I’d like to give a big thanks to the lovely Directions Optional for nominating me for the Liebster Award!
What is the Liebster Award, you ask?
Basically, it’s recognition given to new bloggers on the scene who have less than a thousand followers. It’s a great way to introduce fresh faces to the blogosphere and to connect with like-minded individuals. Even though I’m not winning some shiny gold statue, I am excited and honoured to be acknowledged by talented travel writers. I can’t wait to pass on the nomination to my fellow comrades in Korea:
Please excuse me if you have been nominated already, girls…I know the award has been trending for some time now.
Read on to get to know more about Expat and the City!
What is the story behind the name of your blog?
I’ve always been (and forever will be) a city girl. Born and raised in #HamOnt with a population of half a mil; taking frequent visits to Toronto… I just love living the city life! Coming to Korea was no different. Since I’m an expat (i.e. someone temporary residing in a place that isn’t of their citizenship), I started working with those keys words to create a brand. I also wanted to be a bit witty with it, so the name is a play on words from my favourite HBO show… you know the one with Manolo Blahniks, cosmopolitans and lots of S-E-…you get where I’m going. Put those keywords together and boom, you’ve got: Ex(pat) and the City!
Where are you currently located?
I’m currently living in Busan, South Korea and I couldn’t be happier!
Have you met any people while traveling that have now become close friends?
I’m an English teacher with EPIK (English Program in Korea) and through this program I have met so many awesome individuals from all over the world. Many of them have become great friends and I am so grateful to have met them. We’re like a little family over here! I know these are going to be lasting friendships once we all finish our contracts in Korea.
What is your favorite souvenir you’ve picked up so far?
One of my friend’s moms was in Busan for business the first month I was in Korea. She invited me to a party in Haeundae (free hors d’oeuvres and drinks all night – can’t complain!). It was so nice to see a familiar face in a foreign place and the party was lots of fun. At the end of the night we received a party favour: a nice ceramic shot glass set – perfect for shots of soju or sips of sake! I would say that’s my favourite ‘souvenir’ I’ve picked up so far.
Do you prefer the touristy stuff or are you the more ‘off the beaten path’ type? Why?
I like both, actually. However, I’ve done more of the touristy things rather than ‘off the beaten path’. I hope to do more of the latter in my future travels. Reading other travel blogs has inspired me to find those hidden gems.
Tell us about the most embarrassing moment during your travels.
Cliff jumping at Rick’s Café in Jamaica (face palm). Taking the YOLO approach to life, I decided to go for it. I was told to jump pin straight for smooth landing so I go up to the second level (out of three) and take the plunge. WELL let me tell ya, that second level didn’t look so small from the waters. But once I jumped I didn’t think I’d ever land in the water! So I panicked (as would anyone free falling in the air) and I landed partly on my ass! It didn’t hurt at the time – I was more worried that my bathing suit top fell off! But I swam back to the boat and everyone asked if I was okay because they heard what sounded like someone doing a belly flop. I was pretty embarrassed being ‘that girl’ that effed up her cliff jump. But after all said and done (plus a niiiiice bruise to match) I have an embarrassing travel story to tell!
What are your biggest challenges of blogging so far? What are your biggest successes?
Challenges: 1) Driving traffic to my site and getting people to actually read this thing. 2) Having writers’ block and finding inspiration for a story. There are some days when I just can’t get my thoughts out…
Successes: Thanks to the awesome Facebook travel bloggers group, I have seen some improvement in my followers and interactions. Rome wasn’t built in a day (and this blog is only three months old!) so any progress is good progress, right?! But so far I have over 300 followers on Facebook & Twitter; and 630+ on Instagram. Go me!
What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
I’ve been stumped on this one for a while. I think I am just very fortunate that nothing scary has ever happened to me while traveling (knock on wood). I try to always be aware of my surroundings, use my street smarts and I always, always buy travel insurance! Of course, given the recent events of terrorist attacks all over the world, you can’t predict when something ‘scary’ will happen to you. I just know that God and my guardian angel (daddy) are always looking over me.
Share your #1 favorite photo from your travels. What is the story behind it?
This photo was taken on my first SCUBA diving adventure in the Philippines. Here I am at the bottom of the sea with all the fishies swimming around us. I was really nervous about our trek into the ocean but I conquered my fears and I did it! All I can say is live for the moment! Say yes more often (unless your intuition tells you otherwise)! And just go for it! I’m so happy I went diving – I can’t wait to go again! I’ll be writing a blog post about my SCUBA experience so stay tuned.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
I’ve learned that I simply cannot do everything on my own. I’ve always been an independent person but sometimes, you just need someone to help you. Coming to a place like Korea, where you are navigating your way through the city, it’s so easy to get lost in translation. I often feel useless when I can’t even order a simple meal in a restaurant or tell the cab driver how to get to my apartment. I rely heavily on my co-teacher to translate just about everything for me and I’m so not used to this. But, I realize I AM in a whole new world over here and unless I am fluent in Korean, I’m going to need that help, and that’s a-okay. By the way, after being here for a year, I’ve learned the basic survival phrases to help me get by in my day-to-day life (thank you, Google translate!).
Where are you headed next?
I have a huge travel hit list. I’m hoping to visit Shanghai next! In terms of where I’m going to live next… well, I have signed on for another year in Korea so I will be here at least until 2017. However, after that… plans are in the works… that’s all I can say, hehe.
To my nominees, please answer the following questions below. I can’t wait to learn more about you and your travels!
- What is the story behind the name of your blog?
- Where are you currently located?
- Have you met any people while traveling that have now become close friends?
- What is your favorite souvenir you’ve picked up so far?
- Do you prefer the touristy stuff or are you the more ‘off the beaten path’ type? Why?
- Tell us about the most embarrassing moment during your travels.
- What are your biggest challenges of blogging so far? What are your biggest successes?
- What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
- Share your #1 favorite photo from your travels. What is the story behind it?
- What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
- Where are you headed next?
Cheers and happy travels!