Our next adventure

Jordan and I are leaving the country again!

This time, we won’t be going as backpackers to South America, but as English teachers to South Korea.

We’re so excited at the opportunity to live in another culture and while we’re a little nervous, we can’t wait to get started.

We bought our plane tickets today (they will be reimbursed by our employers in a few weeks) and are beginning to pack. We fly out early on November 9th, and our contract lasts for a year. We will teach at a government school in Changnyeong, a small city in the southern part of the country, and work primarily with middle schoolers at the Changnyeong English Village (CEV).

12087304_10208067660634224_7298105626261232826_oOur only sadness is that we have to leave our cat behind again, but he is pretty flexible and doesn’t mind living at other people’s houses.

As we prepare to go, I’ll be doing lots of research on packing, expectations, travel processes, and other things and will pass only the tidbits I learn.

For more information about the CEV, click below.

Categories: CEV, Culture Quirks, Introduction, Practical Matters, South Korea | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Packing for the long trip Pt. 2

See part one here

Blog post by Jordan

Update 9/12/2015: Overall I was very pleased with my packing. The only thing I wish I had changed was brought a pair of gloves and a different, heavier jacket. We ran into lots of colder, unexpected weather and a heavier jacket would’ve helped. Also, you can see that I brought a lot of technology and rather expensive equipment with me. It was all for a good purpose, to film a short documentary, and we returned home with everything intact. There were some stressful moments on the trip, but nothing was stolen or broken. 

My wife has asked me to detail how I packed. I have a background in film and cinema, and that has affected my travel priorities. i am taking very few items of camera gear but even fewer clothes. Most of this trip is for fun but I hope to discover some great stories and footage.

My packing list is as follows.

  • 5 T-Shirts (one I am wearing)
  • 3 long sleeve shirts (one I am wearing)
  • 6 pairs of socks (wearing one)
  • 6 pairs of underwear (wearing one)
  • 1 swim suit just in case
  • pajama bottoms (for extra warmth and staying in someone’s living room in Dubai)
  • 2 pairs of jeans (wearing one)
  • 1 small jacket with hood
  • flipflops
  • belt
  • toiletries (glasses, contacts, retainer, toothbrush, etc.)
  • Camera Canon T3i (it is small and super light and still takes nice photos and HD video for web release)
  • Gopro Hero HD
  • Gorillapod
  • Lens filters
  • eye mask
  • Rode NTG2 and lapel mic
  • extra batteries
  • external hard drive 1Tb
  • usb power brick
  • Ipad
  • Laptop with extra battery
  • camera cards up to 128Gb
  • card reader
  • smartphone
  • charging cables for laptop, cameras, phone, and ipad
  • outlet converter
  • earbuds (had to leave my headphones behind)
  • All that paper work Adrianne wrote about
  • on the way out the door I threw in a few more items including scented packet to make everything smell nice
    • Total weight 28lbs


I put most all my camera gear in a small camera bag for those flights where I have to check my bag. I have a carry one sized backpack from ebags and it is awesome. It is a beast and has concealable backpack straps. Most of my packing method is for taking bus trips in South America. Need be, I can put my camera bag inside of my backpack but it makes it very large. I decided to leave my lucky bowling ball and steel-toed boots but I am sure I will make it without and have a wonderful time.

Categories: Introduction, Practical Matters | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Packing for the long trip Pt. 1

Update 9/12/2015: Overall I was very pleased with my packing. The only thing I wish I had changed was brought a pair of gloves and a different, heavier jacket. We ran into lots of colder, unexpected weather and a heavier jacket would’ve helped. Some of my older clothing disintegrated along the way (one broke a person’s washing machine–I was so embarrassed!), but I had prepared for that and was fine. I bought a few scarves and a cami along the way, and by the last month of the trip was shedding clothing as fast as I could.

Because we are trying to backpack, we have a very limited amount of space to carry. Basically, if it can’t be carried on our backs, it isn’t going! But we are also going to be gone for several months during the colder parts of the year, so we are attempting a fine balance.

