I’m Starting a Travel Blog

DEAR READERS,

I’m not entirely sure why you follow this blog, or read things I write, but I appreciate you nonetheless.

I’d like to point out that I’ve begun a new project, A Long Way Back, a travel blog meant to detail my three-month trip to reach Canada from Korea. The plan is tentatively to spend one month in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia); a few weeks in India, undecidedly the north or south; a few weeks in the Middle East (possible stopover in Dubai, certainly Jordan and Israel); then one month crossing Europe by train and plane to fly back to Toronto (maybe via good ol’ Halifax) in time for mid-December.

Right now the blog offers only a few reposted stories from this site and around the web, but I’ll be updating it with stories from around the world for the rest of 2013. I’d appreciate any follows, hits or comments (advice?) you can spare.

Thanks,

Michael

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Relax in Halifax for Two Days Like a Local

When people think of Halifax, they think of Theodore Tugboat. Maybe lobster. Sometimes wind. All of these are fair and accurate descriptions, and none do the full city justice.

Halifax is a real, terrific “Canadian” city — it’s inescapably laid back, culturally vibrant and very, very local. Understand that because Halifax isn’t really en route to anything, it has necessarily evolved to be extremely self-reliant. The best parts of the city are totally unique: local craft beer, the ever-fresh farmer’s market, constantly active bands and theatre troupes. It’s hard to catch all of that in a guide book. In truth, guide books just don’t.

ToFerry

This is a true local’s guide to Halifax. You’ll do a fair bit of walking (or biking, if you prefer) and explore everything the city proper has to offer, beyond the big tourist attractions (though those are included), from choice favourite restaurants with rotating seasonal vegetable dishes to the city’s favourite farmer’s market vendors to select homegrown organic coffee shops. If it all sounds a little hipster-ish, well, Halifax sort of is. This is what young and middle-aged Haligonians do on any given sunny Saturday. But you can also enjoy the benefits in a two-day span without growing a Maritime beard and dressing in flannel. That is, unless you want to.

You can buy the full two-day tour on Unanchor. Only five bucks!

The Aimless Twenty-Something Life: A Postgrad’s Tale of Travel & Taking Control

In May 2011, I was sitting across from four editors in the startlingly modern private boardroom of the Chronicle Herald newspaper in west end Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’d prepared for this job interview all week. The Herald isn’t an especially well-regarded publication (it’s locally nicknamed “The Chronically Horrid”), but holds the distinction of being one of Canada’s oldest daily papers, and the largest of the nation’s few remaining independent ones. I would love to work there.

Beard trimmed and tie clip neatly in place, I played up my strengths and lied about my weaknesses for about 20 minutes. It was all very innocuous. Truth be told, I was happy enough just sitting there—as a 22-year-old journalism major on the cusp of graduation, a job straight out of school is considered the Holy Grail. J-schoolers are told often the tall tales of glorious predecessors who’ve moved on to full-time gigs at the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the CBC. This is what we believed we were working for. This was the goal.

As the interview wrapped up, one of my hypothetical employers brought up the topic of my other hypothetical futures. I replied candidly, but uncertainly: if I don’t get this job, actually, I might just move to South Korea and teach English.

The editor’s mouth twisted into an almost patronizing smile, and he wished me good luck.

Downstairs, I was showed to the door by the assistant newsroom editor, a hefty and serious man with a receding hairline and Italian name lifted from the cast of The Godfather. I asked him, out of curiosity, how he’d judge seeing “English Teacher in South Korea” on a resume. “It wouldn’t help,” he told me frankly, propping the door open. “But it wouldn’t hurt either. To be honest, you should probably just go. You’re young. Have fun.”

I inferred (correctly) from his parting words that the job wasn’t mine. The following week, for lack of any better autumn prospects, I emailed my teaching application.

Mt.-Seunghak

“Given the amount my generations complains, or at least gets flak for complaining, about how few jobs there are, I was, and still am, seriously astonished at how few recent university graduates decide to travel straight out of college.” 

Read the rest on BootsnAll — my first for one of the web’s biggest travel websites.