Missing someone isn’t about how long it has been since you’ve seen them or the amount of time since you’ve talked. It’s about that very moment when you find yourself doing something and wishing they were right there by your side. – Author Unknown
One of the happiest moments ever is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. – Author Unknown
Sunday, August 30, 2012 (DAY 1,272)
Traveling as a budget backpacker for nearly 4-years I've obviously picked up an ENORMOUS amount of international travel information, especially those seeking to travel on a budget—whether that be for a long weekend a few weeks or an extended period of long-term travel—I try to provide FREE travel advice when I can, but also as a budget traveler I have signed up for #Plansify to see how this may be helpful to other travelers. My arsenal of information various from #TravelTips with finance, #SafetyAbroad, #OverlandBorderCrossings, #PaidWork Volunteering #Voluntourism, #TeachingAbroad, #VisaExtensions, #ExpatLiving #FilingTaxesAbroad #Backing #RTW and more!
Life could be different, society could change if we each stopped to consider the person next to us, the person we pass, the person who we judge as we walk by. Every one has a story, every one is dealing with something—something good, boring, horrific or delightful. Be kind. – Author Unknown
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 (DAYS 1,211 – 1,254)
Departing from Kodiak, Alaska was not a bittersweet departure, but one that I couldn't wait to make due to the false pretenses I was promised in agreeing to go and work for a fellow traveler that I THOUGHT was a friend, but later realized that unfortunately was a person of low moral character through his extremely racists comments and overtly horrific verbal abuse that was strewn out on a daily basis only directed towards myself. This was primarily due to the fact that our crew consisted of four people total; the captain, his friend he grew up with–ironically from Colorado also until their family moved when he was younger–and a friend he grew up with in Alaska. The other guys were fine and tried to be friendly and relatively encouraging at times. The reason I am writing this blog entry months later was because I was waiting to receive a minimal pay from an individual that has a lot to learn about life and both how to treat others with respect, especially if they are going to be in a leadership role like a captain, and how they are going to be held accountable for their past actions.
I'm not, by any means opposed to hard work, nor did I make the decision to go to Alaska without realizing that this would be unbelievably difficult it would push me to my limits physically and mentally, however, I was NOT prepared to be verbally abused through racist comments hourly. While I don't entirely regret this experience, because it taught me a lot, the only regrets I have is trusting this person by going up a month early to provide him with FREE boat work with empty promises and by NOT leaving earlier than I did.
I feel that working in broadcast television for 12-years, I've had to deal with some colorful language due to the stress and pressure of millions of audience members watching these live events, and therefore I am no stranger to the shear ferocity of the pressure that is placed on the directors. This doesn't bother me. What bothers me, is when you have a grown man that throws temper-tantrums like I have never seen before, literally stomping up and down screaming if a mistake was made, most often due to his ability to direct the crew properly. Yes, we may have missed a school of fish. Yes, there were plenty of mistakes I made. I am man enough to admit to that. But, I am also a greenhorn. I am also someone that was NOT given the proper training prior to departing for the season, because our captain thought it was more appropriate to use our time outside of working every day to go driving around to show us other areas of the island or hang out with friends. I understand socializing before a brutal season is necessary, but what I didn't understand, and I think most people would agree, is why wouldn't you get your crew and boat prepared FIRST and then take this time to enjoy ourselves before the season began. For example, I asked NUMEROUS times in the month prior to leaving why we couldn't take even our lunch break to let me go to get my gear for the season. There was ALWAYS an excuse for this–"We will do it tomorrow. Don't worry I've done thing a long time, it only takes a short amount of time to get your gear."and etc.–I'm sorry but when you are wearing this gear ALL season potentially AND all of it serves a very specific purpose why wouldn't this be a priority?! You wouldn't wait until 5-minutes before football players take the field to size them up with correct shoulder pads, helmets, cleats, etc. And to show I'm not just complaining here but I feel making valid points. The captain failed to make sure we had enough oil on the boat and NEVER checked the coolant levels nor made sure we had enough coolant on the boat and about 3-weeks into fishing EVERYDAY, the boat's engine finally overheated and yet another grown-ass man's temper tantrum came out!
