About meHi. I'm Natalie, a freelance writer and amateur artist from England. Join me for a vicarious journey of travel stories, sketches, photos and inspiration that scratch under the surface of countries and cultures, throwing you into the deep end of travel.
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Category Archives: solo female-travel teaching in korea
In my previous article about whether or not it is worth visiting Korea in the winter, I mentioned skiing/snowboarding as one of the winter highlights. Since it was announced that Korea would be hosting the next winter Olympics, ski resorts all around the country have been sprucing up their image in preparation for it, meaning there couldn’t be a better time to come and try out winter sports here. On my second sponsored trip with travel and tour group Adventure Korea, I headed off to Phoenix Park in Gangwon-do province, one of the skii resorts that the winter Olympics will be taking place in. We headed down early on Saturday morning, arriving at the resort at just gone 11. Our skii/snowboard hire had already been arranged for us, so we only had to pop into the hire shop briefly to pick up some ski suits and buy waterproof gloves/goggles before changing gear and hitting the … read more
On Wednesday as snow fell thickly across South Korea’s capital city and temperatures dipped below -16, a group of elderly women made their two-hour weekly journey to the Japanese embassy in Seoul. There to meet them was a mixed crowd of almost 200 people, ranging from young girls to middle-aged men, and everything in between. This gathering came with placards and simple demands, braving the freezing conditions to deliver a message that came with less anger than peace, one which was conveyed through singing and smiles. But this protest was no laughing matter. The gathering were here to argue against the sex slavery enforced by the Japanese military during their rule in Korea during WW2, an atrocity that still hasn’t been accounted for by the Japanese government. The elderly women who attended this protest now call themselves halmoni (grandmother’s) but they were once known as “comfort women” – women forced into prostitution by the Japanese when Korea was its … read more
Just two months ago, leading travel guide Lonely Planet named ice fishing in Korea as one of its 7 wonders of winter, putting it right up there with the Northern lights in Canada and the hot springs in Yellowstone national park. Unlike these two natural phenomena though, ice fishing is relatively new to Korea. Held in Hwacheon city, Gangwon-do – just 20 mins from the North Korean border – the ice festival was originally set up by the farmer residents of the surrounding area who struggled to make money during the long winters. With hardly any visitors outside of the military passing through, they came up with the idea of an ice festival to pull in tourists. They stopped the flow of one of their large rivers, allowing it to ice over, and then filled it up with the moutain trout that are in abundance in this part of … read more
I’ve been dreading winter since I arrived in Korea ten months ago. The thought of cold winds coming in from Siberia, and temperatures that regularly drop below freezing point absolutely terrified me. However, now that winter is finally upon us, I’ve discovered that it is not so bad after all. Since Korea was announced the official host for the 2018 winter olympics last year, the country has started stepping up its game as far as winter activities are concerned, and I have discovered that there is still plenty of fun to be had here during the cold months. So here are some ideas for things to do here if you do end up coming to Korea in the winter: Snowboarding/skiing Korean-style While you might be hard pressed to find log cabins complete with warm fires burning away in the fireplace, what Korea does offer is something of a contemporary skiing … read more
A Korean teacher’s perspective on native English teachers in Korea read more
Cat cafes, Charlie Brown coffee, and Hello Kitty coffee shops: a look at the vast array of wonderfully unique independent cafes that lurk behind the usual coffee franchises in Seoul. read more
A controversial interview with a Korean woman about the worth of native English teachers in Korea read more
It’s coming up to almost a year that I’ve been living in Korea, and I think it is safe to say it hasn’t been the smoothest ride. However, despite my various ups and downs, there have been some moments when I discovered things so beautiful it took my breath away, and reminded me just why I signed up to come here in the first place. These are a few photos that, to me, signify the real beauty of this country. woman sitting amongst her produce at the Busan fish market Emerald mountains in ChungCheongnamdo Exotic ingredients and spices at a market outside of Sudeoksa Temple A burst of colour at Mt. Namsan, Seoul, in Spring. Beautiful blues on the coastline in Busan fish seller sharpening her tools at the fish market in Busan Rusting memories padlocked to the N Seoul Tower. last of the Autumn leaves at Namsan, Seoul
This is drawn from a photo of a woman I spotted selling fish at the Busan fish market. I found her facial expression so sad and deep, it made me think a lot about what her life must be like. The older people in Korea have seen their country change from a virtually off-the-map third world colony into a first world metropolis almost overnight, and yet they seem fearless in the face of modernization. Older Korean women, especially, are a force unto their own. Drawn using a blue biro.
Korean thanksgiving (Chuseok) came and went fairly uneventfully last month, and I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to join in the festivities. So when a friend of mine invited me to an American thanksgiving party this month, I jumped at the chance. I’ve never spent any time in America (even though my friends all tell me I have an American accent) so I didn’t really know what to expect. Our thanksgiving group was fairly mixed, and in fact the Americans were outnumbered with people from New Zealand, Canada, England, and Ireland making up the majority of the party. However, this didn’t stop everyone getting into the swing of thanksgiving. Under the guidance of our American host Britt, everyone was allocated various dishes to bring, along with an obligatory bottle of wine, of course. My contribution was a pumpkin pie, which Britt kindly picked up from the American army base for … read more