S: To See What We Could See 2005-2011
BC: "All that we are is a result of what we have thought." | - Siddhartha Gautama
FC: 2005-2011 | To See What We Could See
1: 2005: Italy 2007: Japan Jamaica Hungary Austria Czech Republic Austria 2008: Egypt South Korea Philippines 2009: China Indonesia 2010: South Korea Guam Philippines Hong Kong Macau 2011: Malaysia Thailand Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand France Scotland | 03.12 ~ 03.20 05.01 ~ 05.13 11.08 ~ 11.12 12.10 ~ 12.12 12.13 ~ 12.15 12.16 ~ 12.18 12.19 ~ 12.24 09.01 ~ 09.17 10.04 ~ 10.03 12.25 ~ 01.03 01.24 ~ 01.27 07.27 ~ 08.01 01.15 ~ 03.04 04.14 ~ 04.18 07.30 ~ 08.03 09.21 ~ 09.25 09.24 ~ 09.24 03.05 ~ 03.11 03.11 ~ 03.22 03.23 ~ 03.27 03.27 ~ 04.04 04.04 ~ 04.09 04.09 ~ 04.13 04.14 ~ 04.18 04.18 ~ 06.18
2: Most undergrads don'Ât get the chance to travel very much, and my first two years of college were quite standard in that regard. For my second Spring Break vacation, though, I made the life-changing decision to visit a new continent. Seeing the history and interacting with the people of other cultures became almost addicting. I spent my remaining two years in school planning new trips, and as soon as I was back I'd already be daydreaming about the next one. Through my travels IÂ've made incredible, life-long friends and I'Âve experienced more than I ever could have imagined. I've met amazing people; clever, kind, helpful, humble, brave, inspiring people; and IÂ've learned who I want to be, and moreover, why I want to be that person. Traveling the world has done so much good for me as an individual and also as a member of my community, wherever I am at any given time. I am so thankful for the opportunities IÂ've been granted and for all the kindness that these strangers have shown me. The only thing I can do from this point forward is to pass that goodness on. <3
4: Rome is an incredible city, so full of history and architecture that even after nine days of non-stop tourism, Tina and I barely cracked the surface. While we were there, our daily schedule was pretty standard: Wake up by 9, visit the city sights all day long, and be home by 5 for the hostel's family dinners in the living room. Then, we'd pick up a few of the provided 'Three Horses' and head to the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain, where we'd meet other 20-somethings for the evenings hostel-sponsored pub crawl. Those mornings were rough for me, but Tina always managed to get me up and going and out the door, on our way again to see what Italy had in store for us. Gotta love her! | Roma, Italy | March 12 - 20, 2005
6: Tina and I made a few friends during our nine days in Rome, and the night before our departure we decided to have everyone over in our private room at the hostel for drinks and games. Before the festivities we ordered a wake-up call to be sure we woke up in plenty of time to pack and be ready when our pre-booked cab arrived for us. The party ensued—we drank our drinks and played our games—we fell asleep. We were awoken by the desk clerk pounding on the door, telling us our cab was waiting downstairs and if we didn't hurry we'd miss our flight. Tina and I sprang out of bed and threw everything we saw into our bags. We rushed into the cab, hastily-packed bags flying, and rushed to the airport...but our flight was delayed due to fog... and the next flight wasn't until the next day! Sitting in the middle of the airport floor, we spread our bags around us to repack, making them a bit more manageable. That's when I found a pair of mens jeans, wallet and watch inside. We returned to the hostel to stay one more night...and to return the identity that IÂ’d unintentionally stolen from the man in question. Oops!
8: Kellen and I met at a football party at my house in Orlando, where I lived with Tina, Andrea and Chris. He soon joined the military, and we got to know each other via online chat. When he moved to Japan, Kellen asked if I'd want to visit him. Of course I wanted to, but as a college student there was no way I'd ever be able to buy a plane ticket to the other side of the world. That's when he said, "Let me buy your air tickets for you." You'll whaaat??? I did what any normal person would do--I declined. How could I let him spend more than $1,000 on a flight for me, a girl he barely knew? But after lots of convincing and assurances of platonic intentions, he bought the tickets, met me at the airport, and together we had a great time exploring Japan!