You can read here, WHY NOT TO GO TO ALASKA FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING.
The day I left the boat was June 30, 2015. I purposely waited to tell the captain in the latter part of the afternoon, knowing we would be tendering at some point that night or the next day. He surprisingly was fine with this, and appeared to be almost happy about it, which I didn't care and was happy that there was no argument. In typical fashion, even though I despised much of the interaction that was needless to say unavoidable on a daily basis, I made sure to leave with my head held high by doing my best as a hard worker. I could have easily left some of my responsibilities, such as the dirty dishes and other things. But, I made it a point to clean up the cabin while the other guys crashed out for the night, knowing we would most likely be tendering at midnight. I washed the dishes, as was part of my duties on the boat. I cleaned up and organized things. I did NOTHING in spite but after everything was done. The excitement of removing myself from aboard this boat brought a continuous smile to my face. I sat up reading and couldn't wait for the call over the radio that the cannery tender was ready for us to jog over to deliver. I know that in photos you see me 'smiling' but this was a fake smile. I put on a facade in order to often attempt myself to try to just dig this situation out as long as I could, but deep down I could feel growing disgust for how one person could be so very hateful in the treatment towards others. He often would use the excuse, "sorry guys, [not to me–whom all the verbal abuse comments were directed towards–but to a pathetic general apology] I just get so excited that I often lose my temper." Please be a man and admit you are a whiny, immature, racist individual that lacks the understanding of what it genuinely means to be a respectful leader and human being.
After climbing aboard the tendering boat around 2am and arrived in Kodiak just after 5:30am–I believe–I couldn't wait to get a shower and search out flights to head to Colorado. I departed that same afternoon from Kodiak, Alaska traeling through multiple cities before arriving in Denver, Colorado on the evening of July 1st.
I wish I could carry your smile in my heart for times when my life seems low. It would make me believe… – My Korean Sister
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (DAY 1,150)
How do you describe the culmination of more than a year–even amid continuing to travel back-and-forth to South East Asia–of living in Seoul in a single blog? Well, I'm going to attempt to do so, especially from the perspective of a Korea-American adoptee (KAD). First of all, it's been quite the roller coaster of both ups and downs of the utmost emotional feelings because of the connection I have with this country that I was born in and a culture that is so different from the United States. As I've mentioned before, the East vs West dichotomy is by far the most interesting and unique cultural differences I've experienced, and I'm extremely thankful for all those that I've met and for the opportunities to TRY and even learn more about my past through both my reunion with my birth mother and half-sister (that I didn't even know about) as well as learning more about Korean cultural and East Asia's differences–through customs, culture, business, mindsets, expectations, etc and etc.
This past month has been one of the more difficult for me, as I struggled to decide upon leaving two successful businesses that I started alone–plus trying get everything I needed done in such a short amount of time. You would think that as a backpacker and veteran traveler it wouldn't be that difficult, but what has made it difficult has been; keeping up with my clients, trying to purchase specific items for what I will need for living on a fishing boat for possibly 100+ days, organizing multiple flights, packing, and the added pressure of friends asking why I'm going or what I'm going to do later. While I always appreciate these friendships and value our time together, what makes it hard some times is not fully understanding one another's perspective–which I talk about further down–the fact that at first I thought I had more than 90-days to wrap up things here, and then this request has change for me to possibly try to get to Alaska by the beginning of May, this of course sped up my timeline to less than a month. What made this such a difficult task has been in attempting to make online orders via Amazon and Walmart (would have preferred Target, however in Korea this site is blocked) , figuring out international banking issues, organizing the shipping of items, packing, tax questions (since this will be the first time working back in the United States since 2012, and thankfully I have a great friend Paul that has his own CPA firm in California and is always gracious enough to provide me with expert tax advice), plus continuing to work with my clients, budgeting issues, and so many others. Therefore, it's been both a struggle–emotionally, physically, and mentally–however I've adjusted to this fact, and thankfully MOST people around me have been supportive of this decision and the reason behind it. Plus, just like my time in Nicaragua and other countries I've lived in abroad, even as much as Korea is home, it is time to move on...for how long? I am guessing until next Fall, but there are too many factors that determine making a definitive statement at this time.
