- 2 pairs of pants
- ARC card
- Aussie adaptor plugs
- one pair of PJS
- 3 books
- 10 pairs of underwear
- void checks
- lap top
- 10 pairs of socks
- 1 belts
- 500 dollars cash
- Face wash
- campers shampoo
- Diva cup
I get a lot of condescending comments when it comes to some of my life choices. Lately, I’ve been cutting right to the implied point: do you think I’m an idiot? Granted, I’m on the defense kind of a lot of the time and it’s pretty pathetic because I’m almost 26 and have a pretty solid understanding of who I am-so why defend myself all the time? Where did this chip on my shoulder come from and how can I get rid of it? Some could say that my messyupiness started the day I decided what I wanted to study in college, which is when a welcome mat for condescending remarks seemed to roll out at my feet. What do you do with a degree in philosophy, people ask me. Well, I guess you just go to graduate school and cry into your pillow each night.
When I’m told to be careful or to remember what’s important by people I respect- I know that they think they’re helping me, but it actually rips me up inside, makes me doubt everything and makes me feel like a child. While many of my peers are starting families and their career, I went to Korea where I saved very little money. This doesn’t mean that I don’t know what’s important, but what’s important varies from person to person. I’m in my late 20’s now and I have friends getting married, some are having children now. The truth of the matter is that those are all things that I want, but there are other important things as well.
People see me with my large backpack and ask me a million questions: is it safe to travel alone? Are your parents mad? Are you stupid?! Sure, every female backpacker I’ve met has her own stories; most of them are only stories to be told after a few drinks. However, the stories generally end with “at least I have a good story.” Despite all the crazy things I’ve heard, I’ve never heard words of regret, saying they wish they hadn’t traveled and just saved their money for this or that. I hate being questioned for the choices that I’ve made or that I should have done things differently. It is what it is, I say. Like when a person questions my tattoo choices…it is what it is, it’s permanent and I have to live with it.
I know there’s plenty to negatively comment on regarding how I am as an individual. I’m extremely introverted, but I love talking to strangers that I will never see again but if I know you, I could sit silently in a room for hours with you. I forget to shave for months at a time. I appear to be a last minute kind of person because I only tell people what I’ve been planning right before I do it. I have a hard time saying no to people. I trust people too fast. I drink wine at bars, in a wine glass-like a huge douche. I have my faults like anyone else, but that doesn’t mean that my choices are delusional. I paid my rent and I have no debt, despite taking [sometimes] weird routes to get that done and sometimes sucking up my pride and accepting the help of others. My “irrational” life choices aren’t me running away from adulthood, it’s me embracing it because I know I’m allowed to do whatever I want- even if that means messing up.
I don’t have any pictures to share for this, so I thought I’d add a song I listened to while writing this.
When people told me that Sydney is expensive, they weren’t kidding. My first two days here I lived off of a bag of crackers and a bag of candy that generous people offered up to me in passing. I guess girl-with-a-60L-backpack is like wearing a sign that says, “Feed me, please.” The hostel I stayed at my first night offered me toast and one-dollar unlimited instant coffee that I took full advantage of, going back for thirds until my body was shaking with the power of caffeine.
I’m currently in a suburb of Sydney, working for a permaculturalist. I didn’t realize how far out of the city it was, and I made the journey here on foot with my monster of a backpack as the sun was going down. It took a few hours but I finally made it to my location, feeling exhausted and stinking of sweat. Almost right after walking through the door, I admired my host and I’ve learned a lot from her already. Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is how to make healthier meals and I’ve learned a bit about the food industry in America-which is essentially designed to destroy our body. Goddamnit America, you produce so many great things but so many things that are detrimental to human and nonhuman well being.
It’s been two weeks here and I don’t yet feel like a true backpacker. All of my clothes smell clean and I have make up on everyday and a shower every other day-pretty typical behavior. My feet definitely tell another story; they’re covered in seemingly cemented on dirt and they smell in a way that surpasses any smell they’ve ever exhumed. They’re also covered in blisters and cuts, from poor walking shoes. There’s dirt under my nails, my leg hair is long and soft and my armpit hair is causing me to itch under my arms, as well as holding in the smell of sweat with me all day. I’ve been told I look grungy, so in that sense, I guess I give off the aura of a backpacker (don’t you just feel like that aura color would be pea-green?).