9: May 1 - 13, 2007 | Yokohama, & | Tokyo, Japan | Yokosuka,
11: After all I'd learned in school about Japan's incredible hot springs, I had to go! Kellen and I found a nice one not too far away and hit the road. Getting there involved the subway, a train, a trolley, and a hike. It also involved us getting lost! But we were saved by that kind Japanese man on the left, who took us all the way to | the front door, out of his own kindness. The hot spring spa was amazing, with all kinds of different types of baths, like charcoal, green tea and red wine!
13: We visited some temples and did our part to embrace the Japanese culture, and as a previous Disney World employee, I was anxious to use my free employee passes to get us into Tokyo Disneyland! They didn't work, but we didn't let that rain on our parade!
14: The cocktails were free... but the water was freezing! That'll be a coffee for me, thanks! | Cooling down after a slippery hike up Dunn's River Falls | November 8 - 11, 2007 Ocho Rios, Jamaica
15: After our self-directed photo shoots, we borrowed Twister and made friends with the hotel staff in an attempt to entertain ourselves on this lovely stretch of quiet private beach. After that, Kaili had a great idea: let's all do the watermelon crawl! We threw the kitchen for a loop when we asked for two whole watermelons, but that's why all-inclusives are the best!
16: The resort we stayed at was fabulous; huge with ocean-view rooms, sprawling pools and swim-up bars. Of course it was all-inclusive, so our room came with its own mini bar and we treated ourself to fantastic buffets and full service dinners daily! Although the property was beautiful, the focus on relaxation left Kaili and I in need of entertainment daily. Our only excursion was to Dunn's River Falls, and each day after that we could be found either at the beach, the pool or the sauna. Joe took this opportunity to soak up the sun...and accidentally fell asleep. Can you tell? Evenings were spent at the after-dinner shows, Pacha's Disco and the game room for some DDR, darts, pool and draft beer. Overall, it's safe to say that it was a very silly, very fun, and very enjoyable four days in Ocho Rios!
18: Budapest...the first stop on our Communications tour with Michelle and the rest of our program. While I'd already met Angie, Kaley and Lindsey, I'd have to say that this was the trip that really brought us closer. | We saw all the main sights while we were there, including the Royal Palace, Matthais Church, Parliament house and Fisherman's Bastion.
19: December 10 - 12 | Budapest, Hungary
20: December 13 - 15 Vienna, Austria
22: Prague, Czech Republic December 16 - 18
23: Prague was the end of our run together... From here, Michelle and I would travel on to Graz, while the rest of the group went home. We made the most of our time, though, visiting the Jewish quarter, the Charles Bridge, | and out for Kaley's birthday! In fact, her birthday night was the same night that "Where's Taylor?!" was created!
24: Me, Elmar and Mexx enjoying a beer at a local beer garden | While the rest of our friends flew back to the States, Michelle and I turned back to Austria. Her very close friend Elmar and his friend Mexx invited us to visit and volunteered to be our personal tour guides. They took us all around and spoiled us like we were princesses! Together, we visited cultural places like the Schlossburgplaz, the original clock tower and park overlooking the city. In the evenings they'â€™d take us to fancy restaurants around town or up on top of the mountains to watch the sunset over the whole world. Our time in Graz was wonderful, like a fairy tale!
25: Graz, Austria December 19 - 24 | Schlossburg Stage, originally Schlossberg Hauptmannshaus (House of the Captain of the Castle)
26: Egypt | September 1 - 17, 2008
27: Egypt is a land that is amazingly full of mystery, and Dad and I have always shared a passion for the stars, the planets and the unknown. So, you can understand why this is a trip I had always dreamed of taking with him. Our two weeks in the land of Pharaohs and hieroglyphs | was one of my best trips yet, and there's no one else I would've rather gone with!
