24 Before 24: Go Camping and See the Sunrise from a Beach

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I’m doing 24 fun or new things before I turn 24. You can see the rest of my list here.

It was a very good weekend for bucket list experiences. In three days, I spent about 10 hours in transport, didn’t get enough sleep and ate too much junk food. But it was a small price to pay for all the beautiful and awesome things I got to see and experience.

My friends and I spent one night camping on the beach of Bijindo, a beautiful, tiny island about 3 hours away from Busan. It’s very small, with only a handful of small shops in people’s homes selling beer, ramen noodles and packaged cookies and only one little restaurant serving about two dishes. It some ways it was a sad place, with lots of trash (and cute trash puppies) everywhere and half-built or run-down buildings, but the surrounding nature was so stunning that we barely noticed.  A friend and I were lucky enough to stumble upon some locals having a flying lantern ritual and when we stopped to admire the process they quickly handed us a lantern or our own so that we could join in. Ours didn’t quite make it off the ground and almost set a bush on fire, but it was a pretty magical moment nonetheless, watching all the lanterns float up into the starry sky. Later that night I had one of the cooler experiences of my entire life when we swam and splashed around in the very cold, bioluminescent water. I’d never even heard of this phenomenon before, but I was quite literally in awe of the sparkling turqoise shimmers. It was unbelieveable. It seemed like magic (I’m still not convinced it wasn’t…) and I just felt this huge sense of wonder at this crazy beautiful world we live in.

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We camped on the beach along with only a handful of other tents – most people who had visited the island during the day cleared out on the last ferry, leaving the place fairly quiet and peaceful. We weren’t really prepared for it to get so cold overnight, so it wasn’t a great sleep, but that made it easier to wake up for the beautiful sunrise. I realized only later that I don’t remember the last time I watched the sun rise at all, nevermind watching it from such a beautiful place. We were cold and shivering, but it was worth it.

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Later that morning, we took a hike straight up the mountain, cutting through fields of produce and a very wild jungle of a forest. The whole island was pretty wild, with bugs the likes of which I’d never seen and bird calls the likes of which I’d never heard. We even sadly saw two dead dogs right as we arrived on the island. It just seemed like the place had its own ecosystem, which was really awesome. Who knows if it’s true, but the bioluminescence has me convinced. The forest itself was beautiful and felt like something straight out of Lord of the Rings, and the views from the top of the mountain were totally stunning.

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The rest of the weekend was also a bit of a dream. I finally tried a Mexican-style restaurant in my area (a big deal for Korea) and found out that the people were lovely, the atmosphere was awesome, and the food was amazing (an even bigger deal). Then Sunday we admired the huge sand sculptures on our local beach and then made a big trek out to a beach a lot further away, across the city. The draw was the “sunset fountain of dreams” – a water and light show choreographed to music – but we had time to kill before the show. We spent the day exploring the beautiful beach, taking a gorgeous coastal walk, talking and listening to music on a rock surrounded on one side by water and on the other by forest, practicing handstands and taking lots of pictures. The show was great, but the best part of the whole trip for me was discovering a trampoline at a run-down little arcade right near the beach. Dylan and I jumped on it for a long time, laughing our heads off and getting weird looks from passersby.

It was a wonderful weekend, full of beautiful and special moments with wonderful people that already feel like great memories. I feel really, really lucky.

What to Bring to Your Dorm Room

[This post is the last in my Back to School Series]

So you’re going off to University. You must be terrified. Holy moly! Even as I was packing my bags this year, I was remembering my sheer terror as I packed them last year. Luckily, for me that has passed, but maybe you’re still feeling that way? All I can say is: it’s going to be okay! And read this if you want more encouragement. :)

As my last post in my very fun-to-write back to school series, I’m talking about what to bring.

Dorm Room Necessities

 

My dorm room!
My dorm room!

