kahekili-manamana

While reorganizing the blog a little bit I realized that one of the many things I didn’t get to show you from my time in Hawaii is one of my all time favorite hikes: Kahekili Manana. Unlike a lot of my other favorites, the Kahekili-Manamana trail is actually legal, albeit just as dangerous as most of my favorite ridge hikes.

The first time we headed out on this trail, that starts and ends in Ka’a’Awa, my brand new Canon 6D jumped off a cliff (freak accident). It’s probably still at the bottom of the valley somewhere if you feel like going for a treasure hunt. I was in shock for the remainder of the hike, and then in a sort of camera celibacy for about a month until I got my insurance money and could get a new one. Thus, the photos from our first trip are courtesy of my friend Hallvard.

Read More

veronika-150128-2

“This time I’m not going to tell you a story. I’ll just say that insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there.”

I read this novel back in 2008, when I had just started working in a bookstore and discovered the glorious world of buying books with employee discount. I was studying English Literature at the university, and my apartment was filled with every book I thought I might want to read at some point. The consequence was a little bit of chaos, a lot of reading, but also a lot of books left unread. Luckily, Veronika Decides to Die was not one of those books.

Read More

hike-bukhansan-150122-54

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”

― Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top.

Last week we took the subway out of the city and went on an afternoon hike to Baegundae Peak in Bukhansan National Park. Breathing in fresh, mountain air felt amazing after the grey smog we’ve had in Seoul the last couple of weeks!

Albeit a relatively short hike (about 8.2 km), it involves going from the flatlands and straight up into the mountains by way of steep stairs and hillsides. Baegundae Peak is the tallest peak in the Bukhansan National Park, and at 835 meters you get a stunning view of the city given that the weather is on your side.

Koreans are about as hiking-crazed as Norwegians, so the area around the entrance to the park was filled with sports stores and restaurants catering to the masses of Korean ahjummas and ahjussis hiking there every day. We didn’t start our trek up the mountains until around 2PM, which meant that we avoided most of the traffic that these trails see, but we did meet our share of technicolor-wearing hikers coming down from the mountain.

Read More

korea-150123After a week long pyjama party involving two of my friends visiting from Norway, and the 3 of us huddling up in my hotel room-sized apartment (it’s been very cozy), I am once again alone in the city. As the stereotypical outgoing introvert that I am, I have loved the social marathon but am now craving a week of books, TV-series, wine/coffee/tea, music and no contact with the outside world to restore balance to my psyche.

Today was spent looking through the photos I’ve snapped the last week, and catching up on the latest episode of Constantine (my god, that show is brilliant). This week I’ve been able to brush the dust of my camera and take it out for a spin again, after having been relying on my iPhone far too often lately, and one of the neighborhoods that got captured this time was a long-standing goal on my “to do”-list for Seoul: Ihwa Mural Village.

Read More

korea-150115--

“Good morning citizens! In your housing blocks, on your factory floors, gather round your loudspeakers for today’s news: the North Korean tabletennis team has just defeated its Somali counterpart in straight sets! Also, President Robert Mugabe sends his well wishes on this, the anniversary of the founding of the Worker’s Party of Korea. Don’t forget, it is improper to sit on the escalators leading into the subways. The Minister of Defense reminds us that the deepest subways in the world are for your civil-defense safety, should the Americans sneak-attack again. No sitting!”

As I was planning my move to South-Korea this summer I started looking for books that would give me some insight into both South Korea, and the world on the other side of the DMZ. While browsing the recommended section of books at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam (one of my favorite airport bookstores, their selection is small but always fascinating), I found this book and brought it with me to Seoul.

Read More

breakfast

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

I’ve recently become an advocate for breakfast in bed. And lunch in bed. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t have a couch in my hotel room-sized apartment, thus letting my bed double as a couch with the help of a blanket and a bunch of pillows. But I would continue to advocate more eating in bed, just because it’s comfy and makes the meal more special. If you want to convert to this life style (you really should, it’s awesome) there are two ground rules to swear by to avoid uncomfortableness:

1. Always use some kind of tray to put all the good stuff on. It makes it look better, keeps the plates stable and also keeps the crumbles and spills away from your bedcovers. The photo above is obviously an illustrative photo, I have this cute printed tray I bought at Daiso for 1000 KRW (1 dollar) that I usually use for my meals in bed.

2. Breakfast and lunch in bed should only contain dry food. Ramen noodles for lunch in bed might seem like a good idea up until the point where you spill them all over your bed and have to wash the blanket, bed sheets and mattress. No fun.

If you remember those two, very essential rules you’ll be fine. I’m partial to toast, iced coffee, hot coffee, tea, granola, pancakes and/or sliced fruit, but the great thing about eating a meal in bed is that no matter what you eat, it’ll automatically taste better because you’re eating it in bed. Add a newspaper, book or your favorite podcast, and you’re off to a great start, whether it’s a Saturday or just your regular old Tuesday afternoon.

Have a great week!

Read More

Photo-Jul-11,-03-37-45

In the spirit of full disclosure I wanted to tell you that I went jogging today. This may not seem monumental, except for the fact that this was my first workout-session since I moved to Korea 6 months ago. The result is a resolution to never workout ever again. Never ever. Like many New Year’s Resolutions I’m afraid I’ll have to break this one too, but the pain in my chest, the nausea and dizziness that lasted for a good 15 minutes after I collapsed on the living room floor will keep me away from any gym for as long as that memory stays fresh.

