Woohoo, Life’s an Adventure 2 is seven! July 1, 2012 was my seven year anniversary and in honour of that, I’m going to write a retrospective of the highlights of my blog from its inception as a personal blog while I was in Korea to my journey trying to build a brand around my blogging.
Retrospective? Yep, but I’m going to break it into three parts. First, I’ll give you a brief history of Life’s an Adventure 2 – a look back to how it has grown and developed. Then I’ll highlight my favourite posts from my Korea days (2005-2008). And finally, I’ll talk about my favourite posts and most memorable events during the modern incarnation of the blog (2011 to now).
A brief history of Life’s an Adventure 2
Life’s an Adventure 2 started out as a personal blog to share my thoughts, experiences and adventures in Korea with my friends and family back home as well as being a personal journal for myself. There are a lot of posts about traveling around Korea, clubbing, teaching, shopping, food, cute guys and just general observations as I adapted to a new country and culture. Most of it is about Korea as I lived there for three years, with the first year in Ulsan and the second and third year about Seoul. There are also a few posts about my trips to China and Japan, as well as the six week vacation I took in Thailand where I found I hate geckos (creepy creatures).
Some of you might have noticed there was a gap between my blogging as a personal blog in Korea (2005-2008) and the Korean culture blog that Life’s an Adventure 2 has evolved into (2011 to now). Well, between 2009 and the beginning of 2011, I wrote about a wide variety of topics from life in Toronto to philanthropy. Sometimes I wrote about Korean topics but mostly not. I was in graduate school here in Toronto at the time (and just starting a new job in the non-profit sector) and didn’t really have a focus for my writing so the topics were all over the place as I tried to find something that worked for me… Korean culture! During that period, it was also a personal blog.
Then, because I was growing to miss Korea more and more… and because I almost moved back in the fall of 2010… I decided to start writing about Korea and Korean culture again in 2011. Oh, there were some posts before in 2010 but it really wasn’t until May 2011 that I really focused on Korean culture articles again exclusively.
The stats you see start in November 2008 when I switched from Blogger to WordPress. However, since there were only 1011 views up to the end of 2010, I generally discount those dates. I started blogging for an audience in 2011 and that’s what the stats really reflect (I probably should have changed the blog’s name then). I built a nice, steady following in 2011 but 2012 is when Life’s an Adventure 2 has truly taken off (21,281 views in 2011… 58,188 so far in 2012). *happy dance*
Over the past year, I’ve focused on creating (hopefully) great Korean cultural articles from a non-Korean perspective in Toronto. I try to promote any Korean event I hear about here as I want them all to be successful – festivals, concerts and traditional events are such fabulous ways to share culture. I also try to share as much as I can about the fun, interesting, different, and sometimes challenging aspects of Korean culture that I’ve experienced. My one rule about writing articles is I never write about something I haven’t experienced. So I concentrate a lot on events/festivals, food, music, dramas, films and everyday Korean culture because these are things we can all enjoy.
My goal for Life’s an Adventure 2 for the future: to become a reliable and trusted resource for information on Korean culture, pop culture reviews (music, dramas, film) and Korean events/festivals in Toronto. Which means I always on the lookout for new information AND new people to write for us.
My favourite 7 posts from my Korea days (2005-2008)
1. I’m in Korea – My first post in Korea… ah, the excitement!
2. Christmas and New Year’s in Korea – My first Christmas and New Year’s in Korea. Good food and watching the sun rise at Haeundae Beach
3. Longest post ever! – One of my random observation posts that has a little bit about everything.
5. Boryeong Mud Festival – My favourite Korean festival, I went all three summers I lived in Korea. And as you can see at the beginning of the post, I was starting to dislike the antics of other foreigners.
6. My Last Weekend in Ulsan – A post of lost chances, goodbyes and fond memories.
7. My first night at Q-vo – A combination of fabulous music (& DJs) and a super hot guy made my first night at Q-vo so memorable it become my favourite club in Seoul.
(Bonus) Weekend in Jeju – A lovely, relaxing weekend eating, sightseeing and taking in all the sex & love parks.
My favourite posts from my Korean Culture days (2011-2012)
1. What to do in Gyeongju – I have no idea why this post isn’t more popular but I loved exploring the history in Gyeongju.
2. Five Korean Actors I’d Date in a Heartbeat – So much fun to write. ^^ and it spawned two companion articles; one of my male friends “Five Korean Actresses” and my follow-up “Five Korean Musicians”.
3. Review: Different Ways to Learn Korean – As my current language exchange partner can attest, I’m not the best student but I have been slowly learning Korean for a while. This post details some of the different ways and what I think of them.
4. Clubbing in Seoul, Korea – I love dancing so a post about clubbing in Seoul was super fun to write. This post was actually inspired by article I read about the differences between Toronto and Seoul.
5. Living in Korea as a Foreigner – This article was also a response to another blogger but it’s also a common question I get asked by other non-Koreans. “What was it like living in Korea?”
6. My Top Ten Korean Food You Should Try – A list of Korean food that would make a good starting point if you’re unfamiliar with it. I love Korean food so writing about it is always fun!
7. Bangi-dong: My Favourite Neighbourhood in Seoul – I have such fond memories of my two years living in Bangi-dong. Find out why!
1. Dating in Korea – A female foreigner’s perspective on dating in Korea.
2. My Favourite Korean Cosmetics and Skincare – I was in cosmetics heaven in Korea. Read about some of my favourite products.
3. Korean-Canadian and Korean-American Musicians You Should be Listening to – I don’t just listen to K-pop and this article talks about my favourite Korean-Canadian and Korean-American musicians.
4. Review: Blue, Bad Boy and Fantastic Baby by Big Bang – Come on… you knew I had to mention Big Bang! I love them, so writing about them is a dream.
5. My 10 Favourite Banchan – Mmm… banchan. Sometimes they are the best part of the meal.
6. Rendezvous Korean Cuisine 2012 – This was such a fabulous event that it was a joy to write the article.
7. Toronto Korean Film Festival Lineup – I was so excited to have a full-fledged Korean film festival to write about! So many amazing films, such a fabulous way to share Korean culture.
My 7 most memorable events from blogging
1. Having tea and lunch with Consul General Kwang-Kyun Chung. This was definitely one of the greatest honours I’ve ever been afforded.
2. Being recognized by readers in Toronto. I have no desire to be famous but actually meeting people that I don’t know who read my blog is super cool – it lets me know that my stats are lying… someone is reading it! And for a writer, that’s an amazing feeling.
3. Being interviewed because of my writing. It’s happened a few times now and while each time is slightly nerve wracking (I get nervous in front of cameras), it’s fabulous exposure for Life’s an Adventure 2. You can catch my latest interview on Arirang Korea this Sunday (July 8) at 10:30pm or Thursday (July 12) at 4:30pm on OMNI2.
4. Covering events as media. One of the coolest moments of the past year was covering 2K12 Korea Night at CMW as a member of the media and seeing Brian Joo (and the others) warm-up prior to the show. Now if only I could interview a musician…
5. The fabulous people I’ve met from writing. This one should really be higher as I’ve met some wonderful, friendly and fun people from writing about Korean culture. I firmly believe that one can never have enough great friends so this is truly fantastic!
6. Being accepted as a Worldwide Korea Blogger. Super cool to see some of my articles published on The Korea Blog. Same with seeing my articles on The Banana Times. It means I’ve really been published, if only online.
7. Feeling inspired. My goal in life has always been to live a productive, meaningful and happy life. And writing about Korean culture helps me achieve all three elements… plus it’s become my muse in my creative writing as well.