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