Read More

hovden-jul-141226-9

As mentioned earlier, this Christmas holiday was a speedy affair that lasted for less than a week, and involved skipping school and a combined 12 hours on bus to and from our cabin in the mountains (not to mention the plane ride from Korea to Norway). It was all worth it though, as I was gifted a couple of days of peace and calm. And snow. Loads of snow. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already witnessed some of my ravings about how snow might possibly be my favorite weather phenomenon of all time, and I can only say that an upbringing in Norway combined with 3 years worth of non-snowy “winters” in Hawaii will do this to a person. Seoul has not been very nice in this capacity as of yet, we’ve only seen 3 days of snow since the cold weather started, but I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas winter.

Meanwhile, here are some picture of what winter should really look like, taken at Hovden this Christmas:

Read More

newyearseve

2014 was the year I ended my studies (and time) in Hawaii, got terrified at the thought of moving back to Norway and the real world, which lead to a continuance of my Peter Pan-esque escape by relocating to Korea. 2014 was a year for self-discovery, hard work, luck and loads and loads of traveling.

I now know for sure that I am both 85 and 15 (but mostly 85) trapped in a 25-year-old’s body, that while I love to be social I thrive in my own company, and that I am not made for 5AM-parties anymore. And I’m OK with that. On the last day of the year I stayed in, with pizza, Pepsi and the Internet. I booked airplane tickets for 2015, planned for great adventures and sent texts and messages to the people who matter the most in my life.

In 2014 I got to go skiing in fresh powder in Colorado and explore some of the world’s most beautiful cities including Hong Kong, Chicago, Melbourne, Venice, Århus, Auckland and Riga. I moved from the most isolated landmass on the planet, Hawaii, to the third most populated city in the world, and I ended the year with a confirmation that I will indeed be living here for at least 2 more years.

2015 promises trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, in addition to a treasure trove of unexpected adventures just waiting to happen. And more importantly, 2015 will bring a new year in Seoul; with new friends (and old), more soju, a limited amount of time spent at norebangs, an unlimited amount of time spent in PC-bangs to master League of Legends, loads of street food, minimal efforts to stay in shape, huge efforts to ace my classes, more samgyeopsal, less Western food and a guaranteed good time.

I hope you’ll all continue to come along for the ride!

Here’s some of my favorite photos from 2014:

The last 5 months in Hawaii, with great friends, beautiful beaches and stunning nature.

alan-davis-13 alan-davis-24 alan-davis-7marita4 marita1 marita2scuba-10 scuba scuba-9artandflea-3artandflea-10tidepool-8hawaii-2SUP-3dillingham-19dillingham-15dillingham-23dillingham-5

A short glimpse of winter in Breckenridge, Colorado:

breckenridge8breckenridge7breckenridge5

Selfie in Chicago with the bean (and Trine):

chicagochicago3

Beautiful architecture and a taste of Asia in Hong Kong:

Hong-Kong-12 Hong-Kong-31 Hong-Kong-44 Hong-Kong-8 Hong-Kong-6

And then finally the day in May when I graduated from HPU with a MA in Communication:

graduation-11 graduation-6 graduation-3

A break at our summer house in Norway.

sogne-5 sogne-3 sogne-2 sogne-4

A day trip to Århus.

aarhus aarhus6 aarhus4 aarhus7

Lazy days in the Italian mountainside and then Venice.

venezia-19 venezia-8 venezia-30

My first trip down-under, to Melbourne, Australia …

IMG_3578 IMG_3543 IMG_3549

… and Auckland, New Zealand.

IMG_3798 IMG_3807Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.26.44 IMG_3802

A cold but cozy weekend in Riga, Latvia with ANSA’s Board of Directors.

ansa-riga-44- ansa-riga-52 ansa-riga-11ansa-riga-7 ansa-riga-23

But most importantly, I moved to this beautiful country:

chuncheon-22IMG_5615chuncheon-38mollypops-hongdae4bseoul3 itaewon beginagain 20141008-IMG_4064 20141008-IMG_8623 20141008-IMG_8699 20141009-IMG_4351chuncheon-28 chuncheon-41 dmz-1 dmz-12 fields-of-gold-30 fields-of-gold-33 november-adventures-9seoul-141116-2 november-adventures-24 november-adventures-34 november-adventures-77 november-adventures-96 november seoul-141115-2 pikachu-33 pikachu-16seoul-141116-4 seoul-141116

 Bring it on, 2015!

Read More

 

pikachu-16

Good morning, Internet! I am currently packing, listening to Christmas music and getting ready for a short trip to Norway to work and then spend a couple of days with my family before returning to Seoul and school. The language institute at SNU doesn’t do Christmas holidays however, so I am skipping some classes in the process.

While I am getting ready for snow, Christmas parties, budget meetings and mulled wine, I wanted to share a bunch of photos from different adventures around Seoul, to show you some of the fun that this city has to offer. One memorable event involved the Pokemon Championship Day at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, after a Korean player won the official championship earlier this year in Washington DC. 5 Pikachus were scheduled to perform (and dance), but it had to be cancelled about half way through because the crowd was too big. I got a photo with Pikachu though, so I was happy (Best. Day. Ever).

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Read More