Steak Kimbap (gimbap)

The trip has ended and I have to say, this was one of the easiest jouneys back to Korea I have ever had. The flight crew on Asiana Airlines were fabulous and made everything simply awesome. Because of my travel time, I wound up having all my meals on the plane during transit. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I needed to forage for food, for Jo and I did a marvelous job of cleaning out our stocks before departing.

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One of the first things I noticed when I returned to the apartment building Friday night, was that the Kimbap restaurant that open (and then quickly closed) was replaced by a brand new GS25. Because the CVS (convenience store) in my building doesn’t always stock kimbaps, I ventured into the new GS to see if I could find something tasty. To my surprise they had my favorite treat.



If you watched the video, you’ll see me rejoice in eating the pre-packaged goodness. This is my normal morning meal when off to the university. A little rice, a little meat, and a few veggies to round things out. It very much reminds me of some of the kimbaps I’ve made over the years – but for a fraction of the cost. I’m not sure how they can sell these for W1300, when the restaurants sell them for W2500 or more. Regardless, it was a welcomed treat, and one I had been looking forward to experiencing since I set off to return to Korea.

Review: AKU LA STRIA GTX

If there’s one type of footwear I love, it’s hiking boots. There’s something I find very comforting about wearing a pair of boots, even if I am not on a trail. When I came to Korea in 2009, I had one pair of boots I purchased from a discount store in Arizona for something like $15. It wasn’t a name brand or even that high of quality; however, it did the trick. I traversed several trails and never had a problem. That is until recently, when the soles started peeling away. Seeing as the hiking season is about to really kick into high gear and I needed some new everyday footwear, I ventured into Seoul with Jo to pick up a new pair of boots.

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Now being a man who stands 194cm, it goes without saying that my feet are a little larger than many in Korea. Depending on the make of the shoe, this means I wear between a 280mm and 300mm shoe. This presents a bit of a problem for me, since many local stores carry sizes up to about 270mm and on occasion 280mm. It is virtually impossible for me to buy a pair of shoes in Dongtan. No one carries a size large enough for me. Therefore, we headed to Gangnam to go shopping.

After several attempts to find a pair I liked, I found the above. I had never heard or seen of AKU before, so I dialed up my iPhone and did a little research. Here’s what the company’s website says:

AKU, an Italian company, founded by Galliano Bordin, which has grown from a small workshop into an industry, has more than thirty years’ experience in the design and production of high quality trekking and outdoor footwear.

The AKU collection ranges from mountaineering boots to active free time footwear and behind each model lies a genuine love for manufacturing, built on the age-old prestigious tradition of Italian workmanship. Research into new technologies, together with the design and production of the AKU trekking and outdoor footwear collection top models, take place at the production plant in Montebelluna, Italy in the province of Treviso, famous for its sports footwear.

The second production facility is in Cluji Napoca, in Romania, where part of the AKU models are manufactured. Ongoing investments in materials research, technological designs, and production craftsmanship have made AKU the undisputed leader in comfort and fit for all applications of outdoor footwear.

The model I purchased for 335,000원 ($295) was the LA STRIA GTX. Not only was this the most expensive pair of shoes I had ever purchased, but also the first boots I’ve owned with Gore-Tex. As soon as I slipped them on in the store, I knew I had found my new boots. The comfort was amazing and its cushioned soles perfect. I really have never had a better pair of boots. That’s saying something, too. Many do not realize this, but in 2004 I suffered from a nasty bout of plantar fasciitis. Once I recovered I made two promises to myself: 1) never skimp on shoe quality; 2) once my feet start to ache in a pair of shoes… get them replaced (the shoes, not the feet).

I wasn’t too thrilled about the price tag, but knowing that things are more expensive in Korea and these are imports, I ponied up the dough. Since that day, I’ve been wearing the boots every chance I get.

Wet weather has pretty much come to a close until the summer monsoons, so I really haven’t had much of a chance to test out the weatherproofing nature of Gore-Tex. I am also pleased to report that after being on my feet for 16 hours, there have been no signs of fatigue. That’s quite a surprise, since my previous boots weren’t able to achieve that.