Korea–to me as an adoptee–brings up too many adjective to describe the feelings and connection I have with this country. I don't know why, but the flag below is a true symbol of how I feel in a visual form. I feel as though while I am an American citizen I still feel a disconnection–from as a child to even now, asking questions such as, "no, where are you really from?" or the statements from those, even at my parents' church saying things like, "oh, you should feel so lucky that you were adopted." It's these ignorant, yet, hurtful statements that continually make me feel that I am displaced. And, while living in Korea, even though it is very much of a homogeneous society that lacks diversity, I am still considered a gyopo (교포) or foreigner. Therefore, this flag represents that two parts that make of myself and how I find it hard to explain, or often, just get tired of feeling the need to explain to others–often complete strangers or those I've just briefly met–the story of my life. That's why I often say that whether you are single or married, as a KAD, NO ONE, will ever feel what it truly feels like except for other KADs and tha's what both ties us together in a bond that is so unique, and yet, what has sadly sometimes turned me off from wanting to attend or meet others KADs. Once again that love-hate type of relationship.
When I pause and think about how after Alaska, I'm planning to return–but unfortunately in some ways only for a brief period of time–to Colorado after more than three-years, I wander how much of a change others will see in me? I know that I have changed in ways that I cannot even begin to express in just a matter of a few words or paragraphs, but the self-reflection that I know of can be so different from how others will see this change in me.
As anyone that follows my blog, it is obvious that I love to use quotes. This–like most things I do in life serves a purpose. The first, is that is helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and second, often others have said it best already, and for this example one author that I truly enjoy is Dr. Seuss, "I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
As quite a few of you know, the primary reason for my return to Korea in October of 2013 was that after close to two-years of searching, several organizations–both in the United States and in Korea–were able to locate my birth mother and I had a reunion with her that of course was emotional and surreal. You can read more about it HERE. Since, even from the beginning of starting my website and blog, I have always been honest, I feel a bit sad in the fact that there has been little communication between the two of us since our reunion. I have tried to reach out several times, and she is busy with owning her own business, but with cultural and language differences, in the entire time I have been back to Korea I have only seen her a few times. Granted, she does live outside of Seoul, but it has been a bit of a disappointed. Therefore, KADs that are READY to begin the birth family searches need to;
1) Be emotionally and mentally prepared for all types of situations.
2) Manage your expectations and hopes.
3) Realize that you MAY need some type of support system whether that be a therapist, family, or close friends.
While I had expectations moving back to Korea in April 2014, the intention was to only spend a month in Korea before heading to Alaska for the summer of 2014 and then return to Costa Rica to see my girlfriend, Pamela, at the time. However, upon my return to Korea after spending time traveling South East Asia where there was both limited Wi-Fi in many of the areas and her inability to travel to Asia and join me, the decision to end the relationship was hers and therefore I was left with the decision of what to do. Thankfully, I had several choices, and I chose to stay in Korea and gain my F4 Visa ARC (Alien Registration Card), which is quite similar to the United States Green Card. After a few months of dealing with a break up, waiting nearly a month of empty promises–and then finally making the decision to just take it upon myself to submit the documentation to the Korean Immigration, which was done in a total of two and a half-hours (READ ABOUT HOW I DID IT HERE).
I never knew I had a half-sister and while her level of English was almost non-existent, we still had a great time together and I noticed how much of our personalities, especially our sense of humor and sarcasm was quite similar. This reminded me of the age-old debate of nature versus nurture.
While I may be a bit bias, being adopted through Eastern Social Welfare Society (#ESWS), I cannot thank all of the social workers and staff here, as I have seen how truly hard they work and sadly or horribly, I have also seen how some KADs treat these hardworking and genuinely passionate individuals. One example, which I will keep their name anonymous, was a KAD that I met, which was her first visit to Korea and she was in her mid-30s, and after her return to the United States, she chose to began the birth family search, but then when it was not meeting her expectations in the sense of, "why is this taking so long?" She began berating and verbally abusing the social workers through emails! ABSOLUTELY uncalled for, in my opinion.
