30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 13

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here. For some people, no matter how much they love traveling, there’s always no place like home. Other travelers make their homes wherever… [Continue Reading]

The old milkhouse and maple woods during foliage

Welcome to Korea!

     We have been in Korea for a few weeks now, which seems to be enough time for it to become a home. Our apartment, located on the nineteenth floor of one of a dozen or more complexes in Suncheon, is very comfortable. It is spacious, with two bedrooms, a dressing area, living room, kitchen,… [Continue Reading]

Beautiful day in Suncheon

Missing My Philippine Paradise

So, this morning we awoke to three inches of unexpected snow. I love the snow, I really do…but today, in a Daylight Savings maladjusted daze, when I was leaving for work and it was still dark out at 7am, and I had to clean off my car yet again, I was not even a little… [Continue Reading]

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30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 6

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here. Just as travel can be fun and exciting, it can also have its challenging, or even downright scary, moments. Being in a… [Continue Reading]

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 2

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here. Change can be exciting and bring new joys into our lives. But it can present challenges that frustrate or annoy us. How has travel changed you… [Continue Reading]

At a Kia Tigers game in Gwangju, South Korea

Colorado to Mongolia…. err umm… I Mean Montana

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your future plans.” (Woody Allen)

On Memorial Day we were one day away from leaving our corporate jobs in Denver, spending a summer traveling around the United States visiting family and national parks, traveling to Myanmar for a few weeks, and ultimately moving to Ulan Bator. By Labor Day we both had jobs in Montana and bought a house. By Columbus Day we owned a dog. Can you say domesticated?!

We had various reasons for deciding not to move to Mongolia:  a couple of family health problems, a few additions to each of our families (my brother and his fiancé are at the “anytime now” phase before they welcome twin girls! And Jesse’s brother and wife are expecting a little boy in February!), and we are planning on having kids in the near-ish future-but please don’t ask me when that is-and I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the prospect of doing that in Mongolia or Kazakstan.

For years we have fruitlessly tried to move back to Montana.  Almost every year one of us would find a job that we wanted and we applied. Unfortunately, Montana is so amazing that everyone wants to be here and the competition has been tough. But 2013 was our year! Jesse found a job first and, praise the Bar Exam Gods, I was eligible to transfer my bar exam score to Montana under the new Uniform Bar Exam! And, voilá, I found the job! I did not know it was possible to both be doing what I worked so hard for and to like a job this much! This was the reason I left Montana in the first place all those years ago.

While we miss travel and were initially a little nervous about settling down and doing such an about face, we are really loving having a “home”. As I write this I ‘m sitting on my very comfy reclining couch with our puppy Maddy at my feet, watching our favorite Montana State Bobcats football team. It’s not bad; and there is great coffee! I do, however, have a new found travel board on Pinterest pulled up in another tab, and I was moved to work on this blog so as to have some connection to travel.

For now we’re planning lots of dog friendly weekend getaways, enjoying Montana, the mountains, and Yellowstone. It also helps to have family living in a dream Canadian ski town, Southern California paradise, and, of course, my beloved Vermont! On top of that we’re tentatively planning a trip to South America next summer (a new continent for us!!), as well as a trip to visit friends in Maine and Seattle. Now if I can just get my vacation days to keep up with my travel dreams….

 

Thanks for reading!

 

P.S. Have you to “settled down” after traveling or living abroad? Or put off traveling? How do you keep travel in your life?

 

Maddy's first day home

Maddy’s first day home

 

And she's growing like a weed!

And she’s growing like a weed!

 

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Ski Dog!

Ski lunch break

Ski lunch break

 

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She LOVES the snow!

She got a bit tired by the end

She got a bit tired by the end

 

She makes the whole settling down thing a lot easier!

She makes the whole settling down thing a lot easier!

 

Missing My Philippine Paradise

So, this morning we awoke to three inches of unexpected snow. I love the snow, I really do…but today, in a Daylight Savings maladjusted daze, when I was leaving for work and it was still dark out at 7am, and I had to clean off my car yet again, I was not even a little bit excited.