The most challenging part of living in shared environments isn’t what you’d think it would be- personality differences, different ideas of what “clean” means- but for me it’s bathroom stuff. It’s so hard to go to the bathroom in a house full of people; my body won’t allow it (because it’s all really just psychological, well partly). After two days of being unable to relax, I was tempted to just hunt down a Macdonald’s and use their toilet. People can’t judge me there: it’s Macdonald’s, a place of shame on all levels, a safe haven. I’ve taken advantage of Macdonald’s already: using their Wi-Fi, as finding free Wi-Fi here is a bit of a challenge.
I haven’t spoken to many people back home since arriving here. When people ask me how I am or what I have been up to, I’ve been responding with one-word answers. After the fifth time of telling the same story, I start reducing my responses to “I’m well, thanks” and “things are going well.” Truth be told, I AM doing well. I am tired a lot, but I think tiredness is my natural state of being.
And tiredness just means that I’m doing things, right? However, my tiredness today is on account of something else. The rain was pounding on the roof so hard the other night, that I had trouble sleeping. I saw a possum scurrying across the roof next door, looking like a distorted cat through the rain and dark. Needless to say, I was terrified. With every wind-induced rattle of the door I imagined that it was the possum here to infect me with rabies. I ended up reading an entire book, it was a romance novel and it was just dorky enough to keep me satisfied and help my brain think less about giant Australian rodents.
Tomorrow I’m seeing a friend. We met up once and he’s willing to hang out with me again. He’s such a nice guy that he’s even offered me a place to stay if I need it. I’m so grateful for helpful people but I’m doing my part in being safe here in Aussieland, as a lone woman traveler. It’s a fine line…maybe.
It’s winter in Australia. Australia’s winters are like a mild fall day in New England, they’re pleasant and some days it just drizzles nonstop. My first four days in Sydney was full of sunshine and I even broke out in a sweat while I walked from central station to the Sydney Opera House. It felt like Sydney was greeting me, in a way. But now it’s been almost two weeks and the weather is back to its usual self.
My flight here was fine, being on planes so often, I never have any trouble with them. Flying kind of puts me in a trance, the moment I sit down- I pass out. I slept through take off and probably would have slept through landing if the guy next to me didn’t shake me awake. He was the first Aussie I met since embarking on this journey, and I kind of got a lesson of how Australian men are- flirty. He wasn’t meant to be my seating partner but asked the girl next to me if she’d switch spots with him- then he proceeded to ask me if I’d hold his hand during take off. After landing, I snuck passed him and made way to the international passport check point.
My first night in Sydney, I went straight to Kings Cross and booked a hostel for the night. I did a lot of laundry, even though one load cost 6 dollars, but using a drier again made it worth it.
A very sweet, beautiful German girl walked me all the way to the hostel- just to make sure I was all right. I’m really taken aback by all the kindness I’ve experienced here so far. Even though I had just arrived, I was sad that I had to leave in a few weeks already. How can I already feel sad about that?
I made my blog private because it’s been over six months since I had last posted anything, and it’s embarrassing. Admittedly, the past six months flew by and the days kind of all blended together, so there was nothing notable resulting from my work as a teacher or my time out drinking in Samson-dong, Ulsan. My year teaching in Korea has come to an end almost a month ago, and I left Korea about ten days ago after spending two weeks of not working, just staying with friends and exploring the cities I was always too busy to really appreciate while working. Truth be told, I spent most of that free time in PC bangs and cafes reading Murakami books. My last three months could be summed up as this: several Murakami books, a Busan trip to see Ellen and a lot of blisters on my feet from excessive walking around cities.
