Riding Shotgun

Riding Shotgun
Enjoying a 'safe' tuk-tuk ride to Angkor Wat


The Night Before

Like most people I also suffer from EFT or excitement over future travel. Sleepless nights leading up to the departure date thinking of all you are going to see and experience. Spending a few more minutes reading a guild book and looking though the pictures. By now almost everyone who isn't traveling is sick of your constant chatter about when, where, and what you will be doing. So to combat this I recommend spending time with family and friend who are so close to you they have to listen. As for me my evening will be spend with my family over dinner.

In 26.5 hours I will be airborne and headed for Warsaw.


Hungarian Opera

During my stay in Budapest I plan on attending an Opera. Having loved and attended Opera's in Seattle for the past 15 years I can not begin to express how excited I am. I will likely see Macbeth and what makes it even better is the ticket prices. 20 dollars isn't even the cheapest, but it is the best price for seating I found. Tickets went from about 5 dollars to upwards of 60-70. This will be a great change of pace after all the Turbo Techno that is common though out Eastern Europe.

Also got a confirmation from a couchsurfer in Krakow. Looking to be the start of an amazing adventure everyone!


Mini Spring Break

At this moment I am sitting just outside my friends Morgan's dorm room down in New College Floria in Sarasota, Florida. The weather is a perfect 86 degrees with a light breeze coming in from the east. Last night was a Wall Party which is a communal gathering of the student body. Dancing, drinking, and socializing comes together in a great topical atmosphere. While my heart will forever pump purple and gold though my veins coming to this college which boasts a roughly 800 or so student body, has shown me a very different college experience. One which this friendly blogger enjoyed.

Coming from the University of Washington which has an estimated 33,000 students (Our largest classes are equal to New College's entire school size) it is interesting to meet and interact with a small community. I have had no trouble fitting in and am very happy I made this trip down to visit my friend for her birthday.

I got down here on Thursday evening and will be returning Tuesday of next week. Looking forward to the days to come out in the hot Florida sun!

Till next time,

Happy Travels


Drinking and Traveling

Korean Whiskey or Soju is a tasty liquor

Drinking with friends can be a wonderful way to spend a special evening. Celebrating a birthday, enjoying a rare chance to bring everyone together, or just doing it for the sake of Tuesday are all reasons people drink. The key to drinking while traveling is to take part in the local customs involved when drinking. This could mean downing vodka in Poland or serving Korean whiskey to your elders. 

For the more daring there is always the home wine selection

Similar to eating every community has their own reasons and culture when it comes to consuming alcohol. I hope everyone does mature past the age of drinking till your falling, but when you are young a few times around the moon won't kill you. Just be safe and make sure to know your limits. CHEERS!

Till next time happy trails!

The Travel Tiger 



Food & Family

One of the most important rules I have while traveling deals with my taste in food. When I am at home I usually go to places I know and like. A creature of habit if you were. So when I traveled as a kid with my family I would often be a brat and a picky eater when it came to lunch and dinner (Since breakfast is often just bread and toast there wasn't much to complain about. After all who doesn't love bread?) So all thoughout Italy I learned to ask

"Paramason per favore?"

This quickly became a home staple and a common story in the family. Thankfully I had grown well past this phase during my last trip to Europe and began holding myself to a new food rule.

Colin's Top Food Rule

  • Under no circumstances are you allowed to avoid or refuse any type of food while traveling. This is especially true when eating with a family in their home. Embrace the culture and I promise you will be rewarded with great tastes and smiles all around. 

Another rule is to always finish what is brought

At the time when the above photo was taken I had already experienced many types of Korean cuisine and had fallen in love with it. While a small country Korea has made a name for itself in the world of tasty delights. With food giants like China and Japan the respect for Korean food was slow and gradual, but has now quickly picked up and in many parts of the world surpassed those previously mentioned, and in this authors opinion it is about dang time. 

Having grown up in Seattle I was lucky enough to have access to several Korean communities. However, it wasn't until I was in Korea that I  first tasted Kim Chi. For those who don't know what this is I would like to refer you to an expert who gave me this definition.

