I want this to be a quick update so I can get back to writing the posts that people are more likely to care about. I have been traveling, despite how it may look (a trip to South Dakota and Wyoming and a trip to Ireland!). But, I feel weird not giving some kind of life update. So let’s break down what’s kept me from the blog!
A Job I Hate
On the face of it, when I got a job as a content writer for various websites and blogs, it seemed like the perfect fit. I love writing, I love blogging. But it turns out taking your hobby, making it less fun, and turning into a job is….well, miserable. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a job more.
That’s not to say that I couldn’t ever do content writing. The few posts that I did on travel or more adventurous content were a shining light in an otherwise dim hole full of insurance and medical topics. It definitely taught me that writing can be miserable if it’s not about the things I like.
I did learn a lot about blogging and SEO, however. So, hopefully that can manifest in some improvements to my website.
But the good news is – I quit! And my creative energy feels like it has come flooding back. Thank goodness, as that energy is vital for the next thing that’s been occupying my time:
Applying for Graduate School
After leaving Korea I had hoped to jump right into a graduate program, but I only applied to one school and…it only has a 3% acceptance rate. Even I can’t feel too bad about not getting in. Especially as I was warned that most people need to apply more than once.
But I have wondered fairly frequently in the past several months if it was a mistake to not apply to more schools to increase my chances. At the time it felt like I had many avenues open, graduate school being just one of them. But Covid closed down many of those other paths and now it seems clear what my options are.
And I’m incredibly happy with my decision to pursue graduate school wholeheartedly. I miss school a lot. And it wouldn’t prevent me from traveling – especially as all of them are away from my current location. I loved living in a new place, especially knowing it was temporary, in Korea. It gave me the impetus to explore everything and I hope this will too.
Generally Being Miserable
Maybe it’s post-Korea blues but these past few months have been pretty low for me. Of course the traveling has been a total highlight but in-between those weeks it’s like I’ve been in a malaise. I haven’t been doing anything I love, none of my sports, crafts, or other hobbies.
And it’s important for that to change as I wait to hear back from the schools. So, expect more posts from me in the near future, though perhaps not quite as regular as they used to be.
But let’s get out of all the bad news and onto the great things I’ve been doing and what’s coming up next!
South Dakota and Wyoming
My friend was on a gap year and I was desperate to get out of the house. Fully vaccinated, we set off on a truly surprising two week trip that took me to several National Parks and furthered my obsession with caves. I can wholeheartedly say that this side of the country is the most beautiful and insane I’ve ever been to.
While I’ll be giving more details in separate posts, South Dakota was a shock. How does no one talk about this place??
Turns out Frank Lloyd Wright agrees with me as a sign quoted him saying the Grand Canyon shouldn’t be the only place we think of. Caves, spas, praries, dramatic valleys and cliffs, whatever one would even call the Badlands, stunning lakes…We had an entire week in and around the Black Hills and we both worried it would be too much time – definitely not! And I put my new camera to its first true test and wound up with some stunning photos.
As for Wyoming – wow! If I did have to live in the US, I think this would be the place for me. Friendly people, incredible countryside, wild horses…although the incredibly steep road down the side of the mountain we had to brave a couple of times for Medicine Wheel does give me pause!
I’m so excited to explore more of the country’s National Parks and continue to be surprised.
For those who know me, it might be somewhat surprising that Ireland was my next international trip. After all, it’s appeared nowhere on my top 10 lists in the past few years.
But I do have a connection to it. Much of the fantasy creative writing I do is based loosely on Irish mythology. I love anything neolithic and they got lots of it. And I’ve always thought it looked beautiful. After all, I want to go to every country some day and I have an appreciation for all of them.
I was going with the same friend on the gap year. She has always wanted to go to Ireland so it made sense. So away we went!
Covid did keep us from a few things, such as the Hill of Tara and Newgrange. As we didn’t rent a car so we had to rely on public transport and tours (which simply weren’t happening). And you couldn’t go into the passage of Newgrange anyways. We also didn’t go to Skellig due to the fact that Ireland apparently thinks the weather is bad in October. We had a tour cancelled to the Aran islands for the same reason.
And yet – the weather was simply gorgeous the entire time. I think Ireland doesn’t realize that global warming has made October a perfectly nice time of year. We had only two days with lots of rain, and they were travel days anyways.
Overall, we traversed practically the entire country, from Kilkenny to Cork, Killarney to Galway, and Silgo to Dublin. I can definitively say the west of the country is significantly more beautiful than the east, and if I get the chance to go back I”ll be sticking to those areas a lot more. I had a fantastic time and made some strides in my personal goals – I went into a tomb!!
What’s Happening Next?
A few new things. The first is that I am looking forward to several more years of living in the US full time, with digital nomad dreams needing to wait a little longer. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect to travel abroad several times a year – hopefully with conference funding and the nice summer break I will be able to do a lot with my time.
But I’m also going to make the most of my time in the US. I don’t plan on living here forever, I still have plans to move abroad permanently. And that’s giving me the motivation I need to see as much as I can of the US in the next 5 years or so. My current goal is to see all of the National Parks as well as all 50 states in that time. I have a pretty good head start having been to the majority of the east coast and central states already.
There are some more “upcoming” plans for travel as well. I am hoping to visit Egypt in late April to early May on a family trip. It will be the first time my family has taken a vacation together around a decade, so it’s pretty exciting (and I’m on an Egypt obsession currently so it’s perfect!).
In the summer I am hoping to meet up with my friend who still lives in Korea. Hopefully we can take a trip to Spain with each other if her situation works out. I will also be attending some kind of summer program to help prep me for graduate school – so far it will be in either Montana or Greece. Greece is weirdly cheaper, but less time and not quite as focused on the things I would like. So we’ll see!
Either way, I am happy to be back and excited to see where 2022 takes me.