Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It’s National Bike Week… Do you own a bicycle? When did you last ride a bike?
No… The last time I rode a bicycle was when I lived in Korea about two years ago. But I was too scared to ride it anywhere so I sold it. I don’t like riding bikes around cars because I got hit by a van in a roundabout when I was cycling in Ireland. Now I only like to ride where there is no traffic! I am going to cycle on the Virginia Creeper trail next month and am super excited about that!


2. What’s something you learned in school that wasn’t part of the curriculum?
Online classes are a good time for a nap… ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. What’s a food you’ve never tried, but want to try? What’s a food you’ve tried and will never try again?
I have tried to be more adventurous with food lately as I’ve been a picky eater my whole life. One of my goals for this past year was to try five new foods, and I accomplished that within a few months (see my post here). I would still like to try some more exotic meats. Things that I have tried and still hate are coffee, celery, and seaweed.



4. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Why? Do you think that’s a good trend?
Um, neither…

5. Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain?
That’s a good one… Hmmmmmmmm. The first one that pops in my head is Clay Morrow from Sons of Anarchy. I was so mad at him in season four that I was screaming at the TV.


6. How concerned are you about identity theft?
Not at all really…

7. Would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place?
Both would be nice… I guess I’d go for an ordinary home in an extraordinary place. Then I could leave my home and do cool things. And everyone else could too!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Don’t you love my new tattoo?



Travel Tuesday

Helene in Between

In July 2009, I went on a two week backpacking trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland, camping about half the time (which I was not a fan of!). I went with my boyfriend at the time and the deal was I would plan the first week of the trip and the second week we would be spontaneous and Daniel would make the decisions as long as I could shower every day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Other than getting hit by a car while riding a bicycle (I’m scarred for life now), we had a great time. Irish people are so friendly and helpful!

We flew into Shannon Airport and then took a bus to our first stop, Dingle. We camped at The Rainbow Hostel for one night and had big plans to cycle the Dingle Peninsula the next day, but it ended up being too strenuous! On the way back into town was when I got sideswiped by a van in a traffic circle. Not pleasant, but at least I didn’t get hurt!





Next stop: Killarney. Now this is where we should have gone cycling! Gorgeous national park with tons of trails (and no vehicles!). We camped at Beechgrove, enjoyed some hikes and picnics, and visited Ross Castle.








On to Kilkenny, where we stayed at the AWESOME Foulksrath Castle Hostel, which is unfortunately now closed.








We passed through Dublin and Belfast on our bus ride to the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland, where we checked into the Mill Rest Hostel in Bushmills. We visited Giant’s Causeway the next day… Amazing!




We also visited Dunluce Castle and Old Bushmills Distillery before checking into Rick’s Causeway Coast Hostel in Portstewart.



Daniel had talked to a traveler who recommended Glencolmcille as an off-the-beaten-trail place to visit, so that was our next destination. We stayed at Dooey Hostel for three nights (camped one of the nights). There wasn’t much to do in the town… We walked around, went to the beach, and Daniel got drunk a lot. He also hiked the Slieve League which sounded too intense for me.







We ended our trip in Doolin, where we camped at Nagle’s. We were running out of steam at this point so we didn’t do much except wander around town.




Before we flew out of Shannon Airport, we stayed at Rowan Tree Hostel in Ennis. Highly recommended!


Saturday 9

1. Do you have a favorite “hair metal” band?
Does Guns N’ Roses count?


2. Def Leppard got their start in South Yorkshire, England. Have you ever been to the UK?
Yes, I have been to London and Exeter (where my friend Anna is from). I have also been to Northern Ireland.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

3. Who would you rather chat with, one-on-one: Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, or Prince Harry?
Prince William, although I don’t think he’s as hot as everyone else does.


4. Do you use real sugar or a sugar substitute?
Real sugar although I’ve been thinking of trying stevia.

5. Valentine’s Day is big for candy sales. Did you indulge in any Valentine-themed sugary treats this week?
No but I did buy some M&Ms.

6. Do you regularly balance your checkbook?

7. What was your last impulse purchase?
Those M&Ms! ๐Ÿ™‚

8. When Sam was a girl, she had nightmares about snakes under her bed. When did you last have a bad dream?
I have them pretty frequently.

9. We’re ordering pizza. Do you want deep dish or thin crust?
Regular crust.


H is for Hill Country, I is for Ireland, & J is for Jeju

Hill Country, TX

When Daniel and I lived in Denton, we decided to take a weekend trip to Hill Country and Austin in the summer of 2009. We stopped at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano as we had heard it was the best of the best. It was pretty cool; you go to a giant cooler and pick out your meat, then choose your sides and pay, then sit down and eat. It was expensive though! Next we went to downtown Fredericksburg and walked around, ate ice cream, and I had an expensive glass of wine (Hill Country ain’t cheap!). We also did wine tastings at Grape Creek Vineyards, Torre di Pietra, and Becker before heading to Austin.


In the summer of 2009 Daniel and I also went to Ireland. This was a pretty hard core (for me anyway) backpacking/camping trip. We cycled in Dingle (where I got hit by a van in a roundabout!), hiked in Killarney National Park, stayed in a castle in Kilkenny, relaxed in Gleanncholmcille, and ended the trip in Doolin. (We also went to Northern Ireland but I’ll save that part for the U is for United Kingdom post!)

Jeju Island, Korea

Daniel and I visited Jeju in August 2011 with Seoul Hiking Group. We went to Seongsan Ilchulbong, Gimnyeong Maze Park, Manjanggul Lava Tube, Yongyeon Bridge, Dragon Head Rock, Loveland, Daheeyeon Green Tea Fields, horseback riding, the Trick Art Safari, Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, Seonimgyo Bridge, Jungmun Beach, and Ripleyโ€™s Believe It or Not! all in two days. Whew! On the last day we just chilled at Hamdeok Beach. For more info and photos check out my post here.

loveland was the coolest place on jeju