28: Not at all what you'd imagine Egypt to look like!! | Dad was smart enough to bring his swim suit. Not me, though... What a knucklehead! D'oh! | see a perfume factory. While the rest of our tour group sat around smelling flowers, Dad and I decided to take an independent walking tour of the area. We left the factory and came across the local plumber's shop; Dad felt right at home! | The hotels that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful. Outside of this one in Cairo there was a small souvenir market where Dad bought some pyramid paper weights and papyrus. After that light shopping, we took a bus tour around to
29: Our Nile River Cruise was coming up in a few days, and we knew that there would be a Galabaya party on | board. To prepare for the party, he and I picked up some galabayas of our own that day in town. We had to look the part!
30: During our Nile River Cruise, we had the opportunity to sign up for an additional excursion to take a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Queens. Dad loved the plan and bought our tickets! It was...breathtaking. Watching the sun rise over the Nile, with all the tombs below and the balloons above...it's something I'll never forget!
31: Dad: "Don't take it for granite!"
35: Busan, South Korea | October 4, 2008 - March 3, 2011
36: I met my new friends Sarah, Molly and Erin at karaoke the very night I flew in, and that weekend I went for my first hike. On our way down the mountain we ran into a group of men who were playing a cross between soccer and volleyball. They invited us to join in, and when Kaley and I | declined, they offered their snacks while we sat on the sidelines watching. I'd already attended my first Lotte Giants game by the end of my first month, and by then I already knew I'd love this country!
38: Just as I submitted my paperwork to teach, Sogang Language Program, Kaley's employers, began looking for another teacher. Kaley recommended me and I arrived in Busan one very quick month later! SLP was a great school to work at...for the first eight months. There was a lot of busy work in regards to submitting and resubmitting the same lesson plans, and grading up to four homework books per student per day, but it was endurable. Around May of 2009, Swine Flu became a huge issue, and the Koreans were terrified of catching it. They warned us to be careful when choosing our vacation spots for the upcoming Summer Break. | Kaley, Erin and I, along with friends at other schools, decided to go to Bali and verified with the management that this would be okay; they said it was. However, one week before our flight they changed their minds and informed us that we couldn't leave the country. With all of our flights and hotels booked already, we stood up for ourselves and said we were going anyway. This outright disobedience, of course, was a huge no-no in Korean society, and our Director threatened to fire us unless we signed a contract promising to pay them $10,000 if we returned with Swine Flu. Then when we did return, we were forced to take a weeks unpaid 'quarantine' leave. You know, just in case. | Sogang Language Program Hwamyeong-dong, Busan
39: For the rest of the year, we were snubbed, snickered at, cursed at (in Korean) and watched constantly. We were reprimanded for laughing, and when I asked one of the supervisors for help on how to teach a lesson, I was ignored. I left SLP with tears of joy to be rid of that place streaming down my cheeks. It wasn't until months later when Erin broke her ankle in taekwondo that we found out the medical wages we'd had taken out of our paychecks all these months had been going straight into the Director's pocket. He had been stealing from us all year! What's more, after a bit of research I learned that he'd under-reported our wages as well, reducing my government-matched tax return. From that, the insurance, and the quarantine, I'd lost almost $3,000. Good riddance!
40: Straight from the States, running on no sleep... First mud?? Hell yeah, bring it on!! | ~Real Friends Get Muddy~ | Canada Representin!!
41: Boryeong MudFest 2009 | Our first MudFest was an great success! By day we wrested in mud pits and swam in the ocean, and by night we enjoyed the pubs and fireworks. Soju, Cass and Hite were an all-day affair! When it was time for bed, the 12 of us returned to our 8'x8' minbak and went to sleep Lincoln Log style! | Katie! | Taylor! | Jenny! | Kaley!