So what should someone bring on an extended trip? After combing through other online resources for South America, we have decided on a few outfits.

So, below, is Adrianne’s packing list:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of lighter pants/shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 light sweater
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 pair of flats/sandals
  • 1 pair of shower shoes
  • 4 dresses
  • 3 long-sleeve shirts
  • 5 short-sleeve shirts
  • 3 camis
  • 5 pairs of underwear/other
  • 3 scarves (2 count as hijabs also)
  • And my luxuries and toiletries:
  • 1 Spanish notebook
  • 1 makeup bag
  • 1 nail/hygiene
  • medicine, oral/skin hygiene, hair stuff, feminine hygiene, etc.

20141220_143656It all fits, but just barely! I fold my pants and dresses on top of one another (respectively), then roll them together. Some things are rubber-banded to stay tight. I got some packing cubes for Christmas, and I think I will love them dearly by the time the trip is over. They make things less compact in the luggage, but they keep things much more organized.

I will wear tennis shoes, scarf, and jacket on the plane over to Egypt. I may be over-doing it a bit, but I can always shed belongings as we go if necessary.

Most of the time we will travel with our bags as carry-on, except for when we are on a very small budget airline (such as Ryanair) or traveling with sleeping bags as our carry-ons.

What have you done to get by on only a few things for several months? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Categories: Introduction, Practical Matters | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big News! Big News!

(No, it is not a baby. Just in case anyone got overly excited there.)

I’m graduating with my master’s degree (Lord willing!) December 12, 2014. It’s coming up, and I am beyond excited!

But what will Jordan and I do afterward?, you ask. Is Tallahassee home now?

We will visit Oklahoma and Arkansas over Christmas break, but then we’re leaving the country! We aren’t sure how long yet (we are playing it by ear and watching the money carefully), but we do have a list of places we want to visit and a rough timeline.

We will start in Egypt on December 26th and hopefully end in Costa Rica or Panama in late June 2015.

We’ve been planning this for a few months, and I’ve dreamed about it for several years. After a lot of hard work and crunching pennies, it looks like it’s going to happen! We are thrilled, scared, nervous, and overwhelmed.

Categories: Introduction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Adventurers and Wayfarers, Pt. 2

I am an adventurer. I travel through life with wide eyes, looking for the beauty and choosing to have a better attitude. I refuse to let my life be a tea party. I refuse to let my life be an ordeal. I want adventure, and I will live it.

But I am more than just an adventurer. I am also a wayfarer.

I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
I’m traveling through this world of woe
Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright land to which I go

I’m going there to see my Father
I’m going there no more to roam
I’m just a-going over Jordan
I’m just a-going over home

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that good land
I want to shout salvation’s story
In concert with the blood-washed band

I’m going there to meet my Savior
To sing his praise forever more
I’m just a-going over Jordan
I’m just a-going over home

One of the most melancholic, haunting folk songs I know is “Poor, Wayfarin’ Stranger,”  an American song originating from the Appalachian region during the 19th century.  It voices all the yearning, all the searching, and all the hopes of a tired traveler trying to make it to paradise. I believe it puts song to the aching feeling Christians get when they think of home, so much so that I would be happy if it was played one day at my funeral.

It’s so easy to forget sometimes, but without a doubt for me, and for all other Christians: This world is not our home. As beautiful and wonderful as this world is, it is rotting. And it was never Real, not like Heaven.

As a child, when I would finish The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis I would put the book down with a heavy sigh, blinking back tears. My heart ached so much that my chest physically hurt, as though I was pulled toward the real and perfect world. This homesickness for a place I have never lived will only be fulfilled when I get home. And until then, I’m a wayfarer, trudging through a world full of sorrow, pain, and sickness just trying to make it home.

This paradox, of adventurer and wayfarer, is something that every Christian wrestles with, similar to being “in the world but not of it.”  But it is this paradox that, I believe, brings balance to our lives and to the lives of others. We know we don’t belong here, in the end. We know we’re just passing through. But we also see all the beauty and wonder still left in the world, and revel in it because that’s what it’s there for: to make our mouths drop and our hearts burst until we are just overcome with creation, as fallen as it is.

