Posts Tagged With: travel

A Korean Christmas, Round Two

It’s the Sunday afternoon before Christmas.

In my head, I’m curled up in a blanket by the fire, sipping hot chocolate while I watch a marathon of Christmas movies with my family. It’s gently snowing outside, and the Christmas tree lights are sparkling, dancing across my living room.

In reality, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on a beautifully-designed latte, while Avril Lavigne plays in the background. There are so many people out and about today that it’s obvious Christmas is just around the corner. It’s December 21st. There are decorated Christmas trees in every coffee shop and in many of the stores that line the busy streets. English Christmas music blasts from those same stores, Mariah Carey declaring to the world that all she wants for Christmas is YOU!!

This is hands-down one of my favourite Christmas songs ever. When it comes on the radio when I’m driving home from an afternoon of Christmas shopping back in Canada, I can’t help but screech out with excitement and start singing and dancing just like Mariah Carey herself. Sometimes, I get so into it that I almost forget that I am, in fact, not Mariah Carey. When the song ends, and I’m forced to come back to reality, this fact dawns on me. My moment of glory is always short-lived, but no less enjoyable.

Today, though, hearing it is only another reminder that I’m not home. I’m here, in Korea, thousands of miles from home. Across the world, in fact. It would be hard to get much further away at this point.

This is one of the things I dislike most about living abroad. Outside of Canada, I’ve only ever lived for an extended period of time in Korea, but this will be the second Christmas season I’ve spent away from home. I have a feeling that it probably wouldn’t really matter where I was, though, because wherever it was, it just wouldn’t be home.

This sounds silly in many ways. I actually feel guilty saying it out loud sometimes. Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here writing it instead. It’s hard to have this conversation with people who don’t feel the same way about this holiday. Those kind of conversations tend to go something like this:

Me: “I really miss my family. I wish I was going home for Christmas.” Waaaaaaaaaaa.

Them: “Meh. Christmas is just a day anyway. It’s overrated.”

Or sometimes, like this:

Them: “Sorry………..” (with looks of sympathy).

Or, better yet:

Me: “I’m so sad I’ll be missing Christmas this year. I really wish I could be home to see everyone.”

Them: “Are you serious? You get to travel! You’re so lucky! What are you whining about!?”

I have to admit that these people have a good point. I agree that I am extremely lucky to be able to live abroad, to travel, and to gain new experiences. I know how fortunate I am to be here. There’s no question about whether or not I’m grateful for this opportunity.

In my experience, however, knowing this doesn’t seem to make the holidays away from home any easier. Having lived away from home for two years now, I’ve realized two things about myself; that I’m very much a family-oriented person, and that Christmas is an important time of year for me. I can tell myself a hundred times (and have!) to make the best of it, but it never seems to be that easy.

Of course, Christmas, and all the hype that goes along with it, isn’t for everyone. For some, Christmas means little more than a day off work. (Great! Finally a day to relax!) For me though, it means so much more.

I can listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD on repeat (and if I’m being honest, I probably will!) but it won’t change the fact that the most important part of Christmas, for me, is still missing.

Advertisements
Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Plunge

I’m now only about a month and a half into my 25th year of life on this incredible planet, but already, a lot has happened in that time.

Even before my birthday, in the months leading up to this milestone in my life, some important events were taking place. I should note, though, that most of these “important events” happened in my apartment in Korea, with myself as the only guest. Seems far from Earth-shattering, doesn’t it? However, this series of little steps really did shatter my understanding of the world at that time.

So, what exactly did I do, you ask?

First, I read some books that literally changed my life and helped me climb out of the unhappy hole I’d been stuck in for the last several months (more to come on this in another post).

After I’d cleared my head of most of the junk swimming around up there, I found I had freed up a lot more time that I could use to focus on myself. I thought more seriously about what I might actually want to do with my life. The two things I came up with (besides sleeping way too much, of course!) were travel and writing. Deep down, I knew both of these passions had already existed in me for quite some time – I just hadn’t really believed I could do something with them.

I began reading blogs and articles I found online about these two passions, and the more I read, the more interested I became in actually doing something about them. That’s when I first discovered Jeff Goins‘ blog, and my mind seemed to switch gears; from then on it was full speed ahead!

I started thinking about my own blog again – that poor, lonely one I had abandoned over a year ago and had never touched since I’d been back in Korea. Maybe it was time to give it a go again! I also joined social media networks that I had been avoiding for as long as possible, thinking (more like pretending) they weren’t really all that important anyway. A writer just writes, right?

WRONG!

Each time I visited the page of an online travel magazine where freelancers can submit their work, I was faced with the glaringly empty boxes of all the social media networks I was not part of. The list went on and on: Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn… And worst of all, these boxes were mandatory! I had my work cut out for me. Joining and figuring out how to work all these new platforms was going to take some time.

The next thing I did was probably the biggest step yet, and that was joining the My 500 Words writing challenge. Now one week into this challenge, I can already see how it’s beginning to transform my views on being a writer. I still have three weeks to go, and I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish by the time I reach the finish line.

It’s amazing what happens when you start your year off right – taking the plunge into quarter-century life surrounded by family, in your cozy little Korean apartment, with a can of Cass beer in hand!

Cheers!

