Leprechauns

Thursday mornings I’m scheduled to teach English at a countryside middle school and trek all the way there, but today they had exams or something so I wasn’t required to go in; instead I went to my main school and desk-warmed.  Being the great NYer I am, I efficiently used this free time to prepare a lesson for next week!  I saw a post on FB from a facilitator from EPIK’s orientation on St. Patrick’s Day, and thought I could work with that.

So I’m doing research on the holiday, the origins, related and associated things, and figured maybe I’ll include a section on leprechauns and have the students draw a comic strip.  Naturally they have to learn what leprechauns are, what characteristics they have, and implement that into their comic strips, but it was shocking to see what little visual aids that was readily and immediately available over the internet!  I remembered watching many cartoons, animations and/or movies on the little lads, and yet came up short.  Ideally I wanted a short clip displaying all their famous features, but there was always something missing!

It’s not finished yet, but it’s almost there I suppose.  It’s difficult coming up with a very educational and fun lesson plan that helps the students’ English language abilities in the long run!  Ever since I left NY to study Japanese in Japan, and now coming to Korea to teach English, I become more and more appreciative or my former teachers, and acknowledge those who can speak and/or teach foreign languages – especially as a foreign language in a foreign country!

TT – How to plan a trip

Quick review on how to plan a trip!

  1. Who are you going with?  Why go with anyone, go solo!  If you can’t go solo, make sure you pick people that you can travel with; people who are like you when you travel.  So that means if you’re like me on vacations and like to rise early and make the most out of your day, sleeping late too, make sure your travel partner(s) does too!  This also entails activities, sights, capabilities and whatnot.
  2. When are you going?  Peak or non-peak season?  Make sure you research the climates, weather, activities, seasonal differences, prices, natural disasters, and limitations.  This is very important because if you decide to go during non-peak season to save money or whatnot, you may be expecting paradise but it could actually be a nightmare thus being the non-peak season; not always the case though, but it can be!  Also, activities and sights may be unavailable during non-peak seasons so be wise and research thoroughly!
  3. Where are you going?  By the way, these are not in any particular order!  I usually start with one and move onto another.  If you’re like me and want to go everywhere, then just pick a spot and start planning!  Of course during your research if it’s not the best idea, you can always switch and continue to do so until you find the perfect trip for your preferred time period.  Pay attention to location, climate, culture, environment and customs!
  4. Why are you going?  This is quite essential to any trip, especially if it isn’t open-ended!  I think that only open-ended trips can have an open-ended reason for going!  Try to match your location and activities with your purpose, if that wasn’t obvious enough.
  5. What are you going to do?  Kick back on the beach, drink/smoke all night long and party, outdoor activities like rafting and hiking, or maybe just sightseeing?  These should be match everyone’s tastes in your group, unless sometimes you split up; which is completely fine and actually preferable if you know each other well enough!
  6. How? How will you pay for the trip?  How will you get to your destination/what form of transportation suits your needs?  How will you get to the airport or station?  How will you get around your destination?
  7. Book the trip!  Use several sights to look at flights like Hipmunk, BookingBuddy, Expedia, Orbitz, CheapTickets, Priceline, etc.  Same goes for accommodation, there are many options like Couchsurfing, House Sitting, Pet Sitting, renting apartments from others like on Airbnb, hostels, hotels, motels, friends and family.  Think about your trip purpose, group and activities as everything should complement one another.
  8. Post-booking preparation entails little significant details like:
  • Whether or not to use cash or credit cards
  • Getting your passport, papers and documents required to leave (your country and enter another).  Make sure your passport doesn’t expire during your trip, you may not be allowed to even leave.
  • Take off from work!
  • Do you know how much you’ll be charged, if any, if you use your card internationally?  Can you even use your cards internationally?  Tell your bank/institution of your trip and make sure that they’re capable of being used, even if you don’t need them; you never know what may happen!
  • Also, as mentioned above make sure to look into tips, customs, culture of the destination so you’re not an ignorant tourist pissing off locals; you want to be friends with the locals as you get the best tips from them on food, activities, locations, etc.

Hopefully you found something you didn’t know about earlier or maybe the whole thing is useful for you!  This post more or less represents what goes through my mind when thinking or planning a trip of any sort.

Is there anything that I missed?  Maybe you plan your trips a bit differently?  If so, let me know! 🙂

TT – Packing Tips

You may think you know how to pack, but there’s always room for improvement!

