I will start by saying I had a fantastic weekend. I went to Seoraksan, a gorgeous National Park with the group Sunday Hikers Interested in Trekking Yet again (S.H.I.T.Y.). The hike itself was amazing. The leaves were changing colors and the views were spectacular. We left Seoul around 1 am Friday night/Saturday morning and arrived at the National Park around 4:30 am. We immediately departed once arriving.

The first few hours were uphill, which I actually prefer over downhill (any day), and it was early and cold so it felt good to be moving. I didn’t get a great view of the sunrise but it was still nice. We hiked up to the 3rd highest peak in Korea before beginning our descent. It took about 4 or 5 hours to get to the peak and it was a great hike. The rest of the hike had some beautiful views and a few ‘shelters’ which seemed more like restaurants along the way. We finished the hike by a giant Buddha Statue/Temple.

Hiking in Korea, let me find the proper words here, is an experience in and of itself. It was unlike any hike I’ve ever been on. A line. A line of people hiking up the mountain and one coming down. You couldn’t really hike at the speed you wanted to because you had to wait on the person in front of you. Frustrating... Especially when I was used to hiking on the trail and not seeing anyone for a half day or a day at a time. I’ve come to realize that hiking is a form of meditation for me and when there is a line, it’s not very relaxing and quite difficult for me to get into any type of deep thought. Regardless, wonderful hike!

Went back to the pension (aka motel in English/America) and paid 10,000 won for all the food and alcohol you could drink. I got my money’s worth, I’ll just say that. I had a great time and met some great people, went for a late night swim in the ocean, stayed up until 5:30 in the morning, slipped and fell three times, was temporarily locked out of my apartment, and lost my camera. So, in the pictures, please use your imagination and put my face in front of Spenser’s. I’m not really upset about the camera, I’ve had it for a while and was thinking last week it was time to get a new one. The only thing I’m really bummed about is the pictures I lost. I had about 3 or 4 good ‘Facebook Profile’ pictures – money shots! Oh well, it’s only a camera.

On Sunday I went for a walk on the beach and had a nice relaxing day. All in all it was a great trip and I will probably join the group again in the near future for another SHITY hike. We got back to Seoul around 12:30 Sunday night/Monday morning and home around 1:15 am.

(You can kind of see the line you can get stuck in or behind)

(Peak in the background)


(Similar to the terrain we hiked on before the sun rose - I needed a head lamp)

(More terrain - lots of rocks, reminded me of the AT in PA)

(Leaves changing colors - nice shot Spenser)

(View was we were getting close to the top)

(Another great view)

(Use your imagination. I was on the right side of the picture and put my arm around the stone. As you can see in the following picture, Spenser is definitely into the fist pump...)

(I had both hands raised like Rocky at the top of the steps)

(Sweet bridge. The background everywhere was fantastic. I might have only hiked for 30 minutes at the most without any view.)

(More changing leaves and rock in the background)

(More rocks and changing leaves)

(Giant Buddha where we finished after about 10 hours of leisurely hiking)

(Beach the last day)

I had a great time with my co-workers and it was a great group. This weekend I am planning on getting a camera somewhere and who knows what else. Also, in case you remember, I was planning on putting some food pictures on the blog. Obviously, that is temporarily on hold since all my pictures were on the old camera. So, please be patient. Hope everyone is doing well and truly enjoying life. I know I am really content with where I am at and where I am going in my life.


Boryeong Beach (part 2)

This past weekend I headed down to Boryeong, by myself. After everything that has happened recently, I needed a nice, calm weekend without any distractions. Furthermore, I didn't want an alcohol induced weekend either. So, I headed to the beach. I left around 6 am from Suwon on Saturday and made it to Daecheon by 9 am. It was only a two hour train ride and I did some essays for work on the way down.

This was my first time going alone and last time, we took a taxi to the beach. I think it was about 10,000 won or $10, but I wanted to try out the bus system. If I'm not mistaken, there is only one bus you can catch at the train station so I hoped on it and headed to Boryeong. It took about 15 minutes and when I got off, there was a slight drizzle. Bad news, since I was camping.

By the time I got to the camping area it was around 9:30. I set up my tent and immediately did what I went to the beach to do - rest. I took about a two hour nap. The rest of the weekend wasn't eventful and nothing exciting happened. I spent some time walking on the beach, sitting on the beach, reading on the beach, laying on the beach, laying in my tent, and going to the 'sauna.'

Boryeong is famous for its mud so when I went to the Jinjubong (sauna/bath house is the best way to describe it), there was a specific mud bath. It is the only Jinjubong I have been to in Korea so it's the only one I can describe. You go in, take a shower to get all the dirt off, and then have the option to go in either the hot bath, sea salt bath, mud bath, two, or all three. Then, you are supposed to hop in the cold bath. After that, it's into the actually sauna to sweat out any toxins and next, you can paint yourself with mud. I wish I had a picture of that. You let the mud dry, go in and shower again and call it a day. That's the proper way, at least according to the signs. Since there is no bath in my apartment I was inclined to hop in the hot bath more than once.

It was a great, relaxing weekend and exactly what I needed. I felt refreshed at the beginning of this week. Also, I was able to sort some things out in my head and get some peace in my life. There has been a lot of inner turmoil lately and I was able to figure out why. Also, I was able to set some goals and hopefully get things moving in the right direction. We'll see what happens. Anyway, pictures below - hope you enjoy.