My goodbye party lasted until 3am in the morning, which I shouldn’t have been surprised by, as Koreans never seem to sleep. I think the year I spent in Korea aged me significantly, as I gained more weight than I care to admit, drank more than I needed to and went off of four hours of sleep on a day-to-day basis. Naturally, I didn’t re-sign for another year in Korea because I don’t think I’m up for it- granted if I were to stay there another year, I would have lived that year differently.
While there are a lot of things that I would have done differently but it’s pointless discussing that now. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever made while I was in Korea, I made some important life decisions and I’ve ended relationships as well. A lot of it was stressful and heart breaking but I don’t know what else to do except break ties and move on and do what I think is right in the end. I know this is vague but I can’t handle being more detailed on certain, painful topics.
As things are moving forward, I do have hope that I will not regret the decisions I’ve made. Once September starts I’ll be starting graduate school. I can’t wait to get back in a classroom as a student again, to be on a campus and to study in a library all day. I will be auditing an undergraduate course as well, there’s so much that I want to learn this year and to make it up to myself for abandoning my goals and living a year of watered down ambitions and tiny dreams for my future. I’ve always been an ambitious person but I tend to overwhelm myself with possibilities and I jump the gun all the time, thinking that I have it figured out when I actually don’t really have a clue. I start things, a lot of things, but completion is something I struggle with. When I have something I want to achieve- I don’t want to start it or even think about it unless I know I can go through with it and get something out of it. I suppose we’ll see how that goes. So for this year it will be completing my first year of graduate school.
Originally posted on Young Mormon Feminists:
guest post by Liz Lemon ? Being raised in the LDS church, I have been well-versed on the importance of marriage since I was a little girl. One thing I was sure about, at…
It’s been a while since I could post anything. I’ve been extremely busy the past couple of weeks between teaching, lesson planning and working on my ESL certification. It’s challenging work, it’s just tedious. I like having a lot of things to do because it makes my week go by faster and next thing you know, it’s the weekend.
I experienced a little bit of culture shock and felt very alone the first week of getting here. I was working the same day I got in from America; at least I got in Thursday night at midnight and was working Friday. I had just had my surgery, had jet lag and I woke up feeling tired and sore, only to go to work to work a ten-hour day.
have met a lot of really nice people since I moved here and the English teachers I have met here are a lot of help to me.The American teachers here have quickly become close friends of mine and we’re planning a trip to Tokyo the end of this month for our summer vacation.
But I do think that Koreans work too many hours a day. It’s common for a Korean to work over ten hours a day or more, without getting overtime. I asked if I would be getting overtime one evening when I was asked to stay later, the idea kind of seemed foreign to them. Needless to say, no, I won’t be making overtime (even for the time when I need to be at work until 2am).
My days have been passing pretty quickly; I have almost been here two months already. On the weekends, I tend to travel around Korea. Last weekend I went to Busan, which was amazing. So far my favorite city has been Daegu and I might be biased because my boyfriend lives there but it’s also clean
and the surrounding areas are pretty. I live in Ulsan, which is smaller than those other cities but there are still over a million people here.
The weekends for most people in Korea generally consist of a lot of heavy drinking. I have had a lot of rough Sunday mornings, where I spend most of the morning vomiting and moaning into my pillow, promising to never drink again. During my trip to Busan, I accidentally drank a bit too much and ended up buying rounds for everyone at my table. I’m not sure what is worse, the hang over or the wasted money. In any case, I think I need to not drink gin anymore.
I am happy to be in Korea. A lot of times I leave my apartment and think “Oh shit, I’m in Korea.” It’s sometimes hard to believe that I’m living on the other side of the world. I know that I’m really lucky to be able to see things that most Americans don’t get the chance to see. I have been very lucky to be able to live in Europe and travel around it and now to live in Asia. I want to use every weekend here to see everything that I can. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, so I should use my time here wisely and try to see as much as I can.
I am psyched about seeing Japan at the end of this month. I will post pictures and let you know how it is.
I typed “What career is right for me” into my Google search bar while I was stuck at my last job. My co-worker next to me laughed, “Yeah, ask Google .” I laughed too but I’ll take anything at this point. I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.