Maybe it’s because I was so spoiled in the snow last weekend, maybe because it seems to snow mostly in the city lately and ignore the mountains, or maybe because it’s supposed to rain and melt all my snow in the mountains this weekend, but I was pretty much over it today. And instead of snow I have been dreaming about these days in the Philippines:

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Lest I become too whiny, the sun did come out this afternoon and it’s supposed to be 70 degrees on Friday.  In March.  A mile high. And I am planning to enjoy every single second of that!

Busan Fish Market

The fish market in Busan was one of my favorite things in Korea. Hundreds of fish vendors and fishermen crowded in a seawater and fish gut splattered plaza, hawking their prizes and yelling out for the passerby to come have a look. {At least that’s what I thought, they could have been screaming obscenities at me, but my Korean never got to that level…ha!} I’m so happy that we went in winter, because I really don’t even want to imagine what this place stinks like in July!1-DSCN2363

{There were so many kinds of fish, most I’d never seen before}

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{This is the same fish as the not so delicious hongeo}

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Busan is my favorite Korean city. It has a vibe about it that is hard to find in massive. Seoul “Walking streets,” bars, beaches, and, my personal favorite, markets, are everywhere. We’ve spent hours wandering the crowded halls and streets looking at everything from kimchi to pots and pans to headbands.   1-DSCN2393   1-DSCN2398   1-DSCN2410

{How could we resist this little street eat?}

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Pre~versary: Five Years Ago….

March 2nd marked five months until our FIFTH anniversary {or, as I like to call it, our pre-versary~ a name makes me feel less guilty about drinking champagne every month }. Since I wasn’t exactly back on top of this blogging thing until well after February 2nd {our 6 month pre-versary}, I guess the five month mark will have to do. But it’s kind of fun to  think-5 months away from a five year anniversary! 

 

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And it’s even more fun to think that five years ago today we were getting ready to leave China after having lived and traveled there for seven months. I remember the planning and excitement that went into  the travel we had throughout and after China, two just out of college kids from small towns out seeing the world! We were living on our tiny wages from teaching English in China, but still managed to travel far and wide-all the way to Paris. I guess the excitement of travel can conquer any budget!

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So, five years ago we were in Beijing. We had just come from Tibet and Xi’an and we were kind of relaxing and sightseeing in the city before we hit the rails to Mongolia for a few days and then on to Russia. We, well I, shopped for pearls at the Pearl Market (highly recommend), got kicked out of our hotel so they could spray for roaches (ew), saw the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, witnessed Beijing at it’s finest as it prepared for the 2008 Olympics, and were able to say goodbye to a country we lived in and loved for seven months! It is seriously crazy how time flies! I feel like this could really be either yesterday or in a completely different lifetime.

Part of an e-mail I sent my Mom on March 2, 2008:

 It was very polluted in Beijing yesterday!!!  Today a strong (and cold) wind picked up, so it wasn’t as bad, but it was pretty cold.  In our Lonely Planet it says breathing on an average day in Beijing is equivalent to smoking 70 cigarettes!!!  gross! So it’s really polluted, but they don’t seem to litter as much here as in other parts of China.

 

We were trying to plan our wedding from China/everywhere that would be held later that summer in Vermont, and it was crazy to say the least, so there were loads of e-mails back and forth to my mom who was meeting with caterers, photographers, venues, etc., etc., etc.~talk about best mother ever!!! Oh and she was also tasked with informing me of what law schools I did and did not get into; not so much a position I hope any child of mine ever puts me in, but she wrote such sweet messages for everyone that didn’t accept me, like “what do they know anyway” and such proud and sweet words for the ones that did. She’s pretty amazing!!! Thanks, mom!

 

On another note, it is a very special young man’s birthday today, my nephew, Mr. Aidan Dodge!!

Somehow this little ringbearer in our wedding…

 

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 …became this NINE year old! Crazy!!!

