Before getting into the logistics of things, I want to clarify what the DMZ is for readers who are unfamiliar with Korean geography and history. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the area that extends 2 km from the North-South Korean border on both sides. The DMZ is a civilian-restricted area, so anyone who visit must be part of a tour group. Overall, while the DMZ is heavily secured, the level of tension and security is nowhere close to the JSA/Panmunjom (which I will talk about further down). In order to enter the DMZ, our tour bus had to cross the Unification Bridge, where barricades are strategically placed in various lanes to (what I'm assuming) slow down vehicles intentionally.
This year's Chuseok break (Korean Thanksgiving) resulted in a 10-day vacation; the next 10-day Chuseok will be in 2025. With such a long holiday, the logical solution would be to TRAVEL! Before arriving in Korea, my mom and I both planned a trip to visit Japan, a country that neither of us have been to before. For two people without any knowledge of Japanese (except for hi, thank you, and sorry), I'd say we did pretty well in Osaka and Tokyo.
Being on the older end of the K-pop fan spectrum, Jennifer and I decided to opt out of buying KCON concert tickets and, instead, we bought 1-day convention tickets for $16 each.
We originally planned our LA trip for the 3-day KCON event; however, the line up of artists were not very attractive (most of the groups announced were relatively new) so dropping $200 on tickets would definitely not be worth it. The only groups that I was interested in were VIXX, Super Junior D&E, Heize, and (maybe) Girl's Day out of 10 announced artists.
As our alternate plan, Jennifer and I made it our goal to meet YouTubers and get as much out of KCON in 1 day.
(left) I wasn't planning on running into Joan, but I was super ecstatic that I did! If you know me well, you would know that I watch her vlogs daily- so meeting her was a really pleasant surprise! I was so shocked that my hands were still shaking for about 5 minutes after this photo.
The last time I visited Los Angeles was when I was eight with a Hong Kong tour group. Like typical tour groups we went to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Hollywood Boulevard. The trip was a blur, and I don't remember much from it.
During our five-day trip, Jennifer and I were determined to cover our bases and see different sides of Los Angeles. Koreatown. Santa Monica. KCON LA. Chinatown. The Broad. El Pueblo. Griffith Observatory. The Last Bookstore. These were just some of the places that we visited. We stayed in the center of Koreatown and ate tons of Korean barbecue, knife cut noodles (kalguksu), and dumplings (mandu). In all, the trip allowed me to see another sprawling city- this time, on the west coast.
*Note: Don't forget to click "Read More" at the bottom right!*
TL;DR: Jennifer and I had a great time in Atlanta visiting museums, seeing Eric Nam in concert, and hiking in nature.
Coming back to Atlanta for six days with Jennifer gave me a different perspective on the city. This trip was truly Jennifer's first time experiencing a large southern city. Home to the world's busiest airport, tons of Fortune 500 companies, ridiculous sprawl and traffic, and museums dedicated to colonial, civil war, and civil rights history, Atlanta is a sight to behold. I have always emphasized the need for a car and the distance between places to Jennifer, yet she didn't actually believe me until she realized that she has spent half of her day sitting in the car (occasionally in traffic) getting to places even though our interstates are seven lanes wide and no one obeys the speed limit.
As for me, I was really excited to see my Lovett friends all together at one place! Although we hung out with Izzy just a few days ago in Chicago, we saw each other again in Atlanta with Adrienne and Markell (whom I haven't seen since last summer). Although we only managed to chat for about an hour or so, it was really nice catching up and hearing about the different paths that we are taking in college. Personally, I really love listening to others' journeys towards their goals, especially if theirs are really different than mine.
*Note: Don't forget to click "Read more" on the bottom right to read the entire post!*
Visiting Chicago this time around felt different than the last two times due to the fact that Jennifer and I decided to stay in the city instead of commuting back to Waukegan on Metra daily. We decided to stay at Essex Inn, which is situated right in the center of everything on Michigan Avenue. It's in the process of renovating so things were a bit messy (one out of three elevators were out of order and our sink in the hotel room was the size of a dessert plate -_-) but aside from that, I think we got a pretty good deal considering that we're two college students traveling on a budget.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with my blog but don't...
- Have time to read posts when they are published
- See my updates via Facebook
- Have my blog bookmarked
Please sign up for my bi-monthly(?- tentative) blog digest e-newsletter! I am trying this out to so that you can get notified on a regular basis. You can find the sign up form on the right sidebar ---->
In a previous post, Jennifer and I decided on exploring Duluth on a daylong road trip. Little did we know that we would end up going on 3 road trips in 3 weeks.
A day into the 4th of July weekend, Jennifer and I last minute decided to road trip ALL THE WAY back to Waukegan, IL (about a 7-8 hour drive including breaks) to spend 2 days in Waukegan and 1 day in Chicago. We began the drive at precisely 6:15am (because Starbucks opened at 6am - we needed caffeine), stopped 3 times along the way, and arrived in the driveway of Jennifer's home at 1:30pm.
So many Macalester students visit Duluth on a weekend trip sometime during their four years, so Jennifer and I set out to do it all in less than 12 hours past Saturday. We tried to do every free activity and ended up spending $60 total between the two of us for brunch, dinner, parking, and gas.
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. I clean when I'm stressed. I blog for fun.
Follow me on social: