Christmas in Paradise

What is your dream?

For me it has been to travel the world. And so I have – for 8 years of my live I have traveled to every corner of the earth. Whether it be two stepping in Texas to motorbiking down a dirt road in Rwanda – I have done it all. Yet, there was always one thing missing from this pretty picture; All the traveling I have done in those eight years has been solo. Sure I’d join a study abroad group, volunteer with people from different countries, but I have never had a consistent travel partner in my life.

Until now.

Somehow I find myself cooling in a chic cafe in Kuala Lumpur reminiscing about an evening of cocktails at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore, following a day spent in the botanical gardens within the bustling city limits. Key to this moment though, is the presence of a special someone who is crazy enough to fly halfway across the world to spend Christmas in Singapore, New Years in Kuala Lumpur and all the days in between traveling from the rain forest of Taman Negara to the tropical island of Palau.

What is paradise, or the ability to fulfill your dreams without someone there to share it with?

Hanji, Hanoks and the town of Jeonju

Neighboring the town of Gunsan, is Jeonju. A glittering city – honestly looking very similar to Gunsan and every other middle sized Korean city, save for one quality: its hanok village.

Hanok’s are traditional korean style homes. While many cities have communities of them, Jeonju’s village was home to the Yi royal family under the Joseon Dynasty. Distroyed like much of Korea, this village has been rebuilt into a pleasant community of crafts, medicine markets and a tribute to the traditional Korean art of Hanji.

Hanji is all things paper. There are Hanji cards, hanji ties, hanji plates and a hanji museum. It is a wonderful art and quite amazing what can be done with simple paper.

A getaway only 30 minutes away, Jeonju is often a hidden secret to Gunsan residents who mostly relay on Seoul and Osan to entertain them on weekend getaways.

love motels

The hidden gem of Korea.

Believe me, at first I was sketched out at the idea – these places do not let you book ahead, only the night of and offer rates by the hour. They are glittered all over major cities and usually have bright lights associated with them. At first I refused to even look at them, wondering why more people here do not just stay in hostels for easy, cheap accommodation.

Then I went to Busan.

A coastal city mostly known for its beaches, somehow every hotel that popped up on google searches was booked. Then I cam accross this lovely web site:

Which convinced me with its reasonable pictures and descriptions to try it out – and I am never going back to a regular hotel again.

Staying in the VIP suite atop the Wu Motel overlooking the beach, we could have easily held a 20 person party comfortably in our suite which slept 5. For $120 we drank champagne, DJ’d on two room computers and celebrated being young and in South Korea.