42: Festivals are a big part of Korean life, and we were lucky to attend many of them. Cherry blossom festivals, music festivals, film festivals, mud festivals--it seemed every month was something new to look forward to. Not long after I'd first arrived in the country, we three musketeers went to the Jinju Lantern Festival, where walls of lanterns lined the walkways and hundreds more floated in the river. It was a wonderful evening, with snacks and shows, but we were just there for a few hours before heading back to Busan. Then, towards the end of my first year, the Grape Festival rolled into town (2 hours away, anyway) and Kaley and I signed up for a train tour to take us there and back. We first went to the festival, where we tried the wine of every grape there, and tasted a good amount of grape-flavored rice cakes, too. We stomped grapes, a must at any grape festival, and before we went home we toured a winery and picked our own souvenirs. Yum!
43: Festivals in Korea
44: Welcome to My World!
45: I was spoiled enough to have not just Mom visit, but Kaili too! Mom came during my first year there. She came with her friend Barbara, and the two of them toured around Korea together. They even met up with Angie's dad! Then during my second year, Kaili came by herself, so it was all up to me to keep her busy! Her favorite part? The city buses!
46: Eunsung Little Campus Language Institute
47: My entire year with Eunsung was 10 times better than the best moments I'd ever had at SLP! Our supervisor Frae was so helpful and caring that she bordered on over-attentive...a great problem to have! Our directors enjoyed taking us on group trips to Goeje Island or Haeundae Beach, and they always gave us a shopping allowance. What a wonderful, amazing group of people to work for; going to work was pure fun! | Gupo-dong, Busan
48: Guam April 14 -18, 2010
49: This must have been the best business trip ever... Although Eunsung hired me for KDLP, I actually ended up working at Little Campus because Keith wanted to work at KDLP with Kelly. Well, somehow the labor board got wind of the switch and made a big deal of it, claiming it was a breach of contract and that my visa was now void. The only way to get a new visa was to go to US soil--the nearest being Guam in the Mariana Islands south of Japan. I took a long weekend and enjoyed the island, making Army friends who invited me to their pool party and took me for a driving tour of the island. The next day I met new friends at karaoke, who offered to drive me to the airport later that night when it was time to go! It was perfect!
51: Chuseok is the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, and as a Kindergarten teacher it involves making songpyun* and playing yutnori**. Of course my favorite part is the last day of school before the actual holiday, when kindergäarteners come to school in their Hanbok, the traditional dress for holidays and special events. They're all so cute I just want to take them all back to America with me! *traditional sugar cake; **traditional game played with flattened sticks.
53: Boryeong Mudfest 2011 | Another year, another mudfest. It was so much fun the first time, of course we had to come back for another!
54: Fun-Filled Nights | Music. Dancing. Drinking. Playing. All night long, most every weekend. One weekend night | Maria - Angie - Jenny - Danny - Scott - Conor - Smoot - Cody - Rosie | in Busan felt more like an entire week of vacation; they never went by too fast or too slow, and the time was always 100% care free. We had the same haunts each week: the Basement and Crossroads in PNU, and Eva's, Vinyl Underground and Ol'55 in Kyungsung. Partying in Busan was like Cheers...for better or for worse, it's where everybody knows your name!
55: Liam - Tyler - Mike Jones - Kim - Brown Dave - Sarah - Tresanna - Marcus
56: Watch out!! It's the Red Bull Bandit and the Hot Six Slinger! | Elle Driver (aka California Mountain Snake) and Hulk Hogan | Oh, Kimberly Walshe...
57: Happy Hooligan Halloween | The Energy Superheroes | teamed up to save the night! | Together with Bacchus-D Man, nothing | could stand in their way!
58: reason to dress up like movie stars. We took a spontaneous train to Seoul to go shopping for just the right dress, and we had a ton of fun getting ready. New Years Eve was spent at the Basement, followed by Blowfish Grill and Aargh Bar on the beach to watch the first sunrise of 2011 coming up over Japan! | Much like our James Bond night, New Years gave Jenny and I a | Happy New Year!
