Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It’s been a dreary five days

Some rain, some brisk winds, and overcast skies have prevailed for the last five days.  Makes for pretty boring days here.  I worked on the computer for the refuge on Monday, and then spent the last two days doing not much of anything.  It’s a string of days like this that makes me wonder why I write this blog.  There’s really nothing interesting or exciting to report.


In desperation early this evening, I decided to gather the trash and take it to the dumpster.  Exciting, right?  Well, when I pulled the garbage can out from underneath the sink, I noticed a puddle of water.  Nuts!  So I bent over to check the trap fittings under the kitchen sink.  One was wet, so I tried to tighten it.  I have always had trouble with that ‘Lefty-Loosey, Righty-Tighty’ thing.  Seeing as I was essentially standing up side down, of course I loosened it instead of tightening it. Disappointed smile  You can guess what happened to that little leak.


                                                                  “She’s spying on us again!”

After taking care of the trash and recyclables, I headed back to the rig to upload a few pictures that I took in back along Flat Lake.  In this pic, I wanted to put the subtitle in a speech bubble emitting out of the mouth of one of the swans.  As some of you know, you can’t do that anymore with Picasa 3.9, so I tried to go to Google+ to edit the picture.  OMG!  That sure didn’t work.  I couldn’t figure out how to even find this picture since it wasn’t in any of the folders that Google+ had decided I had.  It was another one of those tear your hair out situations for me.  Those improved editing options must be there somewhere, but I sure couldn’t find them.  I’m hoping that maybe Rick will do a tutorial on how to get all your pictures into Google+, and tell me how the heck I get pictures there that I want.


You can see in these photos just how dull and dreary it has been around here.  Tomorrow I’m off to get some new shoes for the toad, and take care of other errands in Detroit Lakes.  The weather guessers have been forecasting sunny skies for several days, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I sure hope they get it right soon.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Transitioning to a New Home-Our Lives Are An Open Blog

Hello! Right about now we're probably eating some fresh sushi, indulging in some Okonomiyaki drinking some Asahi and enjoying Japan with Jeremy's family...I can't complain. This is Jeremy and I's second time to Japan and we've loved this opportunity to explore the country a little more!

So filling in for me today is the sweet Alex from Our Lives Are An Open Blog. I love hearing from other expats and their transition to their new home. We all have such unique stories and perceptions and I feel that so much can be learned from each other about this experience. So whether you're moving to a new country, or just visiting a new place, I know that these lessons will come in handy!

Go check out Alex's blog where she talks about life, love and the ever changing life of an expat. 


Aloha to all the lovely readers of Lost in Travels! I am so excited to be taking over Chelsea's piece of the web while she is off exploring for the week. My husband and I write the blog Our Lives Are An Open Blog {emphasis I write and he inputs}. 

Since this is an expat blog and we are recent expats, I wanted to talk about our transition from  Georgia to Hawaii and now South Korea. Throughout our journey, Matt and I have learned a few things that I thought would be good to share for those looking to start traveling, or maybe just curious to see the process we went through.

{Matt and I on our honeymoon in Vancouver} 

Make Travel A Priority: If travel is what you want to do then try to find a way to do it. When Matt and I were dating we constantly talked about our future, and traveling was part of that future. After we got married, we decided to move back to Hawaii to finish our undergrad degrees. This was a huge step for us because we were newlyweds, and we were moving so far away from our families. Plus, Hawaii is really expensive and we were really poor. But it was this sense of adventure that kept our priorities straight. I feel like if we had stayed in Georgia, close to our comfort zone, our desire to travel would have been put on the back-burner. Matt and I are constantly trying to take advantage of every opportunity we have to travel. It's easy for life to take over, and we get to busy to remember to travel. But if you love to travel- go do it! Even if it's a quick day trip down the road- travel is travel.