Hero: Kim Chi is very important to Koreans because it is our history. And it is delicious!

The quote above has been shortened due to Hero jumping into a very long and at times violent (The man has some intense hand motions) lecture on the amazing pickled cabbage side dish common in almost every meal in Korea. Notice I mentioned side dish. This hadn't been told to me at the start so for the first half of the trip I believed I had to eat it raw. I did this often enough that I started to really enjoy the taste of it plain and continued. This led Hero and his family to say I must be part Korean because no other group of people would ever eat it raw. 

Dinner with the extended family

Yummy Korean Desserts 

Stall food in Seoul is some of the best I have had anywhere

The second part of this post has to do with family. When you sit down at a table with people it is my belief that you are sitting with family. Food brings about national, family, and personal pride which should be greatly respected. Customs and edicate usually hold important historical stories and lessons that can be great to learn. Add in the fact that you are a guest and you can get a true family experience

Tigers Friendly Tip: If the family has children I recommend you speak English to them. The parents will really like this as the world understands that learning English can be very helpful. A little English lesson can be a great way to thank the family for a wonderful meal and evening. 

I wish you good health and happy travels. 

Colin S. & The Traveling Tiger


Seoul: City and Palace

A city as alive as Seoul really does something to its tourists. It feels like the air has more oxygen which is slightly surprising considering how many 8 lane streets I had to cross. There is a higher sense you acquire as a traveler as well which could be the reason, but for me I think it was just the energy that infects you. To balance this out it was important to find a place to stow away for a morning city walk and what better place to do that then a walking tour of the major palaces in Seoul's historic center.

Upon entering one of the several impressive palace centers you are met with a very different atmosphere. Outside (literally right out side) you are immersed in the world of the modern Seoul business world. Then though the gateway into the palace you quickly find the world change and become a green oasis where the walls seem to extend beyond keeping enemies of the Royal Family out, but the street noise as well.

Gyeongbok Palace
Taken 2009

The architecture in these historic buildings was unlike anything I had seen before in my travels. After all my only experience with architecture and travel had been the Western world and while viewing different churches is fascinating the use of color in Asia is simply unmatched. The brilliant use of different and vibrate colors makes each wall or even corner a work of art. The detail and delicate touch required matches that of a sculpture within Notre Dame.

With the buildings being a wonderful stop I made a point to also see the changing of the guard ceremony. See this ritual being done in different parts of the world is something I have come to do almost by accident. The way a culture treats its security can often mirror the state reacts to different parts of its life. Korea for example has been constantly plagued with invasion and occupations throughout its history. Therefor their changing of the guard is very loud and difficult. This history of occupation; however, has also allowed Korea's individualism to thrive and now even to this day the children are taught to respect and uphold their culture.

I wish you good health and happy travels. 

Colin S. & The Traveling Tiger


Separated from the pack

Getting lost in Seoul made me remember the first time I got lost on my own in a different country. It was during my second trip to Europe. After half a day on our bikes my friend Jordan and I had decided we could go a little faster than my mother and father. So after discussing where we would meet Jordan and I headed off on our own and soon enough we were well beyond eye sight of my parents. We reached the small city which had been chosen as our lunch break and meeting spot. At one point I found myself separated from Jordan and wandering along the small streets of the French city. Looking back I cannot believe how calm I was while biking around the downtown district of the city. I somehow ended up at the central tourist information building and was spotted by my godmother who had joined us for part of our trip. It was a lucky meeting and likely stopped a city wide search for me.

I know that if a few more hours had gone by I would have likely started to freak out. Still the fact that I kept myself together and reconnected with my family was a great feeling. Finding them having already eaten lunch and seemingly unfazed by my disappearance was not. Apparently they had “Complete faith in my abilities” To this day I still don’t know if they were joking or not. Thankfully their real (or fake) belief in me seemed to pay off. So maybe getting lost sometimes isn’t that bad. The next time it happens to you just sit back and let the road ahead of you lead you on.

I wish you good health and happy travels. 

Colin S. & The Traveling Tiger