My Top Ten Adventures of 2015!
Much like 2014, not all of the adventures I undertook this year involved traveling yet this year managed to be extremely adventurous and full of first time experiences.
I love looking back at my year and appreciating everything that I’ve done. It’s always fun to reminisce and be thankful for the experiences, events, people and more that I have had, gone to and met. I hope that everyone takes the time to recall their year as we near the end and I hope that everyone has at least a few moments to smile upon and be grateful for. Here are my top ten adventures of 2015!
- Introducing The Baby to Everyone & Everything: This year was full of introductions. Taking the baby outside for the first time and having Korean neighbors “ooh” and “aah” and poke and prod and also tell me to cover her up and uncover her at the same time. It was a roller coaster of events and feelings including dread having a baby in a country far far away from the one I grew up in and excitement on this new journey we were embarking on. She would be both Korean and American and bringing those two cultures together with an infant was almost more excitement than we could handle.
- The Soul of Seoul Tours: This year saw a little business venture I started with a fellow expat grow. We’re still a small business catering to the family and friends that want to see some of Korea, but we got our first tourists that weren’t our friends, friends of friends or family and that was exhilarating. Luckily, I have a great partner that helped when I couldn’t go out due to the baby and wonderful tourists to share stories with and meet along the way and we are so thrilled to see what 2016 will bring.
- A Flight With a Baby & Touching Elephants: In April it was time to take our little one on her first international flight at just four months of age so that she could meet her American family members. A great grandmother, grandmother and numerous aunts and uncles and cousins needed to give her as many hugs as they could in a month. Of course we were nervous to fly for that long for the first time with her but it went by swimmingly and then to top off the trip home in which we basically stayed in Ohio the whole time which is unlike our usual trips Stateside, we headed to the Cincinnati Zoo and we got to touch huge elephants, feed giraffes and enjoy some pretty neat behind the scenes animal situations that I, and of course she, had never done before.
- The Seoul Fortress Wall: While this may not sound super get up and get out adventuresome because I’ve been there before, a few times. This was my first hike back out after having a baby and it reminded me that I have a goal to hike the whole 18 kilometers of the fortress wall before I leave Korea. (No, I’m not leaving anytime soon.) The portion that I hiked is one of my favorite parts as it wraps behind Gyeongbukgung Palace and the Blue House and offers insight into history, culture and architecture though.
- Taean-gun: By the time summer hit, I was so in need of a trip to someplace new but wasn’t quite ready to just get the babe in my Bjorn carrier and hop a plane. I did manage to convince my husband to take a trip to the east coast of Korea though to a place we hadn’t been to before. We saw the mudflats of Mongsanpo Beach, walked under the tall tall pine trees of the Anmyeon-do Island Recreational Park and basked in the sun on the white sands of Kkotji Beach. Taean-gun’s many many beaches and national park lined coastline offer plenty more than we could see but it was a much needed new adventure into an area previously unseen by us.
- Naksan Beach & Temple: Back from Taean-gun, the travel bug was still itching and as luck would have it, two girl friends had some free time to head to the west coast of Korea to wrap the summer up in beachy Korean style. Because our go-to, the gorgeous Gyeongpo Beach, had no hotel space available, we opted to head a bit north to a new area and were taken aback at the beauty of the sand, the water and intrigued by the beautiful temple that sat on a cliff overlooking the peaceful area. The west coast of Korea has so much more to explore and Naksan Beach is just a starting point for that picturesque region of Korea.
- Seoul Parks Astound: While I was pregnant, visiting parks became a favored pastime. The five parks of the World Cup Parks system just up the road were beautiful the previous autumn and yet come fall of 2015, I managed to find plots of flowers with very few people around which I hadn’t seen before. To keep the momentum, I loaded everyone into the car and we headed to a new park to explore how nature had overtaken the industrial remnants in West Seoul Lake Park. Parks with that something different or that something beautiful are always intriguing and this park sure hit the mark. Seoul has so so many parks yet to explore.
- Raising a Child: Raising a child is already an adventure that is to be sure and figuring out how to compromise two cultural backgrounds and deciding what is best for our own bundle of joy over the past year has been intense. Watching her grow has given me so many make-me-want-tear-up-once-a-day-every-day moments because it’s beautiful to watch someone learn about themselves and the world around them for the first time. There has been no other adventure like raising a person. Yes, I know she’s on here twice, but there have been so many moments that I have been amazed and awed by her already that really she could take all ten spots this year.
- Groove Magazine: Another venture in 2015 came when I was asked to write an article for Groove Magazine a pretty popular expat mag in Seoul. One article turned into two and by now I’ve written one or two a month since early in the year. It’s been exciting to be featured in a magazine and to even hear people talk about certain articles I’ve written not realizing I was the one that wrote them. I’m so happy to be able to share some information and hopefully get more foreigners out and about in Korea… and abroad.
- Kona, Hawai’i: To wrap up the year, we headed to Hawai’i to meet family from Australia, Texas, Colorado and Ohio to celebrate Christmas together and New Year’s. Having never been to Hawai’i before it was probably the biggest travel highlight of the year. The white sand and black sand beaches were gorgeous and we even got to see live turtles sunning and swimming. We snorkeled with dolphins and drank world famous Kona coffee. There wasn’t much more to ask for on the trip.