First of all, the fact that she visited ESWS and knew that the Post-Adoption Services has a limited staff of between 5-6 full time employees and they receive thousands of requests each year and that for many KADs that CHOOSE to begin searching for their birth family, often it takes years because of limited resources, records that may be 20, 30, or 40-years old or more. Plus, it's hard enough on them when they do make contact and the birth family wants NOTHING to do with the individual, but it is part of their job to pass along this information and try and be both a social worker and counselor. Therefore, I HIGHLY encourage people (KADs or not) to PLEASE be respectful and support this wonderful non-profit organization of staff members that, again, have a GENUINE PASSION for Adoptees. I feel very fortunate to have met my social worker that helped assist me in my birth family search, Ms. Kang, and I've also been very glad to have had a chance to often visit with all of the social workers in their office, even being invited to lunch with them, listen and share with them as well as encourage them when they are broken down to tears from the verbal abuse they often deal with on a weekly if not DAILY basis! Once again, people of character show their true side, and sadly even some KADs show this in ways that are entirely unacceptable.
Even amid all of the emotions and adjustments in deciding to stay in Korea for an indefinite amount of time to learn more about the culture of my past and to try and replenish depleted bank accounts from nearly three-years of global travel, I still continue to find humor everywhere! This is a fine example of a specific chapter I was required to teach at a public school from the curriculum that I was given. Oops Willie Poops, will forever be something that I cannot think of without laughing out loud!
Unfortunately, once I began my businesses in Korea, I have not nearly had the time nor energy to volunteer as much as I would have liked with the children at the various orphanages I have spent time at, but, I hope to try and spend at least a few more days or even hours before leaving Korea.
The beauty of Seoul, even amid a megacity of more than 25.6 million people–twice the population of New York City–there is beauty everywhere. This is a shot I took in the Fall at Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) of all of the photos I have taken, this is by far one of my favorite.
Even though South Korea is a democratic First World country, there are still restrictions to various websites, and talking with many Korean friends and clients, their criticism of the government–as with most citizens of every country around the world–but I just wanted to use this to demonstrate the fact of WHY and HOW it has often been very difficult to try and order things online including my HORRIFIC EXPERIENCE WITH AMAZON, which is you are considering moving abroad or are currently living abroad READ THIS and in the future seek out the other various online retailers such as G-Market (Korea Based GLobal Retailer - English) that offers a large variety of products including same-day shipping on several items and Aliba, another global trading and shipping retailer.
Some of the amazing friends I've made while participating at the Hallym University International Summer Korean Language and Cultural Program or (H.I.S. 2014 for Hallym International Studies).
My first trip to Korea with several of the KADs that were part of the 2013 Eastern Social Welfare Society (#ESWS) Home-to-Home Program. Once again thank you to everyone that has supported me both on my travels, and in the opportunity to return to South Korea!
Lastly, I think it's disappointing when you can see motivation in others and you try and bring it out of them through encouragement, but yet the lack in ability to take action can be frustrating, of course. One such article I also like talks about identifying 8 Motivation Killers. I know that when I was a co-manager in Nicaragua, Marc–the other co-manager was one such motivational killer, but even through this and that experience I continue to learn and try and still seek out ways to actively and effectively encourage positive change in people's lives.
I thought the be way to end this blog was with a series of quotes along with an inspirational video that hopefully will motivate you to achieve your dreams!
I now bid farewell to the country of my birth - of my passions - of my death; a country whose misfortunes have invoked my sympathies - whose factions I sought to quell - whose intelligence I prompted to a lofty aim - whose freedom has been my fatal dream. – Thomas Francis Meagher
May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand. – Irish Blessing
Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I'll miss you. Until we meet again! – Author Unknown
Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. – Richard Bach
Every day I shall put my papers in order and every day I shall say farewell. And the real farewell, when it comes, will only be a small outward confirmation of what has been accomplished within me from day to day. – Etty Hillesum
A VIEW OF THE GUEST HOUSE I CALLED HOME . . .
About the Author
My name is Troy and I gave up a promising 12-year career to travel the world! Now after more than 4-years of continuous global travel, I've lived an incredible life and my goal is to inspire others to achieve their dreams!
All content is