Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Scuba Stevellie

I have always had an unreasonable dream of skydiving in scuba gear right into the ocean. Skydiving
into scubadiving. Although unlikely, I am one step closer to making my dream a reality.
I have a few friends in Korea who dive. It didn't take much for them to convince me that I need to get certified ASAP. Diving in Korea isn't much compared to other places, as far as I've heard. However, by traveling to other countries in Asia you can dive in the most unreal environments, for cheap. Malaysia,  the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand.  As if there wasn't enough of the world for me to explore already, I am going to have a whole underwater paradise full of opportunities open up to me.
Immediately after getting home from Japan I spent two days completing my confined water dives, one day in Ulsan and one day in Busan. I had the most amazing little Korean instructor. She was patient and encouraging and perfect. 

A few of the girls in the group that I was in had a hard time getting down to the bottom when we started on our first descent, which left me chilling at the bottom of the pool taking everything in.
Breathing underwater for the first time was a surreal experience. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, not gonna lie. After getting more comfortable breathing out of the regulator, it started feeling much more natural. I sat on the bottom of the pool for what felt like forever, just thinking about how many awesome underwater adventures I have in store for me.
When it cane time to clear my mask however, my confidence was drowned. Pun intended. Looking back, it seems silly how nervous I was. The first few times I tried, I failed miserably. I couldn't grasp the concept of not breathing in through my nose. My mind was messing with me. That first day I was unable to complete the task and felt a bit discouraged. I was happy to be able to have a night to sleep on my new experiences, watch YouTube videos demonstrating how simple it was, and wake up feeling refreshed and determined.
The second day was a piece of cake. I easily took my mask off my head and swam around, with no problems and no water up my nose. We practiced a few more skills - taking off our gear underwater and neutralizing our buoyancy. After I got over the mask hurdle, it all seemed easy.

I was a bit nervous for the open-water dives, but as soon as my flippered feet touched down on the bottom and the sand settled - I was in paradise. There wasn't much to see off the coast of Busan; starfish and urchins were plentiful. I swam through a few schools of fish and hung out on on the bottom while everyone did all they needed for their certification. At one point, I was hovering as still as possible waiting for little fishies to swim up and check me out. I could have stayed there and watched them for hours.

It's getting a bit too cold to dive, so unfortunately I don't think I will be doing much of it the remainder of the year - but that gives me time to save up and buy some of my own equipment.

Catchin' Up

Leena and I at Daewangam Park near my home in Ulsan, Korea

I have been a busy little bee since my trip to Japan. It seems as though I haven't had a chance to slow down, and I definitely haven't had a chance to blog. Instead of writing an individual blog post for everything I've done these past few months, I decided to sum everything up in one. No need to drag things on, right?

I visited the DMZ and got to step into North Korea. As interesting as it was, it was still a tour. A touristy tour. The only really exhilarating part was when we were in the JSA (Joint Security Area). We got to look into the North and see the soldiers staring at each other at the line of separation, step into the conference room, and get a pretty cool history lesson. I would definitely recommend going on the USO tour, it is the only one that allows access to the JSA. Honestly, it made me want to peer deeper into the North. As unrealistic and unmoral as a tour may be, I can dream - can't I?

The Captain of Our Ship

I spent Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) on a little camping road trip with friends. After spending our day lounging at Gwangalli Beach and tossing a rugby ball around we hit up the jimjilbang for some much deserved soaking, bathing, and scrubbing. We camped on the beach that night in Busan, Korean style. Seolwi (my Korean angel) prepared a dinner complete with BBQ and Doenjang Jjigae, one of my favorite Korean Stews. Waking up to the sounds of waves crashing that next morning was so peaceful. Tranquility at it's finest.

Then we were off to Geoje Island for another round of drinking and beach camping. Despite being cramped in the back seat between two guys, I loved the road tripping portion almost as much as the beaches we visited. Jamming out to music, funny conversations, and Korean rest stops are my idea of a dang good time. We set up camp, did some exploring around the island, and settled down to drink and swim the day away. Seolwi had chicken delivered to the beach and we chowed down while watching the sunset. That evening was quite eventful; there were fireworks, sausages with cheese, and streaking ;)

I visited my Ride or Die in Daegu and we went hiking with Seolwi. Leena, a friend from Vegas, recently moved to a city near mine. Best coincidence of my life. Having a friend from home to share things with is a rare phenomena. Blending my "home" life with this fairy tale that I have been living makes it more real. Plus, she is my favorite person in this world and we have so many adventures ahead of us, I get butterflies in my tummy even typing about it.

I went to Global Gathering in Seoul. Man, I love Seoul. I wouldn't necessarily want to live there, but boy do I enjoy visiting. We ate a South African lunch in Itaewon with Andrea, the token South African, before we headed to Gangnam to do some (not so high end) shopping at Forever 21. Face masks, nail painting, yoga, and tea were in store for us that night in preparation for the festival the next day.

The festival itself was much different from festivals back home or in Europe. Just a big soccer stadium lined with food and drink stands with a big stage in the middle. It did the job well enough though. We were all there for the music anyways. We danced and sang and lost each other and had one hell of a night.