Side note - this week is food week for my mother. Therefore, I am trying to take pictures of all the food I eat and then post them, along with the price, either Friday or Monday. Additionally, I'll be going on a hike this weekend to Seoraksan with the S.H.I.T.Y. group (Sunday Hikers Interested in Hiking Yet again).

(Entrance to the beach - I just like the white skin with dark brown mud)

(MUD - It's what Boryeong is famous for)

(As you are standing on the beach, this is the view to the left. Down in that area is where the camping is as well as most of the restaurants)

(View to the right - not a whole lot down at that end)

(Campsite - it's difficult to see but my tent has a green tarp over top of it)


(Sunset again)

(Jinjubong - Hot bath in the front, sea salt bath next, cold bath in the background)

(Different view)

(Last shot at Boryeong/Daecheon Beach)


Suwon Cultural Festival

This past Saturday a few of the guys and I from work decided to head to the Suwon Cultural Festival. I life festivals and I like culture, so I figured this would be a great combination of the two. In case you didn't know, Suwon is the area I currently live in at the moment. The Festival had been going on since Thursday and ran until Sunday. Unfortunately, I didn't know about it until Saturday afternoon - I would have spent a few more hours there Saturday morning. A few of the guys wanted to go and see a martial arts competition but we missed it - it happened at 10 in the morning and by the time we decided to go it was around 5 in the evening.

After doing a bit of research, I noticed there was a seiging of the fortress so we ended up heading over in that direction. We got to see some horse tricks (warriors shooting arrows, throwing weapons, and chopping straw, as well as some other guys running beside the horses and what not), a few displays of weapons (it looked like one guy used a tree branch as a weapon, who knows, maybe that's what they had back then), a parade, a band, a kind and a guy in a suit, and some fireworks. So, that was the cultural festival in Suwon. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

(A surprise dance performance we stumbled upon on our way to the other show)

(Same performance, different artists - I think they used drum sticks to help support the long cloth. It was a sweet performance.)

(There were a ton of these banners on a side hill so we were checking them out. I had Spenser sit down to give you an idea of how big they actually are.)

(Some more banners and what not - not really sure of the meaning)

(The guys from work, left to right - Calvin, Justin, Matt, and Spenser)

(View of the archery range with city in the background)

(Part of the festival - warriors on horses with flags - I love the 6 lane road in the background)

(Guys getting ready to shoot some arrows - again, my apologies for the cars and trucks in the background)

(Favorite shot of the night - Sunset)

(They gave everyone glow sticks at the event - I don't know why, I can't understand Korean, and it has little to do with cultural. Anyway, this is supposed to be a shot of all the glow sticks.)

(The King in front of the gate)

(Part of the Fortress at night)

(The main entrance to the palace - the palace was open with free admission during the festival)


Doozy of a Week

After last weekend, the guys at work decided to take me out - EVERY NIGHT THIS WEEK. It was a good time and I had a blast; however, this is not the kind of lifestyle I can see myself living. Some nights were longer than others and one always turned into one more. I do have some great memories from the week and I found a few new places in and around Suwon.

For starters, Thursday night, I made it to the Big Chill (location unknown, not because I was drunk, just because I have no idea where it is - somewhere close to the Fortress). Thursday night happens to be Bar Trivia, which I knew. A few of my co-workers went a few weeks back. They hold Trivia night every week on Thursday; however, one Thursday it's in Korean, the next English, and so on and so forth. We met two Englishmen there and a woman from America and decided to join their group. Our team name, The Empire (and colonies). Needless to say, we took first place. I don't really think bar quizes are for me: I don't really know any actors or actresses names, I don't watch a lot of movies, if I listen to music, I usually don't know who the artist is, let alone the song name, and I don't drink that often. Still, I had a great time and I'm planning on going back in two weeks... our team name should be The Empire Strikes Back, at least in my opinion.

Then, one night, I'm not sure which night it was, we were walking around looking for some chicken place that Spenser had been to before. We had had a little too much too drink that night and couldn't find the chicken place. Luckily, we came across a place called Mom's Food. We ended up at Mom's the next two nights I think after we were finished. So, I think Mom's now holds a special place in my heart. Also, the Korean ladies in there loved us. We will definitely be heading back in the near future.

As for me, I'm doing alright. Sometimes are better than others, it just depends on the day or what song comes on. However, I think we both know that this was the right decision, which by no means makes it any easier. If there is any new developments I will be sure to let you know.

My apologies for the lack of pictures, it has been a lazy two weekends and I haven't gotten a chance to explore. Tonight I am going with some of the guys from work to a martial arts performance at the Fortress. Hopefully I'll get some good shots then.


I recently had the second worst day of my entire life. After a few years with Katrina, I decided to end the relationship. It was by far the most difficult decision I have ever made and one I will wonder about for some time to come. I have no anger towards Katrina and I feel that she is a wonderful, intelligent young woman with a bright future, a warm heart, and a beautiful smile. Sadly, our relationship lost its passion. It seemed like we were both just going through the motions.

I think about all the wonderful moments we had together and it makes me sad. I wouldn't change anything and I know in my heart that both of us gave it one hell of an effort. However, effort doesn't always equate to happiness. I wish her all the happiness and hope in the future, we can find a way to become friends. Although it sucks at the moment, I know it was for the best. There's not a whole lot anyone can do and this is something I'll have to get over with time. If you are a religious person, I ask that you say a prayer for Katrina, if not, try to send some warm vibes her way.

This is going to be a long few weeks coming up but as the old saying goes, time heals all...

I hope everyone is enjoying life and finding happiness in the decisions they make. I wish you the best.