{At our college graduations

Forget The Timeline: One thing I have learned over the last few years is that everyone is on a timeline. Every timeline is different, and that is okay. I used to stress myself out because I would compare myself to my friends and what they were currently doing in their lives. I have a close friend that just finished her master's degree from Columbia, another just had her first baby, and don't get me started on my old lacrosse coach that spent a year traveling around the world with her husband! 

What is important is that you are comfortable with your timeline. Try not to compare yourself with others. If you want to take a year to travel- do it. If you want to do a study abroad, but you're afraid of pushing back graduation- do it! In 2009, I pushed back my graduation to go to London to study abroad.  In 2010, I did it again when my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted to stay and help with her chemo. I graduated about a year and a half off schedule, but in that time period I started dating Matt and we were married at the end of 2010. If I had been worried about sticking to the so called 'standard timeline' who knows where I would be now. Timelines are important, but they need to be your timeline- not your parent's or friend's or society's.

{Laie Point - Our backyard in Hawaii} 

Be Careful Of Advice: Parents and friends really have our best interests in mind. (Or so I hope.) When Matt and I were planning to move to South Korea we got tons of differing pieces of 'advice'. We had people that supported us completely {thanks parents}, and others that thought we were completely crazy. I had a doctor straight up tell me I was probably going to get bombed while in Korea. {Thanks Doctor... exactly what I want to hear right before I move to a foreign country.} 

This is what I have to say about advice- take it lightly. Matt and I always try to listen to what everyone has to say and then we make our final decision based on all the evidence that we have researched, what we feel is right, and then maybe what others say. I can honestly say never in my adult life have I just blindly listened to what my parents told me to do just because they said so. That is part of being an adult! So when you are thinking about travel and you're throwing ideas around- listen to what others are saying, but make sure it's just added information. Don't let others decide for you.

{Suwon Fortress} 

Go With A Contact: This was the number one factor with us ending up in Korea. When Matt and I started researching teaching overseas, we read horror story upon horror story about people getting pretty much screwed over by employers/ landlords/ ticket agents/ you name it we read it. When we were in our last semester of school, some good friends of ours were going through the process to teach here in Korea. They had put a $1000 deposit on a place when they got news that school was shutting down and taking their money. This really freaked us out because we wanted to teach overseas, but we didn't want to get taken advantage of. {I mean who does?} 

So we started reaching out to friends of ours that could help us. We were pretty lucky because we went to an international school. We had neighbors from Samoa, Tonga, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Tahiti just to name a few. A good friend of ours from South Korea talked to one of his friends and within the next month we both had signed contracts. It is because of our friend that we have the jobs we have now. We picked Korea because we trusted our friend and the person he set us up with. If this is possible for you I would totally encourage it. Many universities have programs set up for you to look into. I know our school of education was always looking for teachers to go overseas. Our advice is to try to find a program like that before you try anything else. 
* Note: Don't do anything without a signed contract! 

Don't Be Afraid Of Change: This is a big one for me. It was hard for me to leave my teaching job in Hawaii. I had a pretty a good set up and if I stayed another year I would have had tenure! But every time I've had a major change in my life it's been worth it. Getting married was a huge change, but that worked out great :) Moving to Hawaii was just as good. Change is scary, but it doesn't mean it has to be bad.

{At Seoul Grand Park visiting the zoo} 

Last little tidbit- Do Your Research: This has been key with any trip Matt and I have taken. Become mini-experts in the place you are planning on going to. This will help with the big and the small things. It will help keep you safe, and it will things run a bit more smoothly. I find that Matt and I fight bicker less when we have researched more. Plus, the research will help you sort through all the 'good' advice that is being thrown your way.

I really hope these pieces of information give you a little more insight into our journey, and maybe even helped a few of you out. Travel is an exciting experience, but it is not one that everyone always understands. But I firmly believe, if you are true to yourself everything will be okay.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you over at our little home. I would love to hear from y'all.

Thanks again Chelsea.

