Who Is Big J?
My name is Julie and I'm originally from western PA (go Steelers!). I initially created this site to share travel pics with family and friends. But the more I traveled to Korea, the more I began to realize what a gem this country is. My aim is to increase awareness of South Korea in the minds of Westerners in the hopes that they travel to South Korea and explore all the wonderful tastes, sites, history, and adventure the country has to offer.
Another Travel Blog - So What?
I hope to elevate Korea as a travel destination in the minds of westerners because it is a breath-taking, culturally-rich, entertaining, active country with so much to offer! Whether you just pass through Seoul for a night or hang around riding the rails for a month, there is always something new to experience. Korea is a gem and it is such a shame that westerners miss out.
There are lots of general travel blogs and tourism sites with posts claiming to know the "5 Best Spas" and the "Top Temple Stays" and the "Most Exotic Hikes" in Korea and elsewhere around the world. Superlatives are subjective and not very practical for actually planning trip logistics. I hope not to incorporate this marketing tactic into anything I post. I will share my experiences, photos, recommendations, and English language links to more information. You can decide for yourself where such an experience falls on the Crappy-to-Awesome continuum.
What Other Sites Do You Recommend?
There are a lot of great lifestyle blogs about Seoul and Korea -- with good reason! Seoul is one of the top cities in the world for fashion, pop-culture, and glam. It's sensory overload, with an endless stream of fantastic photo ops and quirky content to share with the world. A few of my favorite sites -- hand-picked for quality writing and real photography -- will give you an insider's peek into daily Korean life from the eyes of both expats and locals:
- Discovering Korea: Travel site, with rich well-researched descriptions.
- The Secret Map: I am drawn to this site's photography and spot-on, sparse text.
- Seoul Searching: Thorough and professional, no gimmicky marketing tactics. Author of this insightful article "What I Learned From Traveling and Living Abroad". Beautiful.
- Kimchibytes: Raw articles and photography. He tells it like he sees it and does not shy away from critique.
- Seoul State of Mind: Great photography and lots of it!
- Seoulistic: Designed to drive maximum traffic, but saved by generally good content from a mix of authors. Lots of videos.
If you know of others, please let me know!
Do You Speak Korean and Why Are You Interested in Korea?
I have been learning Korean on-and-off for a long time, but I remain stuck at Intermediate level. *Sigh*. No excuse other than a lack of constant attention and practice. I get lazy. This is particularly embarrassing because my husband is Korean, giving me ample opportunity to practice (and shame when I do not!).
I became interested in Korea in 2002, when I was employed by Handysoft (now BizFlow), a Korean software company. Handysoft had opened an office in Virginia and I was hired as a Product Marketing Manager. I met my soulmate and now-husband, who taught me hangul and cured me of my "food ignorance". We travel to Korea relatively frequently to visit his family and enjoy visiting new places throughout the country and around the globe.