Every view that takes my breath away, every moment filled with laughter is a gift for an adventurer. And every step that leads us closer to the most beautiful views, the most joy-filled time puts my wayfaring heart that much closer to home.

Categories: Introduction | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Adventurers and Wayfarers, Pt. 1

Why did I choose “Wayfaring Aventure” to be my blog’s name?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

The “adventure” part is probably self-evident, as this is primarily a travel blog. But let me share with you a little more in-depth.  One of my favorite sayings, which I found through pinterest, is that the only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is one’s attitude. I repeat:

The only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is one’s attitude.

It is a convicting saying, because it is very easy for me to frown and grumble about inconveniences and unfairness and anything else that I stumble across during my day. Ordeals find us everywhere, but life is far too short to complain about them. But adventures–ah! Those are the stories that bear repeating. Adventures make us better people who see better things around us.  And, like many things in life, it’s up to me to decide–was my car breaking down and me walking two miles to find my husband an ordeal or an adventure? Was the electricity going out for two days an ordeal or an adventure?

Did Frodo and Sam see traveling to Mordor as an ordeal or as an adventure? Well, it probably depended on what time of day and what leg of the trip they were on.

Did Bilbo sulk and complain and groan when faced with Smaug? His attitude made the difference.

Adventures make us stronger. Thankfully, our ordeals/adventures are small compared to those in epic literature. But almost anything can be turned into an adventure. As miserable as living with, say, air conditioning in 100-degree weather is, I am inordinately proud of myself for doing it. And now I know that I can and that I’m better and stronger than before.

I am, and probably will always be, working on my attitude. But when I walked those blasted two miles, I saw some of the most beautiful trees, moss, and wildflowers I would never have seen if I whizzed past in my car.

The difference between Eustace as the horrible brat who deserved his name and the Eustace who, in dragon form helped fix the Dawn Treader and encouraged tired crew members when they faced near certain death was that Aslan changed him.

This, to me, gets to the heart of the attitude and adventure issue.  Aslan did a much deeper thing than just changing Eustace’s attitude, and Eustace’s attitude showed the inner changes. He looked at life completely differently, seeing it as something to be enjoyed and explored.

Aunt Wealthy Stanhope from the Elsie Dinsmore series would agree, for she once exclaimed that God did not mean for life to be a tea party, but an adventure to be lived.

I truly and wholeheartedly believe that. Life should never be as completely safe and staid as a tea party. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes–marriage, babies, caring for aged parents, donating huge sums of money to charities, going to college, fostering children, remaining single, starting a new business–all of these are types of adventures, even if they don’t seem like it at first. Many seem solely hard and bone-wearying, but that’s because adventures do tend to look like ordeals unless God changes your attitude.

I love order and plans and finding out the unknown. The uncertain and the unknown tend to  trouble me. Next year I have no idea what my life is going to look like, where we will be living, or how I will find a job. When I realized this was happening, I freaked out about it, to be honest. I was also angry because I thought God wanted us to do things a certain way, and all of a sudden the rug was swept out from under us. But as I grumbled and cried, I realized that this huge ordeal, this inconvenience that interrupted our 5-year plan, was really an adventure in disguise. I choose to be an adventurer.

So, if I ever start complaining about life not going the way I thought it would, you might want to remind me of the name of my blog, and that it’s not named “the tea party life” for a reason.

Categories: Introduction | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

How I studied in Ireland and Italy

This post is the first in an ongoing series about how to travel.

The first thing I feel when I look at amazing Facebook photos and travel blogs is jealousy. How did they do it? Why can’t I do that? I would wonder.

Well, firstly I am learning contentment in what I have. Secondly, I am always seeking out opportunities and money to travel. Most of my plans fall through (just as Jordan about some of my crazy ideas), but a few work out. I carefully research everything and plan from there.

I studied in Ireland for a semester  in 2010 and Italy for a month in 2011. Both of these were programs with my university, John Brown University.  Ireland was not that expensive, besides the plane ticket. The semester cost about the same as a semester as the university. Look for deals like that.