Much Love- Alex


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This Man of Mine

I have to take a moment and give credit where credit is due. Because this man of mine does a whole lot more than I could ever ask or give him credit for. 

So in celebration of what he calls his 'funeral' of turning 30 (even though we all know he'll forever act like he's in his 20's) I am making this post an ode to the birthday boy. The man behind the blog who doesn't get the spotlight nearly enough. 

So here's to the the man who....

has awesome photos like this from when he was little. Seriously, anytime I'm having a bad day, this photo instantly makes me feel better. 
forever changed my mind about redheads. I mean come on, how can you not think that red headed little cowboy is adorable?!

is patient with me in working on my fears. He's actually holding my hand so I don't go back up!
edits and shoots all of our photos. That's right. Every photo on here that doesn't look like it was taken with a phone (I take full credit for those) was produced by him. I couldn't ask for a better blogging partner.
always knows just how to make me smile.
gets up early every.single.morning to make us breakfast so I can take my time getting ready for work.

lets kids dress him up and who made my heart melt when we were kindi teachers and he would make up stories and tell them everyday in class.

is a daredevil extraordinaire. And even though I have had to close up, clean up and take care of more wounds than I care to count, I can never say that life with him is boring.
So, to the man who is above and beyond what I ever could have hope for...
30 has never looked so good.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Travel Tuesdays-Nepal

Just a little something to spark your wanderlust for the week.
“A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lessons Learned From Traveling With Your Man

"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." - Mark Twain
Thankfully through traveling to three continents and eleven different countries together, my husband and I have fallen more in love with each other (and traveling) than the dreaded latter of the quote above. But through our world galavanting, we've not only learned more about ourselves, but we've also learned some priceless lessons about each other. So I've compiled a list of five things that you can expect to learn when traveling with your man.

1. Bathroom language just can't be avoided. Especially when you spend every day for two weeks chowing down on some Thai green curry and a bathroom break is required within 10 minutes of finishing. Check out this post to see what are must haves in your medicine kit

2. Hanger is real...and ugly. I truly believe that all things said out of hunger should immediately be forgiven and forgotten. End of story. Oh and always carry snacks with you when traveling...always. 

3. Your fights while traveling will most likely become hilarious stories...later on. Keep that in mind while traveling. My favorite happened while on our honeymoon in Fiji. We decided to take a hobie cat and sail to a nearby island about a mile away. I had warned my new husband that it may be the wrong time to do this since the wind was dying down; but we went anyway and made it there in no time. Well when we were heading back, the wind died. I'm not just saying, it died down, I mean, there was zip zero zilch wind coming our way. We were stuck about half a mile from either island, in the blazing heat of the sun and for some reason we made the wise decision not to put on sunscreen that day. Being stuck, with no sun screen, and no way back does not make for a fun day of sailing. Of course at the time it wasn't funny but it didn't take long for us to laugh about it later. 

4. Their true side will be shown quicker while traveling than in day to day life. Combine unfamiliar territory, different languages and cultures and you've got yourself a mix dangerous enough to send the most calm and collected guy into a panic. And rightfully so. Thankfully, I've found a guy that stays cool even in the midst of canceled flights, being lost in an unfamiliar city or worst of all, trying to find the nearest bathroom after the aforementioned green curry outings. Because let's be honest, those are the times that I panic the most.

5. One will always be more adventurous than the other. I'd like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous person but that doesn't even come close to what my husband likes to do. This inevitably means that we make compromises when we travel. My husband's life long dream is the go cage diving with great white sharks in Cape Town, South Africa. This is a perfect example of when I'm definitely not as adventurous as he is. Cuddling up with tigers? Yes. Zip lining in the jungle? Why not? Swimming with whale sharks? Do you even have to ask? But Great White Sharks? I'll be in the boat documenting it all, thank you very much. Fair compromise right?

