Greatest Moments of 2014 (And a Sneak Peak into 2015)

As I've said before, 2014 was my first full year living abroad, and it was so jam packed with interesting things that I knew I couldn't do it justice with just one post. Last week, I looked back at my most valuable lessons learned, but this week I'll be highlighting my favorite travel moments, the most extreme misadventures, and a sneak peak into my grand plans for 2015. 

2014 started with my two week trip to Thailand. We started our adventure on the party island of Koh Phi Phi, on which I consumed too many buckets, stood as a reluctant witness to a top-bunk hostel hook-up, and got a merry dose of food poisoning. Next, we moved to Phuket, which is hands-down the sketchiest place I've ever been in my life and we finished our trip in Bangkok and Ayutthaya. For me the best parts of Thailand were lounging on Koh Phi Phi during the day, and wandering the ancient temples of Ayutthaya. 

Bangkok Buddhist Temple Incense Thailand.jpg

In June, I made my way to Japan, and though I only spent three and a half days (one in Osaka and two in Kyoto) - I was instantly in love. There really is something a bit magical about that place: the food is phenomenal, the people are ridiculously friendly, and the sites areutterly beautiful. I must have taken at least 500+ pictures, and I ate so much udon, sushi, and ramen that it would have been embarrassing, if it hadn't been so damn good! I will admit that Japan is more expensive then pretty much any other destination in Asia; however, it's worth every penny. 

A week after I got back from Japan, I made it to my first ever Ultra Music Festival. While living in the US, I had always wanted to attend in Ultra Miami, but had never made it a priority, so when I found out it happened in Korea as well, I knew I had to attend. Ultra took place over two days and had a line-up filled with some of the very best DJ's in the world. Though there was definitely an abundance of talent, my favorite acts were Above & Beyond, Infected Mushroom, and M.I.A. 

In July, came the Boryeong Mud Festival. If you haven't heard of this event before, just picture a beautiful beach, plentiful beer, blow-up water slides, and a ridiculous amount of mud... Imagine all that and you'll be close to conjuring this fun and unique festival. 

In August, I took my third international trip of the year to the island of Taiwan. Of all the trips I took this year, I think Taiwan was my favorite. We ate delectable street food every single day, made our way from bustling Taipei, to the serene shrines of Taroko Gorge, to the stunning beaches of Kenting. Taiwan has class, culture, and though it is a bit more expensive than Thailand, is definitely affordable for a budget traveler

Taiwan Hualien Night Market2.jpg

Besides my international travels, I also took several small weekends trip around Korea - One to Sokcho on the West coat, Yeosu in the South, and countless trips to Seoul. 

But as this year winds down, like most people I've found myself asking:
So what now? New year, new goals. What do I want to accomplish in 2015? 

What I know for certain is that I am planning to return home to Colorado for two weeks in January. My main goals for that trip are to see friends and family, buy a 13' MacBook Air, drink craft beer, and eat everything I don't have access to in Korea. Green chili, Spicy Nacho Doritos, Bloody Mary's, Mexican food... Very big and important plans, I know ;)

Then, in February my awesome cousin and her equally awesome boyfriend will be joining me for one week in Korea, after which we'll head to Vietnam and Bali. So, if you have any suggestions about must-see destinations in either of those locations, speak up!! As I've never been to either, I am very much open to what you have to say!

My teaching contract will terminate in August and that's when my true freedom sets in. The way I see it, I have three options...

Life Option #1: 
- Leave Korea in August
- Travel around SE Asia solo until mid October
- Attend TBEX Bangkok in late October
- Fly home for a wedding
- Work and travel in the US for four months
- Meet one of my friends for more backpacking in SE Asia
- Move to Australia... Brazil... Japan... somewhere..... ???

Life Option #2:
- Leave Korea in August
- Work with the Westgate Corporation for a short term teaching contract in Japan
- Meet friend to backpack SE Asia
- Move to Australia... Brazil... Japan... somewhere..... ???

Life Option #3:
- Renew my contract in Korea for either 6 months or a year
- Figure something out in the mean time....

Life Option #4:
- Make me an offer!! 

As you may or may not have noticed I'm pretty indecisive. I once spent 15 minutes in the orange juice aisle, because I couldn't decide which one was the perfect balance between deliciousness and cost-effective buying practices. At this point, all of my "Life Options" are tentative, and if a strong wind came along to blow me in a certain direction, I would probably not resist. Variety is, after all the spice of life. 

What I Know For Sure:
- I want to finish paying my student loans by the end of 2015
- I want to keep travelling
- I want start freelancing and monetize my blog to the point that I can travel and at least break even
(I don't need to be a baller, but I do need to eat food.)


What are you plans or resolutions for 2015? Anything juicy? Want to weigh in on my life options? I'm most definitely a pretend adult, and have no idea what I'm doing 99% of the time, so if you have any sage wisdom or advice please feel free to impart it upon me. As always, sharing is caring, and if you want to find me I have more social media than I know what to do with! Facebook is probably the fastest, but I'll definitely answer on Twitter and Instagram as well. 

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Happy new years my friends!! Be brave, be bold, and as always...
Enjoy the beautiful view!

Morgan S.