Aran Islands  Me in the Aran Islands of Ireland.

Italy, because it was a summer trip, was more expensive, but I did get six hours of college credit for it. And I had awesome trip leaders that really searched for the cheapest air tickets to get in and out of Europe. It ended up being cheaper to fly back home through Barcelona than Rome, so we were able to spend two days in Barcelona for cheaper than staying in Rome longer. Talk about a great deal!

For traveling in Europe, Barcelona and Dublin tend to be the cheapest airports to get into the continent.

Verona The fountain “Madonna Verona” in Verona, Italy

In my experience, picking a university that strongly encouraged travel abroad was key. Many schools had study abroad programs, but JBU had an entire culture built around the ideas of international travel and communication of ideas. This made it very easy to study abroad.

Also, if you are eligible for a Pell Grant at college, you are probably eligible for a study abroad scholarship. Those are fantastic ways to travel with little student debt.

When you travel through your university, they usually get you an ISIC, or International Student Identity Card. These get you student rates at movie theaters, stores, and rail prices. You can also get your own, as well as other types of IDs, from They offer a multitude of things, from travel insurance, cheap hostel rates, ID cards, and suggestions for round the world airline tickets.

Do you have any ways or ideas to travel as a student cheaply?

Categories: Introduction, Ireland, Italy, Practical Matters | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Bienvenidos a Nicaragua!

On Tuesday, May 20 I boarded a plane in Tallahassee and by that afternoon, I had arrived in humid, sweltering Managua.

I am staying in Managua for four weeks to learn Spanish at Viva Spanish School and volunteer at Centro Cultural de Bartahola Norte. It’s just me and my passport, so I was a little nervous to be heading out of the country with limited language skills. This is the first time I have traveled alone outside the country, and thankfully, it’s going just fine.

I’m settling in pretty well. My host mother, Dona Adilia does not speak English, but she doesn’t mind that I can only understand about a quarter of what she says (and only when she speaks slowly and repeats things). She has lots of children and grandchildren, which wander in and out of the house a lot. I’m not sure who lives there and who just visits everyday. I guess I will find out as time goes on.
I have my own room with a lock on the door. It has an air conditioning window unit, which is a godsend, because the roof of the house is tin and it is easily 90 F today. Oscillating fans do not cut it. And I have a whole 28 more days to go! I think I need to buy more deodorant.
I began classes on the same day I arrived, for two hours, and promptly realized how much Spanish I do not know. I had one year in high school and one year in college, but that was several years ago.
I am thinking about buying a cheap by-the-minute phone here, just to contact the school and the community center in case I need to. I live about a two-minute walk from the school and the director person assured me that this is nice. He said where I will be volunteering is kind of bad, and quite a distance, so I shouldn’t walk there. I hope taxis won’t be terribly expensive.
There is a mall about a ten minute walk from here that I will go to for whatever I need. I hope to meet some of the students here and go on day-trips with them. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out yet, but I can’t really believe I’m here. It’s a little frightening to think I will be here for a month, but by the end I think I’ll be very happy I came and learned so much. Already I am remembering some of my vocabulary because I am trying so hard to understand Dona Adilia. Thankfully she is very patient with me.
Nicaragua is entering it’s winter now (or rainy season, more accurately), so the weather may cool off a little over time.
Categories: Introduction, Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First time for everything

Well, this is new to me!
This is my first blog and my first post. I’m very excited to finally join the blogging world! I hope to write interesting things that people actually want to read here and there.

Because traveling is interesting to me, I assume that others would prefer to read about my traveling over the papers I write for school or the pile of dishes in my sink. So here it is!

For anyone who has stumbled across this site, I have degrees in journalism, political science, and am getting a master’s in international affairs. You can learn more on the “About” page. I believe learning about new cultures and people is a important thing for everyone to do, and I am trying my hardest to seize as many opportunities as I can to experience life around the world.

Currently, I am in Nicaragua studying Spanish and volunteering at a community center.

Welcome to the blog, and if you’re still reading at this point, bless you.


Categories: Introduction, Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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