60: These are dinosaur tracks! The owners of Eunsung took us foreigners here during a cultural trip to Goeje Island, and I actually got to walk in the dinosaurs' footsteps! | The End of the Era
61: Over my two years in Busan, Kaley, Angie and Jenny became as close as sisters to me, and we all made Korean and foreign friends that we'll never forget. The best thing about life in Korea was that everyone held the same frame of mind; we were all there for the same chance to explore everything this world has to offer. The four of us, along with a city-full of our closest friends, learned to live each day with anticipation for what was to come. | Although the culture and country were incredible, it was undoubtedly the friendships we built that made the experience as amazing as it was. Angie fell in love with Dong Hyuk, an amazingly kind and talented man, and they were married during her third year there. Leaving Korea and the family we'd built there was difficult, but now I have forever friends all over the world and enough memories to last a lifetime!
62: The Phillipines | Boracay and Manila Dec 25 -- Jan 03 | I'd only spent 4 months in Korea before it was time for my first vacation, and to Boracay we went! In fact, tons of Busanites went during varying days and we all met up with each other as some came and some left. On my way back to Busan I had a 12 hour layover in Manila, so I went to the mall, went ice skating, and saw a Philippino history documentary! | 2009 - 2010
64: What really stood out--for me at least-- about our trip to China was that we went over the Lunar New Year holiday. And not was it just any Lunar New Year, but it was welcoming in the my year: the year of the ox! I remember watching the fireworks there in Beijing, being amazed that the entire horizon was constant explosions of color. I'm so lucky to have lived through that moment! | January 1 - 3, 2009 | Beijing
66: B | a | l | i | After all we'd gone through to get there, what with SLP's Swine Flu paranoia, and the work drama it created, we arrived in Bali determined to live it up! Kaley, Erin, Katie and I stayed on Kuta Beach, where we met Kaley's friend Michaela, who lived there in Bali as a surfer/ missionary. There we enjoyed fresh food markets, shopping and beaches during the days, and in the evenings we'd have sunset beach dinners (with Red Bull) before going out to the disco at night. Before we left the country, it was important to travel to Ubud to visit Jalan Monkey Forest and the surrounding temples in Ubud, about three hours north. It was SO worth the trip!
67: July 27 - August 1, 2009 | Indonesia
70: Sam and Tanya drove down from Orlando to see me! | Look who I found!
71: A good child might have let her parents know she was coming home for two months... not me though! Kaili helped me cover up a very detailed story about Angie coming home--not me--and I flew into Orlando to spend a few days at Disney with Tina, Brandon and Kathleen before flying to Fort Lauderdale and surprising the whole family! | Vacation in America | October 5, 2009 - January 3, 2010
72: Cebu and Malapascua Island | The Philippines | July 30-August 3, 2010
73: north of Cebu with a population barely reaching 3,000. Malapascua was the perfect retreat from screaming kindergarteners to a perfectly white beach, crystal blue waters, and the best caiparinas we'd ever tasted. We played with the local children and sunbathed by day, and were serenaded by geckos at night. One evening we gazed at the millions of stars visible in the sky.. I could even see the Milky Way! Jenny and I loved Malapascua! | Malapascua, meaning 'Bad Christmas,' was named by the Spanish conquistadors that first landed there in the 1600s. It's a tiny island
74: Hong Kong and Macau | September 21-25, 2010
76: Malaysia | much of a tourist destination. We stayed long enough to go to Little India, to take a firefly tour, and to visit a mountain that monkeys habitat, but after just a couple days there we opted to move on to Langkawi, an island just minutes from Thailand. We rented a car with a girl we met there and drove around the small island, stopping at every beach. Later just Jenny and I went to the sky bridge, taking the most terrifying cable car ride ever to get there! | March 5 - 11, 2011 | Kuala Lumpur | Our first stop and future travel hub was Kuala Lumpur. This city is a large hubbub of commerce, not really
78: March 11 - 22, 2011 | Thailand
79: Koh Phi Phi / Ao Nang | Our visit to Thailand first took us to Ao Nang, where we stayed in a small hut right on the water. We'd walk along the beach to get to and from the "downtown" area, or else there was a small winding road to get to another town. As soon as we arrived we set out to explore that road, and who did we meet going down it but a little boy riding his elephant! | After a few days in Ao Nang, we thought we'd take a little boat ride to Koh Phi Phi...the only word you can use to describe that island is just "wow." We spent the afternoon lying on the beach in paradise. Back in town, we took a little kayak excursion through the rocks, which was absolutely incredible--I felt so dwarfed surrounded by them!
