You know, it’s interesting how this blog has changed over the nearly two years I’ve had it. When I first started, I was so determined to keep it uber professional and more like a travel site rather than a blog. I didn’t quite realize that there are plenty of professional sites who already do this and have the money, tools, photography, and contributors to do a much better job. I don’t really know why, but I didn’t want this blog to be centered around me.
I’m still not 100% sold on letting you guys into every thought I have, and I fully plan on continuing to put out guides or tips on places I’ve been, but I do want to get a little more personal here. Mostly because there are still a lot of thoughts I DO have, and they’re not necessarily SEO or Pinterest-friendly. However, they let me chatter and share news that doesn’t fit into the perfect post-publish marketing plan.
Anyhow, here’s the news:
I’m moving back to Korea.
Now, when I left back in October, I knew I’d come back in some shape or form in the future. I didn’t quite expect it to be this soon, but a lot of things changed in the weeks that I ended my contract and moved back home to the East Coast. Some personal, some not so personal (*cough* the soul breaking election *cough*), but, yeah, a lot of things I really wasn’t anticipating.
Here are some quick reasons why I’m moving back:
Of course, money is a factor. I don’t really talk about finances here because no one has really cared enough to ask, and I’m honestly the last person to dole out financial advice. I’m getting better with age, and I’ve never been in a Confessions of a Shopaholic situation, but I could definitely be smarter with savings and spendings.
My first two years in Korea were the first two years I had a full-time job and only a full-time job. I had full intentions of starting an emergency fund, savings fund, and throwing a lot of money at my student loans. While I still sent home $1K every month, I generally put them all into my loans and saved very little. I also spent pretty freely on takeout, taxis, and weekend trips. No regrets, and I never found myself huddled over ramen at the end of the month, but I could have been a tiny bit more frugal.
On return, I want to be a lot more savvy with my spending. There are 1 or 2 things I plan on investing in, so I need to save for them, pay down Sallie Mae, knock of a bit of credit card debt, and save a specific amount I have in mind for the next chapter in my life.
2. I genuinely miss Korea.
I have a few friends who are pretty good and don’t feel any need to return in the near future, but I’ve never felt this way. Korea still feels like home to me even at its most frustrating.
I know things will never be the same as they were when I moved to Namwon, but there’s still a lot I want to do there. I want to actually be more conversational in Korean, learn more about ESL and teaching, and visit all 100 places I listed on my major Korea list.
I also want to be more outdoorsy and go running, hiking, and camping more. God help me and my prissy tendencies, but I’ll be in the same province as my friends over at Hedgers Abroad, so hopefully, they can teach me the ropes.
3. There’s really not a ton for me in the US at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends to death, but if I was pursuing a career here, I’d see them about as often as I would living across the world. All of my friends are scattered around the country, so it’s not like I have go-to buddies to go get brunch with every weekend. I have my parents, but again, if I was working a 9-5, it wouldn’t be in Pennsylvania, so I wouldn’t see them frequently either.
Let’s not even talk about my love life, which remains, as it always has, nonexistent. Beyond meeting up with two old friends while traveling for lunch/dinner and obviously spending time with my dad and brother, I don’t even think I interact with the opposite sex that much. :p
Anyhow, there’s nothing in the US to really tie me down. Except maybe my dog, which, we’re working through.
4. This Blog.
Guys, I love There She Goes Again like my own child. The amount of money and time I’ve put into her and my “blogging education” is incredible. That said, I never want her to be my sole source of income or even a major source of income.
I recently read an older article with Blair of Atlantic-Pacific that struck a cord with me. Blair is one of the few OG fashion bloggers who has steadily maintained a full-time career as a Director of Merchandising at Tory Burch while her blogging star has risen (even her former copycats are now successful), and I really respect that she doesn’t make A-P her full-time gig when she easily could. Here’s what she says:
“Blogging is an amazingly creative outlet for me, but I really value my career in merchandising. I have always focused on having both short-term and long-term goals, and in the end growing my merchandising career is my long-term goal. The relationships I build, the challenges I face, and the intellectual conversations I have when strategically trying to create a line have always been what drives me and challenges me. Eventually, I may not blog anymore at all, and I love that my passion for fashion can also be a lasting career.”
There’s a certain level of a narcissism you need to put your face in front of a camera or talk about your life to the internet, and there’s a certain level of desperation when your blog accounts for 100% of your income. You find yourself saying yes to brands or hotels you wouldn’t normally book for yourself, and unless you’re making well over six figures comfortably, you’re constantly concerned about expenses and budgets and yadada.
Either way, as much as I’ve loved discovering how to make myself look good in photos or chatting about my opinions or experiences, blogging is not my end goal in life. It is something I’d like to hang around for as long as I can because, as Blair says of her blog, it’s a creative outlet for me. It pushes me to write more than I was, forces me to work on improving my photography skills, and it makes me a better traveler. Also, it’s connected me with some really awesome people I would have never have met otherwise.
Anyhow part of why I’m going back is because I want to ease up the pressure on this site to be a money maker. I’m fine with monetizing it, but I saw myself on the very beginnings of a path to accepting hotel offers that didn’t align with what I’d pay for myself or working with brands that made no sense for my Instagram. And that’s just not cool.
And now for the good part! I’m starting a weekly series!
I actually got this idea a little from Hippie in Heels and because I knew the paperwork of reapplying was probably going to drive me up a wall. Rachel has a really fun series on her blog called “This is India,” where she recounts fun stories or updates on her life in Goa.
I’d like to do something similar with Korea, starting from next week and going into my year there. While I wrote a lot about getting my first gig in a single post, I figured it might be fun to do weekly updates this time around. I also want to use this as an opportunity to focus on taking at least one solid photo a week to use for the post. I need to learn how to use my camera better and develop a better editing style, and this feels like the perfect exercise.
It’s called Hashtag Korea or #Korea because that’s my go-to phrase for everything that happens in that little country. Whether good or bad, sweet or frustrating, I’d constantly go “Hashtag Korea” or “Ooohhh Korea.”
The whole series is probably going to be more stream of conscious, less polished, and probably full of weird grammar mistakes that make it through my Grammarly checker. I’m not planning much for them beyond telling you guys about my week and getting that one photo I need to get. I’m sure some weeks will be hilarious and some will be boring as hell. Who knows? I’m just excited to see where this takes me!
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks :). And if you didn’t read and skipped to the bottom, basically I’m moving back to Korea and I’m takin’ you all with me in my new series #Korea.
I’m really excited about moving back to Korea with more intention than I did the first time around, and I can’t wait to share this whacky, fantastic, and loveable country on a more personal level with you all! I just want to write more and worry less about the marketing and SEO planning behind it, so this series is going to be my outlet.
Cheers to new adventures, and, of course, let me know if any of you visit Korea!