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleep vs. Adventure

Day five of my writing adventure has begun. Still not as early in the day as I would have liked, but I’ll continue to work on that. Getting up early has always been a struggle for me. I’m one of those people who likes sleeping a little too much – definitely way more than is normal, and probably more than is even healthy! Most people who know me well know that if given the chance, I could easily and happily sleep most of the day away, every single day (especially during the winter!) Sometimes, I like to joke that I’m a professional sleeper. That’s how bad it really is!

However, this passion for sleep that I’ve been blessed (cursed?) with tends to interfere with my other interests at times, particularly those of travel and writing. I’m sure you can see how my wanderlust might bump heads with my lust to hibernate from time to time!

As much as I enjoy sleep, I can usually be coaxed out from beneath my warm, cozy blankets by the promise of an adventure (or coffee, of course). The promise of my computer screen waiting for me to finish writing my 500 words for the day has not yet become quite as enticing – but here’s to hoping it will by the end of this challenge!

My first four days of this commitment have already been eye-opening for me. Each day, I’ve produced something that I’m happy with; maybe even proud of! Each day, I sat down, I started writing, and I didn’t get up until I had written at least 500 words on the screen in front of me.

Some days, I sat down with an idea or topic in mind. Other days, I just started writing, and amazingly, a topic seemed to come to me as the words started to fill up the page. Sometimes, 300 words in, I discovered I actually did have something in mind to write about that day, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time I began typing!

I’m realizing more and more that it doesn’t matter so much what I write about, as long as I write. It’s amazing how easy it is to develop a new habit. All you really have to do is decide to do it. Make a commitment, and then stick to it, no matter what. I’m only five days into this month-long commitment, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll have no trouble completing it successfully because of one simple reason; I finally made the decision to start.

During the last few years, I’ve spent too much time putting writing off for another day, thinking it was too hard or that I had nothing worthwhile to write about. I kept telling myself that I’d start tomorrow, and then when tomorrow rolled around, I’d put it off yet again. At the same time, I was telling myself that I should really try to develop a daily writing habit if I ever wanted to be serious about writing. I would often read articles about how easy writing becomes when you make the commitment to do it every day and think “How nice! Maybe that will happen to me someday.”

In reality, all I really needed to do was start.

Now that I’ve tackled that monster, I want to work towards creating another habit: getting up early!

For a professional sleeper, I think this habit will prove to be a little more difficult to develop. Any ideas?

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Travel Map

I’ve got a start, but there’s still so much more of the world to see!!!

 

                       ALLISON’S TRAVEL MAP

 

Allison has been to: Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, South Korea, Thailand, United States

I made this map using Matador Network‘s #Travelstoke World Map template. It’s a super easy and fun way to keep track of your travels.

If you’d like to make your own map, click here and you’ll be map-building in no time!

Happy travels!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How it all began

I guess this new phase of my life really started after finishing university last June. Until then, I had barely ventured outside of North America. Not because I hadn’t wanted to, but there just always seemed to be some reason as to why I shouldn’t go then, or why it wasn’t a good time to take off. Of course, looking back, all the reasons I thought were valid and reasonable at the time (I might lose touch with my friends or they might forget about me if I leave, I might not get credit for school and have to extend my studies when I get back, I might miss out on things back home while I’m away. What if my relationship doesn’t survive? What if I hate it there!?) now seem more like excuses. But what was I hiding from? I may never know, but at least I gave myself the opportunity to realize that I definitely would have regretted staying home forever!

Somehow, last summer I decided: Enough with the excuses. It’s time to live my life. And am I ever glad I did!

Soon after, the search began for something new and different to do that year. Not an easy task, I quickly discovered! So many options, so many places to go, and so many different things to see and do. Should I work abroad? Volunteer? Try to find an internship? For how long? Where!? Decisions, decisions.

Eventually, after many hours of research and many days of flopping back and forth, trying to make a decision, I did!

The posts that follow are pieces of the emails I sent out to family and friends leading up to my departure, as well as during my time in Guyana. Since I didn’t have a blog at that point, these emails are my best-kept memories of this life-changing adventure!

Enjoy!

Categories: Guyana, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I finally did it!

Hello everyone!

Well, the title of this first post basically says it all! I’ve been meaning to get this blog started for quite some time now, and I finally got around to it! Though it’s way past due, I’m excited to finally have a place to share my thoughts and stories, and to post photos and videos from my travels.

Ideally, this blog will become my voice while I’m away, expressing the most exciting, interesting, and challenging parts of my adventures abroad.

I will start with the inspiration for this blog, which happens to be my recent volunteer experience in Guyana, South America. This was my first solo adventure abroad, and it is certainly one I never want to forget! Though I regret not starting this blog before I left for Guyana, I think I would regret not including it here at all even more! So, better to post about it late than never, I say!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll begin recounting my experiences, as well as reflecting on my time abroad and (hopefully) continue to discover ways it has impacted me.

Once I finish with Guyana, the plan is to move onto the next adventure! As there is never a shortage of opportunities for adventure out there, I should be a busy girl!

Stay tuned!

Categories: Guyana, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

Allison Burney

"To live will be an awfully big adventure." - Peter Pan

ideas.ted.com

Explore ideas worth spreading

home hopper

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tales of a Travel Addict

Wandering the world one country at a time

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

She turns coffee into books so she can afford to buy more coffee. And more books.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital

Anne Peterson

I write stories and goosebump poetry

%d bloggers like this: