A Part-time Traveler

A Trip of an Ordinary Woman who Dreams to Make a Difference

Just Have To Make It Work

It has been 6 months since I quit my full-time job and stopped getting salary. I was scared at first because I did not know if things would work out and if I would be able to survive each month financially. Fortunately, it works for me and somehow it makes me believe that it will also work for everyone – but “You just have to make it work!”

I know that people who are currently not happy with their job have the same fears, so many choose to stick with it until they find a new (better) job. The fact is we never know whether the next job will be better or worse until we actually get to do it. So when I realized that this job was not for me, I moved on and started doing what my heart told me to do.

I always wanted to be a translator and a writer. I am not totally against working in the office. If the job is right and I get to do what I love as part of it, I am in (with all my heart). Anyway, my dream life is still to be a translator and a writer who can work from home and have time to travel to see the world. I was thinking about starting to live the life I wanted when I am 40, but “Wait! Why can’t I just do it now?”

So I did. It was very difficult at first, but somehow I was confident. I started the first month with only 2-3 translation jobs, but I was lucky enough to earn a little bit more from those few jobs to cover my bills. There was no change during the following 2 months, but somehow I had enough to pay whatever I needed. From a person who never had to think about not having extra money, it was hard – but I still had enough.

I did not realize when things started to come my way. During the past few months, I was asked to write articles for a magazine that I used to work for … I have been translating both big and small projects almost every single day … I have been enjoying my life. I used to be afraid that it would not work out, but not anymore.

I am still looking for a full-time job, but I am not rushing myself into one. It takes time to find the right match. If I am not lucky enough, I will be fine. Maybe I am blessed to finally get to live a life that I had longed for.

My little trick is to stick to what you want to do so badly. Don’t get distracted. Do it the best you can and keep doing it even when you still do not know where it is going. I have not come that far, but I know that the path is even further than what I can imagine it myself.

There might not be miracle in life, but what’s special about it is that “You can make it happen!”

Just believe in yourself and be strong.

Part-time Traveler

Mission Update

I started this blog with a mission list. It has been a little over 3 months and here is an update!
1) Blogging : Blog at least twice a week

I have 2 blogs, Part-time Traveler and PixClicker. I haven’t been so discipline with the former, but I have been well on track with the latter. I have 12 posts on Part-time Traveler and 80 picture posts on PixClicker. For me, I haven’t been so bad so far, but my next goal is to come back as a Part-time Traveler more often.

2) Translation : Translate The Shack

I have finished one more chapter of The Shack which has made it to the middle of the book. Since I am now a freelance translator, I have been translating papers, documents, scripts, letters and articles. Thanks to all the supports from the people who think of me when they need something to be translated. This is one of the jobs I enjoy most so far.

3) Languages : Teach Thai (to foreigners) & Learn Spanish

I have finished my Thai lessons at Monterey Institute of International Studies a few weeks ago. We ended the course with a little Thai food party. It was fun and it was quite an experience. I really enjoy teaching the language that I am so proud of. I really hope to see some of my students back in Thailand. I know they are coming … soon!

My Spanish lesson has not gone so far. There were a lot of distraction with the class schedule; however, I now know how the language system and its structure work. The most difficult part is probably vocabulary. I will continue to learn this language and I think I need a trip to Spain!

4) Business : Build a business plan for my bakery, Snack Collection

Since my trip back to Thailand has been delayed, I expect to resume my bakery business, Snack Collection, in July 2012. I am done with the big picture; however, there are a lot of decisions to be made. Will keep you posted on the plan. Can’t wait to bake again!

5) Education : Apply for a scholarship to further my study

I have applied for a Fulbright Scholarship for my second master’s. It will not be easy, but the result will be announced soon. In a few days, they will announce eligible applicants for the interview. Then the final decision will be made in July 2012.

6) Photography : Sell my photos online

Sadly, no progress on this yet. I will keep taking more photos with hope that I will get to somewhere in the next update.

7) Writing & Drawing : Make them my hobby again!

I am back to my writing! I have written some articles for Coffee t&i magazine and there is a big project waiting. Hopefully, things will work out and I will get to write regularly. I always feel good to see some of my writings get published, even when nobody knows who I am.

Drawing? … I am not there yet. Anyway, I will get there.

Well, a lot has happened since new year. My life has changed dramatically. I have made the biggest and craziest decision in my life ever … I quit my well-paid job and extended my stay in the US to enjoy myself and live the life I always wanted to. And I never regret it. My grandfather has passed away in April. It was sad and unexpected, but we as a family went through the hard times together. I have flew back and forth between BKK – SFO twice during the past few months and got caught for a special interview at the custom office because they were suspecting that I was abusing the visa. It was quite an experience. Due to the lack of seat, instead of going back to Thailand at the end of May, I will be flying out on the 4th of July … another month from now. So I missed the teaching opportunity at the university in Thailand. Then new plans have come up 🙂

I don’t really know what the future will bring, but I am ready for anything. I believe it is going to be good … great!

I just love my life right now … and I hope you love your life, too.

Part-time Traveler

Korea Trip Part 3 : Downtown Seoul – Cheonggye Square & Gwanghwamun Square

My program today is to visit the downtown and here is what I find >>>

Cheonggye Square consists of an open space for various activities, events and exhibitions, and a waterfall which is the starting point of Cheonggye stream. If you are in the main street, Sejongno, and not sure where Cheonggye Square is, just look for a 20-meter-high Spiral sculpture. There you are!

Spiral Sculpture, Cheonggye Square

A 6 kilometer stream, Cheonggyecheon, has been at the heart of Seoul for more than 600 years. In the past, there were houses and villagers along the stream and the water condition was not pleasant. Therefore, in 2003, the government deicided to improve the scenery and to make this area a new tourist attraction. The restoration project was completed and openned to the public on October 1, 2005. If you have time, you might be interested in a walking tour along the creek.

Cheonggyecheon

Another important landmark closed to Cheonggyecheon is Gwangtonggyo Bridge, the largest bridge across the Cheonggyecheon.

Gwangtonggyo Bridge

At Gwanghwamun Square, a statue of King Sejong the Great magnificently sits in the middle of Sejong street. The background of statue is Gwanghwamun Gate, the main/largest gate of  Gyengbokgung.

King Sejong The Great

Gyeongbokgung is the largest palace built by Joseon Dynasty in 1394. During the Japnese invations of Korea, the palace was burnt down but not completely. Later, the reconstruction was performed in 1867. According to Wikipedia, the name of the palace means “Palace of Shining Happiness” – I like it.

Unfortunately and fortunately, I am there when the sky is not so bright, but right before it rains. Therefore, I am able to take some pictures of the palace and the throne.

If you visit Gyengbokgung at 10.30, 13.30, and 15.30, you will get to see the changing of guards in front of the main building,  Geunjeongjeon. The guard change lasts about 30 minutes.

Geunjeongjeon, Gyeongbokgung

Gyeongbokgung

I think there must be something significant about the painting behind the throne because I have seen copies of it everywhere in Korea. It is a picture of five mountains, the moon, and the sun.

Gyeongbokgung

Gyeongbokgung

In downtown Seoul, a number of interesting places are connected. If you travel on your own, studying the map and plan your walk in advance will help a lot. You might want to spare at least a day or two for the downtown landmarks. When you travel at your own pace, there is always more to see than you can ever expect.

Korean lesson for a walk in the city :

“Where is the restroom?” … “Hwa jang shil uh dit suh yo?”

“Thank you.” … “Kam sa ham ni da ”

Part-time Traveler

Korea Trip Part 2 : Lotte World – Star Avenue – Dongdaemun – Myeongdong

My plan for the first day in Korea is to visit the biggest (also known as the best) theme park in Korea, Everland. Unfortunately, it still rains, so the first destination has been changed to Lotte World, consisting of the world’s largest indoor theme park and an outdoor amusement park.

Lotte World

Lotte World : Indoor

Lotte Word : Outdoor

For me, I love the exciting parts of both indoor and outdoor parks, but its cute part is nothing compared to Disneyland. If you ask me what you shouldn’t miss, I would recommend Atlantic Adventure for outdoor ride and French Revolution for indoor ride.

Star Avenue @ Lotte World

If you are at Lotte World, do not forget to visit Star Avenue on F1floor. Actually, many of you can miss all the rides in Lotte World, but not Star Avenue where a number of actual-sized images of Korean actors, actresses, and artists are everywhere. There are also stars’ items for you to take a look and purchase. Moreover, you can send personal messages to your loved one(s) at Star Center zone.

Star's Stuff

Star's Room

Now, it is time to go shopping!

At Dongdaemun, there are several shopping malls that you should not miss – Dosan Tower, Migliore, and Hello apM. In these area, you can also find all cosmetic shops, such as Etude House, Skin Food, It’s Skin, and many more. In addition, there are department stores that sell specific items, such as Dongdaemun Shoes market and Stationary Market.

Shopping Malls, Dongdaemun

It's skin, Dongdaemun

Myeongdong is where Korean teenagers are. If you want to buy what Korean young people are wearing, this is the place. While Dongdaemun is more like Pratunam Platinum (in Thailand), Myeongdong is Siam Square. Besides brand name shops, there are a number of local stores. But what interests me most is all the food along the street. They are all worth trying.

Myeongdong

Giant Octopus, Myeongdong

Soft Ice-cream, Myeongdong

Local Snack, Myeongdong

At Migliore Myeongdong, I find this >>>

Migliore's Restroom

Migliore's Restroom Bottons

I don’t know how each button works, so I try! If you have never used this kind of restroom before, you might want to do the same. But make sure that nobody else is around because you are likely to make unexpected voices/noises when you first try it. And whatever happens, sit still. If you don’t, you will probably get wet. This is a warning! Don’t let me say “I told you so!”

When I go abroad, I don’t really care how people look at me or think about me. I will do whatever I want to, especially what I can’t do in Thailand (actually, for me, there are not many things). Anyway, this is because nobody knows me and I will never meet them again. However, after going shopping in Korea today, I have realized that I meet Thai people in every corner!

Korean lesson for going shopping :

“How much is this?” … “Ol ma yay yo”

“Please give me a discount.” … “Ka ka ju say yo”

Part-time Traveler

Korea Trip Part 1 : Flying to Korea

Even though a number of people dream to visit Korea once in a lifetime, Korea is not one on my top list of the next destinations. I NEVER watch Korean series/movies … NEVER recognize any of Korean actors/actresses … NEVER know any Korean artists or songs that are now popular worldwide. Moreover, I eat neither vegetables nor spicy food, so original Kimchi cannot attract me in any way. However, Korean  meat Shabu Shabu and BBQ is quite interesting. Anyway, once I have an opportunity to make a visit to this country, “Saying NO is NOT AN OPTION.”

Flying to Korea with Jin Air, a Korean low-cost airline : My first impression of this airline is full of surprises. I never expect to see flight attendants and pilot wearing jeans, polo shirts, caps and Converse shoes, but these are actually their uniform.

Jin Air

I like the way they are treated as people who are on board to actually do their jobs. I don’t think that high-heels and thick suits with neckties are suitable for what they are responsible for. They need to be brisk and they turn out to be naturally beautiful and smart.

It takes 5-6 hours from Thailand to Korea and the time over there is 2 hours faster. For those who plan to travel to Korea, you might want to think ahead about what you expect to see >>>

March – May : Spring

June – August : Summer

September – November : Autumn

December – February : Winter

I travel to Korea in early July, so it is supposed to be something between spring and summer… and, of course, I may expect a little (actually, according to the weather forecast, a lot of) rain.

The first picture I took in Korea

Fortunately, it rains only on the first and the last days. This allows me to take good pictures with bright sky during the whole trips.

What else to prepare if you are traveling to Korea …

1) Korean money (Won) and credit card(s) : If you plan to go shopping in Korea, you need a lot of money and probably an extra luggage. Most stores accept credit cards, but you might want to check whether they will charge it. Here are some references >>>

1,000 – 3,000 Won = small snack, such as dessert, fruit, candies, gums, ice-cream, or a skin mask

5,000 Won = bigger snack, like a bucket of popcorn in 7-11, small meal, T-shirt, flip flops or little cosmetic stuff

10,000 – 30,000 Won = real meal, fancy shirt, pants, skirt, shoes, or cosmetic item(s)

50,000 Won = big meal, brand name sportswear, or a set of cosmetics

100,000 Won = all of the above and more

What I like about traveling in Korea is that the entrance tickets for entering important places are not expensive. Many places are free, while normal prices of the tickets are between 300 – 8,000 Won.

To plan your budget, it is also a good idea to check the currency exchange rate.

2) A plug adapter (220 voltage) :

Wall Plug in Korea

3) A good camera : If you are following your favorite Korean actors/actresses in the series, you probably want to make sure that you actually have a chance to step on the same spots they did. Also, there are a number of actual-sized pictures of these popular stars everywhere. Don’t tell me you don’t want to have any picture with them. Or if you are not interested in these people, Korea has a lot more to offer. Just have a camera with you and use it to keep the moments as parts of your good memory.

4) An understandable guide book : There are a number of guide books to Korea on the shelves nowadays, but you need to choose the one that you can understand it clearly or maybe the one with  maps, history, stories, and of course the places you want to visit. And let’s hope that it conveys accurate information (since you never know if it is a good guide book until you get there.)

5) Clothes : You may prepare clothes according to the season. In my case, I am told to bring an umbrella (with hope that I don’t have to use it).

We are now ready for the Korean trip.

Korean lesson for the first day : “Hello” … “An-nyoung-ha-seh-yo”

Part-time Traveler
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