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 And clearly, while one of us has definitely grown up, the other may have regressed a smidge. Also, how adorable is my niece Sadie munching away on her cookie?! Silly faces and cookie eating~these two are definitely related to me!!

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Colorado Backcountry {and Fences are Hazardous When Skiing in Korea}

Last weekend we:

went backcountry skiing. It was the first time I’ve been and…

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I LOVED it!

I loved it, even though I had to use Jesse’s old massive skis and even though the bindings didn’t exactly fit my boots.

Our friends Tim and Cameron showed us Berthoud Pass near Winter Park. Berthoud used to be a ski resort, so it was perfect for me, someone who can sometimes be a little terrified to try new things-particularly when they involve cliffs, trees, and steep grades! But it was pretty good for Jesse too, who likes all of those things, especially in combination. There were different runs for both of us and Cameron and Tim brought their three dogs-so it slowed Cameron down a bit to my level-which is wayyyy below her level.

 

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I have been quietly dreading the suggestion of backcountry skiing for a few years, mostly because I hate snowshoeing. I think it’s the worst-probably because I’m not doing it right, but even so. My feet are always sinking in the snow, they’re heavy, clunky, and they move around every time I lift my leg. I feel slightly terrible about this snowshoe hatred because for one of our first Christmases together Jesse bought me a brand new set and I’ve probably used them five times. Now I know the amazingness of ski skins-no sinking, no clunking, and once you get up a big hill you can ski back down it-so much better than the snowshoe!

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All the skiing we’ve been doing lately made me think about our trip to Muju in South Korea last year….the place where I got in a fight with a fence… and the fence won…and ski patrol had to help untangle me…and I looked like such an idiot. Yup, that trip. Aside from that minor traumatic event, however, it was a great experience!

 

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The fence story went something like this: a few great runs in the morning, sunny day, lunch, and then Jesse yelled something like “let’s go down this psychotically steep and icy hill on rented skis!” I followed him towards the hill-the black diamonds on the sign resonating.  We got to the top of the hill and it was glistening  it was so icy. Jesse took off, totally fine all the way, but every time he turned I could hear “scrape, scrape, sccrrraapppeeee.” Ice. In what felt like the seven hours I stood there deciding whether or not to go, several other skiers went down. Every. single. one. fell. And then slid down the entire hill despite repeated attempts to stop themselves. I tried to turn around and ski back up so I could take another run, but it wasn’t happening. So, I turned around, waited for what felt like another seven hours and with extreme hesitancy pushed my poles into the snow. I immediately regretted this decision. I made a wide, slippery, wobbly legged turn and started heading for a closed off run with a bright orange plastic caution fence. I tried to turn again, but it was so icy my skis were really just sliding sideways down the hill and I was propelled forward-with my body sliding right into the fence and my legs and skis in some deep snow on the other side of the fence, pretty much buried. Every time I tried to move to untangle myself my body would slide a few inches and my legs were still stuck. Now, this fence was not exactly sturdy, it was just a temporary fence to warn and prevent skiers from getting to the run on the other side of it. It was held down by a couple of plastic posts and every time I moved, they swayed, unsteady and ready to pull out of the snow and send me sliding at top speeds, wrapped in an orange mess back down to the base of the mountain. Not even a little bit of an exaggeration. After about twenty minutes of me screaming gently reminding my lovely husband that I hate the combination of ice and skiing, ski patrol swooshed over to my rescue. As a note, Jesse offered many times to walk back up the icy slab of death to assist me, but I refused, like a calm adult and in no way would have ever dreamt of even uttering the words “I can do it myself!!” At least that’s the story I’m sticking to. So the poor young ski patrol man helped me take my skis off and remove my legs from from the fence and snow and then kindly helped me to carry my skis and poles to the bottom, where there was a slightly mortified husband… And that is one of my most horrific ski stories. Next in ski terror stories will be the time I fell off the chairlift. Just call me Lindsey Vonn…

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And, finally, what would a ski trip be without some amazing and very on trend fashion?

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