Needless to say; everyday is a new challenge, a new adventure, and a new story to be told. And we can't wait to see what happens next! If you liked this piece, check out my post about How to Travel Without Killing Each Other.

*this post was originally used as a guest post on The Nectar Collective

A good weekend for growing grass

It was a dreary and overcast day when I woke up yesterday with temps in the 40’s, so I waited a while for things to warm up a bit before heading over to the Visitors Center and offices to take care of my watering chores.


This building has been closed for about a year, totally gutted, and retrofitted for energy efficiency.  This is most of the sod that was laid on Friday.  There’s a lot more sod arriving tomorrow.  My job this week is to soak the sod daily so it gets off to a good start.

_MG_9457If you look closely, you may be able to see one of the two sprinklers that I have.  I’ve been cautioned several times to not allow any of the water to get on the rocks on the side of the building.  The well water around here is very high in iron, and would make all of the rock fascia turn a rusty color.  So, I have to be very careful in the placement of the sprinklers, and move them often.  I didn’t even get too wet trying to dash up and move them as they made their circular spray.

I think you can notice how dismal the sky was.  After a few hours, those skies opened up with rain.  I had brought Emma with me for company, and she doesn’t like rain.  So I gathered her back up and sat in the car with her to see if it was just a passing shower.  Eventually, I headed back to the rig to check the radar. 

It turned out that the rain never stopped until almost 10:00 at night.  As near as I can figure, we had about 2”.   Good for the grass, but pretty boring for me and Emma. 

Eventually the skies cleared this afternoon, but fall temperatures have prevailed.  I was pretty much a lazy bum today, and spent the day in sweats and a tee shirt with the heat on for the morning.


I did put on shoes and socks of course, because I seldom do anything without them.  Emma spent the afternoon stalking another ground squirrel.  As usual, she was entertained, but unsuccessful.  Can you notice the purple finch that is even closer to her than the squirrel?


The birds have come to ignore her, and she ignores them.  This is one reason I think she is part terrier rather than a lab.  If it isn’t a hawk or turkey vulture up in the sky, she doesn’t give two craps about birds.  This is the only dog I’ve ever had that regularly watches the sky. 

I’ll be attending the staff meeting tomorrow to see what they want me to do this week.  I’m guessing I’ll be on grass duty until I leave in 11 days.  It’s easier on my shoulder than painting posts, so I’m happy with that.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Overseas Packing

When packing up to live overseas, there is a weird balance of what to pack. You never know exactly what you'll need and you never know if you'll be able to find certain things where you're moving. We were allowed two 50 pound bags each but when you think of the clothes and housing items that you need to bring with, those 50 pounds might as well been 10. Also, we were told that the washers are not exactly the most gentle machines (I have the holy clothes to prove it). So we shouldn't bring out highest quality or most expensive clothes with.
What I did want to bring that was more expensive and high quality were hair appliances. I brought with me my hair straightener because even the cheaply made ones here are expensive and my curling iron; because those are just about impossible to come by where we live. I bought good brands because I wasn't sure that if they did break, if I would be able to replace them easily. I didn't want to chance it. So, needless to say that after almost three years of living abroad with the same straightener, I am long overdue for an upgrade and thankfully the people at Missiko agreed and sent me their Hanna Pro Flat Iron to try out.
And I have to say, this flat iron was rated so high for a reason! I'm not sure if it is because my old flat iron was so old, or maybe this thing really is just that good; but my hair has never felt better after using it. It straightened my slightly wavy hair easily and quickly without having to go over the same area twice like I have been doing with my previous appliance. And it left my hair silky and shiny, a rarity for my usual dry hair. One of my favorite parts about it though is how light it is! When we travel, every ounce counts and I have things like hair appliances talking up more weight and room than we have.

If you're in the market for anything from hair straighteners to blowdryers, then Missiko has got you covered. Check out their full selection here.

*product was given in exchange for a review however, all opinions are my own