Overall, I am very satisfied with these boots. If you’re in the market for new hiking books, give these a look-see.

Work begins!

It’s Monday morning here in Korea, and that means while I may not be teaching until the end of the month, it is time for me to get back to work. With my trusty pot of coffee beside me, I am now knee-deep in the process of transferring all my video files from the portable hard drive to their work locations. Pictures have already been transferred.

This is probably the most boring part of coming back from vacation. While the netbook and portable drives did great on the trip, I still have a lot of manipulation to do once here. The only alternative would be to take Julia (the MBP) with me… and that isn’t happening unless I need to produce something while on the road.

My main goal today is to get everything converted so I can edit Next Tuesday’s video. Wednesday will be a recording day, as will be Friday. I plan on recording the podcast on Thursday. That means the only “easy day” I have this week, is today… and Jo and I still have a little unpacking to do!

What’s the hardest thing about coming back from a long vacation for you?

A little slow…

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Here we are sipping cocktails at a beach side bar loving life here in The Philippines. One thing that has not been going well has been the Internet connections. The dive shop where Jo is studying has some wifi, but not enough to upload video, so all the tweets and pictures usually come from there. Aside from losing my GoPro because of the crappy mount, the trip has been awesome so get ready for some great posts and pictures when we return.

How are you doing?

Off to the Mountains…

It’s the first Monday of the year and the last one in Korea for quite some time. While I have been on Vacation since December 20th, that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting on my tuchas doing nothing. In the past few weeks, I’ve been writing like a madman finishing articles for The Korea Blog that will be posted in January. All five of my pieces have been completed and entered to their database for publication, so that is a huge load off my mind, since my goal of going away on vacation… is to actually be on vacation. I’ve also completed all my story pitches for February, so when I return, I can get right back on the horse and start again. (By the way, the first video for February is already completed!)

Image Credit: High1 WebsiteToday, I’m headed out to Gohan and the High1 Resort to take up a little winter sports action. I’d like to say this is all for fun, but it’s another writing assignment for a local magazine. It’s the last little bit of work that needs to be done before I head out-of-town next weekend. I may opt to try to shoot one more video and have it edited before we leave. This is the most amount of “vacation” time ever had, and I’m trying my best not to waste it away. I really want to make use of the time off to get as much done as possible.

What are your secrets to staying productive?

Enjoying #CoffeeTime

I’m sitting here in the “office” doing a little work this morning…

Well, if you call drinking coffee work… But seriously, over the next few days, I have a lot of work to finish before we set off on vacation. In fact, in just over an hour, I’ll be catching the KTX to Busan for a quick day trip to gather pictures and video for an upcoming Korea Blog post. While on the train, I’ll also be conducting a little research for a trip that Jo and I will be making the day after New Year’s.

When I was in the US and managed my own business, I always took one of my vacation weeks during the last week of the year. I did this for a number of reasons, but mainly because it was the time when my entire family was together and it was something special for us – that rare time when everyone could be together and catch up in person – to share meals and company. Being here in Korea, I don’t have that opportunity and must rely on technology. This upcoming Wednesday, I’m looking forward to a grand Skype call with the entire family. Sure it’s only been since August since I’ve seen them in person, but that doesn’t mean that I miss them any less.

Since I have been “on vacation” from the University, I’ve been working harder than while I was at school. I can’t wait to actually go on vacation and get some down time.

What have you enjoyed most about this past holiday week? When do you take your vacation (if you get any)? how often do you see family members that are disbursed around the country or globe?

 

Tagged

Last week I was tagged by Cailin O’Neil of Travel Yourself to sift through my videos and choose the best seven of 2011. I thought the number was a bit odd, so I decided to change things up a little and choose one video from each of the different series and one from the vlog channel. Here are my choices.

First up… The Korean Adventures



Second… You’re Neck of the Woods



Third… A Day Away



Fourth… The Philippine Adventures



Fifth… The American Adventures



And a special bonus video from the vlog channel



So there you have it… favorite travel videos from each of the different series this past year. What do you think? Do you agree with my selections? Are there ones that I missed? Please let me know.