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Take 6 Trips in Korea Challenge 2015

Sometimes we get caught up in all the reasons NOT to travel. We get lazy and demotivated, we feel constrained by money and time, and sometimes we only feel like we’re traveling if we hop on a plane and end up in a completely new environment, full of strange foods and unknown languages, and use it as an excuse not to leave the comfort of the couch.

That’s where the Take 12 Trips Challenge comes in. It’s a well-known blogger community event that asks people to do exactly that – take 12 trips in a single year. It’s a call to get out there, to ignore all the things that stop us from traveling, and to simply travel more.

"Joseon Guard," by Christian Senger, text added, CC Attribution

“Joseon Guard,” by Christian Senger, text added, CC Attribution

I know I’m guilty of mostly visiting far-flung destinations that are famous or exotic, or simply not traveling at all…but this is the year that this all changes. In 2015, I’ll be making an effort to explore more of the worthy destinations found in my very own backyard.

However, a trip a month in Korea is a bit much for me, (after all, I still treasure my adventures far from home). So instead, I’m creating my very own Take 6 Trips Challenge for 2015.

Here’s what we’ll be attempting to do this year:

Get Meditative during a Temple Stay at Golgulsa
Temple Stay programs all over the country offer visitors a chance to reflect and revitalize, while learning about Korean Seon Buddhism, meditating, and participating in community work around the temple.

There are a lot of temples to choose from, but we’re particularly interested in the program at Golgulsa, located just outside of Gyeongju, Korea’s ancient Silla dynasty capital, because it also offers training in Sunmudo, or Zen Martial Arts. Seeking out a state of profound stillness through a practice that combines meditation and martial art, seems like the ideal way to start out 2015 if you ask me.

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Take a Breather at Gangneung’s Hotel November
Now it might seem odd to simply add a hotel to this list, but I’ve been wanting to visit this place ever since I saw it’s crazy positive reviews. I’ve long been a fan of Gangneung, so a little staycation in an amazing hotel over there is kind of a no brainer.

I sure wouldn’t mind a little time relaxing in a spacious room by the sea, with a “hotel manager (that) would have to be the best that we have experienced anywhere in the world” (to quote one review). Add to that, a totally unique “Glamping” style Korean BBQ on offer, and I’m ready to sign up.

Now where do I book? 😉

Eat Bibimbap in Jeonju’s Hanok Village
There’s a lot of Korean foods I can’t get enough of, but bibimbap, a rice bowl mixed with a variety of vegetables, seafood, or meats and combined with spicy gochujang tops the list. In Jeonju, this modest dish has been elevated to gourmet status, and is considered the best in the country.

Eating one of my fave meals amongst the graceful curves of Korea’s traditional houses is a treat I’ve put off for far too long. Will this be the year?

Correct a Terrible Travel Wrong on Jeju Island
After 5 years in Korea, it’s more than a little ridiculous that we haven’t made it down to Jeju Island yet. When it’s a mere 1 hour flight away from Seoul, with tickets as cheap as $150 round-trip, there’s really no valid excuse, especially given that Jeju is one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature, and features gorgeous beaches, a unique cuisine and dialect, and Hallasan – a 2000 metre high dormant volcano.

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Yes, I’m hanging my head in shame. Mark my words, 2015 will be the year we correct this terrible wrong.

Make the 7 hour Journey to Ulleungdo
This little volcanic island off of Korea’s East Coast has long been close to the top of my Korea travel wish list for it’s lost-in-time feeling, lack of mass commercialism, striking landscape and crystal-clear waters.

The only thing that’s stopped me from visiting thus far is just how long it takes to get there. A 3.5 hour bus ride, followed by a 3.5 hour ferry ride isn’t really my idea of fun, especially since those same 7 hours could get me onto the beaches of Thailand or halfway to Europe. However, since bloggers simply rave about Ulleungdo’s charms, I think this might be the year where I actually go and have a look for myself.

Be Electrified at the Muju Firefly Festival
Who isn’t fascinated by fireflies? These magical creatures come with shimmering lights already attached to their little bodies. When there’s a whole bunch of them lighting up the night sky, it can be eerily spellbinding.

Well, Korea is blessed with its very own sprinkles of fireflies. The fireflies of Muju County are considered so special, that they’ve been designated as one of Korea’s natural monuments, and every year, a whole festival is built up around these enchanted glowing insects. Is 2015 the year I find myself in a real-life fairytale?

READ MORE:  #Take6Trips in Korea: Jeju Island in Pictures

What do you think? Do you think we’ll succeed in our Take 6 Trips Challenge? What do you have planned for 2015?

