dark reality of President Voldemort and keep a tally of T***p signs we passed on the 101. Coincidentally, this was the exact number of times we flipped the bird out the window! We also passed a lot of (legal) pot shops, so that provided some balance!

The reality sunk in in other ways, too.* So it was a weird vacation, but what better place for weirdness than PORTLAND! I had an amazing time, and loved so much about the city. You really can’t go wrong. Here are some of the things we did, ate, and drank that we loved:

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10 Rad Things To Do in Victoria in the Fall

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It’s been a little rainy lately, but I’ve learned that when you’re living on the Wet Coast, you pretty much just have to suck it up, put on some rainboots (*note to self: buy rainboots), and find things to do until at least December when it’s more acceptable to to start hibernating. Plus, the big crowds of tourists are gone, there’s still lots of sun and blue skies between showers, and there are so many amazing things to do in and around the city this time of year! Here are 10 ideas:

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Must Eats: South Korean Foods to Accompany a Hot Summer

The weather’s nice and warm in Victoria, and I’ve been having mad cravings for some Korean summer foods. Here are a few super refreshing options!

Patbingsoo (팥빙수):

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A mountain of shaved ice, topped with sweet red beans. It usually comes covered in sweetened condensed milk and topped with gooey rice cakes, and you can often order it with ice cream, fruit, cereal flakes, jelly, and in different flavours. Continue reading “Must Eats: South Korean Foods to Accompany a Hot Summer”

Mexico: Playa del Carmen Favourites

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Last month I joined a group of friends for a week-long trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico! The 12 of us rented an AMAZING Airbnb house and spent a week in the sun exploring, relaxing, eating, drinking, and perfecting our burns!

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I really liked my friend Katrina’s post about the trip, so in the spirit of imitation as flattery (we had similar highlights!), here are my favourite things about the trip.

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3 Days in Seattle

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I visited Seattle for the first time last month! Right across the border and just a ferry ride away, the setting to my favourite late 90s rom-com (10 Things I Hate About You, obviously) has been tempting me since I moved out to the West Coast. I finally ventured down, and it was a fabulous trip! I’m sharing a condensed, rearranged version of my itinerary so that you can have a fabulous trip too!

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12 Ways to Deal with Holiday Homesickness When You’re Abroad

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First, let me say that this post is loaded with privilege. Not everyone has a good relationship with family, or positive holiday experiences, and on top of that has the ability to be overseas missing them. I’m very grateful for my family and for the opportunities I’ve had to travel long-term. Also, it’s a very Christmas-oriented post, but feel free to replace the C-word with your holiday or non-denominational celebration of choice!

        Whether you’re working on the other side of the world without the means to go home for a visit, or choosing to take advantage of days off to travel, it can be tough to be away from home for the holidays. Here are some ways to ease the ho-ho-homesickness:

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4 Reasons Why Japan is an Introverted Traveller’s Paradise

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Mt. Misen, Miyajima

I’m a major introvert. I like meeting new people and hanging out with friends, but need a good dose of alone time afterwards to curl up in the fetal position re-energize. When travelling solo, I will almost always choose to spend time touring around on my own, rather than with a “new friend” (i.e. person I just met who I have to make small talk with).

When I visited Japan, I was feeling particularly introverted. I hadn’t travelled across the Pacific to get there; I’d come over on an hour-long flight from Seoul, where I was living at the time. I really just wanted to see all the cool things during the day, and read or Skype my then-girlfriend in the evenings. I was a little worried about whether I would be missing out, but it turns out Japan is a great destination for solo-travelling introverts!

Here are 4 reasons why Japan might appeal to other solitary souls:

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Must Eats Korea (Part 1): Korean Meats

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Whenever someone asks me how I enjoyed living in South Korea, I will inevitably start talking about the food.

e.g.: “Oh you lived in Korea?! Did you get homesick? What was it like??”

        ” Nah, Skype’s pretty great and the food was amazing!

No matter what the question is, food is always the answer. Why?

  • The consistent balance of flavour: salty, slightly sweet, and reliably spicy.
  • The value: meals are cheap, filling, and come with enough side dishes to leave you questioning how much you actually ordered.
  • The diversity: if, like me, you come from a city without a large Korean population, your knowledge of Korean cuisine may be limited. There is so much to it. So much diversity in cooking techniques, regional variation in flavours (not everything is salty/sweet/spicy), and multiple influences on the way food is shared and prepared.

Ok, enough preamble. Here’s Part One of the Korean food series: Korean Meats.

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Continue reading “Must Eats Korea (Part 1): Korean Meats”

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