 

Besides the obvious – school supplies, bedding, books and knicknacks – there are tons of things that fill the average dorm room. Food, snacks, and beer abound, along with dirty laundry and stacks of paper. Depending on the size of your room, it could be neater (small space = higher organization!), but nonetheless, most dorm rooms are crammed full of lots of goodies. Now, I know you’ve been scouring the articles online about what else you might need, and you’ve probably heard it all. In case you haven’t though, here are a few awesome lists of what to bring: very comprehensive!

But maybe you’ve read it all before, and want my personal opinion on the subject. The verdict: for rez, you don’t need that much stuff!! I know how exciting it is to be moving away, and I know you want to take everything with you (I sure did..). But remember, you’ll be moving home for the summer most likely, so pack light! I had way, way too much stuff when I moved home! So besides the absolute essentials and a few homey touches, here are my picks for enjoyable dorm living:

 

Journal

 

On a notebook, far, far away
Image by midnightglory via Flickr

 

For me, one of the most indispensable items to have in your toolkit. Even if you can’t manage to journal every day about your crazy adventures, it’s still incredibly useful for when you feel sad or scared or just plain frustrated! I swear by my journal, and always pick ones that are bright and happy. You could also use a sombre Moleskine to record all your seriously serious thoughts.. :)

Plate, cup and cutlery


Because who knows when you’ll be munching on some real Thanksgiving dinner or lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce or a full Hanukkah feast? (Yes, all of which occurred my first year, along with countless brownies, cookies, muffins and other munchies.) Always be prepared! Who knows when the opportunity for food will come along?

 

Sleeping Bag

 

 

A person in a sleeping bag
Image via Wikipedia

 

Very useful! Bring with you when you visit friends, or when they visit you! Also can be used for extra warmth if you live somewhere ridiculously cold.

Earplugs

 

iPod Earplugs
Image by wmbreedveld via Flickr

 

So important! Who knows when the guy directly above you will blast Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin until two in the morning, while bouncing a tennis ball against his wall. Oh wait, I know when he’ll do that! Every stinking night. Avoid the drama and use earplugs. Use them when an ultimate frisbee tournament goes on for a month, every night, until midnight. Use them when you’re at the library for total peace. Love earplugs. Totally a necessity.

 

Flat plastic storage boxes

 

31 January 2007 (2): Stacking Boxes
Image by Ulleskelf via Flickr

 

These are perfect when you have a small space. They fit so neatly under any dorm bed and can act as your little pantry/pharmacy for the year. I kept extra kleenex boxes, contact solution, extra lightbulbs, and way more tucked into those handy little spaces. Great use of space, especially when you don’t have much!

Extra floor lamp

 

IKEA Lamp
Image by Matzelchen via Flickr

 

Ooh. So indispensable for me first year. When it gets dark at 5 in the winter, I get thoroughly depressed, especially if all the lighting I have is an overhead light and a desk lamp. Not feeling it. I favour tall floor lamps, cheap at Ikea that can stand in one corner of your room and cast a loving glow over the whole space. Lovely. :)

 

Rug

 

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Image via Wikipedia

 

My rugs kept my feet warm, my room colourful and my floors cleaner. Love rugs. Yay rugs!

 

Your musical instrument

 

 

DanElectro & Kay Guitars - Ottawa 01 08
Image by Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr

 

I found that playing my guitar was a huge stress-reliever last year. anytime I felt overwhelmed, I could just reach into the corner of my room and strum away. I also play the piano, and nearer to the end of the year I started playing the pianos downstairs in our rez. If you don’t play an instrument, sorry! But I really recommend bringing yours if you do have one.

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How exciting!

Isn’t it fabulous to move into a new place and start making it your own?! I love that feeling of settling in somewhere so much, of laying all your things our and getting organized and making everything look absolutely gorgeous! I’m moving into my very first apartment tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited to make it wonderfully mine. I’ll keep you posted on that front!

What do you think about my picks for comfy dorm living? What changed your life when you were living in a tiny room? Let me know!

Good luck with the transition my loves!

xoxo,