It’s now June, meaning that my one year graduation anniversary has officially come and gone. The last job that I had could be done without a degree and I hate that I have these two wonderful degrees that I’m not doing anything for and, more importantly, they’re not doing much for me at this point.
I do, however, need my degree for this job that I’m currently doing, so I’m finally putting it to use and seeing the world. Truthfully, while I’m very excited to see Korea, a large part of it was because I have this time that I don’t know what I’m going to do. I still am not sure if I want to go to graduate school or, for that matter, what I should even continue studying. Should I do something entirely new or carry on with English or Philosophy?
Because graduate school is such a huge investment, I don’t want to attend graduate school until I’m 100% sure that I know what I’m ready to do for the rest of my life. I’d hate to enter graduate and discover a year down the road that I hate what I’m doing. Of course, I can quit at any time but at that time, I’ve already wasted a lot of money and time. How does anyone really know what to do with their life, I wonder? The best thing I’ve found so far has been hearing other people’s stories.
OH, I wrote this.
Originally posted on BITCHTOPIA:
I find it hard to believe that this is an experience that is only limited to myself. I often hear it in class, I hear it at bars, and in groups of friends: women proclaiming, “I just can’t hang out with other women” or “I prefer to be around men, they’re just easier to get along with.” Also, my personal favorite, “Girls just create too much drama!” If I have any pet peeves, this is probably it.
There are a couple of things that come to mind when I hear this. First, that I am a woman and that I am next to this person and I have ears. So yeah, I’m a woman with ears and you don’t like hanging out with me (or would prefer not to) because of my sex. Secondly, and maybe this ought to leave me more confused than anything, the speaker is also female.
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My friend said that it would take her 24 hours to fill up an entire notebook. I’m not sure if I can fill up an entire notebook in a week. The idea was that a bunch of writers get together with our own notebooks, to fill it up in one day- it’s kind of used as an intense writing practice to defeat writers block. I have kind of just been sitting down, looking at the notebook. Sometimes I even doodle a bit on the notebook. Something about having a pen and paper in front of me just causes me to draw random shapes… nothing artistic.
I have a lot of ideas in my head for stories but a lot of times I just don’t know where to start. Or I feel like if I start when I’m not “feeling it,” I could possibly destroy the story. If I have a good plot and write it down poorly, it’s forever tainted and it’s harder to repair it. I’ll feel like I’m working off of a broken story. I’ve done this a million times in the past.
In order to reform a story, I have to abandon it for months before I can even look at it. This helps me feel like I’m reading someone else’s work and it’s easier to critique. When a story is ripe in your mind, your eyes skim over the words because you’re familiar with the story. So, to me, writers block is the fear of fucking up something that you feel has potential.
Fear isn’t really a helpful feeling (unless it’s related to survival instinct; writing a bad story won’t kill anyone). In order to be a writer, you have to write and read daily. You’re going to read some not so well written books in your life and you’re going to write some garbage in you life as well. Just as long as you’re working towards something, because believe it or not, I may have a degree in writing but I still have to write daily. Use it or lose it, it might sound dorky but this dork is correct.
The notebook is a good idea because it is harder to get distracted. Granted, I still had my phone on. It was on the whole time, next to me staring at me. Clearly I’m addicted to technology. I hadn’t written in a notebook since I was in college, writing notes. Fiction-wise, I hadn’t written a story in a notebook until my middle school years where I embarrassingly wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction. Notebook writing helps free me from the ever-intruding world I live in. I’m homeless right now, more or less. If I didn’t have such great friends around me, I would be homeless. I’m a couch surfer and I miss my privacy but even in my own apartment, the internet and phone kept me more connected than I felt like being.
I guess the idea is just to keep writing. Get over the fear of messing up. It’s easier said than done but that’s all writers block really is, a fear…. a fear of fucking up, the fear of a blank page in front of you. Open a notebook and turn off your phone, get stuff done. Make time for your friends and family but don’t give them your life. Keep some time for yourself. If you love writing, do it!