Rolling

When you pack your clothes, roll them up and pack them into your suitcase/luggage.  Yes, I mean to roll them up, like take a t-shirt, fold it in half and start rolling it to the end.  This ultimately minimizes wrinkles but also frees up space so you can carry more!  Don’t forget that you can also take stacks of clothes and roll them up together; this may be preferable to minimize wrinkles as well.  When sticking these rolled up clothes, just stack them tightly next to one another, and on top.  You can even squeeze them in small spots after most things are in.

Hollow Items

If you are carrying anything hollow, you can fill them up with stuff too!  For example, when I was packing to come here to Kyoto, Japan I brought a thermos and packed Allegra, a hand towel, and a cool string photo hanger inside it.  Another example, I brought a bag of Starbursts just in case I was hired in a school to give to other teachers as a gift (part of the custom) inside my mini rice cooker.  Don’t forget that shoes are hollow as well!  Roll up your socks and stick them in there!  This will maximize how much you can carry, but don’t forget that you have a weight limit too!

Weight

When packing, you need to take into consideration the weight of each object.  If you plan on carrying something heavy, you may want to place it towards the bottom otherwise if you have it on top and your suitcase is upright, it’ll squish everything below it and possibly move around; this will also prevent your suitcase when in the upright position from toppling over and being unstable.  Same thing goes for lighter items, you may want to stick them on top.  When I stuck my mini rice cooker into my suitcase, I stuck the bag of Starbursts inside it and placed soft items like scarves around it (360 degrees) and left it in the middle-bottom area of my suitcase so that it wouldn’t get damaged upon transport; because we know not all those guys handling luggage really care about what may be inside our luggages!

Liquids

If you’re carrying liquids you want to ensure no leakage.  In order to do that, you can take a piece of plastic and cover the top and screw the cap back on-top of it.  When you pack liquids into your carry on luggage, it needs to all be less than 100ml each and in a quart-sized clear plastic bag.  That means that the bottle has to be 100ml or less, not the actual contents; I know, I had an issue with that when I first heard.  It’s also good to include all liquids in your check in luggage in a clear plastic bag too, can never be too careful!

Contents

What should you pack other than your clothes, toiletries, and electronics?

  • Reusable water bottle or canteen – if you’re going to a location that has safe tap water, or if you can find larger water bottles from a supermarket
  • Laundry bag – don’t you want to keep your stinky clothes separate from your clean clothes?
  • First Aid supplies – better safe than sorry, it’s hard to get something if you don’t know the language too
  • Hand Sanitizer – always a good idea no matter where you go
  • Travel document copies – always carry copies of your passport and other important documents rather than the original; most times it works and even if it is lost or stolen, you still have your original!
  • Flip Flops – if you’re staying in a hostel, this is a must!  If not, still a good idea whether or not you’ll be hitting the pool, beach, or for a stroll in beautiful hot weather.

Overpacking

Do not overpack, it’s not worth; nor is it required.  You should’ve already done your research and planning for your trip, whether it’s short or long.  With that said, you already have a basic understanding of your activities and itinerary so pack accordingly!  I do not mean that you know exactly what you’ll be doing, but an idea of what there is to do and what you may be interested in.  It’s always nice to speak to the locals, get a feel and follow their lead!  Also, I implied that you should already know the weather and climate but if you forgot to check, CHECK it!  If your trip is short then simply looking at the forecast should suffice, but that includes the morning, afternoon and nights.  If your trip is rather long then do include the seasonal averages of rainfall, snow, possible natural disasters and such.  Just plan your trip properly.

Now, go start planning your next trip and hopefully these tips will help you like it did me!

~~Update~~

Compiling

I honestly cannot tell which is more effective, the rolling or this compiling technique; however they work!  What I’m labeling as compiling, I’m simply referring to taking clothes and laying them out flatly on one another.  For example, taking your 5 t-shirts and laying them down on-top of one another, and then fold.  I do not know the reason or logic behind this sorcery but it works!  Recently, I stuffed dirty laundry into a small and netted compartment in my suitcase.  It got too full and needed to force more inside, so I used this trick and WALA, it fit!  I was able to continue adding more dirty laundry as the days passed too!  Some muggle sorcery I tell you, muggle sorcery; not that that makes any sense at all…

Anyways, do you have any packing secrets that you would like to share?  Sharing is caring!