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the Muju Firefly Festival. I’ll be interested to see how that one goes and if you ever want to load up a car and spend some time with us and a baby, maybe we can take a joint trip somewhere this summer. Can’t wait to take Ava to her first beach for some fun in the sun! ^^

    January 19, 2015
    • Aww baby footsteps in sand…. <3 I would love that!! Let's plan something for sure.

      January 20, 2015
  2. Thanks for the list – certainly will use this when visiting Korea 🙂

    January 19, 2015
    • Hopefully we get it accomplished! and let us know when you make it here. We’d love to meet up! 🙂

      January 20, 2015
      • Of course! We haven’t made any decisions of countries to visit this year – who knows!! 🙂

        January 21, 2015
  3. Best of luck! I’m also taking the 12 Trip Challenge this year and am hoping to get to Quebec City in March and finally out to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket sometime this summer, maybe New Orleans too if I can work it out. Sometimes it seems so much easier to travel abroad than to travel within our own countries, so I definitely understand the thought behind your Take 6 Trips Korea Challenge.

    January 20, 2015
    • Wow! Your take 12 Trips Challenge is ambitious! Quebec City is awesome, and New Orleans is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. One day. 😉 Good luck and look forward to reading all about it!! 🙂

      January 20, 2015
  4. Thanks for introducing me to this 12 trip challenge concept… It’s my first time hearing of it and I love the idea! I did Niagara on the Lake in January and then visiting family in Ottawa in February (does that count? LOL). I also have Cuba and Brazil on my list for this year, but nothing else yet. Six might be a little more feasible like you suggested!

    January 20, 2015
    • They totally count! I think the main idea behind the 12 trip concept is that you don’t have to travel far from home for it to be a trip. It could even be visiting somewhere in your very own city that you’ve never been to before. I know there are so many places in Seoul I haven’t stepped foot in, and we’ve lived here for 5 years already! But wow! Brazil and Cuba…2 of my favourite destinations. Where are you going in Brazil?

      January 21, 2015
      • Thinking about Rio and then travelling down the coast to Iguassu, but nothing set in stone yet. It’s always been a dream of mine to go there!

        With these gas prices though, maybe it’s the year to do a USA road trip!

        I’m going to stay open the possibilities, whatever they might be 🙂

        January 26, 2015
        • Rio was def our favourite place in Brazil. It’s outstanding, and we easily spent a week there. Iguazu is also amazing, but it’s a 20 hours by bus from Rio!! I suggest you fly if you can… 😉

          But you’re right…this might be the perfect year to do a USA road trip…that’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time too! 🙂

          January 26, 2015
          • So many places so little time!!! 🙂

            January 26, 2015
  5. Reblogged this on redmarine754.

    January 21, 2015
  6. Looks like a great list of places! Hope you make it to all of them!

    January 22, 2015
    • Thanks! 🙂 With a bit of luck and a lot of motivation, we’ll make it happen…hopefully. 😉

      January 23, 2015
  7. Hello Shelley do you know which website I could buy affordable Jeju island ticket roundtrip? I used Priceline and the cheapest I found so far is 500+. Thank you so much!

    January 23, 2015
    • Hi there, hmm, well because I’m booking within Korea, I usually just go directly to the Asiana website to look. I’ve always found very cheap fares from Seoul to Jeju if I book off-peak times… If I’m traveling internationally, I look on (make sure you do a flexible 3 day search to find the cheapest fares). There are also some discount airlines in Korea – Jeju Air, Jin Air… you could try Air Busan…not 100% sure of routes on those airlines though. Where are you traveling from?

      January 24, 2015
      • I also always recommend to other people.

        January 25, 2015
  8. Sounds like a great idea – setting up travel goals… because to be honest, I’m the same way too with not traveling the way I really tell myself to. 😉 The last one sounds very very very exciting. You better not get lazy on that one! And that’s an order! 🙂 I kid.
    OMG, the sight of reading the name bibimbap alone immediately made me look back at the time I had one at a Korean airport. It was so so so goooooood! Now I’m melting. 😀

    January 25, 2015
    • Noooo, I can’t believe you’re a lazy traveler too Rommel! I’d never have guessed it. 😉 Lol, well I think you’ll have quite a bit of trouble finding bibimbap in Greece, but if you ever fly Asiana or Korean Air, bibimbap is usually one of the meal choices! I think it’s even one awards for airline meals…. 😀

      January 26, 2015
      • Every time I fly to Philippines, Korean Air is my first airline choice. 😉

        January 26, 2015
  9. 12 trips in a year is a lot, even if they are in your own backyard. Your goal is more realistic. That dormant volcano island looks awesome. This year, I’m also mostly going to explore my own backyard in Slovakia/Czech Republic.

    February 2, 2015
    • Your area of Europe is one I haven’t explored nearly enough. Would very much like to get there one day to do that, but in the meantime I shall have to live vicariously through your blogs. 🙂

      February 3, 2015

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