Category Archives: travel

“Faking It”

A few days ago I gave my first performance at “A Guide To Visitors: Storytelling in Seattle.” While I’m pretty comfortable writing stories, I had never before stood up on stage and performed one in front of an audience. To top it off, I couldn’t use my notes. Nerve-wracking, no doubt, but I think I made it through my set relatively error-free, and I got a good reaction from the crowd. Definitely a lot of fun and I hope to share more stories in the future. Below is a written version of the story I told, based off the theme of the night: “Faking It.” Check it out below.  

There is an old proverb that says, “A turtle only travels when it sticks out his neck.” I know this because it was written on a card given to me by my sister, right before I left the country for 15 months.

It was a couple years ago. I had just graduated from college and I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  All I knew was I that wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to experience something new. So after giving it a little thought, I did what any rational person would do: I packed my bags, said goodbye to my friends and family, and flew to the opposite side of the world: South Korea.

 I had signed a year-long contract to teach English at private language academy in a small farming town called Seosan, an hour and a half southwest of Seoul. I’d be teaching kids and adults. It was just what I wanted. A change.  A challenge. It was going to be great. I couldn’t wait! There were, however, a few minor details that I may have overlooked in my rush to find a way out Seattle, namely, that with the exception of Canada, I had never traveled outside of the country…And I had never traveled anywhere alone before…And I had no teaching experience… And I didn’t know a word of Korean… And I knew absolutely no one who lived or had lived in Korea. I could barely use chopsticks. I was woefully underprepared, but I had made up my mind and my plane ticket was non-refundable. I was going.

 (The Rest of the Story After The Jump)

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Roman Candles

My girlfriend is studying art history in Rome. She recently sent me a picture took that she calls “Holy Light In Santa Maria in Trastevere.” It’s pretty amazing. My jealousy rating is now officially off the charts.

Holga Shots

I was looking through some old albums and it just occurred to me: I’ve never posted any of my Holga pictures on this site. I took most of these several months ago while I was still in South Korea with Kodak 400 film and a Colorsplash flash. Check them out and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

Spot on the Bus

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I love the bus. Always have. As a kid, I can remember going to a family excursion downtown via Metro. By the time we got to where ever it was we were going, I didn’t want to leave my seat. I just wanted to ride around on the bus all day, taking in the city as it passed along through the big block windows. I took this picture on my way home from school. This woman got on the bus with her dalmatian and rode for about 15 minutes. Maybe she just didn’t want to walk her dog that day. Or maybe this is some sort of dalmatian training program that they have to go through before they can ride on firetrucks? Gotta start somewhere, right?

The Oregon Coast

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Cape Meares, OR

My girlfriend and I went down to the Oregon Coast last week for a few days of camping and sightseeing. The weather was exceptional and the salt-water taffy was abundant (why is it that the only time I eat the stuff is when I’m in Oregon?). While there we had a chance to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory, aka Cheese Mecca. This was a place I had always wanted to visit because I consume vast, sometimes unhealthy amounts of their product and thought it was only right to see how the stuff gets made. Besides that, we spent our time driving up and down beautiful Highway 101, stopping here and there in the tiny little cities that dot the coast. Here are some pics:

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Only good things come out of that factory.

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The free cheese samples were glowing, as if they had descended from some sort of cheese heaven.

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This girl gave us two of the biggest scoops of ice cream ever.

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A sign on a candy store’s door in Cannon Beach, OR.

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This guy was working the taffy machine and stopped to pose for a picture

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Sunset on Cape Lookout, OR.

Explosive Listing

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Take a look at this chalkboard I spotted outside a general store near Gales Creek, OR. At first glance it appears to be pretty innocuous, just a couple of postings for firewood, puppies, towing services and whatnot. Nothing wrong about that, right?DSC07617

AR-15 rifles?!? Various handguns? Something tells me we’re not in the city anymore.

Back in Business: Mount Rainier Hike

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Ok, so I’ve been a little lax on the blog updates lately, but these long, hot August days have really sapped my ambition to write anything new, not to mention bathe at regular intervals. Anyway, I finally got around to doing something that actually merits a post. Yesterday I took my friend Faye, who is Korean and studying in the United States, on a hike in Mt. Rainier National Park. My friend Katherine, a hiking aficionado, joined along. After gathering up our snacks and putting gas in the car, we were ready to go. I took advantage of the 2-hour car ride to teach Faye some new swear words and also deconstruct the differences between the phrases “kicks ass” and “kick your ass” (the meaning is in the details).

After driving through some heavy clouds and a few foreboding rain showers, the three of us made it to our destination: The Naches Peak Trail Loop, a 3.5 mile circuit filled with pristine meadows, shimmering lakes, and spectacular mountain views. We were fortunate that the rainy weather subsided and gave way to sunshine and a light breeze, perfect conditions for a Saturday hike. Take a look:

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Dewey Lake

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Katherine is an expert berry picker. She filled up an entire Nalgene water bottle with wild blueberries.

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Wild blueberries are smaller than the regular variety you find in grocery stores. They also have a pear-like taste to them. If you ever hike this trail, make sure to give these a try. They are amazing!

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The Sound of Music?

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I really wanted to frolic in this meadow, but unfortunately there were several signs strictly prohibiting such actions.

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It was a little cloudy on our visit, but they managed to break just enough to give us a glimpse of the peak.

I don’t go on many hikes (mainly because it requires that I put on pants) but the Naches Peak Trail Loop is definitely a must-do. It’s overwhelming scenic, easy and short enough for all ages to partake, yet very rewarding when you get to see a majestic Mt. Rainier waiting for you at the end of the trail. Plus, there are wild blueberries to eat along the way! Hooray for blueberries!!!

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Related Listening: “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” [Fleet Foxes Cover] – First Aid Kit