80: Oh, Koh Samui... Such a sweet little island, with such a terrible big brother influence just next door: Koh Phangan, an island known for its Full Moon Parties. Jenny and I met up with Will in Koh Samui, and the three of us went to Koh Phangan for the festivities. The intent had been to meet Ryan there as well, but due to the 40,000 others in attendance, we somehow missed him... We also spent some time in Bangkok, where we were just in time for Songkran, a holiday marking the beginning of the rain season--which, of course, would mean the beginning of a new season for food and abundance. We went to a temple to see the prayers and celebrations, and a monk tied a white string on each of our wrists. A symbol of purity, perhaps? One of the biggest Songkran parties is found annually in Hat Yai, where the entire city is turned into a water fight. We got lucky, happening to pass through at just the right time!
81: Koh Samui - Bangkok - Hat Yai
82: Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City | Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City
83: May 23 - 27, 2011 | Before we arrived in Ho Chi Minh, I had no idea how educational the trip was going to be...and I loved every moment of it. Of course we toured the markets and landmarks, but we also spent a very good amount of time at the Vietnam War Memorial museum, which was eye-opening, to say the least. Check out the medals below...absolutely touching. Then, we visited the Cu Chi | tunnels, where we learned how the Vietnamese natives fled and hid from their enemies. The tunnels were tiny, definitely not something normal-sized people could fit into, but we did get the chance to walk through a larger portion of the tunnels. While there, we also got a good idea of the traps they'd set for their enemies, full of snake venom and sharpened bamboo spikes!
84: Honestly, traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is not just bad, it's terrifying. There are no crosswalks there, and very rarely were there stop lights, so if you wanted to cross the street, what would you do? Well, you'd just walk! That's right, you take a step off the sidewalk and into the street, and keep moving forward--traffic moves around you! My suggestion for anyone new at this technique: don't look at the traffic coming. And whatever you do, don't stop walking! | Life in Vietnam
86: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
87: The Killing Fields of Cambodia--another learning experience. Here, we saw the thousands of skulls remaining from the horrors of the Pul Pot regime, when people were killed for being educated, for having promising futures, and for thinking for themselves. | On a happier note, small children at a rest stop let me hold their pet tarantula, and Jenny found a (what??) floppy disk.
89: Siem Reap, Cambodia
90: Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City | Paris, France | April 14 - 18, 2011
91: May 23 - 27, 2011 | Paris--Jenny's favorite city! Although she had been there before, I hadn't, and when she saw the tickets on sale to Paris, she insisted we take this route home. While our hotel was less than incredible, the city by far made up for it. We often had lunch in front of the Eiffel tower before continuing about. | I was amazed by the size of the Louve; I can't imagine how anyone could ever fully see the entire collection there. Shopping was fun as well, and one of the highlights of our time there was when we explored the graveyards. So many incredibly talented and famous people are resting in Paris! The best part, though, was easy: all of the options for cheese and bread!
92: Dad was smart enough to bring his swim suit. Not me, though... What a knucklehead! D'oh! | Scotland April 17-June 17, 2011 | -Edinburgh -Falkirk -Glasgow
94: Cities in Review | When I think Glasgow, I think Richie Brennan. And when I think Richie Brennan, I think loveable | Korea friend with a super quick wit and quite a talent for art. And, as it turns out, that's exactly what Glasgow is like. The city is definitely an industrial/arts city, the people more laid back than what you might find in a typical big city. Edinburgh, meanwhile, had a lot more hustle and bustle going on. The shopping involved big department stores as opposed to small boutiques, and there were constantly people going every which way, no matter what tiny side alley I wandered down. Still, it was Falkirk that was home for me. I loved working at the pub with Marilyn, Amanda and the whole crew, and I loved the guests that came in. Plus, what girl would really mind a job where everyone referred to her as Miss America?